Collaboration is a word that is thrown around a lot in the field of education. In fact, when looking at the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards, that specific word appears 18 times under three out of the five standards. With all of the demands on us as educators, it can be quite difficult to find the time to collaborate with our colleagues, but Google has worked to make a more convenient way to do this through Google Drive.
Google Drive is available free to anyone who has a Google account and is a convenient way for multiple parties to create, edit, and view spreadsheets, word processing documents, and presentations. Even collaborators who do not have their own Google accounts can join in viewing and editing shared documents. The lynda.com course named Google Drive Essential Training, chapter 9 covers Collaborating with Google Docs. Even though the chapter is titled, Collaborating with Google Docs, it shows how collaboration is possible using the entire Google Drive which includes the aforementioned spreadsheets, word processing documents, presentations, etc. There are six videos in all totaling 20 minutes in length. Because the focus of this post is on collaborating electronically, the initial video of printing documents is not covered.
The second video, Sharing Files with other Google Users, sets the ground work for how to invite people to view, edit, or create a document. Adding people is as simple as typing in their name and clicking share. If you would like to share a document with colleagues who are not Google Users you can share the link to the document via e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook. The video also explains how to change the accessibility so that link is private, public, or available for just those with the link. All of this can be changed at any time. The picture to the right shows what the screen looks like when changing the share option.
The third video, Working with Files that are Shared with You, walks you step by step through accessing and working with files that have been shared with you. This is done by clicking on a link sent via e-mail or clicking “shared with me” on the Google Drive dashboard. It is important to note that if working on multiple devices you should be careful to move documents shared with you to your Drive if you are going to be working on them from the different devices.
The fourth video, Saving and Working with Revisions, explains that you do not have to save your work when using Google Drive because the revisions are automatically saved with every change made to that specific file. By clicking on the last edit link, you can see every change made and which user made that change. The video ends by outlining how to make a copy of a document if you decide you want a separate one that can not be edited.
The fifth video, Editing a File Simultaneously with another Google User, demonstrates the color coded system that allows for you and colleagues to edit a document at the same time, as well as chat on the screen live to enhance the work.
The sixth and final video, Commenting on a File, shows you how to add comments to a document that might need revision or to be looked at closer. When completing a spreadsheet, this is done by the use of color notches in the corner of a cell. This can also be done by clicking the number balloon at the bottom of the sheet. By changing the notification settings, you can control when you would like to be notified about comments. In a document, text that has been commented on is highlighted.
As school gets ready to start back up in the next month, do not feel overwhelmed diving back into Common Core. Instead, try collaborating with your colleagues through Google Drive. If you use Google Drive already, have you used it to collaborate? How? If not, do you see this being a tool that would be beneficial in collaboration?