Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Seeing Google Drive in a New Light

Today I’d like to share with you two apps that make my job as a teacher infinitely easier and more manageable. These are not new, and aren’t even new to me, but I’ve seen them in a new light this year, and want to jot my thoughts down.

When it comes to technology, there are two companies I love. I am a total fan girl of both Google and Apple. I own many Apple devices- a MacBook Air, an iPad, and I’m now on my 3rd iPhone. I love Google mostly for their suite of collaboration  tools- Google Drive, which is what I really want to talk about today. As a tech facilitator, using Google Drive (then Docs) was a part of my daily work flow. Whether I was creating checklists and spreadsheets for my own use or working with my colleagues, Google Docs was the go-to. Docs was used to write rough drafts of papers in grade school, used to keep collaborative agendas and meeting notes at work, and to create and share presentations with teachers and students. I used to constantly tell teachers how much I loved Docs, and tried to demonstrate many many ways in which they could use it as well. I believed in the product, and loved how much easier it made my life as a tech facilitator.

Now that I’m teaching again, I have discovered even more ways to use Google Drive. I’m now using Drive in the ways I tried to convince my teachers to use it in the past, and I’ve got to say- I love it! I guess it’s just reaffirming to me to be back in a teaching position and realize that all of the things I used to spend time trying to convince my teachers to do actually do work! Here are a few ways I’ve used Drive (so far) this semester:

  1. All course syllabi are created in Drive. This means I can embed or link them in my courses- and when I make changes or updates I don’t have to worry about re-uploading the Word file.
  2. All course schedules are created in Drive. Again, I can embed on the home page of my course and any changes are automatically updated. Here’s an example.
  3. At the beginning of the semester, students create blogs on Blogger. Throughout the semester, they need to be able to read each other’s blog posts and comment. To make it easy to keep up with everyone’s URLs, I create a table on a Google Document for them to fill in their name, class section, and URL. Since they haven’t been introduced to Drive yet, I make it viewable and editable by the public. So far, no one has erased anyone else’s work (but if they did, I could just restore using Revision History).
  4. For each chapter, I have a listening guide students fill out. I created all the listening guides in Drive, and set the Sharing settings so that anyone who has the link can view. On the guide itself, there are directions for making a copy for themselves and turning it back into me…which they can do through Drive. Here’s an example of that. The best part of that is, the lecture guides can serve as a study guide for them at the end of the semester.
  5. Students use Google Presentations to create collaborative projects. This means they all have access to work whenever and wherever, and it is also super simple for them to share with me.

There are many other ways I’m using Drive this year, but those are probably the ways that have the most direct student impact. None of these ideas are earth-shattering in their innovativeness or newness, they sure do make my (and my students’ lives easier)!

How do you use Google Drive?

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