Google Drive

Google Drive is a great way to create, store, share, and collaborate files such as documents, spreadsheets, photos, slide shows and PDFs.  If you create a personal Gmail account, then you automatically have 15 GB of free space.  If you have an education account, like all EVSC staff, then you have unlimited space to store files.  Your files in Drive can be reached from any smart phone, tablet, or computer with an Internet connection. So wherever you go, your files follow.  What a deal, right?

You can quickly invite others to view, download, and collaborate on all the files you want.  There is no email with an attachment needed. One of the best things about Google Drive, which makes it a much better option than Dropbox, is the ability to work on your files with up go 50 people at the same time.  No more multiple versions of a document to keep up with .  No more carrying a thumb drive to and from work.  Everything is stored and updated immediately in Google Drive.

With Google Drive your files are private and for you to see only, until you decide to share them. You can quickly invite others to view, comment, and edit any file or folder that you choose.  This is great if you share lessons with other teachers on your team or at another school.  You can create a shared folder where everyone on the team can see and add to the shared lessons or unit. This is also perfect for student group projects.  Groups of students could each take a chapter of a novel an create a slide show that summarizes it.  Each student in the class could build a reaction slide to something that was covered in class and then those slides could be combined into one giant slide show.  The possibilities are endless.

Every file in Drive stays safe no matter what happens to your smart phone, tablet or computer. Drive uses the same security protocol used on Gmail and other Google services.

How to Get Started

So how do you get Google Drive?  Let me show you how.  The easiest way is to simply go to www.google.com.  You will see a blue sign-in button in the top right hand corner.

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Once you click the button, you will see the window below which allows you to sign-in if you have an account or create one if you do not.

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Once you are signed in, you will see your name in the top right with these app buttons.

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When you click on the app buttons you will see several options, one of which will be drive.

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When you click on drive, you will be taken to the area where files can be uploaded, created, and stored.  The two main buttons are the create and uploads buttons seen below.  The create button allows you to create Google docs, presentations, spreadsheets, etc…  Already have a document created with MS Word, PowerPoint, or Excel?  No worries, the upload button allows you to upload and convert things you have already created.  I highly recommend that you change the setting to auto convert Microsoft files to Google files.  To do that your gear in the top right corner.  In the drop down menu, choose upload settings and place a check next to convert files to Google format.

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Once you have uploaded or created a document you will see a share button in the top right corner.

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To share this document click on that button.  In the invite people bar, you can type in email addresses to share with others.  Or, you can click on the blue word change and you will get several options of who can view or edit via the link highlighted in blue.

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Click Done when you are finished.  The best way to get familiar is just to get in there and play with it.  I have barely scratched the surface on all that you can do with Google Drive and how it can benefit you.  It is an amazing tool that is 100% FREE!!

Suggested Uses

  • A place to store files in which you can access anywhere from multiple devices
  • A place to collaborate with colleagues
  • A place students can collaborate and create assignments and presentations
  • A place that tests, quizzes, and surveys can be created via Google Forms

Why It Matters (Teacher Rubric)

The EVSC Teacher Rubric indicates that teachers should purposefully integrate the use of digital tools and resources that are
appropriate.  Google Drive allows students to create and collaborate on schoolwork, projects, and presentations.  Google Drive is an appropriate digital tool to use for most students.

The Teacher Rubric also indicates that teachers should ask for assistance, when needed, and consistently provides assistance to support others.  A shared folder in Google drive is an excellent way to collaborate and assist colleagues.  Lesson plans could even be created by multiple teachers working on them simultaneously.  Lesson plans would be even better if two or three minds were giving input vs. one.

Additional Resources

There are other good options for cloud storage.  Check these out and choose the one that best suites your needs.

The Challenge

Create a Gmail account if you do not have one.   In drive, create a shared folder with others that teach the same subject or grade level that you do.  Create or upload files that you could do some collaborative planning with others.   Or upload and create files that would benefit other teachers in your building or school district and add those folks to your shared folder list.  Chances are, they will share something that you could use as well.  Tell us how you would use or are using Google Drive and file sharing in the classroom or among your staff and colleagues to collaborate.

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Jeffrey Tron
I graduated from the University of Southern Indiana in 1993. I got my masters degree in education in 1999 from Indiana Wesleyan University. I taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade at Helfrich Park STEM Academy for 17 years. While there, I was the technology coordinator, student council rep, book coordinator, and I ran the announcements on the television studio. I taught reading, English, mathematics, social studies, science, and health in all three grade levels. In the summer of 2010, I worked for the IDOE to help implement the Indiana Science Initiative. I led several workshops around the state helping teachers integrate notebooking and hands-on science kits in their classrooms. During the 2010-2011 school year, I taught fourth grade science at Fairlawn Elementary School. I am currently an eLearning Coach for an elementary school, two middle schools, and a high school. I love technology and I love teaching and helping teachers. Put the two together and you have my dream job. I am very excited about being an eLearning coach and helping others implement technology into their daily instruction.

