Monday, April 21, 2014

The Principal's Perspective: 1 on 1 Collaboration to Support Technology Integra...

The Principal's Perspective: 1 on 1 Collaboration to Support Technology Integra...: We lost one of our veteran teachers earlier this year when he moved on to become an Ed Tech Specialist for the District. It was initially se...

I've been doing some 1-on-1 coaching at the sites I support.  One my my principals did a blog post, with a contribution by me, on how it went and what we covered.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why Can't I find It In Shared With Me?

Has this ever happened to you...

You're a teacher:

Someone at work tells you that your principal or your department chair shared something with the whole staff a week ago, and you need to work on it.  You go straight into your Google Drive, check your Shared With Me section and cannot find it whatsoever.  Now you go back and search through your email, only to find you've already deleted it. Now you have to ask the original person to re-share it, and they insist they've shared it to the whole school, "just look in your Google Drive," but you just cannot find it there?
This only happens with stuff shared to the whole school, why can't they share anything right?

You're a principal:

You have an important document that you need to share with all of your staff, both teachers and clerical.  You click the blue share button, type in the group email alias for your site (i.e., click Send, then Done, and you're good.  Right?

Two weeks later a handful of your staff say they can't find it in their Google Drive.  You double check your email and Google Doc, and you did use the right email group.  When you tell them to check Shared With Me, they claim to not be able to find it.
Why can't they organize their Google Drive better? Are they maybe not receiving all the group email?

In truth, everybody is a little right here, and everyone is also a little off.
The principal did share it to the whole school and it is also not in anyone's Shared With Me.

Many people don't realize that for a shared file or folder to appear in another person's Shared With Me area, that person's specific email address, NOT a group email alias, has to have been used in the share settings.

Using this kind of email group means it will NOT appeared in people's Shared With Me Area.

Does that mean I have to type in everyone's name each time I am going to share will all of my teachers/students/grade-level teammates?

No, fortunately there is a pretty simple solution.  It's not as effortless as the group email alias, but it is more functional, and after the initial setup it should be pretty easy to maintain.
Then answer it go into Gmail, and get into your Contacts Manager.

Once there, it is pretty easy to set up a contact group. Once you've done that, you can then type in the name of that contact group in the invitation area of the share settings, and Google will automatically insert all the individual emails for you.  Then, share away as you have been doing.  Now when you share with your group of people, you're still only typing one email address, but it's going to all the people you need it to, and going to a useful place in their Google Drive.

If you'd like to watch a step by step screen-cast video on how to do this, click here.

The Difference Between Visibility and Sharing in Google Drive

We've all seen the share controls for a Google Drive file, but most of us only look toward the bottom half.  We are, most of us, familiar with the "Invite people" window and we know what the difference between Can Edit, Can Comment, and Can View are.

Google Drive Sharing Controls

Rarely, however, do we look at that top half, Next to the word "Private" and click "change" to see what that button does.  That opens up what are called the Visibility Settings and it designates how people can access your file.  Visibility changes can make your document more widely accessible through link sharing or search.

Within a GAFE domain, there are five visibility options.
Visibility Choices
The choice that is on by default is "Private" or "Specified People" (blue).  This used to be known only as "Private".  What this means is that only people you have specifically made collaborators on the file can get to it in any way.

Public Visibility

The choices at the top of the setting (red) are related to each other and both allow a broader array of people on the internet to find your file.  They are pretty straightforward.  It is important to note that these settings eliminate the need for a Google account login to access them.

Public on the web: 
This is pretty much what it sounds like.  It is accessible to anyone on the web and it is indexed for search by search engines like Google and Yahoo.
Anyone with the link:
This is still on the web, but is NOT indexed for search.  You can think of this as an unlisted phone number--anyone can call it, but only if they already know it, because they just can't look it up.

Why would I use these?
It should go without saying that neither of these would be used for anything sensitive or having any kind of confidentiality.  
Public is a great setting if you are trying to get the word out on a document or file very easily and quickly, for example, anything we wanted to share with parents or the community at large, we would want to change the visibility to "Public".
Anyone with the link is a good setting if you want to give easy access to information to a bunch of people (like parents, or students) and want to allow them to share with others they know might be interest that you don't know. You'd use this instead of "Public" if you still wanted to keep it out of search engines for whatever reason.

In-District Visibility

The Choices in the middle (green box in the second picture) are very similar to the red choices, but confined to within the GAFE domain, or in our case, confined to within the school district. 

Fairfield-Suisun School District:
This is conceptually similar "Public on the web", but requires an FSUSD login to be able to access it.  Additionally, it is not indexed for search by big search engines, but it will be indexed by Google Drive search and may be opened by anyone in the district (or the organization that runs the GAFE domain you are in).
People at Fairfield-Suisun School District with the link:
Again, this similar to "Anyone with the link". but also requires an FSUSD login. Docs set to this option are accessible to anyone inside the district who has the URL of the file.

Why would I use these? 
These settings allow us to easily and quickly share within our organization on a large scale, but also allow those with whom we work to share to others that we may not know first hand, but who can benefit from access to the document or folder.  The "People at FSUSD with the link" especially makes it easy to copy and paste the file’s link into chat, email and calendar invites for quick access and feedback.

One Last Thing

By default, the visibility settings allow "Can View" privileges, but they can be changed to allow for editing or commenting.

Choosing any of these settings gives Can View privileges by default, but this can be changed.

Contact Groups for Gmail & G-drive

This is a screencast I put together for FSUSD personnel on how to create gmail contacts groups to facilitate groups emails, but also sharing to groups of people in Google Drive.