How Google Drive Can Be Your Secret Weapon

Teachers are pack mules. We carry too much back and forth between school and home, quite often to turn around and take the whole thing back the next day, untouched.  I call it The Bag of Shame. Google Drive can fix that by making the pile become much smaller or disappear completely

I think my favorite thing about Google Apps for Education is the fact that everything I need to work on my lessons and to access student work was right on my computer, tablet, and even my phone! No worries about forgetting papers at school (or at home) and I didn’t have to log in to a VPN to access my documents from home. I want to make your job easier by showing you how simple it is to use Google Drive. All you need is a Gmail address, and you can use the same tools.

google drive

Store it all in Google Drive

Let’s start with Google Drive. Google Drive is the storage area for your files. If you are in a GAFE school, then you have unlimited storage in your Drive. Even if your school doesn’t have it, you get 15 Gb of free storage. I store a gigantic number of files in my account and have never filled more than 10 Gb.

Side note to everything: There is often more than one way to access and use different parts of Google Apps. I will show you the way I usually do it, but other ways will work. I’ve had students that worked their way through their documents in different ways than I did. As long as it works, go for it!

I always start in Google Drive. This way if I want to make a document, I can create it in the folder where I want it. It just saves a little time and gives you one more way to make sure you can find it later.

I also use Chrome as my browser. You don’t have to. You can sign into Google on any browser. I just find it more convenient.

How to use Google Drive

So when you open your browser and sign in to Google if necessary, you want to click on the apps button.

google drive

Once it’s open, click on the drive icon. You can also just type, into the address bar.

google drive
Your new Google Drive will look like this. To make a new document or a folder to put them in, click on the blue “New” button, and choose the option you need. You can also right-click on the blank area. You will get the same options.


google drive

Choose what you would like to create. The document will show up in a new tab at the top of the screen.


Google drive


Benefits of Google Drive

Some advantages to using Google Drive are:

  • Accessibility– You can access your files anytime and anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. This can help save you time by using those few spare minutes you have to finish up lessons or read another student assignment.
  • Collaboration– You can work with someone in real time no matter where they are on the planet. When my students were doing a group project that was in Google Drive, I had groups that would contact a team member who was at home sick and see if they could get on and work with them while they had time in class to work.
  • Up to date– Since Google saves the documents continually, no matter when you access a document it has the most recent changes. Again, students could work on a document together in class, and then at different times at home, and the teammates would always see the most current version. This also works for teachers who want to collaborate with other teachers on lessons, units, or other documents.

google drive

  • Simple searching– I’m slightly OCD when it comes to keeping files and folders organized in a drive. I like to have everything in a folder nice and neat. But, with Google Drive, you don’t even need to worry about that if you don’t remember to sort the documents. There is a powerful search feature which easily locates your documents as long as you remember at least part of what you called it. You can also click on the “recent” button along the left side, and it will sort your documents by when you last opened them. The “recent” option is especially good for the kids because they will invariably forget to name their document. So all they have to do is click “recent,” and yesterday’s “untitled document” will appear at the top of the list!

google sharing


Carrying around and keeping track of all that paper is a nightmare! Google Drive keeps everything at your fingertips wherever you are! Join my mailing list and get access to simple how-to sheets for all kinds of online apps and Google tools! You can keep them in Google drive and never lose them!


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