As part of its longstanding support for education, Google provides various tech tools that allow teachers to engage students while managing their classrooms more efficiently. One of the tools that expertly combines these two areas is Google Drive.
The search company created Google Drive to give users a convenient way to create, develop and share documents, spreadsheets, videos, images, surveys and more. Google Drive brings together a wide variety of applications in one place. It also allows educators and students to store files in the Google Cloud, giving them access to ongoing projects from multiple devices and any location.
Self-driving cars and AI chatbots may get the headlines, but Google Drive is a versatile, practical and free tool that has changed how people, including educators, create and manage their work tasks. It’s one of the most productive ways teachers can use Google in the classroom.
Google in the Classroom Offers Latest Tech Tools
Through Google Workspace for Education, Google provides teachers with many digital tools at no cost (they can spend to add certain features). One of the most popular tools for educators is Google Classroom, which teachers use to manage and optimize day-to-day work and student assignments.
Other popular tools include Google Slides for presentations, and Google Earth, which allows teachers to guide students in exploring places around the world through photos, videos, maps and the “street view” images Google provides.
Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals is free for all qualifying institutions. Schools that want Education Standard, Teaching and Learning Upgrade, and Education Plus pay a subscription.
While specialized training helps teachers get the most from these digital tools, they do not require tech-savvy users with years of experience working with computer software. Moat Google applications prioritize ease of use.
What Is Google Drive?
Google Drive provides teachers with a practical tool that helps improve their classrooms in several ways. For those unfamiliar with Google Drive, it helps to think of it “as a latter-day hard drive,” according to Business Insider. Google Drive allows users to upload various files, including written documents, photos, audio and video into the cloud.
The cloud involves a vast network of servers maintained by Google. Storing important files in the cloud eliminates worries about losing work if school computers crash or break. Educators can use Google Drive to back up files placed on school computer hard drives or move the files completely to the cloud.
Schools with Google Workspace for Education subscriptions receive a baseline storage of 100 terabytes shared by all users affiliated with the school. According to Google, that’s enough storage for 100 million documents, 8 million presentations or 400,000 hours of video.
Another major advantage: teachers and students can also access Google Drive from every type of device, including desktop computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets.
Using Google Drive For Educators
With Google Drive, educators can access many useful applications that allow them to use Google in the classroom.
- Google Docs: For creating shareable text documents.
- Google Sheets: A spreadsheet program that can be used for planning and tracking progress.
- Google Slides: Supports the creation of slide presentations.
- Google Forms: An application for generating surveys and questionnaires.
- Google Sites: Build websites for classroom use.
- Gmail: Google Drive provides a connection to Google’s email service.
- Google Chat: Establish private chat rooms for students or faculty.
Google also allows users to add third-party applications in addition to the Google tools for teachers. Non-profit organization Commonsense points out that teachers can use Google Drive to make assigning and grading easier. Administrator-level accounts have additional functionality, such as viewing data over time and studying student data trends.
Teachers can use colored and labeled cursors for every user to identify students while they work on essays, spreadsheets or class presentations. Google Drive also supports communication between collaborators. For example, students and teachers can chat while working on shared documents and add comment threads to each task.
Fresno Pacific University’s Google Drive Course for Educators
Some educators may have a steeper learning curve than others regarding learning how to use Google tools for teachers. Fresno Pacific University offers two online professional development courses that will quickly get all educators up to speed on using Google for education.
Fresno Pacific designed the online Google Drive for Educators course for administrators, librarians, teachers and technology coordinators. Students in the course learn how to create lessons using Google Drive tools, including incorporating text documents, spreadsheets, presentations and survey forms. This course applies to all grade levels and subjects.
The online Google Drive Expanded course explores more uses for Google Drive and third-party add-on applications. The course focuses on collaboration with other educators around the world. Teachers explore a translation tool, voice typing and online newsletters. They also learn how to use Google Forms to create multimedia quizzes for their students to access outside of class time and automatically grade and send out the results using Flubaroo.
Educators who complete either course earn three professional development credits. In addition, credits from both courses are applicable toward earning a Classroom Technology Integration Certificate and Online Teaching Certificate.