Transferring ownership in #Google Drive #GAFE

In a few days I will be leaving my current school and want to ensure that the work I have curated, created and shared via Google Drive over the past four years does not disappear into the digital ether.

A few weeks ago I began to investigate how to backup Google Apps for Education emails, drive files, photos, etc and discovered Google Takeout. It’s a neat service that worked in the background to create 2GB segments of my work which could be downloaded. It worked really well: converting Google Docs, Sheets and Slides into Microsoft Office compatible files, extracting email into an MBOX readable format. I may not need to use all the files and the emails are purely for reference but I felt a lot better having a non-cloud backup, just in case.

Transferring ownership is very easy as long as you have the email address of someone within the same GAFE organisation. The most efficient method is to use the GAFE admin console which is the only way to transfer ALL files to another user quickly.

However it isn’t quite as quick and easy as you might think: The alternative is to transfer ownership of each file individually! For someone who has kept three or four folders for each of the “strands” of my role – Computing Teacher, eLearning Coordinator, CAS Aberdeen hub chair, Form teacher, etc. there doesn’t appear to be any easy fix via the Admin console – unless there was only one person taking over all of the folders (there isn’t). Transferring ownership of a parent folder does not automatically transfer ownership of all other files and, once my account is deleted, the files are removed from the folder owned by the new user.

There is a simple solution to this – keep files related to departments in dummy department accounts e.g. computingdept and elearning for example. This means that, when personnel changes happen, it is a simple matter of removing the share from the old user and then sharing the folder with their replacement.

You will have to remember to create all files while logged in as the department account too – otherwise the GAFE admin console is still required to transfer ownership from the user to the department account.

Heather Dowd’s video below explains clearly how to go through the process of transferring folders and files to another user and makes use of a dummy “curriculum” account too:

Here are other elements you might have to consider:

  1. Remember to transfer ownership of Google Sites, G+ communities and YouTube channels as well!
  2. Should you deactivate any live Google Forms before transferring ownership?
  3. What happens to comments created by a user who is then deleted from the GAFE system?
  4. Is this something that can be scripted and run by GAFE Administrators prior to a user leaving the domain?
  5. Is Google Takeout a suitable option for students who have built up a lot of data over the course of their time at the school? Should there be a data retention policy so that storage is cleared every few years?
  6. Should you keep your sub-folders to a minimum in order to reduce the time required to transfer ownership? (I know I’m regretting being organised now!)

Are we still in the dark ages of digital literacy?

Reading Emma Mulqueeny’s 2013 blogpost on embedding digital literacy as early as year five made for familiar territory this evening, and not because it’s a post I’ve read before!

“we are falling behind all other countries by doing nothing more than shaking our heads at the problem and perhaps attending a 1-day course on coding”

Emma has a point. Not just about the coding bit (which I am beginning to realise has become lost through the reduction of the art of programming to abstract drag and drop components) but of the progress the teaching community has made in embedding digital literacy as a component as essential as literacy and numeracy in primary school and of convincing universities to demand more of their students than the ability to navigate a website and use Harvard referencing styles in their essays. Technology is still widely seen as the carrot; the reward; the thing students do in the evening or in extra-curricular clubs; the phone in the pocket, rather than a compartment of the learning toolbox essential for future success.

Secondary level teachers also have to accept their portion of the blame for this lack of progress. We shuffle ICT and Computer Science topics like cards to try and find the best hand in order to increase numbers taking the subject at certificate level. Then we simultaneously complain that our subject has been dumbed down through introduction of faculties and non-specialist teachers, a near-empty CPD budget, lack of suitable technology or time – all the while beautifully distracted from the key aim: to actually address the digital literacy problem.

But what would we actually do in this utopian classroom to enlighten and engage students and – as a country and with barely a nod to OECD PISA rankings and the like – actually nurture digitally literate children?

New Yorker’s James Surowiecki summed up the current problem still faced by many so-called digital natives (and others!) in his 2007 article “Feature Creep” which commented on the (then new) iPhone:

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, allowing us to do things more quickly and efficiently. But too often it seems to make things harder, leaving us with fifty-button remote controls, digital cameras with hundreds of mysterious features and book-length manuals, and cars with dashboard systems worthy of the space shuttle.

Just like the multitude of excuses and ever-changing course plans that distract the education community, technology can blind the user with its blizzard of features and this makes fixing a measure of digital literacy challenging. Here are some thoughts:

  1. Why do we want to improve digital literacy? What will the accomplishment of digital literacy mean for our students?
  2. Is a digitally literate person someone who can understand and operate a microwave? A smartphone? A Sky+ box? A Raspberry Pi? An Arduino? A drone? A 3D printer?
  3. Is digital literacy an achievement that can be assessed? In what format?
  4. Is a digitally literate person from 2014 as digitally literate as someone who achieves this in 2015?
  5. Is a consistent technical infrastructure necessary to ensure national digital literacy?

Have JISC accurately captured the different aspects of digital literacy?

Or Futurelab?

Or the Open University?

Or Doug Belshaw?