21 COMMENTS

  1. It’s amazing how much I am learning; I just looked at my Android phone and found Google Drive. I never knew what it was for, but I am anticipating using it now to collaborate with my second grade team. The ability to collaborate digitally will be a tremendous boost for our planning time.

  2. Google Drive is amazing! My district uses it everyday for just about everything you can think of. We’ve virtually gone paperless because of it. I do my lesson plans in Google Drive and share them with my students and parents through MBC. I link them to my administrators as well, which helps with yearly evaluations. My school also uses a live Google doc to do what we call the Daily News. The office staff, administration, and teachers can all add on going announcements to it throughout the day instead of calling over the intercom to interrupt classes. If a student has a transportation change, it’s added to the Google doc for everyone to see, the teacher highlights it and tells the student. This is amazing for minimizing disruptions. I use it to create my own spreadsheet grade books as a backup to the online grade book. Students and staff have used it to create slideshow presentations. In my units I create live documents for student collaboration and discussion about the day’s topics. I could go on and on. It is simply an amazing and constantly growing tool.

  3. I use Google Drive nearly every school day. I remember the old days when I lived 25 minutes south of the school where I teach and I would have to either drive all the way to school to leave sub plans if I was going to be absent or I would go to the local school in the town I lived and fax them. Now it is so simple, I simply go to my IPad or computer, create my plans and send them. Technology has made things so much easier. Now with the Google Drive, if I know ahead of time I am going to be gone, I can begin creating my sub plans a few days ahead, put it in my drive and finish the plans at home. I have many documents that I keep in my Drive so that after I have begun working on it I can access it anywhere to continue working on it. We have a shared drive that our principal uses to send info to all of us teachers/staff in the school. We also have a shared corporation drive. The one thing I have not done yet, is have students collaborate using the drive and I am anxious to do that. I just now created a document in the drive and shared it with a fellow teacher so we could collaborate on our plans for an upcoming faculty party.

  4. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Google Drive! I’ve used it more this year and become quite dependent on it. I can’t imagine not using it for planning, collaborating, meeting, etc.

  5. We are doing curriculum mapping and sharing it on Google Drive. This gives me slink between what the high school is doing in Algebra and what the middle school is doing. We are linking standards to these maps and creating units. The goal of the curriculum mapping is to have all documents able to be shared on Google Drive.

  6. Google Drive is one of the most important technology tools in my 7th grade ELA classroom. The students use it for approximately 75% of their daily assignments and homework. I create and share the assignments with them and they simply make a copy, complete the work, and move it into their shared folder. The kids can collaborate in small groups or pairs and also peer edit each others work. I am able to view, edit and comment on their work at any time. I simply add a comment box to display their grade and to give them feedback. My students also use Google Presentation when they create projects and presentations. It is simple to use and has many of the same features as PowerPoint. It’s a great classroom tool.

  7. My PLCs uses Google Drive to post agendas, meeting minutes, and data. My department shares common rubrics and reading lists. I have used Google Drive with peer editing, but have found OneDrive easier to implement. Google docs do not upload well to the learning management system my teaching partner and I use. The student ends up sharing the document with me instead of submitting it the dropbox, which puts the files I’m looking for in more than one place.

  8. At my school, we are all using Google Drive. Our e-mail, our files, our documents, spreadsheets, presentations. We use them all. Now, if you have used Word forever, it will take you a few minutes to learn the “suite” from Google. One of the things that drives me crazy about Google Docs is the fact that if you open a document it is already saved. That may sound great but sometime you just need to type something up and get rid of it. Now, you have to delete it after you do so. Other than that the Drive is great. Our school saves files from the main office and “shares” them anyone on our e-mail system. So, we don’t need print agendas for faculty meetings or professional development days, if we have a laptop or a computer instead. (We are a 1 to 1 school where all faculty have iPads.) Heck, you could use your phone as long as it can access to the Internet. For the environmentally friendly school, this is a good product. Your paper costs should go down.

  9. I love Google Drive in the aspect that it is easy to access, collaborate, share and more. I have used it in classes teaching the students to do ppt this way so if working with a partner it eliminates the need to get together outside of school. We just started a Business Sense unit and each of the companies of students are working from Drive to create their needed documents. We are supposed to be using Drive in our PLC’s but it has been a challenge to get other members to access it, use it, and buy into it.

