A few years ago, I kept and saved “everything” on a memory stick. Being an Instructional Coach, this worked great as I jumped from class to class and school to school. Until it crashed and would not work. Fortunately, I had most stuff backed up. But it was a wake up call.
Having just learned about Google and its Drive, I moved everything there. Off of my board’s “S” drive space and into the Cloud. I also backed it all up on an external hard drive.
At the time, all this was stored under the domain name “thamesvalleymail”. However, our board decided to go with “GOTVDSB” as a domain name instead. Last fall, we were instructed to share everything with that name and to run with it instead. So, I shared all 12 GB of material with myself – from “thamesvalleymail” to “GOTVDSB”. However, when I look in GOTVDSB the number in the “storage used” is way lower than 12 GB. It made me quickly realize that I don’t actually “own” my stuff in GOTVDSB. In fact, “thamesvalleymail” is the owner. In order to properly own all my stuff, I need to copy each file (individually, because you can’t copy folders). Which is time consuming and a bit tedious.
One thing I’ve learned is that Google makes it much easier to upload things than to download.
I’ve asked the board about it, and the only solution seems to be to have my Google drive backed up on a home computer. Which, I’m not keen on. I think I’ve kind of reconciled this as a “clean up”. I figure the stuff that I use most often and that is most up to date with rise to the surface. Soon, they will be getting rid of “thamesvalleymail” and I’m assuming much of my stuff will disappear with it. And maybe it’s okay to let go of some of my outdated files. Some of my files are on that external hard drive too. Although I’m disappointed by the whole situation, it has been a valuable lesson to learn.
This experience, coupled with my recent reading of Audrey Watters “The Monsters of Education Technology” have me rethinking a few things. It was a thought provoking read and helped me understand some things in edtech that have always made me a bit uncomfortable.
I’ll admit, I briefly fell out of love with Google and was thinking of going completely Google Free. I read articles about others’ experiences with this such as this one:
Add to this that I have recently purchased a new computer. What choices would I make to go with my recent change of heart?
Well, one thing I did was go with Ubuntu (Linux) as an operating system instead of Windows. And I’m loving it. If there is one thing that stuck with me after reading Audrey’s book it’s the idea that computers were meant to be controlled by us, not vice versa. I think Apple, Google and Microsoft have made computers extremely easy for us to use. And in making their products “turn key” ready, we have lost a whole bunch of computer operating knowledge.
The apps in Ubuntu are all open source and don’t track you. So far, I’m pretty impressed with them. For example their “Libreoffice” is like Word and can upload and download from Docs in Google. I’m using Firefox as a web browser and my search engine has been changed to “Duck Duck Go”.
With Ubuntu, I feel much more in control of the computer and shaping it into the tool that I want. I have no complaints really, other than the fact that I can’t sync my iPhone (yet). In the meantime, I can use my husband’s computer for that. He’s getting a kick out of my Ubuntu adventures.
And as for Google, I have done some more thinking. While I’m going to be much more conscious of what I share and upload to my school Drive, I realize that its real power lies in collaboration. With my work with other teachers, students, coaches and learning coordinators, it really is handy to have one copy that we all work on, share and develop together.
I just need to be mindful to back up a copy for myself. Or perhaps start it or “create it” in my own personal Google account and then share it with my GOTVDSB account.
And then I start to wonder… isn’t this digital literacy that we should be teaching our students too?
Who “owns” your stuff? Who’s watching and tracking your data?
What else should we be looking at more critically before going “all in”?
And well, my next steps? Exploring my owning my own domain name. Learning more about computers components generally and some more about the coding languages that Ubuntu/Linux uses.
It’s my little summer inquiry if you will. I’m just a beginner, but I’m enjoying exploring and watching tutorial videos on how to run it all efficiently and in a way that works for me.
I’m also grateful to a few people who have answered a few questions along the way.
How is your work flow different? What have you taken into consideration and how does that appear in your work flow? What could I and others learn from it? Please share in the comments below!