PowerSearching Your Google Drive

It’s probably because I’m changing schools, but I’m currently obsessed with finding efficient ways to manage and transfer ownership of Google Docs. To be fair, I really started thinking about it at ASB Unplugged in 2012 when I had an awesome conversation with Jeff Plaman, Simon May, Aaron Metz and Andrew McCarthy about “exit strategies” for teachers. But I digress…

About three weeks ago it started with this:

Looking for ways to transfer ownership of lots of #GDocs. I thought changing ownership of the folder would do the trick, but it won't!
Clint Hamada

As with most things Google, @jayatwood quickly joined the conversation and he offered some great tips for PowerSearching within Google Drive:

@ Dropdown arrow at right of search box. There's "Not Shared" under the visibility options.
Jay Atwood

Thanks to Jay and a bit of interneting, I quickly discovered how to find documents owned by me and shared to another specific person:

Search Google Drive

It was useful, but it still didn’t answer an important question:

@ Nice. Is there a way to search for all files owned by me that I've shared?
Clint Hamada

I think I just found the answer. The key is in the difference between “Private” and “Not shared”. As best as I can tell, “Private” means that it has been shared to a specific list of individuals (as opposed to anybody in your domain or anybody in your domain with link) and “Not shared” means, well, not shared. So, by using this search

GDocs Search


I’m able to call up all the documents that I own and have ever shared with any specific individuals and can then transfer ownership as needed!

What other Google Drive tricks have you found?


The Dark Side of GDocs? – Transferring Ownership

We’ve starting implementing Google Docs pretty heavily at our school. It’s the perfect solution to share and collaborate on documents with colleagues. There are many important curriculum documents that are created by individual teachers. With GDocs it is a simple process to work on these documents and develop this curriculum collaboratively.

As with many international schools, however, we have a pretty decent turnover rate of teachers at our school. Our average length of stay for teachers hovers right around 4 years.

And this is the dark side of going Google: What happens when a teacher leaves the school and we delete their Google Apps account? All of that data is also deleted. All of those shared documents and all of that institutional knowledge is gone unless you take precautions and prepare those teachers in advance.

So, what are the solutions?

Actually, for the leaving teacher it is pretty easy. Although you cannot transfer ownership of documents outside of your school domain, it is a pretty simple matter to use Google Takeout (thanks to the Data Liberation Front) to download all of the items in your Google Drive (or selected folders).

But what about those documents that need to stay within the institution? There might be a better way, but here’s what I’ve come up with:

Transfering ownership of Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Presentations, and Forms: These native formats can easily have their ownership transferred to a departmental or institutional account. For example, if I have Math curriculum documents, I can put all of these in a single folder, select all and transfer ownership to math@mydomain.com. (If this is a new account, you may need to share it with this account first, and then transfer ownership.) Because you are transferring ownership and not creating a new document, the URL should remain the same and any existing links to that document should still work. Also, the existing sharing settings should remain the same. You can also use this method to transfer ownership of any of your documents to anybody else in your school like a co-teacher or your department head.

Transferring ownership of non-native GDoc formats such as PDFs, JPGs, and MS Word files: The method above does not work with other files that you have uploaded to Google Drive, unfortunately. However, once you have gone through the process above and have also removed any personal or non-essential files from Google Drive, the Google Apps administrator has the ability to “bulk transfer” ownership of all files from one user to another. This transfer could be to an archive account (archive@mydomain.com?). If teachers find they need a file and the owner is listed as “archive” they can then either request a transfer of ownership (if it is a native GDoc that was accidentally overlooked) or could make a copy of the file. After a set period of time (6 months? 1 year?) I would delete all archived worked permanently.

Transfer Docs

Thoughts? How do you handle this at your school?

ASB Unplugged Reflection Part 2 – Unplanned, Unconference

It seems like forever ago since I landed back in Hanoi after 3 days in Mumbai. Actually, it was only a week ago. I started my reflections with a list of tweets that I sent during the conference.

The first day of ASB Unplugged was devoted to classroom visits, student showcases and discussions by some of the various R&D groups that are functioning at ASB. During that time, quite by chance, I found myself sitting around a table that included Jeff Plaman, Andrew McCarthy, Simon May, Aaron Metz and Adrienne Michetti. What happened over the next 90 minutes was PURE GOLD.

The focus of conferences, for me, has changed. It is no longer about sitting in a room and being told about/shown the  “next great thing” in education. It’s now about sitting in the hallways and in the common areas and leveraging connections that I have already made through Twitter and other aspects of my PLN into deep and meaningful conversations.

In those 90 minutes, we bobbed and weaved through three major points of discussion:

1. Ownership and Exit Strategy – I’ve written about it a long time ago and it still sits somewhere in the back of my mind. How do we balance the needs and wants of teachers to create curriculum materials in spaces all over the internet with the need for the school to have continuity in that curriculum delivery? With such a large amount of transience in international schools in particular, how can schools encourage teachers to create amazing, lasting digital curriculum material that can continue to be used by both parties when that teacher moves to the next school? Related to this, what are we doing as a school to create an “exit strategy” for teachers, helping them to collect all of their digital resources to bring to their next school, ensuring that those resources are available to subsequent teachers? I’d be curious to know if there are any schools with effective checklists for the end of year related to Google Docs, WordPress blogs, and any external wiki platforms that are used. How do you keep track of all the great things that are going on in the classroom on the weeblys and wikispaces and tumblrs and…?

2. New Teachers – Transient teachers mean lots of training. Last year, there were 44 new teaching and admin staff at UNIS due to staff turnover and school growth! We spent a lot of time discussing ways in which we run our various orientations and inductions. CISHK runs a course through Moodle with teacher-created content that is accessible by their new staff prior to their arrival. Included in the course are some short ‘assessments’ on skills. If they can show mastery prior to showing up on campus, then they can skip those training sessions at the beginning of the year and spend time doing other things to prepare for the start of the year. I love this idea. I wonder if we could use Google Forms and Flubaroo as a means of creating self-assessed quizzes for incoming staff to show their understanding?

3. New Students – Student turnover is pretty constant at UNIS. Just this month I’ve seen 4 or 5 new students as they prepare to start in their new classes. Because we are a technology-rich school, students need to feel some level of comfort with the machines and the systems before they can be effective in classes. What’s the balance? How do we effectively and efficiently get these students ready to participate in classes? One things that is working very well this year in the middle school  is the idea of a tech buddy. New students attend a 60 – 90 minute orientation with their tech buddy (who is also their buddy for other things, I believe). Instead of me leading the students through some of the basics of their new computer, I get the buddy to do the brunt of the work. I think this idea has great potential but I’ll need to work with the teachers to ensure that the skills that they feel are necessary from day 1 are being addressed.

I’d love to hear any ideas that you have about any of these three points. The more perspectives the better!


EXIT: cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by zilverbat.