Free tools that allow folks to collaborate in real time, and create student digital portfolios.
Google Drive (DRIVE.google.com) is a cloud-based suite of tools for creating word processing documents (“Docs”), slideshow presentations (“Presentations”), spreadsheets (“Sheets”), quiz or survey forms (“Forms”), digital drawings (“Drawings”) and more. It’s similar to Microsoft Office, but online, here’s how it’s different
Highlights & Tips
- Available on Mobile, iOS, Android and modern web browsers
- Cloud-based file sharing, which allows multiple users sharing a document to collaborate from different connected computers in real time: peer editing, asynchronous online teacher conferences from different computers
- 30GB to store almost any kind of file “in the cloud” and organize those files online in folders; convert Microsoft Office Docs into Google editable versions (or not): teacher can see whole class of students’ shared folders, students create online portfolios that they can access from any device
- Download desktop App to back up and sync all of the files on your cloud-based drive on your local computer. Here are directions for doing that
- Known issues: people used to Word get frustrated with formatting, sharing folders between many people takes a little foresight, Google changes their free tools at will, so you need to be ready to adapt; organize personal and shared staff folders in “My Drive”.
- TIP: use the search bar to find keywords in titles or even within documents.
- TIP: if you love Word and need to use it, get the Google Docs App to sync your files — when you change those Word files locally, they will sync and update online.
- NOTE: locate folders and documents shared with your account under the “Shared with Me” tab in the left column. To store them in your own file structure, drag folders and documents into your folder structure under “My Drive”.
Google Drive Support
Evernote (evernote.com) is a cloud-accessible and mobile app that allows students or teachers to capture and annotate notes in a variety of media.
Highlights & Tips
- Much of the same versatility of Google Drive — accessibility, offline access, formatting and word processing is especially good across mobile platforms
- Use “Notebooks” to separate classwork, student conference notes, projects or otherwise.
- Use “Tags” to pull notes together based on key words within your notes: student notes on a subject can be pulled out from throughout their Evernote account; teachers can code conference notes across their classes using Tage to view all notes according to Common Core Standards, or other student performance indicators.
- Notes can include sound recordings, images, screenshots from the web, and more: record students reading aloud, add images of student work directly into portfolio folders.
- TIP: use Evernote’s sister application Skitch (ski