Oct 9, 2015

New Sharing Options in Drive: Part 1 - How To

Teachers and students now have more freedom with their sharing options when working in Google Drive.  Sharing options now exist that allow files to be shared with the public.  Additionally, certain files can be “published” to the web, turning them into auto-updating websites based on the Google doc/slide/sheet.  Let’s take at how to enable these new features in part 1 of this four part blog post series.

Sharing with the “public”

When sharing a file in Drive, you now have the additional choices seen below.

  • On - Public on the web.  This option allows anyone on the web to find the document through internet search.  This is NOT recommended or any of our educational applications.

  • On - Anyone with the link.  This option allows anyone to view/edit/comment (your choice) if they are provided with the link to the document.  This has a variety of educational applications that will be discussed in part 2 of this blog post.

[caption id="attachment_2764" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Click to view full screen Click to view full screen[/caption]

Additionally, it is now important to note a few owner settings that are available.  You can prevent people with editing rights to your file from changing who has access to the file, as well as prevent people with “commenting” or “viewing” rights from downloading, printing, or making a copy of the file.  This is good for you and your students to understand if they want to really lock down their content and only allow others to view it, and nothing else.

[caption id="attachment_2765" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Click to view full screen Click to view full screen[/caption]

Publishing to the web

With the option above, the owner is giving out a link to the original file that is stored in Google Drive.  With the “Publish to the web” option, you are instead creating a webpage that is dedicated to that Google doc, sheet, or slide.  One distinct advantage of this method is that you can then embed that doc/slide/sheet into another website (like schoolwires, CMS, etc…).  Even better; this published document auto-updates when the original Google file is updated!  More applications for this are discussed in part three of this blog post, but here is a quick example.

    1. Fill out this form

    2. Watch the published Google Sheet of responses update automatically below (Forms are currently experiencing issues, so if this does not display for you, check back later)!

Follow these simple steps to publish a Google file to the web.

  1. Click <File>

  2. <Publish to the web>

  3. Choose <link> or <embed>

  4. Click <Publish>

  5. You can choose additional options by clicking <Published content and settings>

This animation will play on a loop.  You can also click on it to start it from the beginning in a new window.


Now that you know how to turn on these features, let’s take a look at how to leverage them for awesome educational experiences for students and increased communication with the community!

Part 2 - Public Link Sharing Ideas

Part 3 - Publishing Ideas

Part 4 - Being Safe While Being Public

Sean Mullins | District Instructional Technology Coach

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