Methods of sharing Google Docs to students

Following is a summary of the methods that you can use to create a google doc template and then distribute to students:

1. Google Classroom
2. Copy and Share yourself
3. Get students to copy and share back
4. Using scripts

How does this work Ease of Use Availability Student Perspective Teacher Perspective Disadvantages
Google Classroom Sign up for classroom, create your class, add your google doc. Decide whether you want everyone to have their own copy or edit an actual copy. Super easy.

Create a document, share it on Classroom.

Available for teachers with .edu.au email addresses with students on the same domain.  Google has now also set up “Trusted domains” where students can be on the same domain but this has to be set up by your systems admin. Student goes to classroom, and clicks on the link to the document. It automatically copies a personalised document for the student, and puts it in a “Classroom” folder on the students’ side.

Students have a “turn it in” button to indicate they are finished.

This is automatically shared with the teacher, and put into their “classroom” folder on their google drive. It also gives the ability to check who has “turned it in” and finished it. The system is sequential, no way to categorise activities/documents. Is good for sharing, easy to use but not a fully powered LMS. But then, neither are any of the other choices here.

A good solution if you want to do this multiple times.

Can be confusing if you have another existing LMS.

Student owns document.

Copy and share yourself Create the document, manually duplicate it and share it with the people you need to Super easy but time consuming. Everyone can do this. Student receives shared document. This sits in their “shared with me” documents, so if you do it this way, teach the kids to add it to their docs and then into a folder with your subject name. This means that you maintain ownership of the document and don’t have to trust students to share it with you. Fine if you have a small group of students.

Really effective if you are doing group work. Lets say you have 25 kids in your class, and you decide to do a group project with 5 students per group. Create five copies and share each copy with five different students. This is really the only method to do this. (Aside from getting students to share back with you)

Time consuming…definitely a “do in front of the TV job.

Get students to copy and share back Students create doc and share with you. Easiest, and can be done on the fly “Ummm…lets create a google doc to answer this question and share back with me. Everyone can do. Student takes ownership of the work (a good thing), learns more, and is more likely to do this when collaborating in a group with others. Students must share with teachers. They forget. A lot. Teacher gets shared in on the document. If you do this a lot, it can become a filing nightmare in your google drive. But if you teach kids to name things properly, this is less of an issue. If student leaves the system, (eg, unenrolls from the school) you lose access to the document. This may or may not be a big deal, but if like me, you have to (and like to)  keep work samples…
Using Scripts Using add ons to Google Drive such as Doctopus or autocrat, which, based off a list of students and their emails, automatically creates documents and shares it with them. Most create folders for the class, and you can add to the folder all the time with different documents by running the same script again. More difficult than any of the above, but it is wizard based, so not particularly hard. Must install the script. Students receive a folder, with their documents in it, so it self-organises for them. Teachers create a spreadsheet of students, and creates their google doc and runs the wizard. This keeps ownership of the document with the teacher. (See notes on work samples above) The major advantage of this is that some of these add ons allow personalisation. For example, you can mail merge and share at the same time.

Works better on browsers that are not chrome (odd)

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