Are you and your child new to digital learning? Being organized digitally is the first step in a successful remote learning experience. Learn how keeping students digitally organized using Google Drive can actually be your saving grace!
With almost all students in the United States currently taking part in remote learning, I wanted to do my part by sharing some of my expertise when it comes to digital learning.
Fun Fact: I used to be a Digital Media Specialist prior to starting my blog back in 2017.
So you know the information I am providing to you is from a reliable source, AKA me, let me briefly give you my credentials to prove I know what I’m talking about!
My degree is in elementary education from the University of South Florida. Although I have experience with pretty much every grade in elementary school, the majority of my time spent in the classroom was teaching 4th graders. Many of which were gifted learners and I was endorsed in that as well. I seriously love elementary school!
We made a move from Tampa to the Orlando area the summer before our son, Zach, started middle school. Because I’m “that mom”, the one obsessed with her only child, I opted to add a middle school math endorsement to my teaching certificate that allowed me to teach math from grades 5 through 9.
Shortly after starting at the middle school, I learned that our school district here in Orange County, Florida was trying to make a switch to digital learning. They wanted to slowly roll out this new type of learning throughout the district through cohorts.
Cohort 1 was already in place when I started teaching in Orange County. After my first year in OCPS, our middle school was chosen to be in Cohort 2 of the digital roll-out. Many jobs started to become available in our school to help this new incentive, one of which was a Digital Media Specialist. I applied, and as they say, the rest was history.
So what does a Digital Media Specialist do?
The short answer is A LOT.
Besides having to maintain the media center and all the books involved, my main responsibilities were as follows: troubleshooting issues with devices, handing out and keeping track of all devices being used by students, teachers, and staff at the school, teaching students how to use their devices and stay organized digitally, and provide professional development for teachers and staff on how to provide digital instruction for students.
Can you see why I chose to stay home and blog yet? I’m totally joking. I really loved my job, the people I worked with, and my students. I definitely didn’t leave for a lack of liking my job!
Fast forward to 2020, and OCPS is completely digital at the middle and high school levels. This means that every single middle and high schooler in Orange County has a device that they learn on every single day. It’s pretty awesome! We’re lucky to be honest because our students and teachers are no strangers to online learning.
Our district uses Canvas as its learning management system. This is the same learning management system that most colleges are using as well. Whether your child will be using Canvas or another learning management system like Google Classroom, they will most likely be submitting and opening many Google Cloud assignments.
Because of this, it’s imperative for your child to know how to organize their assignments within Google Drive.
So that’s where I want to start today. Keeping your students digitally organized using Google Drive is so very important to having success on any digital platform.
So are you ready to get started?! Let’s go.
Keeping Students Digitally Organized Using Google Drive
Step one: Create a Google Account
For our students in OCPS, a Gmail account was automatically made for them. Your child might be in the same boat so make sure to ask them before creating a new Gmail account for them. This is very important because certain assignments your child submits or tries to open through Google Drive might not be accessible if they aren’t using the email that was specifically provided to them by the school. It’s just a safety feature schools put in place to protect your child.
If your child doesn’t have a school-provided email, you’ll need to create one before signing into Google Drive. You can do so, here.
Step two: Access your Google Drive
There are a couple of ways to access your drive. For starters, you can easily access your Google Drive by clicking on the “waffle” in the upper-righthand corner while in your Gmail account. You can also access your Google Drive by clicking on the “waffle” in the upper-righthand corner while visiting google.com. You’re basically looking for that “waffle” to get you to your Google Drive.
Always make sure that you’re on the correct Gmail account before heading into your drive. You can check the account you are on by clicking the circle icon in the upper right corner like so.
This is very important especially if your family is sharing a computer and there are multiple Gmail accounts within the family. I can’t begin to tell you how many times students thought their work disappeared when in reality it just ended up on the wrong Google Drive. I’m just trying to save you the headache!
Step three: Create folders for each subject area
This is the fun part for students. They always love making folders in Google Drive! To do so, simply click on the “+ New” in the upper left side of your Google Drive and click the first option, “folder”.
Create a name for your folder. Click create and your folder is now made.
Once the folder is made, you can right-click on it and you’ll see a ton of things you can do with your folder. A favorite amongst the kiddos is changing the color of the folder. Click on a color and it will automatically save it for you.
Follow the same process for all the rest of your child’s classes. Your Google Drive defaults to “grid view” as shown below. If you click on the highlighted icon, “list view”, you can change your folders to appear in list format as shown in the second photo.
Step four: Create folders within folders where necessary
For this example, I used the English folder I made on my Drive. I clicked on the folder to open it and this is what it looks like.
Within my English folder, I want to make a few more folders for common assignments or topics I have for that class. To do so, I simply click the “+ New” sign while in my English folder and select “folder” again. The same “create a folder” comes up but this time I write vocabulary because I want a specific folder to house all my vocabulary from the class.
I also made another one for “reading passages”.
Again, this isn’t a necessary step but one I highly encourage. Going back to my days as a math teacher, I would make a new folder for each chapter we covered to help keep things in order for my students.
Step five: Add items to your Google Drive
This is probably my favorite thing to do in Google Drive. You want to know why? Because you can literally organize everything and anything in your Google Drive. Google Drive doesn’t just house documents made within their program. When I say anything I mean PDFs, photos, and Word documents. You can add them all.
The first way to do this is by clicking that “+ New” in the upper left corner again. You can either “upload a file” or “upload a folder”. When you click on “upload a file”, you have access to every single downloaded item on your computer.
Click the item you want to download.
It will then show that it’s downloaded in the bottom right corner of your Drive.
You can also drag and drop anything from your downloads or desktop directly into your Drive.
Step six: Add items inside your folders
With your items inside your Drive, you’ll now want to make sure you put them inside those wonderful folders you created.
The easiest way to add items into your folders is to literally drag and drop them inside.
You can also right-click on your item and you’ll see the option, “move to”.
Once you click on this option, another dropdown menu will pop up with all your folders and you can just click on the one you want.
Step seven: Check your child’s Google Drive at least once a week
One of the biggest adjustments parents have to make when their child begins learning digitally is how to stay on track of their child’s work. There will no longer be a backpack full of papers to go through each night. Instead, most everything will be paperless.
This can be scary and you might feel lost as a parent in terms of what your child is learning. Because of this, I recommend sitting with your child, at least once a week, to look within their Google Drive and see what they’re learning.
During this time, you can also make sure your child is staying organized too. Any item added to your child’s Google Drive will just live under the section called “files” until it’s organized into a folder. Go through these items with your child and find a home for them within a folder. You might end up even having to make more folders as time progresses to house newer assignments that don’t fit into your originally created folders.
And there you have it. Not too bad to set up your Google Drive, right?
It’s a simple process and totally worth doing. Without an organizational system in place, your child will most likely lose assignments or forget where they placed them on their computer. When it comes time to turn assignments in, you’ll spare yourself unnecessary tears and tantrums from your child. I promise, keeping students digitally organized using Google Drive will honestly and truly be a lifesaver for you.
I hope you found this useful and helpful for yourself and your child. I’d love your feedback and encourage you to ask any additional questions you may have about Google Drive. I would be more than happy to add additional posts and make this a series. My first instinct is to do a post on all things Google Docs but I’d love to hear from you if you’d prefer I start with something different.
Thanks for reading and good luck with digital learning. You’ve got this!
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