Suite Tools

Introduction

Suite Tools is about learning how to use Microsoft 365, Google Drive, or iCloud and their suite of tools. Learn the basics for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms.

Cloud Computing/Storage - housing of data, including files, on an internet-based platform instead of local devices.

Forms - the tool within the Suite where you can create polls, surveys, or quick assessments.

Spreadsheets - an electronic document in which data is arranged in rows and columns of a grid and can be manipulated and used in calculations. 

Slide - a single page of a presentation.

Slide Deck/Slideshow - a collection of slides used for presentations and usually projected for the audience.

Sync - is short for synchronization. It is a way to let you keep mirror images of your files on your desktop and the Cloud at the same time. 

Word Processing - the process of creating or editing a document using a word processor.

Overview of Suite Tools

Online collaboration resources can provide users with the ability to work together synchronously (at the same time, in different locations) or asynchronously (at different times, in different locations). You can use these resources to easily create and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations and forms. What makes these resources so accessible is that they are all located in the “cloud”.  Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and iCloud are the three most commonly used cloud storage services. 

 

The cloud allows us to store files and access them from anywhere you are able to connect to the service. The connection can be made with a direct line to the internet or wirelessly.  It also allows for the sharing of documents and collaboration on files simultaneously.  

Watch this video to get a brief introduction to cloud computing. Computer Basics: What is the Cloud?  (3:28 minute) 

Stephen Fry's video, an animated explanation of cloud computing (5:38 minute), was commissioned by Databarracks Bank.  It will help you understand computing through history and how we arrived at cloud computing. 

There are several different cloud storage and file-sharing services.  Each one has its own “suite of tools” - applications for completing different tasks.  We will focus on the ones most used for education.  Therefore, you will need to have access to a Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or Apple iCloud.  If your organization doesn’t provide you with access to one of these, please create a free account. Note - some offer a paid subscription for premium services with more storage or options.

 

No matter which cloud service you utilize, they all have the same benefits.

  1. Share with anyone; team, administrators, students, parent

  2. Edit in real-time; fix an error and the correction is made across all your platforms.

  3. Autosave; distractions won’t hinder your process and you can always backtrack to find an earlier version.

  4. Backchannel chat features like comment and chat; collaborative features to help students practice using 21st century learning skills.

Microsoft 365, Google Suite/Drive, and Apple iCloud are the three main services that are used in education. Each suite contains a variety of tools and apps including documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and other tools.

In this Thing, we will explore the three most popular cloud services and their Suite Tools that are used in education: Microsoft 365, Google  Drive/Suite, and Apple iCloud. 

Hamburger

This icon, consisting of three horizontal bars, is known as the collapsed menu icon but is commonly referred to as the hamburger.  It functions to toggle a menu between being collapsed behind the button or displayed on the screen.  It is mainly used in Windows applications.

Waffle

This icon, consisting of a 3x3 grid, is an app launcher menu but is commonly referred to as the waffle.  It is used in Google applications.

Google Drive Collaboration

Google Waffle

Google drive is the Google version of an online storage system.  No longer do you need to carry a flashdrive to every computer you work on.  With a virtual drive, you just access the internet, log on to your account and pick up where you left off.  Google drive, like the others, lets you keep all your work in one place, view different file formats without buying extra software, and access your files from any device. Google gives you 15GB of free space for your Google Drive and your Gmail.  To utilize this service, you will have to sign up for a Google account unless your organization has already done that for you.

For lots more information, visit Google Drive training and help - G Suite Learning Center and Mobile training and help - G Suite Learning Center

Apple iCloud  

Pexels by Eric Sanman
Photo by Eric Sanman from Pexels

The Mac comes with a small panel along the edge of the screen called the Dock.  It works like the hamburger and waffle letting you quickly access your favorite apps, files, and folders, etc.  After you save an item to the Dock, you can access it at any time by clicking on it. 

When using a Mac or iPad, your data and apps are stored in the iCloud.  It functions in the same manner as a Google Drive or Microsoft 365 OneDrive.  Unlike the past, files created in this system are now easily converted to Microsoft file types which can then be uploaded to your Google Drive. When you sign up for iCloud, you automatically get 5GB of free storage.  iWork is the Suite of software available on the Mac used to produce documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.  It includes Pages, Keynote, and Numbers.  In order to utilize these tools, you will have to create an Apple ID.

For more information on how to use iCloud, visit How To Use iCloud: What Is It, And What Does It Do?

Now it’s time to explore the Suite Tools for these systems. Choose the service based on what your organization uses and get started with the basics by clicking on its tab.

 

Move on to the Connection page of Suite Tools