Google Drive is most frequently associated with collaboration in the classroom. However, it provides also valuable tools to plan, organize and execute your lessons and materials.
There is certainly no lack of commercial teacher tools, in particular for the iPad and some of them are very pricey. However, you can do more without additional costs with Google Drive. What’s more, you can also work more conveniently, as you can work across devices, such a laptops, smartphones and tablets and you aren’t restricted to using a single device.
You can create your own teacher’s toolbox application just by linking to different documents and materials in your Google Drive or by importing and cross-referencing. Here are some ideas which might be useful for your personal toolbox:
Set up a lesson planner (like in the image above) where you link to the files which you don’t want to have available quickly without having to look for them. These might include:
- a gradebook
- a students’ sheet/notebook
- forms for attendance and/or grading
- folder for homework/portfolios/shared materials
Linking allows you to efficiently keep all your information in one place. Here are some thing you can do with Google Drive might not have thought about:
Docs: insert a bookmarks or create a table of content and you can quickly link to a specific part of a longer document (e.g. a document where you keep track of your student’s behaviour).
Sheets: create a summary sheet for your students by copying from other sheets within the same document. You can also import “live data” from other sheets with the importRange() function. E.g. I create a sheet where the students can register (anyone with link can edit) for their presentations and then I import them to your summary sheet or gradebook.
Forms: you can chose a specific sheet (e.g. gradebook, attendance list) for your forms. You might want to create forms for yourself to enter data quickly, particularly if you make heavy use of a tablet.
Slides: I like to keep my detailed lesson plans inside presentation slides. It would, however, be a bit inconvenient to create a presentation for each class rather than have one topic inside a presentation. So, if you continue the topic in your next class you can simply copy the URL of the respective Slide into your lesson planner.
Folders: You can create and link to folder containing all kinds of files and information. I like to keep my audio CDs in folders in Google Drive, so that I can play audio files directly from my presentations. Other kinds of folder you could link to: homework folder, portfolios and shared class folders.
The following video is meant to provide some tips and trick for (creating) your own toolbox.