How I Use It
I have been using Google Drive since it was 'docs' (woah, dating myself). The resource continues to grow and provide the functionality many of us expect after becoming accustomed to our purchased productivity software. However, in regard to classroom use of word processing and presentation creations, it has more then enough bells and whistles to keep students engaged. Not only that, the skills they are learning in regard to proper formatting is huge. Beyond that, they can get all artsy by using the drawing feature, or get interactive with their peers by creating an online form for a survey.
To be more specific, I will express my Google Drive experience in two ways. First, will be my user experience as a person and professional who has a mass of digital materials that I prefer in one place rather than scatted across devices. Secondly, I will discuss my students' experience using the tool and offer some tips regarding managing Drive in your classroom.
To be honest, I have a few Drive accounts. I use one in a personal capacity to keep friends address close at hand and up to date and to keep other digital files and photos in the cloud as to not "loose" them. I was also using Drive in a professional capacity on my own, but this year my district is a Google "apps for education" partner, meaning our students have gmail address which allow them to log in securely to a Google Drive of their very own. More about that later. Anyway, my professional Drive is full of lesson plans, handouts, readers, presentations, tests, grade sheets, photographs of student artworks, etc. They live there in the cloud and I can access them anywhere! No more sending emails of docs to yourself, or thumb driving it. One copy, accessible everywhere! Best part is I can make direct links from these doc to my Weebly website, and kids can have access to my presentations and readers on their own time!
Now, from a management standpoint, the Google partnership with your district is the way to go (talk to your IT department if you don't already have this kind of access, it is a game changer in the classroom). I can get a little chaotic with students sharing each and every document with you, so instead, I created a folder for each student and shared it with them. They are then asked to create docs, presentations, etc. in that folder. So now, all I have to do is click a students name, and see all their shared work there (Tip from the wise!). Also, the grand part is the ability to comment on students work. This is an excellent way to share in editing, or for students to collaborate on work while saving some ink and trees.
I've used Google Drive CEASELESSLY for about 8 years now and continue to find new ways to make my life easier. Best of all, the skills the students learn in regard to digital communication are endless as well: organizing, typing, formatting, designing, presenting, etc. I'm a huge fan, and hope that if you aren't already, that you will be soon!