Lisa Schmidt

Google Drive: On Cloud 9

Two weeks ago, while working on my computer at school, I received the haunting “blue screen of death”.  While this might send many people into a frenzy of stress, while contemplating what might be potentially lost from their machine, I was worried about not having a computer to project the visual elements for my classes onto the screen for the day, week, or until my computer could be fixed or replaced.  The reason that I wasn’t panicking over the imminent demise of my computer is because I have all of my teaching materials stored in my Google Drive.  Google Drive stores your documents in a cloud.  All of the documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and drawings that you create or upload into your Google Drive are stored online in the cloud.  Therefore, I wasn’t stressing about losing my documents, because they are safely stored.

Before Google Drive, I had been a victim to lost documents because of computer crashes or thumb drives or external hard drives that failed to be infallible.  We all know that we need to back up our documents that are saved to our computer’s hard drive, but in the rush of our everyday lives, we forget to or don’t back up our work.  With Google Drive, you don’t have to worry about backing up your documents because they are stored in the cloud.

In addition to the safe storing features of Google Drive, the organization of documents is user friendly.  All of the folders that you create are found on the left side and when you click on a folder, its contents populates so you can see what you have placed in it.  You can also change your view of how your drive presents your documents in your Google Drive.  I prefer the list view, but some prefer the grid view so they can see thumbnails of the documents.  You can also sort your documents by title, date of last modification, date of last edit by you, date last opened by you or by quota used.  Also, you can “Star” your documents to easily find your most important or most used items.  If you need to locate a document, but you can’t remember what folder you saved it in or its exact title, you can type in words that you think are in the title or used in the document in the search bar at the top of your drive and it will search all of your documents.

Another bonus feature of Google Drive is the ability to upload or download your documents.  Sometimes I receive items from others as a word document and I just upload them into my Google Drive and have it set to convert to a Google Docs format.  You can even upload folders from your computer into your Google Drive.  If you need to download your documents, you have a variety of options: Microsoft Word; Open Document Format; Rich Text Format; Portable Document Format; and others.  You can download your presentations into PowerPoint and your spreadsheets as Excel Sheets.

While the organization of your documents is pretty straight forward, the fact that all of your documents are saved in the cloud is comforting.  You can also download your Google Drive to your computer’s desktop to work on items when you are not connected to the internet.   For more information about setting up your Google Drive to your desktop, click on this link.

All in all, not only does Google Drive help me organize my documents, but it also lets me feel comfortable about safely storing my documents in the cloud.  I can access all of my documents saved in my drive from any computer connected to the internet.  This allows me to work on the same document from home or school and not have to save it to an external hard drive to get it from one place to another, or email myself the document as an attachment and then have to resave it over and over again from one computer to another.  Finally, it allows me to work on the same document without worrying about having to have compatible computers.  At school we have Dell computers and at home, I have a MacBook.  Never has using two different brands of computers been an issue.

I received a brand new computer at school the other day and it was quick to set it up to my liking because I did not have to load all of my documents off of an external hard drive to my new computer’s hard drive.  All of my documents were found after logging into my Google Drive.  I hope you see the benefits that Google Drive has to offer!  Don’t forget, ORVSD provides trainings on Google Apps and can help you with incorporating Google into your school and classroom.  And, don’t forget- Klamath Basin Ed Tech Day will be held January 24 at Mazama High School in Klamath Falls.  Hope to see you there!

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