Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Google Drive: An argument for 1:1

Why do we need 1:1 in our school? I think the argument starts and stops with one thing: Google Drive. It is an educational tool of powerhouse proportions. If every student had their own device, everyday, we could teach and learn in the cloud. We could use Google Drive and open learning up in ways that have never been possible. For those not familiar with Google Drive, it is like Microsoft Office, only online, but that "only online" part is a major difference. Think of Google Drive as a cloud in the sky, hovering over your head all the time. Your Google Drive account is your cloud, which always goes with you. It doesn't matter if you are in Brandon, at school, at home, in China, etc. no matter where you are, your cloud is with you. Work on a project at school using your cloud, computer explodes, you go home, enter your cloud on your home computer/phone/tablet and your project is still there. With Google Drive, we are not tied to a machine, or a flash drive, or a physical piece of paper. We do not have to email things to ourselves so we have them when we get home. We are free to go and do as we please and always have our work with us, and so are our students. My students were just issued their Google Drive account, essentially setting their cloud up for use. It's free with a huge amount of storage. To get started, we worked on a document comparing Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. They worked on their document with the use of a Chart I provided with them by "sharing" it from my cloud to their cloud. No physical piece of paper to lose,  the chart I gave them is always with them because it's in their cloud. Students showed up for my class or study hall and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM had their assignment with them because every single one of them has a cloud. It is impossible to lose your cloud. You can not run away from it. It is impossible to forget their project at home. It's in their cloud. It's impossible for them to lose their project. It's in their cloud. It's impossible for their project to get ripped, destroyed, spilled on, etc. It's in their cloud. Students love this because it's frustrating for everybody when stuff is lost or missing. But just wait, there's more. There's "Sharing." The true power of Google Drive. 
When finished, they "shared" their assignment with me, essentially sending it from their cloud to my cloud. This is simply done with two clicks of the mouse and entering my Google Drive name. Once it's in my cloud (Google Drive), I can access their document anywhere: home, school, I even read through AND provided feedback on some of their assignments while waiting for an oil change with my iPhone. Once they shared it with me, I could open their document, read it, and actually write feedback and their grade right on their document. It takes SO much less time reading their writting via typing, as opposed to their hand writing. Most of us can type faster than hand write, so once again, providing feedback is done in a more time effecient way. "Shareing" isn't just done from student to teacher. It can be done from student to student. Provided with their partners google drive name (which is their k12 email address), students can "share" a document with their partner, which provides an enriching collaborative experience because they can work on the same project, at the same time, but at their own computes, either sitting in my class or sitting at their own homes. 
The example above is just one of many. With our limited availability, I had my students create a document in their Drive (cloud) account to give them a spot to save helpful websites in researching their Wax Museum characters. If they find a good website, what do they do with it? Write down the long URL in their planner and never be able to access it again? Write it in their notebook? A notebook is lose-able. I also had them create folders for their other classes, in hopes they would use their Drive for those as well. These examples are merely examples of Google Drive on the surface. Good Drive is designed and meant for much deeper things. 
It would be so exciting to see what teachers could come up with if they were allowed to think, plan and teach with Google Drive on a daily basis. 

1 comment:

Mrs. Waterbury said...

Interesting Dan! I will definitely check it out. Thanks for sharing.

Brenda Waterbury