Get Your Google “To Go” with Google Takeout

Another school year has ended (for some) or is getting close to ending. At the end of every school year, there is always a finality for certain students and staff. Seniors are graduating, teachers are retiring or changing to another district, or just leaving the profession for various reasons. Either way, if you’re district uses G Suite for Education, people are going to have files in Google Drive, emails in Gmail, blogs using Blogger, etc. that they want to make sure and take with them. Nobody wants to lose important stuff!

Google Takeout is a handy way to save any or all parts of your Google account to take to a new school Google account or move to a personal Google account. For this post, I’m going to walk through the steps with Google Drive as the example.

When you arrive at the Google Takeout homepage, you will see listed all of the Google products you can download your data from. In the screenshot below, I’ve only selected Google Drive.

screenshot of Google Takeout home page

If you click the small options arrow next to the green check mark, you’ll get some more options specific to downloading your Google Drive files such as whether you want your entire Google Drive or just a particular folder in your Google Drive and some options for how you want each file type to be converted. The next screen grab shows this with the default options:

In certain situations, I have suggested to teachers that everything they want to be sure and keep (sometimes they’re only concerned about keeping very specific files) should be moved to a new folder (maybe call it Takeout) and then only select that particular folder once they begin the Takeout process.

The last step will give you some options for the type of archive file and its size. I would recommend leaving this set to a zip file with a maximum size of 2 gigabytes. Note: If your Google Drive files are over the max file size, they will automatically be separated out into multiple zip files so don’t fret if this happens. You can then choose how you want to receive your archive. I left mine set to “send download link via email”.

So, what happens once you receive the email that your archive is ready? You’ll click the link in your email and it will take you straight away to downloading your archive:

Hit the download button and you’re off and running saving your archive to your computer. Remember that once your files hit that maximum size they will automatically be chunked out into separate zip files. Once you have them saved to your computer you can do a couple different things:

  1. Leave the zip files as is and keep them saved to a computer, flash drive, or store them in Google Drive in another Google account.
  2. Unzip (extract) the files to be able to open them and edit them. Once the files are unzipped they can then easily be uploaded into Drive in another Google account (school or personal).

Either way, you’ve now successfully saved an archive of your Drive or any other G Suite apps! Enjoy your Takeout and have a great summer!

Giving Students The World

Over the last few weeks in my district we have had The Google Expeditions Pioneer Program visit one of our middle schools and one of our elementary schools. I appreciate having one of our teachers and one of our library media specialists and their administrators invest the time to bring this experience to students. It’s still a really new program that Google is taking to various locations around the country to test it, as well as raise awareness about it. If you’re wondering, when they visit your school they bring everything necessary to give your students the Google Expeditions experience: about 30-60 Google Cardboard viewers, Android phones (and chargers), Nexus 9 tablets, and they even bring their wireless network. The entire experience is guided by the teacher using the Nexus 9 tablet. The teacher takes students on a virtual field trip with about 140 locations worldwide to choose from. The teachers push the expedition to the Cardboard viewers and guide students to various points at each location. The teacher can even see where students are looking from the tablet app. It’s definitely something you have to experience first hand to fully understand how it works.

During the day yesterday I noticed that my friend Devin from Council Bluffs was also watching students have the exact same experience at the exact same time. We both were tweeting/instagramming (is this a word now?) pictures throughout the day. Devin wrote a reflection post called Oooh and Ahhh Moments.  Devin and I were on the same wavelength with our respective posts I think.

Watching students have a learning experience like this should be cause for reflection. Their excitement and engagement for learning in this particular instance was infectious to be around. We can all remember (hopefully) a learning or teaching experience like this. Yet, we still are so ingrained with learning being all too static of an experience. Am I saying that we all run out and buy this set up (you can’t yet by the way) and make everything into a Google Expedition? Of course not. My point is, that with all the access and devices we’re providing students, are we truly stopping and reflecting deeply about teaching and learning? All the access and all the devices in the world aren’t going to change a thing. It will be our leaders and teachers that make the time for thoughtful reflection and conversation about what’s best for kids that will. Then it’ll be those same leaders and teachers that are willing to make big changes necessary to truly move us forward.  Learning is not confined to a physical space or a given time frame any longer. The world is out there, and our students can be taken to it in an instant.

Here’s a short recap of some of our 2nd thru 6th graders’ day with Google Expeditions. Enjoy.

