School transitions to Google Drive online storage system

Aaron Lyons

Thanks to Ethan Madison’s ’15 initiative, Harvard-Westlake has adopted Google Drive as a media platform and created accounts for all students and faculty.

Students do not sign into their drives directly through Google. They go through the same authentication server that signs them into The Hub. Each student’s user-name and password is the same as for his or her Harvard-Westlake email address.

The new accounts are intended to allow for, “seamless collaboration among teachers and students,” according to Jeffrey Snapp, math teacher and tech committee member.

Snapp was responsible for explaining via all-school email how to log on and merge the  students’ new accounts with their old ones.

“The best part of this story was that one of my students, Ethan Madison, came up to me one day after class and asked why [we weren’t] using Google Education Apps,” Upper School Technology Integration Specialist Jennifer Lamkins said. “I told him it had been discussed but if he and his friends felt strongly about it, then he should present to the Educational Technology Committee. He did. It was an excellent, comprehensive presentation. I credit him with making it a serious consideration and eventually leading to its implementation here at Harvard-Westlake. Student voices matter.”

“If you forget a document on your computer at home or your flash drive containing the document, you’re out of luck,” Lamkins said. “With Google docs, you can access anytime, anywhere, with few if any compatibility issues.”

Snapp said the best part of the system is that multiple people can edit a document simultaneously, allowing for better group collaboration.

“We can move towards a more cloud-based, globally-friendly community that reflects growing trends,” Lamkins said.