  10. I love Google Drive. I have used this starting with my 2nd graders creating a document. I love the collaboration aspect of it for students and teachers alike. I am the only teacher in my building that specifically teaches keyboarding and technology. I collaborate with several teachers in other buildings that are in the same boat as I am using Google Drive. We created our LDA assessment and shared using Drive. We have also shared ideas and documents that we have used in our technology classes. I have a 6th grade Math teacher in the building that creates mini assessments using Google Drive. She shares it with her students and uses Flubaroo to grade them. This allows her to better differentiate and assess her students quickly.

  11. We have used Google Drive as a way to share and edit papers with other members of the classroom. The way that we are about to begin using Google Drive is for our formative assessments and data collection as part of our PLC’s. The benefit of using Google Drive this is way is that the data is instantly placed on the site where the multiple parts of our PLC are able to access and analyze student data. This will help us to identify trends and examine best practices on how best to serve the needs of our students.

  12. We have started to use Google Drive to share internal forms and documents that need to be submitted. Previously, our teachers would fill out physical paper forms and teachers would turn them into the office. A secretary would then have to tally the responses and file the physical forms. Now, we have increased efficiency by using Google Drive. Also, our teachers have started to share lesson plans and even behavior plans through Google Drive (restricting access to appropriate individuals, of course).

  13. I love Google Drive. It provides easy access to created documents, PLCs, team plan, school information and handbook, policies. It is just accessible. The most fantastic thing is you don’t have to worry about losing your work as it auto saves, but you can easily edit the document for accuracy and correction. Also, easy access to mail, forums, groups, etc. is a very nice +. Google makes an awesome interface.

  14. I am a huge fan of Google Drive and everything Google. I love how easy it is to use and the accessibility it offers. It’s so nice to have storage space in Drive for all documents and to be able to share those with my first grade team. One of my favorite tools is the survey function of Google Forms. It’s one of the only truly free polling sites that I have come across. Also, I am a big fan of being able to attach pictures/documents with Drive to my emails. I don’t ever have to worry about sending large files since there is no file size limit. It’s also convenient you don’t have to be emailing another gmail user in order to send using Drive. Another aspect that I like is that as long as you are signed in to Chrome using your gmail account, you can access all of your bookmarks on any computer. Google is a tool that I fully believe is about as trick free as you can get.

  15. Google Drive is such a flexible resource! I’ve used in with committees, both in school and outside groups. And the very handy feature for outside groups is the sharing of a link for access to a folder. Many people enjoyed not having to sign up for another service to access the same files. Ironically, most of those who liked Google Drive because they didn’t have to sign up to see the shared folder decided to use Google Drive themselves so they created accounts by the end of the project.

  16. I set up a Google drive account for the whole school. Each teacher has their students to collaborate with, and the teachers can collaborate with other teachers. I love it for setting up a list of items for teachers to sign up for different committees. It is great for setting up surveys, to other teachers or to students. Another thing I like about it, is, you have access to programs similar to Microsoft Office.

  17. Currently my business department has a shared Google Drive folder. It is easier than emailing files back and forth. I also create files for my students and share it with them. We do collaborative notes in class sometimes. They like seeing the opinions and views of other students. Our district even uses Google Spreadsheets as a way to collect and compare student data across schools. My favorite feature; however, is the ability to use any computer and have access to all of my files.

  18. I’m using Drive in my PLCs. We have a folder for each class (English 12A, etc.) with all documents inside. It’s a great way to collaborate with other teachers, too. We can send out a rough unit calendar, for example, and all of us can make changes to the document.

    I use Drive in my classes, too. The students in my journalism classes can share their documents via Drive and comment/evaluate each other’s stories. I can’t speak more highly about Drive. It’s very useful, and it does everything I want it to do. I see expanded uses in the future: portfolio projects using Drive, and group projects completed collaboratively.

  19. I love Google Drive. At PCMS we have used Drive to share documents within our grade level and subject level teams for the past couple of years. Our administrators have also taken to using Drive to share documents with staff, which makes finding them when needed much easier.

    Cloud based storage is also great, having so much space means that it is unlikely I will run out of space anytime soon. I am looking forward to using Drive with students next year. Our students don’t have school accounts this year, but should next. I think it will make grading and organizing student work much easier – at least for me. I am ready to get rid of most paper!

  20. Using Google Drive has saved some time with certain projects between departments and staff I work with. We used it earlier this year to allow both Special Education and Counselors to list accommodations across all grade levels for staff to reference and access. Multiple people were able to be within the same spreadsheet and different tabs listing this which in the end, saved a lot of time and having a single person combine into one spreadsheet. I’ve also used it to create a “Who’s Who” document for the Instructional Assistants we have in the building with general grade level assignment and their picture. This was a great resource to have for staff getting to know new faces and also to not wonder who a person was walking or working with students starting the school year.

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