Google Drive: Collaborate and Conserve!

Oct 15, 2013

We’ve spent a little time talking about Dropbox. We are into Dropbox. But we are ALSO into Google Drive. Depending on your purpose and needs, Google Drive may even be better than Dropbox for document collaboration, real-time pushout of information, and sharing! I personally use both!

I recently spoke to the folks at FirstLine Schools in New Orleans about their Drive usage. They got me pretty excited about district-wide possibilities for efficiency, collaboration and conservation!

Three Ways to Use Google Drive for your District (depending on security requirements!)

1. Document sharing, specifically across the staff portal. FirstLine has a website or “staff portal” which houses all of their resources, from communications and branding to finance and HR forms. Important documents, how-tos, directions, logos, and stock photography are uploaded to the site. Each document (or photo) sits in a Google Drive folder and is automatically shared with the staff.

What is awesome: FirstLine administrators can simply update documents or logos while the shared link and folder remains the same. This prevents having to constantly delete, re-upload  or resend updated versions of documents, and avoids the problem of different people using different versions.

2. Move toward the paperless! The development department at FirstLine currently has a paper file for each donor. But now that their copy machine is linked to Google Drive, they can easily transition to digital files by scanning a document directly to a folder on Google Drive.

What is awesome: As they move to a paperless system, the FirstLine team can scan each file folder, gradually phasing out the old! Because every PDF is searchable, it’s much easier to look up information they need from their computers rather than digging through a filing cabinet.

3. Collaboration. Each department at FirstLine can share documents and collaborate in real-time. This is a real challenge in Dropbox and one of our favorite features of Drive. There is no checking in and checking out, and no worries about version control.

What is awesome: A team can be working together on a spreadsheet in real time, with different people making different edits.

Google also has the added benefit of being free up to 5 gigabytes, while Dropbox is only free to 2 gigabytes (with additional storage offered in exchange for user referrals). One more thing: Google is often more accessible from school districts, while Dropbox is sometimes restricted for security reasons.

Discussion question: How do you store your documents and collaborate with colleagues?