3 Smart Ways to Use Schoology and Google Drive in a Perfect Mashup

Contributed By

Shauna Polson

Spanish Teacher at Boulder High School

3 Smart Ways to Use Schoology and Google Drive in a Perfect Mashup

Posted in Pro Tips | December 16, 2015

As educators, we are always searching for ways to streamline and simplify our day to day tasks. When it comes to making our workflows more efficient, there are two tools that are simply great together—Schoology and Google Drive.

If you use these tools already and have not explored how seamlessly they work together, then you are missing out on a great mashup. Google Drive is an excellent tool for creating different types of content easily. Schoology helps me put that content into a pedagogically structured environment. Together, they complete my digital learning workflow from content creation to instruction to coaching to grading.

Below, I'll take you through how to get started using Schoology and Google Drive together. After that, I'll show you three smart ways to use the two that even the veteran users may not have considered.

How to Install Schoology's Google Drive App

First things first—you’ll need to install Schoology’s Google Drive app, which you can do in just a couple of clicks. In your Resources drop down menu, select Apps, click on Install Apps, and select Google Drive from the list. First time users will need to authorize and sign-in to their appropriate Google Drive account.

resource apps.jpg

How to Embed Google Drive Content into Schoology Materials

Before I started using Schoology, I had already created folders and folders of Google Docs, Presentations, Drawings, and other Google materials for my classes. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I realized that I could easily integrate these existing materials into my Schoology Pages, Assignments, Discussions, Quizzes, and Tests.

I found that the key to meshing these tools together is the “insert content” tool in your Rich Text Editor. Using it, you can open a window into your Google Drive.

Then, just as you would embed a YouTube, Vimeo, or other third-party resource, you can select your Google content and embed it into the body of your page. 

You'll notice that the inserted content will appear as a yellow placeholder before you click Save; however, you can select the placeholder, click the image icon that appears, and see a preview of the content. Once you save, the Google Drive content will appear perfectly superimposed inside of your page.

3 Smart Ways to Use Schoology and Google Drive

1) Live Feedback and Peer Review in Discussions

Depending on the type of assignment, you may want to consider how students will submit their Google materials. For a quick submission, students can use Schoology's Google Drive App to directly import a file. They would do this in the same way they submit any assingment.

Now, If you are interested in providing feedback or revisions on a Google material, I have found that the best option is for the student to copy and paste the “shareable link” in the create tab. This allows for you to see the “live” version of the student’s work where you can make helpful comments and even see the student’s revision history.

What's cool is that you can also use this live linking to conduct peer review sessions using Schoology's discussion feature. Whether students created a Google Doc, Drawing, or Presentation, they can share the link in a discussion post for their peers to see and review. This is a great venue for working on critical thinking, collaboration, and digital citizenship all at once.

2) Use Google Slides (Presentations) and Schoology Pages for Lesson Review

Instead of the traditional PowerPoint presentation lessons, many educators are now jumping on the Google Slides bandwagon. This tool is great for building engaging lessons, and it's even better when used with Schoology because of the pedagogical flexibility it provides.

One of my favorite uses of Google Slides and Schoology is embedding the day's lesson (a presentation) in an Schoology page. This way the students who were absent can catch up and those who just need a refresher have it.

Google Slides example.jpg

This can also serve as a great tool for educators who have adopted a flipped or blended learning model. You can embed the presentation directly into an assignment, test/quiz, or discussion and then provide questions for the students to demonstrate their comprehension of the material from the lesson.

3) Use a Google Drawing as a Magnetic White Board

After attending a local Google Apps for Education Summit, I walked away with a great new use for Google Drawings. Kasey Bell (@ShakeUpLearning) explains in one of her awesome blogs that she uses both Google Drawings and Google Slides to create a “magnetic” board where students can manipulate words (magnets) to create their own unique poems.

In a recent experiment, I created my own Google Drawing with eight scrambled sentences.

magnetic whiteboard example.jpg

After making their own copy of the template, my Spanish 1 students had to collaborate with a partner to unscramble each sentence and put the words in their correct order to create a coherent (and grammatically correct) sentence. My students really enjoyed the hands-on activity and raced to be the first group to unscramble all of their sentences.

This lesson made me think of all of the other great applications for hands-on activities with Google Drawings. For example in Social Studies, you could create a timeline for students to move historical events (represented with words or images) to match the appropriate year. In a Geography lesson, you could upload a map as the background of your Google Drawing for students to label specific cities, landmarks, etc. 

The possibilities are truly endless.

 How do you mash Schoology and Google Drive together?

About the Author

Shauna Polson is a Spanish Teacher and Schoology Trainer at Boulder High School in Boulder, CO. After having taught Spanish at the elementary, high school, and undergraduate levels, Shauna now resides in the Rocky Mountains, teaching Spanish at Boulder High School. As a blended learning enthusiast, she is constantly trying to incorporate new practices and techniques into her teaching through the exploration of technology. Shauna currently serves as the district's Technology Contact for Boulder H.S. and leader of the school Technology Committee. She is also a Contract Trainer for Schoology, leading onsite and web trainings for schools and districts across the United States.

Connect with Shauna via Twitter (@ProfePolson).

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