When I introduce myself to the students in my first session with them, I always tell them about my taste in coffee, colours and my favourite animal. Before long it becomes apparent that I am somewhat of an Apple Fan Boy! (Well probably Apple Fan Aged Man – is more accurate.) We all have preferences and these tend to build up over a period of time and we can easily become an ambassador for the application. One of the applications which I always recommend and use is Google Drive. Why? well that is what this waffle is all about.
Whenever a new application comes onto the market, I first decide whether I have an overall need for it. There are many cloud storage applications around and I probably use almost all of them. iCloud for my music, Dropbox for file requests and Box for meetings and agendas. But one which I started to use some time ago and have never left is Google Drive. I can safely say that it is part of my work flow. Although initially Google Drive appears to be another cloud storage application, the options it provides takes it beyond, simply a place to store documents – although if this is all you want it to do then it will do this admirably. I have to say at this point, that people might be thinking ‘Well Dropbox does that’. It is not my intention within this waffle to say why I use Google drive over the other ‘competitors’ – more what I use it for .
Never without a document – The development of wifi and indeed free wifi has made us a lot more mobile with our technology. When attending meetings or just generally away from our usual place of work, the need to cart around one device which is essential and central to our way of recording is being reduced. Microsoft probably still has the monopoly on the three most used programs within everyday working (Word, PowerPoint and Excel) but there has started to be a move away from these as options become available which can provide more interaction and collaboration. When mobile, as long as I have an internet connection, I rarely open Word or Excel now. Google Drive, as well as 15 GB of storage, provides the opportunity to use their own versions of the ‘holy trinity’ of Microsoft programs. Their interfaces are simple to use and easy to interact with and the auto save functions reduces losses to a minimum. Indeed, after using these documents for a while, I often have to remind myself to actually ‘save’ when using Word (I’m forgetting my good practice!). When learners come to present within sessions, often they would connect their USB drive and boot up PowerPoint. Recently I have started to see an increase in the use of Google Slides to do this. Maybe this is the start of the end of PowerPoint? Luckily my research is transferable to anything that generally uses slides 🙂
Forms and Surveys – I use Google Docs a lot for planning. My radio shows are actually created on Google Sheets so that I can add and calculate total playing times and scripts for my Live Shows are on Google Docs. However, one of the document types which I find very useful is Google Forms. This is my go to choice for any survey which I want to create. Forms has a nice clean interface which allows for a range of different questions and responses. Once created it can easily be shared via a URL (long or short) which can be added to an email or placed on the VLE. Once created you get the option for how you want the results to be collated. For me, the best option is to create an Google Sheet for this, which it does automatically. This is very similar to excel in both appearance and functionality. Once the survey is completed, the results can be downloaded and shared in a variety of formats, including Excel. Of course their can also be shared online with users so that no download is required. I do also like Polldaddy for surveys, but mainly due to the integration of this to my WordPress blogs, so I am not a completely converted to the sole use of Google Forms, but like I said earlier – I like to use the best application for the job.
Sharing and Editing – I was presenting my Musical Show on Wilson Waffling Radio last Friday and I played the song, ‘When children rule the world’ from the musical Whistle Down the Wind. If I was ruling the technology world, I would probably implement document collaboration online rather than on static drives. I always seem to remember that I have to contribute to something at that time that I am away from work or, if I am at work, when someone has the document open and I am the ‘read only’ person. I was reading my usual Feedly RSS feed last week when I came across an article which provided four essential tips for using Google Drive. Within this article, there was an excellent video demonstrating how people can work collaboratively on a document. This for me is one of the best ways of working. As of yet, and it is not through the lack of trying, I have yet to set this up in my workflow mainly due to people feeling more secure with the document on a static drive and also because of the lack of people who want to work collaboratively with me… (pause for a soft aaawwwwww). Time and location are no longer the limiting factors of or for collaboration, which I mentioned in last week’s waffle on how technology could impact on group working. With the internet providing the opportunity to overcome time zones and different working habits, the way that Google Drive provides the opportunity to collaborate on documents must surely be the way of the future.
Radio show Google Sheet
With every new application and internet sensation, there comes a time when applications might go out of fashion, be overtaken by competitors or just cease to have a use. Cloud storage is definitely the way forward and I personally find myself using a portable USB drive less and less, relying, maybe foolishly, on gaining access to my documents via the internet and Chrome (yes I prefer Chrome – Google has me hook, line and sinker!). With more and more functionality becoming available, applications, such as Google Drive, will hopefully move away from a place to just store files and will develop and evolve into places not only to store but to actually work – as long as people are willing to engage with this functionality. Am I becoming more cynical in my old age?
I look forward to hearing your comments and ideas, please add them in the comments below or send them to me via Twitter(@iwilsonysj), Facebook, Google+ or email.
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Have fun and I’ll catch you later