Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Google Photos Now Available in Your GAFE Account

Starting May 5, 2015, Google Apps for Education accounts should start to receive the recently announced Google Photos in their Google Drive for iOS, Android, the web. Now teachers and students can easily back up their photos and videos to Drive! Read on for an explanation of this new feature and some practical classroom uses.

Back on March 30, 2015 the +Google Drive blog announced Google Photos for Drive. If you use the Google+ mobile app, then you may already be familiar with the option to automatically back up your photos and videos to Google+. With Google Photos, you can now automatically back up your videos and photos to a folder in Google Drive, but until today it was only available for personal Google accounts. Now +Google for Education accounts have access to Google Photos as well!

Google Photos will automatically appear in your Drive when its ready. And you'll see it in the Google Drive mobile app for iOS and Android as well, without the need for an app update.

Setting Up Google Photos

There are a few things you need to do in the beginning to really put Google Photos to work.

Turn on the Google Photos folder from the Settings menu in Google Drive for the web.

Google Photos settings from the iOS app.
First, you'll want to turn on the option to have a Google Photos folder. The folder will also contain your backed up photos & videos (same as Google Photos in the side bar), but the folder allows you to further organize your media into sub folders. You can turn on this folder from the Settings on the web or in the mobile app.

On your mobile device you can also turn on Auto Backup and Full Size Backups. I recommend sticking to Wi-Fi only so you don't kill your mobile data plan.

From my experience, only one Google account will back up media from you mobile device. If you have several accounts connected, you can only choose one primary account for the back up.

The Benefits for Teachers & Students

1. Students can organize their Google Photos folder into sub folders and those sub folders can be shared with other teachers and peers, depending on the class and the purpose. Students can take photos or screenshots on their mobile device, have it automatically backed up to Google Photos and then they can organize those images into sub folders, based on subject, class, or projects groups. And each folder can have specific share permissions with the teacher and/or other students. 
  • This is a quick and easy way to set up ePortfolios.
  • Students can have a shared folder for a project and they can move any backed up project images into that folder for everyone to use.
  • Have your students create a subfolder for your class (named "subject - name", and whenever an image or video related to your class is backed up, they can immediately move it into that folder. You will always have access to student work this way!

Have students create sub folders based on subject, class, or project groups.

2. If space is becoming an issue with students and their tablets, then the culprit might be their excessive use of selfies. If students have Auto Backup turned on, then they can remove the photos from their device as soon as it is backed up to Google Drive. Those images and videos can be downloaded back on to the device later on if needed for a project or assignment.

3. Did you know that all Google Apps for Education accounts have UNLIMITED storage in Google Drive? So it's not going to hurt your student's storage space to have all those photos and videos backed up to Drive.

Give Google Photos a try on your device first. Everything that is backed up is kept private until you decide to share it. And if you need any assistance, check out the help center!

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