Saturday, 23 March 2013

Google Drive

Google Drive
Available for Blackberry, Android, Kindle Fire HD, Windows 8 mobile OS and iOS mobile platforms
I have been a Google doc user since the beta release in 2006.  I have used it avidly to write collaboratively with co-authors and students, a great initiation tool for many penned chapters.   The tool has become one of my much used IT applications, so the Google Drive on my iPad and iPhone has become a much welcomed addition, particularly when I am collaboratively working as you can share the files with other Google account holders.    The app provides access to my Google account and cloud storage of my documents from PDFs, Google Docs, Presentations and Google spreadsheets.   Recently Notability provided the functionality that enabled users to export to Notability documents and audio recordings to Google Drive.  This has enabled me to collate assessment grid and audio feedback prepared on Notability onto Google Drive, in readiness to be shared with the external examiner.  
At our institution we provide each student with Gmail and Google account thus providing them full access to all Google apps on-line, therefore Google Drive on mobiles in theory would be a much welcome technological addition on student mobiles, our research supports this hypothesis (Nortcliffe and Middleton, 2013) and shown by the student’s comments below:
“Crack it open on a tablet, mobile, where ever… Can't edit PowerPoint’s, but can edit Word documents, saves all changes, set it up on desktop it sync with desktop, Google cloud, University Google account” Student A
Google Drive mobile app enables students to access their documents whilst on the move, share documents for group-work activities and continually participate in group documentation with the group or independently.   As Google Drive provides version control students are able to see who is and who is not contributing to the group documentation at any time and place, as highlighted by the following student’s reflection:
"[Google Drive] you can see what they have been editing (can see if group members are working)…last night [used Google Drive] whilst I was cooking.. Project management stuff...its handy, portable, you pick up your phone and you see you have got work to do" Student B
The only limitations are the fact you cannot edit Google presentation slides, or edit Google survey, though you can access the Google spreadsheet of the survey results.   Additional functionality of the mobile version is the ability to upload videos to Google drive, useful resource for transferring videos off the iPad and iPhone, into a private cloud space.   There is a facility for off-line documents on the  iPad, but if you select a mail document attachment to be opened in Google Drive the file is uploaded to the Google cloud, so currently I am not sure how the off-line feature operates.  
Nortcliffe, A.  and Middlleton, A. (2013) The innovative use of personal smart devices by students to support their learning, In Increasing Student Engagement and Retention using Mobile Applications: Smartphones, Skype and Texting Technologies, (Eds) Wankel, L. and Blessinger, P. (eds), (Cutting Edge Technologies in Higher Education). 175-210, 2013, Emerald, Bingley, UK

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