Google Drive Youtube Thumbnail

Using Google Drive to Collaborate With Learners Online (Including Audio Feedback)

There are many reasons to use Google Drive as an English teacher.

Personally, I use it for all my documents and spreadsheets which make running my online teaching business much easier.

But in the video below, I specifically look at how you can use Google Documents, Google Presentations, and a very special add-on to work with your students asynchronously.

These tools can be used whether you teach online or offline, and I hope it gives you some ideas of how you can work asynchronously with your learners.

Here is the video:

Use Google Drive for Writing Projects, Audio, and Presentations

In the video, I gave three examples of how you can use Google Drive with your learners.

Google Docs

I explained how to share a document (easy, right?), and then showed a project that one of my students worked on last year.

The idea to do this came from my interview with Mark Barnes (see here), where I asked my learner what type of project he wanted to do. I left it open, explained that it would be a long-term project, and he came back to me with his idea for a book.

Over the next few weeks, he added another chapter (about one page) to his book, and I corrected his work – which he could see through the revision history – and also commented on specific parts of the text to open up a discussion on certain points.

Something that I didn’t mention was that after correcting his work, I formed some questions based on the mistakes he made so he could practice specific structures in the following one-to-one lesson.


Kaizena was recommended to me by Rich Kiker (see his interview here), and although I have only used it on a couple of occasions, I see huge potential with this add-on for Google Docs.

Some ideas for using this with your learners are:

– To give general feedback on a task or project
– To collaborate with your learner on their pronunciation
– To give more speaking practice

If you’re looking for something a little more detailed for speaking feedback, I recommend SoundCloud (example below),

Google Presentations

One of my long-term students had a presentation to give for a job interview last autumn (did you notice American English creeping in during the video?).

We used Google Presentations to work together on this. Firstly, he wrote his presentation and his notes, and I then corrected his mistakes in the slides and gave feedback using the comment feature.

In addition, we used SoundCloud so I could give him feedback on his spoken presentation.

(Note: He got the job!)

Instead of taking a one-to-one lesson, it was much more efficient and effective for us to use Google Presentation and SoundCloud.

Over to You

Have you used Google Drive to collaborate with your students?

If so, or if you have any thoughts on this at all, please leave a comment below.


If you're curious about online teaching, get my free video series on how you can get started. Click the button and enter your details to get instant access to video 1!



  • Nelle

    I’ve used google drive to do polls and surveys with students in order to assess what they think or feel about a given assignment.

  • I agree with your post! I also use Google apps for almost all of my office needs. It’s storage and office in one.

    For Filipinos who want to teach English online, check It’s the highest paying ESL company in PH.

  • Drive is great for collaborative writing, and it also encourages listening and speaking as well. I did some research ( ) in my blended classroom and found that the students really talked and engaged with language while they were working together writing an essay on Drive.
    I’d love to know how to replicate that online. Is Hangouts the best way to have students speak to each other while writing together, or are other tools better?

    • I think it is. You can embed documents within the hangout and anyone can edit them.

  • Larry Fedorowick

    Very nice idea… I have used Google Drive to share things like exams and exercises and also to record all attendance, and evaluations for students in our English department ( I was head of department)… However, I always used MS word when correcting students writing, which is at times a little clunky. I will definitely look at this and I appreciate your sharing!

  • Cara Leopold

    I have Google Drive open for every single online lesson! I don’t know what I’d do without it – that said, I don’t want to become too dependent on Google for email, docs, search etc, but that’s another issue! I really like your presentation feedback idea, especially as Google slides and Soundcloud enable you to insert comments easily. I recently got a student to deliver her presentation on Keynote, so make a video of the whole thing (your tip to me on another post-thanks!) and then I made up a feedback sheet to comment on any language issues (pronunciation, errors on the slide), any unclear sections and on delivery etc. She’ll be delivering the presentation at a conference in the next few days and think it was really useful for her to have this “practice run” where she was actually able to give the presentation as she would in front of an audience and listen back to herself. Anyway, your technique is obviously very effective seeing as your student got the job! Thanks for the tip about Kaizena, although I think if you want to do a voiceover of feedback, then any sort of screen capture tool works well, although you would end up with an actual video at the end, not just a doc with a few portions of audio – depends what your learners prefer maybe.