Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

DriveMail: When Students Do Not Have Email

DriveMail by Alice Keeler
DriveMail: When Students Do Not Have Email

DriveMail by Alice Keeler

Send Messages to Google Drive

If students do not have email it can be challenging to send feedback messages or notifications. I coded the ability to create a Google Doc per student on your roster and to push comments to their document like email. Students would make a habit of checking “Recent” in Google Drive to see if they have any new messages.



You can also permanently add DriveMail to your Add-on menu by joining alicekeeler.com/betatester and installing from the Chrome webstore.

Rename Your Spreadsheet

Change the default of DriveMail Template to something more meaningful like “2018 messages to students” or “Unit 8 messages.”

Add on Menu

Create a copy of Google Sheets spreadsheet template above. Use the Add on menu to choose “DriveMail.”
Drivemail add on menu

Authorize the Script

Choosing the Show sidebar option will prompt you to authorize the script. Google is not vouching for me since I did not submit this to be reviewed by Google so you will see a warning screen. Click on Advanced and then click on the link that says “unsafe” (it is safe). Trust me, I did not code anything malicious. You will need to authorize the app permissions. You are authorizing YOURSELF access. Not me or anyone else. I coded this personally, it is safe! 

Add a Roster

Choosing “Add a roster” allows you to paste the names and email addresses of your students. The format of Last, First, Email address follows the export format of Google Classroom to allow you to copy and paste from Classroom.
Paste Your Roster

Create Doc

The “Create Doc” option in the Add-on menu or sidebar will generate a Google Doc per student on the roster. The Google Doc will be shared with the student and placed in their Google Drive.
Create Doc

You will be prompted for the title of the student documents. Note that the students’ names will be added to the titles to make it easier to know whose doc belongs to whom!
Messages from your teacher

Like magic, a document is created and linked in the spreadsheet. You may want to create an assignment in Google Classroom and leave a Private Comment for each student pasting the link to their DriveMail.
DriveMail links


After the documents have been created you will want to send students a message. Use the Add-on menu to “Compose” or sidebar to click “Comment.”
Compose a comment

Subject Line

You will be prompted for a global comment (subject line) for your feedback. This will show in each student’s Google Doc.
Global message

Leave Feedback or a Message

A new tab is created within the spreadsheet to allow you to leave an individualized comment (or to copy and paste the same comment to multiple students.) If you skip a student, leave no comment, DriveMail will skip sending a comment to that student. You can use DriveMail to send a note to one student, a selection of students, or all students.
DriveMail list of comments


In the Add-on menu or in the sidebar choose to “Send” the messages to the students’ documents. Click on one of the Google Docs links to confirm that the messages were indeed sent.
Feedback in the Google Doc

New messages are posted at the top of the Google Doc. The date is also listed for the student to know when the message was left.

Another Message

Use the same spreadsheet to send messages to the same Google Doc. Use the Add on menu or the sidebar to compose a new message.

One Way Communication

Unfortunately, students are not able to message back. Because, assuming, student’s lack email ability they do not have a way to use the DriveMail to respond back to the teacher.

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