Home The Try-a-Tool-a-Week Challenge Week 14: Collaborative Docs in Google Drive

The Try-a-Tool-a-Week Challenge Week 14: Collaborative Docs in Google Drive

WEEK 14 – Collaborative Editing With Google Drive

Well, at long last, here we are … the final week of the Try-a-Tool-a-Week challenge! It's been a lot of fun. Over 700 teachers signed up to receive weekly emails offering quick-start tips about a new free tool to consider trying in their classrooms and teaching practices.

During the stretch of March through May, our Week 1 tool, Socrative, garnered over 60 comments! Many other tools received dozens of comments. I guess three full months was a bit long, as interest waned as the weeks rolled by. Of course, not all of the tools were applicable to all grade levels either. In any case, it has been a fun learning experience for hundreds of teachers. I thank you all for your eagerness to learn and explore new free web apps and share your experiences!

Now for our final tool: Google Drive/Docs! A couple of years ago, Google redefined “Google Docs” under the name “Google Drive”, as they sought to emphasize the utility of cloud storage in addition to the functionality of the Office-rivaling document tools that they had been offering for years.

One of the real stand out functions of Google's word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation file tools is the ability to invite any other Google account owner to collaboratively edit a document with you. This is a powerful function and teachers and students have been taking advantage of it for years now!

You will need a Google account to do this, so if you don't have one, you'll want to use this link to set one up using your existing email account, or this link to create a Gmail account and get started. Of course, if you are in a GAFE (Google Apps for Education) school, your existing email account may already provide you and your students with access to the rich quite of free tools Google offers.

This quick video shows how to use Google Drive to share and collaboratively edit documents:

Next, here are a number of article in which educators discuss their use of this powerful free functionality from Google:

So go check out Google Drive and find friend or student to test the collaborative editing with! After you do, please do comment below and tell us about your experience, so you'll have a chance at winning one of our giveaways when we award them next week!

About the Challenge:

The Try-a-Tool-a-Week Challenge started March 1st. Every Sunday through the end of May we're publishing a new web page with a new, awesome free tool to try. Everyone who provides their name and email address (click here to open the Challenge introduction page and SIGN UP) will get an email providing the link to the page. The goal is just to have fun and learn about these powerful free web applications for teaching and learning, and along the way you get the opportunity to win some giveaways we'll award at the end of the challenge to randomly selected participants! To have a chance a winning, just participate and share some observations about the tools you each week!

Here are the tools we've shared so far:


  1. I’m like Julie, and interest did not wane for me either, but testing and end-of-year responsibilities interfered with the last few challenges. 🙁 But I loved trying so many new tools, reading how others used the resources, and sharing new finds with others. Thank you so much for providing the inspiration!

    I heart Google Drive, and use it daily, if not hourly. Our school/district is slowly implementing GAFE, and we continue to find ways to use the apps with our students and staff. Most of our PLCs use Google Docs for collaboration, and our paraprofessionals use Sheets to collect and share information. We use Forms for surveys for staff and students. My favorite student project has been an exam review. Each student reviewed one particular topic from the semester and posted a summary of all information on a Google Presentation slide. Students then had resources from the entire semester at their fingertips, and we even shared the presentation with other classes. Students also commented on each other’s slide and asked additional questions about the topic.

    Thanks again for all of the tools and resources!

  2. I use Google Drive in conjunction with Google Classroom to send and receive assignments. The student will never be able to lose an assignment because it is always in the drive. It’s so easy to share documents, especially when the student is allowed to edit a document from you or to work collaboratively with other students. I feel that Google docs as well as the Google classroom has completely changed the way I am running my class for the better!

  3. Google Drive rocks. My institution is a Google Apps school, and the faculty here have adopted document sharing in droves. With unlimited storage, what’s not to love? The biggest strength however is Search, which finds text even within a document. My most recent project used a Google Form to collect content that auto-generates a certificate of completion. Pretty sweet!

  4. Thanks so much Julie, and everyone who has been participating! It is such a good feeling to know that these resources are helpful and appreciated :).

  5. Interest truly did not wane for me. I avidly waited each week for your email and have been documenting each one of your tools for my teachers to try. I know there will be at least one that will be a good fit for every one of the teachers in my school district! Thanks for all the research.

  6. Google Drive/docs is how I run my classroom. We use drive to store all of our documents. We have done many collaborative projects using docs/slides/forms. I love the ease of it and how anything can be accessed anywhere, as long as there is internet access. We are a GAFE school, and it has done wonders for oue students!

  7. My school is becoming a Google Apps for Ed school and I have been introducing our students and some of our teachers to Google Docs. They are amazed at The collaboration that can take place. The students like being able to work on projects at home and also connect their notes and citations to a doc through EasyBib.

  8. I’ve been a google user for years. our district is Office so I don’t push google services but if we convert…this is a wonderful tool!

  9. Google drive is a great tool for storing everything. I also like how students/teachers can collaborate simultaneously.

  10. I love Google Docs and am still getting my feet wet with their suite of apps! However, I am currently trying to create a presentation with a classroom in Spain using Google Drive. I think that it is such a powerful tool in the classroom and beyond Google Docs, there is so much that the suite has to offer – blogs, sites, etc. I am thrilled to have this free tool at my disposal! 🙂

  11. This is a pretty cool little tool! It reminds me of the Google VideoNotes app.
    The power point friendly aspect make sit easy to convert ready made presentations. Its friendliness with Word Documents makes it easy to package a
    comprehensive presentation.
    The real time video capability facilitates “Flipped Classroom” resources. Students can easily view and review. Adding their comments as they watch.
    It is quick, its easy and rich with possibilities!
    Good choice, thank you!

  12. My students and I love the collaborative aspect of Google Drive. They like seeing the colored markers that show where their classmates are editing and seeing the content appear on the slide, sheet, or document “like magic”. I like the ability to comment on sections and have students respond or correct in real-time or at their convenience. The fact that they can work on their projects anywhere with Internet access and that they do not have to worry about forgetting the paper or flash drive at home makes Google a powerful learning tool. I also enjoy the paperless aspect of grading in Google Drive.

  13. One of my all time favorite tools! Google docs is rich in possibilities! Every single tool is multi-media friendly and user friendly. All the Docs are easy to share and note contributors. Real time annotations are easy to track and save to categorized folders. The surveys are easy to create and with the automatic spreadsheet format, the data time stamp is helpful, say, for instances when appointments for parent-teacher conference schedules.
    All to available apps add a wealth of capabilities to the Drive and products.
    The presentation tool is a nice substitute for power point. It houses a whole set of different slide designs.
    One of the feature I find so-o useful when using Google Docs, no matter the tool, if you can use one tool, you can use them all. The tools for creating new docs are similar for all the docs. You simply need to layer one learning experience over the other and you are off and running!
    Google Docs – the answer the the busy teacher’s day!

  14. I love Google Drive! I use it a lot, and for different things. I use Google docs when I’m planning to working on a file that I know I will have to keep working on onto an computer. I use it with pupils: I ask different teams to work collaboratively to fill a Google doc in with their researches. I use with colleagues as a brainstorming tool or to work together on an activity.
    I also use Google form a lot with pupils, for example for quiz along a video when I flip my classroom. Or for a quiz that pupils from different schools need to answer.
    I also use Google sheets, for example when we need to collaboratively need to work as a team on a school trip budget.

    There are so many ways! Love it!

  15. I run everything through Drive. GAFE schools have unlimited storage. It is a wonderful way to send out information to your students and keep your stuff organized. I keep my flipped videos on Drive as well.


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