Google Drive Tips

Once they overcome a bit of a learning curve, teachers who use Google Drive as a classroom tool are sure to be impressed at the usefulness of this tool and its related plugins. Google Drive can be used to store important instructional material, share documents with students and parents, and foster collaboration between students working on important projects. Teachers who work in team situations can also use Google Drive to share information among themselves, and to work together on improving instructional efficacy and classroom experience. Once they have learned the basics of Google Drive, there are many ways to improve and customize the tool. However, since the best place to start in the beginning, we’ll start with 4 essential skills that teachers should know in order to make Google Drive an effective tool for both themselves and their students.

Setting Permissions in Google Drive

It goes without saying that teachers store many confidential documents. This includes documents that fall into the following categories:

  • Confidential Student Information Protected by Regulation
  • Student Evaluations and Conference Notes
  • Private Correspondence With Other Staff Members and Parents
  • Lesson Plans
  • Correspondence With Students to be Protected From The View of Other Students
  • Answer Keys, Tests, and Quizzes
  • Documents That Have Been Created by Students That Are Not to be Viewed by Others

At best, a breach in confidentiality is embarrassing and results in a lot of extra work. At worst, terminations, lawsuits, and penalties could be applied. Fortunately, Google drive has tools included with it that allow teachers to set permissions to files and folders. This limits who is allowed access. It also helps teachers by giving them a way to show that they did their due diligence in protecting sensitive information. Here are things to remember when setting permissions.

  • Make sure your Google account is secure and that you use a strong password. It is also a good idea to set any devices that you may use to access the Google account you use as teacher to not save passwords.
  • If you have documents that are for your eyes only, keep them on Google drive folders that you do not share. 
  • Create multiple folders for different users and different purposes. Don’t try to put everything in or two places and hope that you’ve secured things correctly. A general rule of thumb is that if you allow someone access to a folder, you should assume they will be able to access all of the documents within that folder.
  • Create groups so that you do not have to set permissions on an individual level
  • Finally, select permissions by selecting the folder, clicking into the share button and then setting permissions.

Install Apps For Google Drive

There are many apps that can be used to increase the functionality of Google Drive. Some of these apps include:

  • Utilities for making charts and graphs
  • Tools for creating backups of important documents
  • Apps for converting files from one type to another
  • Mind mapping utilities
  • Apps for creating presentations

To use these apps, just visit the Google Chrome store. Then, simply pick out the app to be installed and select the option to allow it to access your Google drive. Students who use gadgets for education and have access to great apps will find that it is much easier to get their work done.

Disconnecting Apps From Google Drive

Occasionally an app doesn’t work as planned or become problematic in some way. For example, a teacher may find that students have been using an app in a way that is counter to school rules, or a change in district policy makes the app no longer useful. Whatever the case may be, knowing how to disconnect an app from Google drive is a useful skill for teachers to have. Fortunately, the process is quite easy. First, go into the settings menu on the device where the app is installed. Then, find the option to manage apps. Once this is done, find the app on the list of apps and then highlight it. Click the options button and take the option to disconnect the app from the drive. Remember that this does not uninstall the app.

Accessing and Changing Word Documents Stored on Google Drive

Many people want to use Google Drive for storage purposes, but prefer to edit their documents using native MS Office products. Teachers who want to do this, will have to make a quick adjustment in google drive. First, find the document on google drive and check the box in front of it. Then, right click the document and select properties. From there, you can modify the type of file that opens all files of that type. If Google Docs is the default that can easily be changed to MS Word or a proprietary product.