Monday Tech Minute [4/7/14] - Google Drive

Every Monday morning, check this blog for three quick reasons to try out a new little piece of technology. These are all tech tips that I have used in class or that I am excited to try out very soon. 

Do you have tech tips that you want to share? Great! E-mail them to me here! Share them on twitter! Post in the comments section below!

Monday Tech Minute - Google Drive

Google Drive is a fantastic tool to use to collaborate and share with students or colleagues. Like most programs, the more people in your group that are using this the more usable it will become. At Center, I base much of my online classroom out of Google Drive (and moodle) and will do so even more next year when we begin our 1:1 technology initiative.

Here are three quick ways to help make Google Drive work better for you:

1. Folders, folders and more folders
This is my main Google Drive page.
The entirety of 'My Drive'. For many students, this will be an incredibly
messy place and it makes all other work more difficult
I do a lot of different things at school, from my classes to committees. When I started using Google Drive, the first and biggest problem that I ran into was organization. Sounds like our students, right? I could eventually find most things because Google Drive has a strong search feature and I have grown up on systems like Google Drive - navigating online systems is as much of a skill as reading! Students and teachers who are not so used how systems are naturally organized and archived will lose things much easier, so using organization is huge.

If I expand my 'Mod Wld Hist - gClass' folder you can see the different levels. This is often called nesting a folder. I believe that it is a vital skill to develop if you want to utilize all of the glory of Google Drive!

Nesting places folders within folders within intricate as you want to build it

2. Use Google Forms to create student surveys
Quick and easy, Google Forms allow you to get student feedback through the form of a survey. There are several options, from multiple choice to short answer to pretty much everything in between. I've used Survey Monkey before. Goiogle Forms is much more user-friendly. I also know some teachers who have used these to give quizzes and even tests.
Use Google Forms to get feedback from students at the end of each unit. I know some
teachers who use them to give quizzes and tests too.

Like nearly everything Google, there are tons of great tutorial videos available. Here's one on Google Forms:

3. Keyboard shortcuts
I recently discovered this little trick and it has made Google Drive run much smoother for me. Go to your Google Drive page and press 'shift' and '/' at the same time. This window will appear:
It's a bit small, but on your screen you'll be able to see a whole list
of useful keyboard shortcuts that will make your life easier. 
My favorite shortcuts are what I call the new things series and they are in the upper right hand corner of the shortcut screen. By holding down 'shift' and various letters, you can open up a new document, spreadsheet, form or any of the other options available in Google Docs. My other favorites are 'x' which selects and item, 'n' which renames an item and 'z' which moves an item to another folder. The video below walks you through some of the basics.

Do you have a piece of technology that helps you teach or learn? Share it below in the comments section! Don't forget to check in again next Monday for another tech tip!

Love it? Hate it? Leave your thoughts below and let's talk about it!

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