Distance Learning with Google Apps

Distance Learning with Google

OVERWHELMED…FRUSTRATED…READY TO SIT DOWN AND CRY…These are just a few of the emotions teachers are feeling. With distance learning, teachers don’t have to learn one new program, but dozens. To help I am going to provide a few answers to questions I see repeatedly about Google Apps including Google Slides, Docs, and Forms. For each question, I will provide the “Give it to Me Fast” answer and “I Need to Know More” answer.

Question #1 – Why can’t I edit this Google Slide or Doc?

Fast Answer

If you want to make edits to files you do not own, you need to make a copy of the file to your Google Drive. Once the copy is saved, you own it and can make edits. Remember this is also true when you assign Google Slides to your students. They must save files to their Google Drives before they edit; otherwise, all the students are making changes to your originals.

More Information

This one-minute video shows you how to save copies of Google Slides or Documents to your Google Drive.

Distance Learning Using Google

Here are the steps for saving a copy to your Google Drive:

  1. Open the file you want to make a copy of.
  2. In the menu, click File -> Make a copy.
  3. Type a name and choose where to save it.
  4. Click OK.Steps for Saving a Copy to your Google Drive


Question #2 – Why don’t I see the “Make a Copy” link?

Fast Answer

Google does not have the option to make a copy of a folder and all its contents/files. You will need to save each file individually to your Google Drive.

More Information

I frequently share a folder full of files. For me, it is easier to look through and assess the material I need and want to use when it is all together. This way I can determine if I need to save a few files or all the contents of the folder to my Google Drive.


I recommend making a file in your Google Drive for each unit. Next, save all the files from my Google Drive to a specific folder in your Google Drive. Next, share the individual files with your students from your drive. This way you can edit the number of slides you assign.

Be sure when you share the files from your Google Drive with your students you share as “view only” and then ask the students to save in their Google Drive; otherwise, everyone will be editing your originals. The next question explains how to do this.

Steps for Saving a Copy to your Google Drive

Distance Learning – A Little Comic Relief

Question #3 – How do I get the forced “Make a Copy” option when I share a Google Slide Presentation with my students?

Fast Answer

You can change the link from edit to copy when sharing just one file instead of the folder. This forces students to make a copy and is much easier for them. Here is a simple Youtube video that shows you how:

More Information

  1. Open the Google file you want to share. Click the Share button at the top right corner of the screen.
  2. A text box will open. Click -> Copy link.
  3. You should receive the message that the link has been copied to the clipboard.
  4. Paste the link into a document or email.
  5. Change the end of the web address from

edit?usp=sharing -> copy

Steps for Saving a Copy to your Google Drive

Distance Learning – More Comic Relief

Assigning Parts of a Large Digital Product


A Few Resources for Teachers

Google for Education Teacher Center

160+ Chrome Apps and Extensions for Teachers and Students

edtechteacher – Getting Started with Google

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