Google Drive has been around since the middle of 2012 and although at first I was sceptical, it really has come into its own this week with the tablets.
Every one of our tablets has Google Drive installed and is set to go to the firstname.lastname@example.org account that “owns” the tablet. We logged onto a PC and went to Google Drive and created folders for Infant and Junior as well as a few other things we needed. Inside each of those, we created a folder per class. This was the start and teachers (very) quickly added sub-folders for whatever they wanted.
So, you simply take a photo. Press the share button and then if the tool you want isn’t there, press see all. You can then upload to a whole host of different services. We of course want Drive.
You are given the option to add a title. You can then press the folder name and be presented with a list of folders:
Browse to the folder you want to upload to and press Select Folder. That’s it, your image is magically winging its way to Google Drive.
As mentioned before, all of our tablets are assigned to one user – email@example.com for example and there are potentially 100+ tablets taking photos at any given point. One thing we were concerned with was how we actually did anything with the pictures afterwards. I mean you can blog, tweet or whatever directly from the tablet, but sometimes y’know, you want to just…print them. Printing can be seen as a dirty word by some people who want a paperless world, but for us, we want stuff in their books, on the wall or for them to annotate. So we have fiddled with Google Drive a bit and now have an awesome solution.
We installed the Google Drive desktop app from here. To begin with, I installed this on two class computers. You install the program and it then asks you for your login (tablets@ of course) and then sets about downloading everything from your online Google Drive to your computer. This worked ok, but every morning I had to re-sign in before it would sync the photos to my computer. This was a pain.It was also set to download the images, currently at 4gb, to My Documents meaning that my profile was getting quite big.
So we installed it onto our server instead. We set it to put Google Drive onto a folder that all teachers and pupils can access and now, it works brilliantly. We timed it yesterday and two minutes after a photo was taken, it had uploaded to Google Drive and downloaded onto our server for us to print out. In just two days this has been a game changer. It means that anyone in school can access and print the files, create Animoto videos with them, easily show them on their whiteboard and lots of other things in seconds.
The speed is key. It’s great having photos that you can take, share and print in minutes as it cuts down on any wasted time. In one lesson this week, we were investigating different types of triangles. Some children used the sheet and colour-coded them, others just wrote on the sheet but some boys decided to cut them out and write on tables. We then took a photo, uploaded and printed it and it was stuck in their books with notes before the end of the lesson. My LSA works with a child and they often use models, cubes or whiteboards and having a quick way to take photos and stick them into his book is really helping to share the learning he has been making.
Oh and another Google Drive bonus? Unlimited storage. Yep. As much as we want. Wow.
PS: Before someone says, please check photo permissions for your children before uploading them online.
PPS: Oh and yes I know Google are evil and will harvest your images/soul/first-born, but their terms for file uploading are here. Please ensure that you read any terms and conditions and that you check with the powers-that-be before uploading your content online. There, that should do it.