Google Drive less than delightful

Mike Higgins

How many times have you heard this “clever” line so far this year? “No I don’t have a hard copy of the paper due today, but I shared it with you.”

John Maynard Keynes once said, “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from the old ones.” All Mr. Ostick’s AP Economics scholars should know a thing or two by now about that British economist. Although the purpose of this piece is not to discuss the father of modern macroeconomics, the quote is very applicable to what Malvern is facing right now. Google Drive.

At the end of last school year, students and faculty were informed that our email and other systems would be switching over to Gmail and Google Drive. Like all other students, I followed the litany of instructions on how to transfer my x-drive files onto my allocated portion of the cloud. Now I had not used Google Drive very much prior to this conversion, so I was certainly not well versed in how the entire system worked. Summer soon began and Google Drive was not even an afterthought.

September rolled around and my senior year got under way. The first week of school on the new system was unbelievably confusing for me. Teachers were sharing documents in numerous different folders while creating new separate folders, and I could not find anything. The fact that we really did not have an assembly about the switch or even some sort of training on the system did not help matters at all. Like Keynes’ quote, Google Drive was ready for use, but I did not really want to get rid of my x-drive that I had since 6th grade.

As I’m sure you have sensed I am not the biggest Google Drive fan. I think that there should have been a publicized support system in place to help those struggling to adapt to the change over. Other than the spotty way Google Drive operates, the programs themselves are below average. Google Docs is mediocre compared to Word and compared with PowerPoint, Google Slides is horrendous. Google Slides is a completely watered-down version of the Microsoft equivalent and not only are tons of features missing, but my converted PowerPoint presentations almost never work on Google Drive.

The new Chromebooks that are all over campus also have several pros and cons. The one real positive that comes to mind with the purchase of these laptops is when you go to the Learning Commons you are never left without access to a computer. Last year in the library, it was really tough to get a desktop or laptop during peak hours. Now the shear number of these laptops allows any student to obtain one almost at any time of the day. Yet I think that Malvern went for quantity over quality in selection and purchase of these computers.

While there is a profusion of laptops and each one from what I understand is fairly cheap in price, the Chromebooks don’t do anything except get the Internet. The lack of Microsoft programs makes life so much more difficult for me. The fact that I can no longer open any type of Word document or PowerPoint presentation in the majority of places on campus is absurd. I believe that a certain number of the old Mac laptops should have been kept, so the student could decide what he wants to use.

While I’m sure there are a few upsides to the new Google platform that I am overlooking, I still think that this change was forced on us too quickly with no overlap time to learn the new system. No large transition is ever that smooth and there will always be those for the change and those fighting against it. Just in the meantime please don’t share any documents with me.  I prefer Microsoft Word.