Google Docs is an extremely important tool in every teacher’s toolkit. However, there are mistakes that I see a lot of teachers and students make. Here are three common Google Docs sharing mistakes that you can easily avoid!
There is no doubt that Google Docs sharing is one of the most cheap, compatible and convenient for just about every classroom on the planet. My students and I work with Google Docs every week and sometimes everyday. It is just a reliable platform that just works. Avoid these mistakes and you will avoid a lot of headaches later on. I am mainly saying this because I have experienced all of these to some degree. Don’t make the same mistakes I did! 🙂
Mistake #1 Not Protecting Your Docs
I love the “cloud”. I love it so much that I entrust mostly everything to it. I have to be honest. It makes me a little nervous. I mean look, I am talking about Google. Google Drive is pretty darn secure and safe. I would wager it to be one of the safest cloud platforms (ever?) Yet the point stands, you are still entrusting things to the cloud. You may want to keep multiple backups of your files.
I wanted to go paperless so I uploaded ALL of my teaching files to Google Drive. Powerpoints, worksheets, quizzes, teaching notes. All of it. To the cloud it went. In December 2014, I went to find a Powerpoint I had made on Imperialism in Africa. The problem? It didn’t upload to Google Drive. No matter, I kept my saved copy on my local computer, no? Nope. Consider yourself warned.
Mistake #2 Allowing Printing, Downloading, Copying, Or Comments
Wait…what?! Google Docs prides itself on being collaborative, right? Why would you want to shut down the ability to share? Maybe you want a Doc for an individual student, parent, or community member. Maybe it has copyrighted material and that would be violated if it was so quickly put online and shared. Heck…maybe you just want to prevent someone from “Making A Copy” of it to plagiarized. Whatever the reason you have, there is a time when you want to share a file to be viewed only.
In Google Docs, you can disable the downloading, copying, and printing of the shared files. This information features eliminates these option on the menu of the viewer and another level of control over your documents. Upon doing this, viewers will see the phrase “Export options disabled” notification on the top of the menu of File and Edit for the specific Sheet, Slide or Doc. Watch out though. Teachers tend to forget that those with permissions of “edit” are still capable to print, download and copy the file even if the setting is on.
Mistake #3 Sharing Individually Instead of A Link
Whenever you share a file from your Drive, you are allowing other people to view and even edit the same file you have. Whenever you share a file with a single person, your collaborators should sign in with their Google Account in order to edit or view your file. It shouldn’t be a problem for Google Apps users at the same school but what if you wanted to share a file to an entire class, group, or community? As an alternative, why not use “get shareable link” for your Google Docs? Sharing like this is very effective for large files, which will be too large to send as an email attachment. Anyone who clicks the link will be directed to the file. I have done this with presentations I share with students in Schoology.
Don’t ever feel bad about making mistakes. I know all of these and more because I have done all of these and more. Most of the time, I make mistakes in full view of impatient students. But it is fine because making mistakes is a part of learning. Google Docs is one of the easiest and most useful tools in a teacher’s toolkit. My mission for you: use it and keep pushing education forward. Forget your mistakes and keep tinkering. Students need tinkering teachers like you.
Question: What are other common “mistakes” that you have made or run into? Let us know on social media or in the comments below!