How I Use It
The key to Google Drive is using it so that it is not just a web-based word processor. My students can type anywhere, but I like Google Drive for a variety of reasons. Mostly because I can do so much with it in the classroom. I use Google Draw and Google Slides in tandem to create clear, engaging, easy to follow presentations for instruction. I love how I can publish the presentations to the web or embed them in my own website. Kids with an internet connection can always access and review these published presentations. I also used Google Drive as a tool to provide timely feedback for students who are working. Using an Add-on like Doctopus allows me to distribute student work and spy on in in progress. Gone are the days of collecting papers, providing written feedback, and returning them much later. Now I can check on work in progress and provide the feedback needed. I feel like this aspect of Google Drive has allowed me to be more like a Coach. I can see more of the student work live when I preview their documents. I don't have to read over shoulders. I can quickly take student work, project it, reteach, and then get the kids back to work. I honestly don't know how we could have been teaching writing before this magically ability to pop into these shared documents and collaborate with kids LIVE. I can use Google Forms to gather student responses to questions and then project them to the student later. I can create these wonderful documents as instructional tools complete with linked contents and calls for student work. The Research Tools in Google Docs are a wonderful way to help students learn new vocabulary. They can search for the definition right in the document. I often ask kids to do an image search to help deepen their understanding of the word.
The success of Google Drive in the classroom lies in the the teacher ability to harness it power to better instruct and provide feedback. Google Drive is the 21st century equivalent of all the school supplies and materials stored in one amazing icon. A carefully designed Google Doc, Google Form, or Google Drawing can allow kids opportunities to apply knowledge and develop skills in wonderful ways. But the key that makes Google Drive apps so wonderful is the collaborative piece. I love how kids in the same document have to talk and negotiate when they are writing collaboratively. Those can be rich conversations that rarely could have happened with a pencil and paper with the efficiency that Google Drive provides. Each app has wonderful applications in the classroom; I wish I could write about each individually.