Fred Witzig, a professor from Monmouth College's history department, utilizes Google Drive in many of his classes. I am currently about to complete my second of Witzig's Google-oriented classes. Last year, Monmouth College's HASTAC scholars posted an article about Google Drive, but this year I can offer a special insiders-look at how this teacher uses it in his classroom.
The way Witzig sets up this class is rather straight-forward. We are to write around 1/2 to 1 page on our Google documents (part of Google Drive) every week and comment three times on our classmate's documents. Without Google Drive, commenting would be difficult to accomplish outside of class. With Google Drive, it is just another tool, just as easy to use as putting pencil to paper. Witzig creates a document for each student to write on that the entire class can view, but only the student can edit. This way, the reviewers can comment on the work whenever it is convenient to do so.
This Google Drive classroom is heavy on peer review. For students who do not like their work read, this is a great way to get used to constructive criticism and improve as a writer. I was a bit nervous about it at first, but it did not take me long to warm up to my classmates. For example, while I was writing one of my paragraphs, I was unsure how to cite one of my sources. I commented on my own work and asked for help, and within the next couple of days, a classmate commented with a useful link to help me figure out how to do it. I do the same for other members of the class, which helps that student with his problem as well.
While Google Drive is a great tool, it does have room for improvement. The entire program is online, so if the internet is down, there is no way to edit the weekly entry or view previous ones. However, as long as there is a connection, the program is very easy to use and a great tool for any student. Timothy Yates, a fellow classmate of mine, commented on the class, "I really liked that class. I now use Google Drive for most of my papers, so that I have access to them anywhere with internet."
Google Drive offers a wealth of possibilities to enhance the classroom experience. Communication has never been easier and for the first time ever, professors can see exactly how much time the student invests in what they write, as with each and every page edit that is made, a time is recorded. Google Drive is an extremely valuable tool that will surely bring people together to collaborate and create something new.
Here are some photos of Google Drive in action!