Thursday, January 17, 2013

Google on Apple: Google Drive

While not the most fun-loving of Google's offerings, Google Drive is potentially hugely useful to all humans, including SLPs. This resource, formerly known as Google Docs and now confusingly renamed, allows you to upload documents, images and PDFs, and edit documents and spreadsheets (presentations and drawings too in the full web version) solo or collaboratively. The renaming of this whole shebang as Drive was timed with the addition of a downloadable app for Mac/PC that syncs to your account and keeps all the files on the computer as well. I ignore this feature and go on using Docs as I used to do. Dropbox is still the standard for the kind of file sharing this computer-lab-havoc-wreaking sync function Drive aspires to achieve.

"Docs," still of course a function of Drive, is a tool I have found myself utilizing as part of my direct and consultative services in all sorts of cases. It's a great way to share a graphic organizer with a student so he can access it electronically when getting down to writing. Additionally, it's a means to nudge a student toward some order in his organization of materials and workflow, as it allows you to access work from any computer or device, organize materials into electronic folders within one's (free or institutionally assigned) account, and share with other students, teachers or parents without the need for messy file attachments and emailing, all major pitfalls for our students.

Google Docs has historically not played well with iPad, but that situation is definitely improving with the Google Drive app released this past Fall. This free app gives you access to any Google Drive account, where you can upload/edit documents and spreadsheets (not presentations), organize by folders and manage sharing of files.

Google Drive app for iOS

Google Drive can be even more useful because, when installed, it will appear on the Open in menu. Here you see a graphic organizer I created on paper with a student to help map out his writing assignment. I used the DocScanner app to scan it, and sharing options include Open in (PDF) Google Drive.  This saved the visual support to his Drive account so he could access it when completing the writing assignment.  

How do you find Google Docs/Drive useful in your practice.  Let us know in the comments.


  1. I like the photo search feature in google drawings to pull photos right into a document without having to save and upload. I've used this to create a visual menu for a student who has a hard time in the lunchroom being understood when he wants to order the "alternate" choice. Rather than risking a communication breakdown, he will take a lunch he does not like and go without eating! We're working on it! :)

    1. Great suggestion- and on iPad you could use Google Images for this ('cause Drive doesn't have drawings on iPad) or something like Custom Boards that lets you search Google images and add right to a board. Nice real-time use of tech!