Let me start by revealing that I am a recovering Luddite. At least that is how I described myself to a colleague in tech support as he gave me a tutoring session in Google Forms. While Forms has been around for a long time, I’m just now finding all of its potential in changing how I teach. While you may already be lightyears ahead of me on this, when it comes to technology, there’s always someone out there who can use a beginning tutorial. Now that I put that out on the table, I am excited about Google Drive and what it can do to help me be organized and make my life easier. If you are a novice with technology like me, I hope this might pique your interest and end up making your life easier too. If you’re more advanced, go ahead and skip down to the resources area below.
Spring Cleaning with Google Drive
My district is making a switch over to Google Drive to store and share documents which I have learned works best with Google Chrome. I guess there should be no surprise there. Given the nature of my work, I take lots of pictures and videos of students and their work. I do not have a school computer so I use my personal computer for both personal and professional purposes. That means all those pictures and videos are taking up a great deal of space on my personal computer.
Enter Google drive. I have recently spent a great deal of time getting those pictures and videos off my computer and into my Google Drive. It feels so good – like spring cleaning! The beautiful thing is that you can create a file of pics or videos on your computer and just drag the file into Google Drive. It may take a while for them to upload but it is super easy and that is what a novice like myself appreciates! I did also copy them onto a flash drive to give myself another way to access the material.
Surveys, Analysis and More
Besides using Google drive to store and share files, you can also create on-line surveys. I resisted this at first because I’m a recovering Luddite but also because I knew it would be time-consuming to learn and at that particular point, time felt like a commodity I didn’t have enough of to invest in this process. However, I bit the bullet because I realized in the long-run it would save me time and probably provide me with more information in a shorter period than I could gather myself. One beautiful element of an on-line survey is that you are not wasting reams of paper. Another is that no one is going to lose an on-line survey. And, generally speaking, people spend a great deal of time on their computers so you might be more likely to get responses and to get them more quickly.
But the most beautiful thing I found is that Google Forms provides you with immediate analysis of your survey creating lovely pie charts for every question. I was told in my tutoring session that I can manipulate the data to answer specific questions I may have but I have not yet gotten all the responses to my last survey so I have yet to play with that particular feature. Still, the immediacy and the accessibility of the analysis was impressive – and I didn’t have to do it!
Google Drive Resources for Teachers
As I said, I’m just beginning down this road, but there are so many other wonderful possibilities for using Google to help you get and stay organized as a teacher. Here’s a list of some resources you may find useful:
- This list of 10 things teachers should know about Google Docs has screenshots and step-by-step directions. Visually, this is really helpful!
- Some of the 22 things you didn’t know Google Drive could do is a little over my head, but for you advanced users out there – here’s your next step.
- Want to learn how to create Pixel Art, Drop Down Menus, or Choose Your Own Adventure quizzes? Try this article from Certified Google for Education Trainer Shawn Beard.
- And if you REALLY want to dig deep into everything Google can do for you as a teacher, here’s a comprehensive Google site that has a list of videos, resources, and threads on all kinds of new tips and tricks.
The end of the year can be such a busy time and you may feel like you don’t have the time to try something new. However, being a resister myself, I can tell you that if you do decide to try it out, if Google Drive seems like a tool that might be useful to you, you won’t regret the time investment. It will pay off in the end!
Deirdre is a teaching artist and AI coach in the San Diego public schools dedicated to helping classroom teachers make arts an integral part of their teaching. Deirdre has an MEd in Arts Integration and over twenty years of classroom and performing arts teaching experience. Email Deirdre.