Saturday, November 23, 2013

Why Educators Need to Look for Alternatives to Google Drive/Docs

How Google+ Is Destroying Education

People tend to say that you shouldn't write when you're angry, but that is my favorite time to write. After over 2 hours on the phone with Google Apps support and several days of research, I want to make it clear that educators around the world need to start shopping for an alternative to Google Drive. That's a bold statement, but let me explain why I am making it, especially as a user of Blogger, Drive, Gmail, and tons of other Google features:

1. Many educational sites that I use, review, and train educators on for classroom use are no longer possible to integrate with Google Drive because Google+ wants to hype its social media platform, despite adverse consequences to students and teachers.
When I try to make it so that I can connect Google Drive documents and spreadsheets to educational sites that I use with my classroom of 5th graders (who have no business having Google+ accounts), I get errors saying that this user must have a Google+ account in order to upload Google Drive documents to this educational website. I'm shocked that more educators and bloggers aren't raising a fuss about this because if Facebook did something this incompetent, even Congress would agree that something needed to be done. Notice the keyword there, "agree."

2. Google's stubborn resolve to hype its failed social platform (Google+) is not going to change.
Just Google (or Bing it, in case by the time you read this post, Google has forced you to have a Google+ account in order to use its basic search site) this phrase: Google+ forced integration. You will see posts, sites, videos, and petitions about how Google has destroyed YouTube by forcing users to have a Google+ account to make comments on YouTube videos. This is just the beginning, folks. Sites that you know and love all over the web will begin prompting you to sign up for Google+ just to do the things you used to do all the time.

3. Google has killed off many failed components in the past, but somehow, Google+ has survived.

4. Within Google Apps for Education, you cannot enable Google+ while also disabling features that should never be used by kids under 13. 
Google did not think this one through, or perhaps they did, and the $$$ signs outweighed the cost to teachers and students. I fear that many educators, for lack of knowledge about the dangers of using Google+ with children under 13, will simply enable this integration so that they can make their educational websites functional and, well, EDUCATIONAL, but they will be inadvertently enabling kids to create social media profiles, which is risky business.

I don't anticipate any of this changing anytime soon, so as an educator, I have already started looking into alternatives to Google Drive. I suggest other educators do the same. Even if Google changes this one serious flaw, it is just a sign that the company is heading in the wrong direction and is so laser-focused on profits that it does not anticipate or care about casualties to business and educational users.

Shame on you, Google.

1 comment:

  1. In the coming weeks, I will be posting some alternatives to Google's various sites for educational use. One great alternative to Google Docs asset/room scheduling is ShareTimeTable, which offers way more features and tools. Info at: