In a previous post I talked about how to setup offline access to your files inside of Google Drive. Now Google has added several features to make offline access clearer and give users more control over what files they will have access to offline.
Once enabled, Google Drive offline will make certain files available for access even when you are offline. But, it will not make ALL of your files available offline. To see which files/folders are currently available offline:
Move your cursor to the top-right corner of the Google Drive window and find a checkmark icon labeled, Ready for offline.
Click the checkmark icon to reveal a drop-down menu with the option to toggle Offline preview on/off.
When ON, icons that are grayed out are NOT currently available offline. Remember that only recently accessed Docs, Sheets, and Slides files will be made available offline by default.
Manually mark files available offline
If you would like to permanently make a file available offline, you can do so by right+clicking on any Google Doc, Sheet, or Slides file. From the context menu select the toggle switch next to Available offline. Once enabled, a checkmark icon will appear to the right of the filename denoting that this file will always be available offline.
In a recent episode of the Google Teacher Tribe Podcast, co-host Matt Miller shared a new, interesting, and quick way to create “new” files in various Google Drive apps like Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
How it works
With the entry of new domain name types into the World Wide Web playground (to add to veterans like .com, .net, and .edu), Google took advantage of the .new domain and acquired several of them to match its suite of Google Drive apps. So for example, if you type into your browser’s address bar docs.new then you will instantaneously get a new blank Google Docs file. The same is true if you swap out the keyword “docs” and replace it with sheets, slides, forms, and even sites. Once you give the file a name, then it will automatically save into the main directory of your Google Drive app.
If you want to stay traditional then you can certainly still go to Google Drive and create a new file of your choice from the NEW button located in the top-left corner. And, if you want to access the template gallery you can go to each file types respective website:
It’s no fun when you experience intermittent WiFi connectivity or heaven forbid a total Internet outage. It can be even worse when you are trying to work with 20+ students inside of Google Docs when this happens. Thankfully, with a little preparation ahead of time you can minimize the impact of an Internet outage and remain productive even offline.
How it works
If you would like access to your Google Drive files when there is no WiFi/Internet available, then you can enable Google Drive Offline. This will allow you to edit files native to Google Drive (e.g. Docs, Sheets, Slides, & Drawings) offline and then have the changes synced back to the cloud automatically when WiFi service is restored.
Go to drive.google.com, then locate the Settings gear icon at the far-right end of the Drive toolbar.
From the drop-down menu choose ‘Settings’
Under the General tab, locate the ‘Offline’ heading.
Place a check in the checkbox to enable offline syncing of Google Drive files.
Click the blue Done button to save your settings.
NOTE: Not all files will be available for offline access. This includes PDF’s, Google Forms, images, videos, and files that haven’t been accessed by you in some time. Files that have been shared with you and therefore you are not the owner of will also be inaccessible during this time.
Enabling Drive Offline is now part of my Chromebook orientation unit with 5th grade students when they come up to the middle school.
When my school district transitioned to GSuite for Education, one of the culture changes we went through was how to notify each other when we wanted to share a file/folder. You could go with the traditional method of using the Gmail app to notify the user of your sharing, just as long as remembered to 1.) attach the item, and 2.) set the sharing permissions on the item correctly. Slowly, we learned that you could achieve this same effect by using the email feature built-in to Google Drive’s sharing tool.
Enter Team Drives…
Team Drives have become a valuable addition to the Google Drive environment, allowing groups to easily manage not only their files but also who should have access to those files over time. It removes the need to manually setup sharing permissions for the team since files are permissioned automatically when they are created or added to the Team Drive. But, there still may be a need to notify the team members about a new file/folder addition or changes to the drive contents. That’s where the new “Email Members” option comes in. Think of it as having a pre-made email contact group for each Team Drive you are a member of.
How it works
Select a Team Drive from your left-hand navigation menu inside of the Google Drive app.
Locate the name of your Team Drive at the top of the window interface and select the disclosure triangle at the end. This will reveal a drop-down menu with the option to Email Members of the Team Drive.
