How I Use It
I use it as a platform for students to word process, collaborate with one another, share presentation material with me (or one another), and as a general repository for students to use as a means of accessing content at school, home, or on the go.
Students use Google Drive to collaborate on in class presentations not only during class time, but at home. Many of our students live many miles from school, so meeting up after hours can be tricky. However, they can easily build presentations together no matter where they are. I also like that I can see who added content and when. This way, I can see if one student is doing all of the work or not pulling their own weight.
We did a Documentary Project and students wrote their scripts in Google Drive and put their final projects in there as well. They then shared these documents with me - no paper, no emails, no flash-drives! All of the finalized documentary projects are in a single folder accessible by me and other students. As a group, without having to login/logout of different accounts, we were able to watch the content in class.
I love that on research papers, I can see how students built on their documents - did they work over several days, collaborate with others, or seem to throw it together at the last minute?
Using this tools has drastically cut down on paper and my review time. It has also enabled me to keep an eye on students' progress at a distance.
Google Drive is great for word processing, review, collaborative projects, and sharing large files between student and teacher (no more issues of trying to email a 10mb PowerPoint or a 100mb Video Project). Students can access content anywhere from nearly any type of device. We can use the iPad Card, Laptop Cart, Computer labs, or at home and don't have to transfer documents.
At times, the interface is not as sophisticated as the Office Suite. This can be a little problematic when students are building presentations. For example, Google Presentations have limitations on image size or type. However, I have seen consistent updates and improvements in the service.
Right now, Drive is not a catch all replacement for standard tools. However, as a sharing and collaborative tool, it cannot be beat. The fact that it works across platforms and devices, can be used to create and store a myriad of media, and allows students to work on the go make it invaluable.