Digital document sharing can be important and powerful. By sharing files with others “in the cloud,” either publicly or privately, documents can be accessed on multiple devices in any location where an Internet connection is available. At today’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco, speakers announced Apple is joining the ranks of cloud-based file sharing services with iCloud Drive. Google Drive, DropBox, and Microsoft’s OneDrive are some of the leading services in this growing market. Whether you are sharing files with other people on an organizational board, with students in a class you teach, or in a professional development workshop, it’s handy to know different ways to share files “in cloud.”

This past semester, in preparing for our first “PLAYDATE” professional development gathering in Oklahoma City, I learned it’s possible to embed a dynamic / updated / linked list of documents included in a single Google Drive folder. The Resource Guide page for PLAYDATE Chicago was the first place I saw this, and I was able to add the same resource guide section to our PLAYDATE Google Site for Oklahoma City. This is super, since anyone with whom you’ve shared EDIT access to that folder in Google Drive can add or change documents and those changed files are immediately available on a user-friendly, linked webpage list.

To embed a Google Drive DocList in a Google Site, choose INSERT – DRIVE – FOLDER.

Today I made some updates for our PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) at ClassenSAS, and I wanted to create a similar page with an embedded Google Drive DocList. The challenge was, our PTSA website (classenSAS.com) runs on WordPress instead of Google Sites. What code is needed to do this? Fortunately, I found the answer (thanks, Google!) on this December 2013 StackOverflow post thread. We don’t have many documents in this embedded DocList yet, but I expect we will as we help more officers and committee chairs learn how to share documents this way.

Collaborative sharing on Google Drive folders is (at this point) more robust and flexible than it is with DropBox, so I think this is an even better solution than the one we came up with for our church session using DropBox a few months ago. DropBox folders (as far as I know) can’t be readily embedded on ANOTHER website like a DocList from Google Drive. DropBox’s sharing options are not as robust as Google Drive’s either.

Whenever you’re sharing media with others, EMBEDDING can often be more user-friendly than simply LINKING. When people link OUT to another site, they can sometimes have a harder time getting back to your original website. Embedded media allows access directly from your page, without having to “leave” and visit an entirely different website. If you’re a person who keeps 10+ tabs open in your web browser constantly this may not seem like a big deal, but to the LARGE number of people not yet comfortable with multi-tab web browsing, it can be.

Have you seen or used Google Drive embedded DocLists before? If so, how were they used? How could you use this method to share files more effectively with others?

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  • curbyalexander

    This is fantastic, Wes! I was embedding doclists in my course LMS by inserting the GDrive folder in a Google Site page, then embedding the site page in the LMS (See http://www.curbyalexander.net/2014/01/drag-and-drop-folders-in-the-lms/). Google would block embedding a folder using the folderview URL, so I had to find a workaround. I had no idea about the embeddedfolderview URL until today. Once Google started blocking the ability to embed Sites pages using iframe, I had a bunch of content suddenly inaccessible to my students about a week before finals. My short-term workaround was to link directly to the Google Site page from my LMS, but it was not as handy as embedding the folder directly. Now I just need to go in and update the html for my embedded foldersThanks for this great post!

  • http://www.speedofcreativity.org Wesley Fryer

    I’m so glad this is helpful to you, Curby! I was very excited as well as intrigued to see this DocList feature for the first time a few months ago on that Chicago Playdate website. We used it this week in our “STEM seeds PD Camp” for handouts:
    http://camp.stemseeds.org/home/handouts

    I really like how this streamlines the process of organizing and sharing Google Docs. I wish there was a way to make folders browseable in the embedded list rather than opening in another window, but that’s not a huge deal/problem.

    The link you shared on that post is broken because of an extra character at the end, here’s the fixed link in case others want to check it out too:
    http://www.curbyalexander.net/2014/01/drag-and-drop-folders-in-the-lms/

  • curbyalexander

    Thanks for fixing that, Wes! I didn’t even catch the mistake when I pasted the URL.

  • http://wordpress.barrow.k12.ga.us/21stcenturytips Caroline Bucky-Beaver

    Thank you so much for sharing the solution you’ve found!! I’ve been searching for plugins for our WordPress installation that would do this…to no avail. This was probably the one aspect I missed the most when I switched from Google Sites to WordPress.

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