The best thing about Google Form uploads

As a Design Technology teacher my students are constantly creating Computer Aided Design (CAD) files. These might be from 2D Design (.dtd), Photoshop (.psd), Sketchup (.skp), and (hopefully soon) 3D printer files (.stl). In the past, getting the files from their computer to the appropriate machine involved lots of passing USB drives around in a slightly haphazard fashion. Then came Google Classroom.

I have been really happy with the workflow I use this year. First I post an assignment into the relevant Google Classsroom, with instructions for students to upload their finished files to it (this also works well as a backup for students in case they can’t find their work again).

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On the computer attached to the laser cutter I have installed the Drive App and logged into it with the same school account attached to my Google Classroom. I then go into the App Preferences and select the Google Classroom folders that have been created for my assignment.

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As soon as the students upload their file to the Assignment it gets synced with the computer attached to the laser cutter. There is only 1 problem. In Google Drive I can see the student’s names beside each file, so if they don’t include their name in the filename I can still figure out who the file belongs to. This extra metadata is not available to you once you download the file to a desktop/laptop. It looks something like this:

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So, as you can seem I have had mixed success getting my students to include their name in the filename. This system has been working fairly well, except for two things:

  1. Not all students include their name. This is just an occupational hazard. They are kids after all.
  2. In a fairly short period of time the assignment post gets pushed down in Google Classroom and the students have difficulty finding it when they need it.

Enter Google Forms, which now has a file upload feature. I have created one form for my class (I am experimenting with one class at the moment) and have called it the class dropbox. I have put a link to it in the About section of the classroom, so it doesn’t get pushed down the stream.

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For each different file I want uploaded I have added a different section to the form. As far as I can tell I can just keep adding sections all year, so that the students can always go to the same dropbox in the same place for all assignments. This is what it looks like so far:

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Students just add a file and click submit. The only hassle is that only 1 file can be uploaded at a time. There are 2 things I really like about this system:

  1. The folder that the form creates is created in the same folder that you make the form in. This makes it much easier to find than digging around in the Classroom folder for the Assignment folder that was created.
  2. This is really the reason I wrote this blog post. When a student submits a file the form will access their school G Suite account and add their name to the end of the filename!!!!!!! This means that if they don’t name the file properly I still know who it is from. This is what the Drive Folder looks like for the form above (the added names are outlined in red).

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I am sure there are lots of other  ways this file upload feature can be used in the classroom. I am looking forward to hearing how other teachers are using it.

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