Great Apps to Connect to Your Google Drive

Google Drive is fantastic for many reasons. The “out of the box” uses for Google Drive are what makes it great – Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Drawings. This is what we all started with, and what our students start with. However, there is a whole other side to Google Drive; the ways you can make Drive function beyond it’s “out of the box” uses that make it really versatile.drive apps

The other apps that you can connect to your Google Drive can be found under the “More” option that you see when you click the New button in Google Drive. Inside of “More” you will see an option that says “Connect more apps”.  This will take you to a mini app store of apps that can be connected to your Google Drive. I wanted to share some of my favorites in this post which is in no particular order and by no means exhaustive.

Pixlr Express – This app is a great photo editing app for students and teachers that don’t need all the bells and whistles of full blown editing software. The interface is simple: you open the image that is saved on your computer, via a web link, or capture directly from the webcam on your computer. You can do simple edits like cropping, placing text on an image, or applying various special effects. Where it integrates nicely with Drive is that if you have images already saved there, you can now right click on an image, select “open with” and you will now see that Pixlr Express is a choice.

Pixlr Editor – If you are needing something more robust; more like Photoshop, then you will want to add Pixlr Editor to your Drive. The interface is very similar to Adobe Photoshop. You can create images, layers, etc. with a more advanced set of editing tools. Again, since it’s integrated with your Drive, it can be used to open any existing images you have saved there. This app might be more appropriate for middle school and high school students taking a graphic design course that are needing to learn core fundamentals of image editing.

WeVideo – To go along with the above two is WeVideo, a really nice video editing platform. Again since it integrates with Drive this app will automatically create a WeVideo folder in your Drive to keep all your video projects organized. This app does have a free and a pay version; however, I’ve always found the free version more than sufficient for projects that I need to create as well as student created projects. One of the best parts about WeVideo is their effort they’ve made to teach the user how to use it. You have three different view modes for when you’re working on a project, and there’s also the WeVideo Academy – where you can go through their library of short video lessons to learn all of the ins and outs of the app. The team from WeVideo really gets that the focus should be on learning and not the technology.

Powtoon – Are you looking for a presentation tool that has lots of fun features? You will want to check out Powtoon for sure. It gives your students another option to create a presentation. It’s a great way to differentiate for students to show mastery of a concept. When you connect it to your Drive make sure to get the EDU version.

VideoNotes – This app is just a bit different in how you connect it to your Drive. When you first go to their site you will click the Connect with Google Drive button on the home page. You will not find this one through the “Connect more apps” option directly in Drive. This app is a great way for students to take notes while watching a YouTube, Khan Academy, Vimeo, or Coursera video simultaneously. You load the video on the left side of the interface and use the right side to take notes. You name your note file and since it’s connected to Drive, it automatically saves it in a VideoNotes folder that is created for you in Google Drive. It works really great and you can even stop working and reopen your VideoNotes file at a later time. A very handy app!

Lucidchart – This is another app that you want to make sure and get the education version when you connect it to your Drive. Lucidchart is an excellent app for creating diagrams, mind maps, flow charts, and other graphic organizers. Students can work independently or build collaboratively. The app has loads of ready to go templates for students to jump right into using.

Lucidpress – Made from the same makers of Lucidchart, Lucidpress gives you the ability to create really robust, professional looking documents; whether that be for digital viewing or for print (I always suggest doing digital over printing).  Lucidpress has a ton of pre-made templates for newsletters, flyers, signs, and more.

Google Drive Template Gallery – This is always one of the first Google Drive apps I suggest for teachers and students to add-on. Not only does this give you access to a lot of Google specific templates (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Drawings), but if you’re using your Google Apps for Education account, your organization can have its own private template gallery. Staff and students can publish files to the template gallery for others in your organization to use. For example, we have one of our high school math departments publish Google Drawing files of a coordinate plane to the template gallery so students can easily get a copy whenever they need one. You also have access to all of the public templates that are available to everyone in the world.

 

This has just been a small sample of the great apps that are available to connect to your Google Drive. What I love about apps like these (besides they being free) is that is gives staff and students such a wide variety of applications all from within Google Chrome. We are becoming less and less dependent on using one specific computer with a piece of software installed or being limited to one particular platform. These are all apps that can get kids creating content rather than just consuming content!