Tag-Archive for ◊ google drive ◊

Google Drive for Sharing Photos
Saturday, November 15th, 2014 | Author:

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 tablets@ourschoolname.co.uk 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.

Screenshot_2014-11-15-15-57-40

So, you simply take a photo. Press the share button share 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.

Screenshot_2014-11-15-15-57-46

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You are given the option to add a title. You can then press the folder name and be presented with a list of folders:

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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 – tablets@ourschooldomain.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.

masons tricky triangles

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.

Category: Android Apps, blogposts  | Tags:  | 2 Comments
Cloud Storage
Thursday, August 28th, 2014 | Author:

I saw a few articles recently, including this one and this one, that talked about Dropbox reducing its pricing structure so I thought it was worth looking to see how they stack up against what I was already doing.

For those of you that don’t know, and there are many out there, Dropbox is a way of saving your files online. I blogged about it back in 2010(!!). The way that it works is that you install the software on your computer and then add files into it. Easy. You can install it on multiple computers, you can share files and folders and you can sync from you phone too. I have my phone camera set to upload to Dropbox when it finds WiFi. The thing that I love about Dropbox is that when you open the software on your PC, it doesn’t look like you are using different software. It just comes up as a drive in Windows. I can drag, drop, create new files and do everything else I am expecting to do in Windows. Then it saves it all to the cloud.

Free users get 2Gb and there are various different ways of boosting this by tweeting about Dropbox or by asking friends to sign-up via a link (like this one) Through these methods I now have just under 19GB of free storage. But with the costs so low, surely paid options are worth looking at?

In 2010, 50GB on Dropbox would cost £6.50 a month. It is now 1TB/1,000GB for £7.99. That’s progress! Think about your photos, your schoolwork or any useful document you need. If you have never had a USB drive or Hard drive break on you, then you will know someone that has. I still have people at school occasionally that have had USB errors and have lost their work and ask for me to magically fix it but all too often, it’s gone forever. When I ask about backup, they always say it’s something that they meant to do. I used to copy my USB stick to my hard drive every now and again. This is an easy way to make sure that your files are saved no matter what happens.

At school, we have remote working. This means that we log in to the school server, see our Teacher Resources file as if we were in the building and then log off when we are done. This is all backed up and we can even print to school if we want and then collect it in the morning.

Not everything that i do is online, I still save some things offline, but everything is backed up in at least one other place.

http://gizmodo.com/dropbox-google-drive-and-more-whats-the-best-cloud-st-1627423823

This chart, taken from Gizmodo, compares some of the current cloud storage offerings. As well as Dropbox for my schoolwork, I also use Google Drive.

Their current pricing gives 1TB for $9.99 which is pretty much the same as Dropbox but it’s the one below this that I am currently using. They offer 100GB (although I get 125GB) for $1.99 a month. I use this purely for photos. I have folders setup on an external hard drive which means that they get picked up by Picasa on my computer, this syncs with private Google+ albums (that took some time to find!) and then they automatically sync, at full size, to Google Drive storage too. Around two years ago I lost a holiday’s worth of photos so paying £1.50 a month is well worth not having to go through that again! Edit (June 2016) I now use Google Photos for photo backup. We have an Android camera and two phones. Every picture we take is automatically sent to Google Photos and yes, it means we get lots of random photos we probably never need, but it also means that every photo is backed up should we lose a device.

So what do you use to backup your files? Have you managed to convince others that it is a sensible way to go?

 

PS: Before anyone mentions it, yes there are privacy issues with storing some things online. Who owns your data? Where does it go? Will they modify the data when I give it to them? But for those of us that are already signed up to the fact that Google knows more about us than our partners do, cloud storage is a no-brainer.

PPS: Prices correct as of 28th August 2014

Google Drive…a few thoughts
Tuesday, May 01st, 2012 | Author:

So Google Drive launched last week, you get 5GB of free online storage, yada yada yada….

I tweeted that it didn’t interest me in the slightest and the reason for that is that I use Dropbox. I have blogged about it in the past and got referral links taking me up to 11GB of free online storage. I also got a deal with my HTC one X to add 25GB for two years so I technically have 36GB of online space for free, why would I bother with Drive?  Well what about for school.

I thought, what if everyone installed Drive and then had access to their Google Docs? They could manage them in a Windows-style environment instead of online. Many of our staff are not fans of Google Docs and a lot of this is down to the home screen and ‘losing’ documents, so having them in a Windows-style window would help. They haven’t lost them of course, they are organised somewhere instead. But there’s a problem. The majority of planning in school, well, mainly the folders in which the planning sits, are owner by me. I created the folder structure with my account and when you load Drive on the computer, it shows the documents that you own and to visit documents shared with you, you need to click a link that just opens the Docs website. Pointless. We can open a link ourselves.

But what if all planning was owned by one account and we shared that log-in for Drive? Then we can all access the same documents on our desktops. Ok, so we’d lose control over who edited what and when, but we’re all grown-ups so we can manage. Then the teachers can use their named accounts for checking mail and that. It’s easy enough to use the admin console to transfer ownership of all documents to an account e.g. teachers@ourdomainname.com. They’d never need to know that actually everything they were using was online, it just looks like it’s in a folder. Clicking on it opens ActivInspire, Google docs or whatever.

We’d also lose the ability to edit a document with multiple users, but we hardly ever use that anyway. I think staff might just prefer having their files accessible wherever they are. Maybe I’m wrong but I’ll be asking them once I’ve had a bit of a play. I can’t see a way of automatically converting uploaded docs to Google docs format from the Drive application, but maybe I’m missing a button somewhere.

Is it going to work? Not sure. But having all documents and not just planning online will be a huge bonus. This will include our flipcharts too. We’ll be playing with this over the coming weeks and seeing if it is the way forward or not.

Have you started using Drive? I’d be interested in your thoughts.