From “my documents” to “shared”
A lot has changed in my professional organisation. How I work and teach with learner and my colleagues.
One of the biggest changes, almost seamless changes, has been how I produce, store and share my work. Though not an obvious allay – Fintan Murphy over at Damson Cloud is my go to G Suite Coach and “go-to” when it comes to G Suite organisational efficiency.
Here is what he has (and his videos) helped me think through – organisationally.
What is different in the future state?
- Folders and documents are no longer static or fixed rather collaborative and flexible.
- Folders and documents are no longer “my documents” (1 to 1) rather owned, shared (1 to many) as well private.
- Folders and documents are no longer fixed to one device or location rather available on any device, anywhere.
- With that comes new terminology, new roles… new thinking.
- Cloud-thinking is not merely a technological occurrence, but also a cultural one. There will be unintended consequences too (notification, email) and we will be well advised to consider these in advance (security, worklife balance).
- “sharing permissions” “sync status” and new roles “owner,
- Folders. Documents. Many users.
- Document permissions and versions.
Starting with the bleedin’ obvious
Changes are saved automatically. Next G Suite allows for real-time collaboration, multi-editors, on documents, there is also an instant chat feature. All chats in G Suite include anyone viewing the file. Chats are not saved. Save changes automatically, and track revision history. Users can insert comments, suggest edits, communicate through a built-in chat, and create templates for future use.
Of all the co-workers I engage with, it is our Y7 students that have yet to get their heads around that fact. “Digital natives my arse!“
For Educators – here is what I have learnt from Damson Cloud.
Let’s start with document creation. 76% of the time that businesses spend working in Google Docs is spent on collaborative work. You might think to yourself, what does that mean? We define collaboration in the Docs editors according to five behaviours that we see employees exhibit.
1. Editing a document together. In Docs, Sheets and Slides, you can work simultaneously in documents with other collaborators, creating a single record of changes.
- Taking it a step further: I am starting to use G Suite’s collaboration tools – Edit, comment and use features like Explore.
2. Seeing changes in a document. Because G Suite is cloud-native, all changes are recorded in version history (File > Version history), so you can see a holistic view of edits to a document and even restore previous versions with a click.
- Taking it a step further: we make it possible to see edit history for a particular cell within a spreadsheet, or to compare changes in documents (We’re looking at you, legal teams.).
3. Giving and receiving feedback. Commenting in G Suite is not just a feature, it’s essential to how employees share and receive actionable feedback.
- Taking it a step further: with the help of dynamic email, commenting in Docs, Sheets and Slides integrates with Gmail, so you can address comments directly in email.
4. Assigning and completing tasks. It’s easy to assign tasks to specific owners via commenting in G Suite.
- Taking it a step further: G Suite uses artificial intelligence (AI) to speed up collaboration. For example, AI in Docs can auto-detect tasks and suggest people to assign action items to, so you don’t have to worry about sending a separate email with to-dos.
Then this week I learnt about share folders in shared drives coming out of Beta. You know where I went to get my quick explanation…
Next, communicating effectively
Fintan introduced me to the flexibility of Google Chat. Away from school, when working with Learning3D, we move between Email, Chat, Meet and face to face. Sharing, launching and bouncing between these channels without a second thought. That would be my preferred operational approach, not using Google.Chat (WhatsAppWeb) changes the workflow.
I can not wait util we move to working around the content and less through email. Adding comments and assigning tasks (enter a plus sign (+) followed by their email address. Each person will get an email with your comment and a link to the file. To assign the comment to a specific person, check the Assign to box.) I think it will surface, as that is how marking essentially works for teachers in Google Classroom.
Shifting to cloud thinking and cloud working
Shifting your thinking to “One file:Many users” is not a simple step. No attachments. Nothing to export. Nothing to download / upload. Adding comments and assigning tasks. And not to forget “Publish to web” a fantastic option and possible under used.
I hope that encourages a few teachers moving towards G Suite and edges those well on their way, a little on.
PS Thanks Fintan.