Thursday, June 20, 2019

Google Sites: A Tech Coach's Cure for a Congested Google Drive and Inbox

Image result for google drive gmail logos
When I became a tech integration coach four years ago, my initial mandate was to lead our staff in the switch to Google. My first step was Gmail. That was relatively easy. Google Drive was a different story. This required teachers and administrators to take stock of the files accumulated on their hard drives. For many, it was a pain and they resisted, but once they got through the conversion to Google Drive they were hooked.

They were astounded at the speed and ease in which files could be shared and collaborated on. Google Drive had taken the staff by storm. I received many "thank you's" for helping them with this enterprise. Sharing and collaboration was at an all-time high. It was here I began to realize I was becoming a victim of my own success.

A common quote I heard around on campus was "share it on the the Drive". The more I heard this, the more I heard people saying they couldn't find it on the Drive. My initial reaction was to tell them to check your "Shared with me" folder or email for messages notifying them of shared files. The frequent responses to those suggestions were usually "there are tons of files shared with me and I can't find it" or "I get so many emails, I didn't see the message". The struggle was real. Even I had trouble finding files people shared with me.

I needed a solution. I didn't want to lose the momentum I had gained getting them excited about using Gmail and Drive. It was here I realized Google Sites was the answer to congested Google Drives and Gmail inboxes. Educators don't want to have to go looking for files. They want quick, easy access. Any way we can eliminate steps towards finding the files they need, the more efficient and happier they will be.

Image result for congestion

Google Sites is a very underutilized tool for organization. It allows you to curate any file you have saved in Drive. If you're in a department, the lead can create a page for each unit on a Site with the relevant files on the page. Those files are simply a few clicks away. For the person(s) curating the site, it requires a little bit of work on the back end organizing the Site and making sure the necessary people have the permission to view files, but once created, it will be much easier to access the files. The Site becomes a "one stop shop". They only have to click one link or remember one address.

My first attempt in this was with my own website where I curate the slide decks I use in my various presentations. At work, with our district's New Teacher Institute, our coaching team created a Site to curate the different resources on which we trained new teachers. In both instances, teachers did not have to fish through their inboxes or Drives. They were provided with a simple link, sometimes a, and they were a few clicks away from what they needed.

Using Google Sites to better deal with educator angst due to congested Google Drives and Gmail Inboxes is a small, but important part of being a tech coach. As tech coaches, we are often met with resistance. In my experience, one of the best ways dealing with this resistance is to find little things to make educators' lives more efficient. If you can show how tech can relieve common pain points of education, you are on the right track.

No comments:

Post a Comment