Endless Possibilities with Google Drive

“I forgot my homework at home.”

“My dog ate it.”

“I lost my paper.”

“My printer didn’t work, so I wasn’t able to print my homework.” 

How many of these sentences will I hear over the years? Will students ever learn? I don’t count on it.  So, why not integrate the perfect tool into my teaching system to avoid these kinds of situations? Google Drive is the tool to use.

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With Google Drive, I can create “turn-in” folders with my students. That way, I have an easy access to their assignments, I can give them feedback and they cannot use their previous excuses. It’s a win-win situation. Simple steps need to be done before being able to use this tool with my students. First, I need to have them create a Gmail account. Then, in the Drive section, they need to create a folder with a strategic name (e.g. last name. first name. group number). After that, I need to show them how to add me in the sharing settings and how to allow me to comment/edit their homework. Once it’s done, they use this folder to hand in assignments through the school year. It’s simple and very practical.

Moreover, Google Drive gives the opportunity to work collaboratively on the same file (Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides or Google Drawings) at the same time. So, no excuses are acceptable when it comes to teamwork. It can be useful for projects. When students aren’t able to meet up outside of school, they can still work together from home and see what one does at the same time he/she does it. It is as if they were working on the same computer.

Plus, when it comes to the collaborative aspect of the tool, it enhances my possibilities to create interactive activities in class or at home. For example, with the drawing component of Google Docs, I can create a brainstorming activity with the whole class. Lets say that I want to create a debate on abortion. I can have students brainstorm on the pros and cons of abortion and have them give as many ideas/arguments as possible, which they need to include on the brainstorming map that is done using Google Drive.

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Also, like some activities seen in Mark Miller’s workshop, I can separate the class into teams and have them do interactive tasks using a shared file. They may have to create a comic strip, to write a story with 300 words without using the letter ‘f’ or to create a poem using the ABAB format where each student must write four lines. The possibilities are endless and the outcomes can be quite surprising.

To sum up, Google Drive is an awesome tool which I will use in my educational system for several reasons. First of all, it gives me the opportunity to easily have access to students’ assignments. Secondly, it avoids lost papers. Thirdly, it adds an interesting option when students need to complete a team work at home, but they aren’t able to meet up face-to-face. Finally, it enhances the possibilities of creating interactive activities. I really encourage other teachers to use this tool. Not only it is great for your students, but it is also great for personal use.

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