For years, teachers working within the G Suite for Education environment have been able to collaborate and share resources with one another by using the share features embedded in Google Drive. This system works really well until somebody changes grade levels, leaves the district or a new team member comes aboard.
This is why I am so in love with the new “Team Drive” feature that was released last spring. Google’s Team Drive creates a shared work space where team members have access to shared files and folders. Members of the team drive can create right within the drive or they can copy or move materials from their personal drives into the team drive. Materials that are created or placed in the team drive become property of the drive rather than the individual, so there is never the worry that you will lose access to a document if a member of your team leaves. Even better is that when you gain a new team member, you can easily add them to the drive and give them immediate and full access to shared materials.
Team Drive is an excellent place for teachers to collaborate and create materials. A master document or assignment can be created in the team drive, but then each teacher can make a copy of it and move that copy into their own drive in order to personalize it for their students. The original remains untouched for future use, and teachers always know where to go to find a clean copy.
Here are some additional suggestions for items that should live in a team drive:
- curriculum guides
- curriculum materials
- benchmarking materials
- common assessments
- meeting agendas and minutes
- team goals
- student goals
- student data
- field trip forms
- parent contact forms
- special event planning
Create a Team Drive
- Open Drive
- On the left, find and click the link for Team Drives
- At top, click
- Name your team drive
Add Members and Set Permissions
When you add a new member to your team drive, that person is automatically given full permissions to be able to upload, edit and delete files as well as add other members. You can tailor permissions for each member as you add them or even after they have been added.
- Click on the Add Members link
- Type in the name of the person you wish to add – you may only add members that are already part of your G-Suite domain. Unfortunately, you cannot create Team Drives with educators from other districts
- Set your desired level of permission by clicking on the arrow below their name
- Write a quick message to let them know you are adding them to the group or just click Send to get the ball rolling.
Create or Add Materials to the Team Drive
Now that you have created the Team Drive, it will function in relatively the same manner as your personal drive. You, or any member of the team, can create folders or any other item from G-Suite apps within this drive. You can also upload files from other locations on your computer, including your personal drive, by using the File Upload link under the New button. An even easier way to populate the team drive is to drag and drop files from your drive into the team drive. Unfortunately, you are still unable to move an entire folder into the team drive, but you can select all of the items in the folder and move them over in the same way you would move items around in your own drive (contact me if you are unsure of how to do this).
Team Drive Etiquette – or How Not To Make Your Team Hate You
If you are working in a team drive and want to personalize any of the materials, be sure to first make a copy of the item and then move it into your own drive before you make any changes!
Additional Features or How-to Guides for Google’s Team Drive
If you would like to learn more about the many aspects of adding and controlling team members, creating and deleting materials, or any of the other fine points of team drive, please contact me to set up some one-on-one coaching time. If you prefer to be a self-directed learner, here is an excellent resource from the G Suite Learning Center – Get Started with Team Drives.