Google Drive

Using Google Drive and its companion File Stream is vital to managing your class documents

Install the App

There's more to Google Drive than the website, You can use Google Drive like any folder on your computer and this handy little app keeps everything in sync.

  1. Install the app

  2. Log into the app

  3. Locate your Google Drive folders in Finder or Explorer

My Drive, Shared drives, Shared with me

Essentially, there are three types of file access in Google Drive:

  1. Files you own (My Drive)

  2. Files that belong to your department (Shared drive)

  3. Someone else's files that you can access (Shared with me)

These three categories behave differently and serve different purposes.

When to use My Drive

These are the files you manage. They're tied to your account. You control who has view/edit access to these files.

  • Assignments shared with students

  • Folders for students to drop assignments

  • Store old projects from students

  • NOT safe for root copies of department files

When to use a Shared drive

Your department's repository of all curricular documents. These are only accessible to people within the designated group (so it's a safer place for answer keys and the like). The files aren't tied to any one account.

  • Files critical to a team

  • NO students have access to these files

What to do with a shared file

Files and folders shared with you won't show up on your computer right away, (probably a good thing too lest weird stuff just starts showing up on your machine). However, you add shortcuts to these items to your drive (using the add shortcut to my drive option), and then those will appear on your computer.

Migration Process

Let's copy and paste some files to your Google Drive! Departments are free to organize their team drives however suits them.

Once your files have been copied to Google Drive, be careful! You want to be sure you treat any old copies of your files as an inactive archive and make sure new work goes into Google Drive.

Copy & paste on your computer

Thanks to the Google Drive app, you can just use the copy and paste functions on your computer. This works wonderfully with one big exception: Moving big folders from My Drive to a shared drive. Below is an animation of what might go wrong.

Copy & move on the Drive website

Right-clicking on a file on, you can select the option to duplicate/copy a file. You can then move your copied file to your shared drive as shown here:


Here are some additional training materials that we found helpful.

Class Folders

While many teachers use Google Classroom to distribute and collect documents over Google Drive, the practice has some serious drawbacks. You're forced to use a new pseudo-LMS that overlaps with many of the services we already have on campus. Moreover, you will frequently have the need to exchange other document types and facilitate other activities outside of what Classroom allows. It's best to have a more flexible setup that exposes students to collaborative file management in the cloud.

Setup Class Folders

Step 1: Find the root folder

Open and navigate to a place where you'll house all your students' folders. Inside my department's folder is a folder for classwork, then one for each year, then each class.

Department → Classwork → Year → Class → (folder for each student)

Step 2: Create and share folders

I like to copy the username from my LMS roster, create a folder in Drive, paste the name, then add my class so the folder is titled username-NameOfClass, then right click on the folder and select share, then paste the username again so the student comes right up, and submit.

Step 3: The read-only, common folder

I label this folder _shared so it stays at the top of my alphabetical sorting inside the class folder. I set the folder's shared setting so anyone at Gilmour Academy can view. I'll then post that link to my LMS. Any files I want to share with my students all year long just get dropped into this folder. They can then copy that read only file into their own folders when needed.

Don't forget to instruct your students to visit Shared with me in, find the folder you shared with them, right click on it, and select Add to my drive

Copy read-only files

I frequently use this method to distribute assignment papers to students without having to make copies myself.

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