Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Google Drive driving you crazy?

Google Drive support pages

Here's some useful info for new and old Google users alike.

If you were all cozy in your old Google Docs Home view, Google came along and rearranged the furniture with the recent introduction of Google Drive. If you are a new Google user you might be wondering what's up with the different views in the left navigation area of Google Drive on the web.

From the Google knowledge base:
  • My Drive: Everything in your Google Drive that you’ve created, synced and uploaded. You can automatically sync My Drive to the Google Drive folder on your computer.
  • Recent: All of your private and shared files that you've opened in reverse chronological order.
  • Activity: Everything that has been edited recently. This view includes anything that you've created, that has been shared with you, or that you've clicked the link to open.
For the complete list of Google Drive views and more information on the differences between Docs and Drive visit the Google support site here:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Exit stage left

This is the time of year to start thinking about Data Liberation! That's right data liberation. 

If you've been fretting about what graduating seniors or students who are moving are going to do with all of the stuff they have collected and created in their organizational Google accounts -- relax! Google makes it very easy to pack your bags and leave.

*Photo credit:
Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Be no evil

The Google Data Liberation Front is an engineering team that designed ways for users to remove their data from a variety of Google services. Google's CEO was mostly concerned about being big without being evil and wanted to provide users with an easy exit strategy.

Google Takeout

Takeout is a platform that lets a user remove data from multiple Google products all at once. This is Data Liberation in it's simplest form. Below is a list of products currently available for takeout.

What about all the other stuff?

While not all products are completely liberated, Google is about 2/3 of the way through  creating exit strategies for their services. Some of the big ticket items in schools are Blogs, Chrome Bookmarks, Gmail, Maps, Picasa Web Albums, Sites and more. For a complete list of all items that can be removed from Google and how to do it visit the DLF at

Other ways to move Documents

If your organization has adopted Google Apps it is easy to transfer ownership of documents to other users within the organization. (At this time document ownership cannot be transferred to a Google account outside the organization) If, for example, a student is editor-in-chief  of the school newspaper (s)he can transfer ownership of files to another student. Sharing a file is not enough because if the file owner's account is deleted, that file will disappear from the share-ee's account. Remember that documents can have only one owner.

What to do:

  1. Go to the Share settings for that item and add a new user. Click Share and save.
  2. Then change  from “Can Edit” to “Is Owner” and that person is the new owner:

Moving MORE Documents, like all of them

A Google Apps administrator can transfer all of a user's documents to another user.  This is done from the "Advanced Tools" tab in the Google Apps control panel. See Google’s help article for more details:

Sites and Blogs

Follow these steps to move admin privileges from one blog account to another

Changing owners of a Google Site is very easy. For example, a student is president of the school's Lego Club and no longer wants to be the site's webmaster. Go to the share settings for the site. Add another user and select "Is owner". Another  nifty thing about Google Sites is that a site can have multiple owners.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A useful mindset

All good things are said to come in threes:

One: The Principle of Good Enough

I recently saw this little tidbit in someone's email signature and promptly looked it up. Here's Wikipedia's spin on the Principle of Good Enough (POGE): It favours quick-and-simple (but potentially extensible) designs over elaborate systems designed by committees. Once the quick-and-simple design is deployed, it can then evolve as needed, driven by user requirements.

We've all seen the paralysis of indecision in focus groups and committees that continually motion to wait for a more perfect solution (to whatever problem they want to solve). In many cases, however, the solution in shiny armor never materializes and there goes another year of having done nothing...again. And sometimes -- again.

Two: Disruptive Innovation

Chew on this:

"...disruptive innovations typically start out as primitive; early on, they can only solve the simplest of problems, so people tend to deride them. But disruptive innovations improve predictably over time-often over several decades-to solve harder problems. And as they do so, over time, people abandon their old ways of doing things, shed their conceptions about how things have to be, and adopt the new."

This is Good Enough's first cousin. The above quote was brought to my attention through our state's Ed Tech news list. It is an excerpt from an article by Michael Horn on the topic of online learning, but the concept can be applied to anything else in an organization that needs to be changed or improved.

Three: Don't be an expert!

Wes Fryer, award winning blogger and educator was the keynote speaker at our state's annual technology conference two years ago and I haven't been able to let go of one simple thought: you don't have to be a techno-expert to start integrating technology in your classroom. You just need to be willing to let go and try something new. Our classrooms are filled with Digital Natives who possess an innate ability to figure out what button to push when you can't get something to work.You can follow Wes's blog at


And so - this post is good enough. I've dispensed with the long-winded examples of how these three mindsets apply to my own teaching or to the dynamics in our organization. Instead, I simply present these mindsets to you the reader in the hope that they will strike a resonating chord and become a song that you just can't get out of your head. Now go sing in your own key!