I recently realized the extend of the progression technology made during the time lapse of my college years. I started college in 2007, when Facebook was still something and about to become the next big thing, and along with the emergence of other online social medias, an incredibly variety of websites, online storing softwares and incredibly efficient devices. What actually triggered that “technological epiphany” was a very unfortunate computer breakdown. When my computer bailed on me in the middle of a semester, I had lost all of my Word Office tools and I needed to bounce back quickly.But in the meantime, the reason I had to give to my teacher for not turning in my homework on time was « A virus messed up my computer», a aka a modern equivalent of «the dog ate my homework». When I went online, on google, to find a free equivalent to Word Office to wrap up my essays, I found Google Drive almost instantly. It literally saved my academic life, spared my student budget from eating peanut butter for the months to come and significantly simplified the tasks to come.
Seeing how free of charge , easy-to-use and readily available Google Drive is, I decided to deepen my research and try to find ways in which I could include it into my teaching. But firstly, let us make sure we’re all on the same page. Google’s drive catchy phrase is “Keep everything, share everything”, and it summarizes it well. Google drive is an online platform gathering all the softwares of Word Office. Accordingly, you can create word documents, excel sheets, power point presentations as well as edit and organize your pictures and music. All of this for free, all you need is to create a google account. Beside these freely accessible functions, the beauty of Google Drive is that you can share them with your co-workers and you can all edit them simultaneously, as if working from the same computer. Believe me, that makes teamwork incredibly more productive. All you need to organize and share your documents is drag and drop and they’ll be accessible from any other device.
What about its use for education? Surprisingly enough, there isn’t much on the Web about the use of Google Drive, or at least whatever is out there is quite redundant. Firstly, as we all know that buying a license to use Word Office in a school is incredibly expensive, all of its components are all accessible for free via Google Doc. All the school needs are computers. To facilitate the exchanges and collaboration among the students, one can set up a WebQuest project where they would create a document and work simultaneously on it. On any given theme, such a project could not only have paper version, such as an outline, but also include a Power Point presentation involving online pictures and video during the oral presentation. All of which could be orchestrated via Google Drive. Looking for a simpler activity? Then work on some creative writting by putting them into teams of four, and ask them to open a Word document and write a 200 word long story by writting a sentence one after the other. Believe me, it’s a lot of fun and it gets them to work on their creative skills and English proficiency!
Without necessary being an inspiring tool to create new learning and evaluating new projects in the classroom, Google Drive is a worderful platform allowing both the teacher and the students, easily share, connect and store their information online. Its wide accessibility as well and its freeness make it an ideal tool to use in the classroom. As a facilitators to your studying and your teaching, with Google Drive even the excuse “my dog ate my homework” is not longer good..!