A pop-up window will be displayed showing the list of members for the Team Drive and several checkbox options to help you select who you would like to notify. Depending on how you’ve setup your Team Drive permissions you may see additional options such as to email only “Guests” or users who have specific levels of access such as full, edit, comment, or view.
Once you have selected your audience, you can compose an email with subject directly from this window.
When ready, select SEND to transmit your message.
You can access the same feature from inside a Google Drive file as well. Navigate to the File menu and from the drop-down select Email Collaborators.
If you use this method, then the title of the file you’re in will automatically be used for the Subject line of your email so that you don’t have to spend time adding this to your message.
For more information, please refer to this post of Google’s GSuite Updates blog.
In last weeks post I covered how to get started with WeVideo and setup your account. Once this is achieved, the next thing to do is connect your WeVideo account to a cloud storage service that you can send your finished videos to. WeVideo supports different video destinations depending on what type of account you have:
FREE accounts have more destination options but limits on video quality and automatically includes a watermark.
EDU accounts support fewer options but more choices on video quality and no watermark requirement. EDU accounts also come with Google Classroom integration, which I will cover in more detail next week.
For the purposes of this post, I will cover directions for connecting your WeVideo account to Google Drive.
Connecting to Google Drive
Locate your avatar in the top-right corner of the window and from the drop-down menu select: Manage account.
Under Video destinations, locate the option for Google Drive then click the corresponding CONNECT button to set up.
Follow the directions to authentic your Google account and grant permissions to WeVideo to manage the files in your Google Drive.
If the Google Drive icon turns yellow, then you have successfully connected the two apps. This will allow WeVideo to export finished video projects directly to a WeVideo folder in your Drive, which can then be easily shared, added to an assignment in Google Classroom, etc.
One of the many features found inside of Google Classroom is the ability for students to ‘ADD’ additional artifacts to an assignment. This is a valuable tool as it allows students to demonstrate their understanding and ability to meet the standard(s) using a wide variety of tools and then attach the artifacts to the assignment. This option is so important that the first assignment I give to my students is to practice using this tool by ADDING a screenshot of their favorite Chromebook app.
The effectiveness of this tool came into question recently when a student attempted to ADD a Google Doc that was shared with their partner. The student who created the gDoc, (i.e. the owner) was able to successfully ADD the shared file to the Classroom assignment. However, not only was their partner (i.e. with ‘Can edit’ access) unable to ADD the shared file but could not even find the gDoc, even though they confirmed that the file was in their Google Drive.
What the Google is going on?
Thanks to some ingenious troubleshooting by a pair of 6th grade students, we discovered that a student may only ADD a file to an assignment in Classroom if they are the owner of that file. So, this is what the girls did:
Student A, who created the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.
She then went to the gDoc in Drive and used the Share tool to transfer ownership of the file to her partner, student B.
Student B, now the owner of the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.
Now, some may say that this is only a minor inconvenient issue. However, not knowing why both project partners cannot attach a shared file to an assignment has caused frustration for several of my students. Plus, I can’t help but brag just a little bit for the two students whose independent troubleshooting solved this mystery for us.
Embedding videos inside of Google products has sometimes been an absolute bear to achieve. For example, if you wanted to embed or ‘Insert’ a video into a Google Slides presentation then the video had to be accessible via YouTube. However, if you give Google some time and engage in that age-old practice of patience then things can change, like how now you can embed video files into a slide from Google Drive. Here’s the thing, if you can do this then you can embed a video into a Google Doc.
I know, I know, there is not Insert -> Video… option inside of Google Docs. But, there is the option to insert a Google Drawing and this is your “IN”. Thanks to Joli Boucher over at Flipped Tech Coaching, here is a video that will walk you through the process.
This work around has great potential for those who are getting into creating HyperDocs and now HyperDrawings. It allows teachers and students to interact with different types of media without having to jump between tabs or windows. That is, until Google gets around to adding the Insert -> Video… option into Google Docs.
~”If you send them feedback, they might just make it happen.”