How I Use It
Google drive is a great tool to use in a classroom. Students have access to a word processor, presentation platform, spreadsheet, form maker and a drawing program. These are all tools that encourage and facilitate collaboration among peers. I have used all aspects of the program. Students really enjoy being able to comment on each other’s work while the work is in progress. They also prefer a writing task that allows them to modify their work without crossing out and erasing as they would have to do with paper and pencil drafts. The major drawback I found with both the slides and with documents is that students who have access to a paid, popular group of products at home are frustrated that Google Drive doesn’t have the same features and sometimes are quite vocal about it. At a school where all 6th grade students will be 1-1 with a Chromebook and 7th and 8th grade classrooms have carts with Chromebooks, I find the free, online version a very good option. Students can access their work from anywhere they have a device and internet access.
The drawing program allows students to be creative or to easily insert pictures and labels to make diagrams with detailed explanations. This is particularly helpful in science, especially for students who are intimidated by their own sketches. The program is easy to work and is pretty intuitive.
Although I find this product to be a very valuable classroom tool, I think it could be enhanced to have some of the features of the more popular paid program that people use at home and at their businesses. I value that this is available free, that it is easy to use and that in general it converts files from other programs with relative ease. Overall I think it does an excellent job and it is free for my students to use.