Google has always been a precusor in the world of technology. Since its creation, the company has created multiple tools that literally changed the way that we interact, search and play. However, on April 2, 2012, the company changed the way that we keep and create school work by launching Google Drive. This tool allows students and teachers (and everyone who has a google account) to store documents such as word documents, powerpoint presentations or over 30 other file types. When you create a Google Account , you have 15 go enterely free on Google Drive and, as a future teacher, but also a guy who likes to use the best softwares and tools, it is wonderful to have everything at the same place which is the case with Google (Gmail, Drive, Calendar, etc). That’s why (on a more personal note) I don’t really use Dropbox anymore because why should I use an outside service when I can have everthing at the same place ? Let’s see why I really think that Google Drive revolutionized how I will be teaching.
There is the fact that the teacher can use Google Drive as a formative assessment tool because you can give feedback on the students’ work before the deadline. I’m not talking about evaluating, I’m talking about giving tips and tell the students how they can improve and if they are on the right track or not. Through the revisions history, it will be easy for them to see all the comments. Like Jennifer Carey who is the director of the academic technology at the Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove, Florida says “Instead of emailing documents back and forth (which is a huge pain with many opportunities for confusion) teachers can go quickly to Drive, find and open the student’s paper in the Drive table of contents, and make “live” comments and corrections on the student’s paper”. It really helps the teacher to be more productive because you don’t have to search for the students’ copies in your mailbox or in your folder anymore. There is only one single copy that can be modified as many times as they want. I also learned, again by Jennifer Carey’s article that you can leave students voice notes which is fantastic. Sometimes when your comment is just too long or not clear enough, you can decide to incorporate a spoken comment in the Google Drive document. Like she says, this is a great way to provide broader feedback. Furthermore, if we talk about one of the most helpful thing for teachers and one of the most frustrating for students is the fact that you can clearly see if a student has worked on his project or not because you have access to the revisions history. They won’t be able to lie to you because you will have proofs of his implication in a project.
Secondly, as a student who graduated from high school three years ago, I remember that one thing that was frustrating was the fact that the only time that we could see all of our grades during a semester was when the teacher had to send the report cards to our parents. My future students will be happy to know that Google Docs has also a solution to it! Teachers can now create a sheet that will track all the student tests, so they could easily have accesss to them and see which competency they have to work on and improve it before the end of the semester. During my high school’s years, we could only see how well we did by the end of it. It has also the advantage to help the parents to keep track of their child’s score because sometimes, the teacher ask their students to bring their folder at home to show their results to their parents (like in my practicum 1), but who knows if they really did it ? By creating a sheet with all the results of their children, you have the possibility to share it with every person you want which includes the parents. At the beginning of the semester, you ask them to send you their gmail adress and then, you can share with them the course plan (which includes the due dates of the projects and the homework that have to be done) with the parents, so they can clearly see what their child has to do and he won’t be able to lie to them and say that he does not have homework or any type of lies. Like Todd Koren who worked in a high school for ten years and who is now a writer for The Yelling Center says “I often speak with parents and teachers about their struggles working with students who simply cannot seem to keep their assignments straight or meet due dates in a consistent manner. This software offers multiple free tools that can help students keep their work and due dates organized, as well as give parents and teachers ways to be supportive without actually doing the work for them.” One thing to keep in my mind as a teacher is to give the students a number on that sheet otherwise some mean students could use it to make fun of others.
Finally, the most interesting thing about Google Drive is the fact that you can share your documents with your teamates for a project. Before the arrival of Google Drive, the students had to do the work all together at the library or send to each other the copy of the work (who got modified over and over again). Now, with Google Drive, every member can modifiy the same copy at the same time and they will be able to see what everyone is doing (because it will appear in different colours). Goodbye to the time when doing a Powerpoint was complicated to do in team because it wasn’t possible to see everyone at the same time. Furthermore, what every teacher loves about Google Drive is the fact that they can ask their students to do peer review like I do in a course this semester. A lot of studies say that you understand your writing mistakes better when someone who is in the same situation as you explain it to you. With Google Drive, the students will be able to read, comment, modifiy each other’s work which will make their work better and they will improve faster. Like the teaching center of the Washington University in St-Louis says “engage in “peer review,” when well planned, can help students improve their reading and writing skills, and learn how to collaborate effectively”. Futhermore, as a teacher, I will see the level of my class improving because, before a work is handed in, it will have been read at least two times. Nate Green, an educator and a writter for http://www.edsocialmedia.com says that “often, I will pair up students who are proving a similar thesis. Other times, I will pair up students based on ability. Peer editing with Google Docs allows me to watch the discussions that go on between students during the editing process. It’s hard to doubt the effectiveness of peer-to-peer discussion in learning. My students have made leaps and bounds this year in their writing skills.”
As you see, it is hard to doubt of the effectiveness of Google Drive because it simplifies the life of the students, but also the one of the teacher.
If you want to learn how to use Google Drive, there is a very useful link ! 🙂