22 out 2014 The effects of Google Drive on my personal and professional life.
I was recently asked about the most innovative educational resource I have found online. After giving it some thought, I could only think of one website, GOOGLE DRIVE.
More and more, Google Drive has become part of my daily life; when I organize my thoughts, when I write alone or collaboratively, when I create activities for students, when I correct writings turned in by students, when I save documents and so forth.
And again, I ask myself, how can a website change so many procedures in some people’s lives and at the same time go unnoticed to so many students who could benefit from it?
Let me start explaining the effect Google Drive has had on my life.
I’m not so anxious about backing up ALL my stuff any more. For example: I use Google Docs for my lesson plans, add images from my computer and the net (from within the site), share the link with my colleagues and everything is saved automatically. I can easily decide what I want to keep private, what and with whom I want to share it with by clicking a button. In the past, I had to use disks, CD roms and external hard drives to save some memory space and have everything backed up.
- Along with an Argentinian colleague and now a dear friend, Jennifer Verschoor, I’ve been writing several articles collaboratively. Both of us can type synchronously and asynchronously. We comment on each other’s work, we suggest alterations, we add images and have a space where we can think together. I few years ago, this collaboration would be more problematic. We would probably use Word and would keep sending our documents to one another via e-mail.
Whether I am at home or on the go, all my documents are in my bag, or better, in my cell phone. I don’t need to carry loads of paper anymore and never forget my lesson plans. Online or offline I can work on my documents from my cell phone.
When preparing a presentation with someone, there’s no need to send powerpoints back and forth, or even merge the slides created by each one of us. It’s a fantastic feeling to see content being built by a group of people in front of our eyes. We know who has already contributed and who is falling behind with work. Collaboration is synchronous and documents become alive.
Giving feedback to students’ writings has become so simple. I create a folder and share with all of the students, then to turn in assignments all they have to do is drag and drop their google docs to the TURN IN FOLDER. I make my suggestions by using the comment area or by using a different font color. Then, all my students have to do is edit the same document for a final version.
When I’m teaching distance one-to-one, a google docs becomes our synchronous board where both of us write, exchange ideas, take notes and keep a record of everything we develop that day.
I could go on writing more than 1000 words about how Google Drive has simplified and enriched my life. I also know many of us, educators, already use the site daily. Nevertheless, I wonder how many of our students, no matter how old they are, have been taking advantage of these immense possibilities of creating knowledge collaboratively.