Getting Started with Google Apps

To use Google Apps or Google Drive, you will need an account with Google. Because there are various types of accounts with Google, we need to review the pros and cons of which account you will use with this class, including some recommendations.

A few years ago, Google originally released Google Docs (now called Google Drive), a free version of web-based tools that imitated some of the features of Microsoft Office: word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation tools. To get access, people would create accounts with Google to use the tools.

Businesses and education users started putting pressure on Google to modify Google Docs so enterprises and schools could manage the accounts for their employees and students. Google then released a parallel system to Google Docs called Google Apps that gives a higher level of control for the IT people within these organizations. Through Google Apps, some schools/organizations created their own domains for these tools. South Dakota's K-12 Data Center has also incorporated Google Apps tools as a part of the services. Technology coordinators for schools utilizing the K-12 Data Center can "enable" Google Apps for their employees and/or students.

If your school offers Google Apps, you will want to use that account for these classes. If you are unsure whether your school has Google Apps, contact your district technology coordinator. If Google Apps is not an option, you can create a Google Drive account.

Also, the browser you use can affect some features within Google Apps/Drive. There are some features that do not work with Internet Explorer, particularly older versions. We recommend downloading and installing Google Chromeor Firefox.

iPad users can use iPad Browsers to access Google Drive/Apps. Google Drive is a free iPad app that can be downloaded. There are some trade-offs when using an iPad browser for Google Apps compared to desktop computers. If you find your experience less than satisfactory, considering trying the iPad browser Puffin.