Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Help! I Am Moving Schools. How Do I Move Google Drive Files?

How do you copy or move Google Drive files? If you are retiring or moving schools or simply want a backup of your school files here are 5 ways you can move Google Drive files.
Help! I Am Moving Schools. How Do I Move Google Drive Files?

It is the end of the school year and some of us are retiring, moving schools, or leaving education. What about all of those Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides that you created in your school Google Drive? How do you easily move the files? How do you transfer Google Drive files to a personal account?

If you are not leaving your school my advice to you is to be proactive and create a new Gmail account for your teaching files. Make a folder in that accounts Google Drive and share the folder with your school email account. Create EVERYTHING in your personal Gmail and share it with your school account. Then when you retire or leave you have nothing to do. You already own all your files.

Here are multiple solutions for moving school files:

1. Copy Files from One Google Account to Another

The challenge with moving files from one Google Account to another is that you have to be on the same domain to transfer ownership. What does that mean? The domain is what comes after the @ symbol. Your personal account has a domain of @gmail.com and your school domain is something like @myschool.k12.ca.us The option to transfer from your school domain to your personal domain does not exist. If you want to move your school files to a personal account you will need to make a copy of the file. Google does not let you copy an entire folder so you have to do it one file at a time.

  • Share a folder in your school’s Google Drive with your personal account.
  • Open your personal account and go to “Shared with me” on the left hand side of Google Drive to find your school files.
  • MAKE A COPY of each file.
  • It will NOT work to simply add those files to a folder in your personal drive. The owner of the files is your school account and once your school account is deleted they will be deleted from your personal account unless you MADE A COPY!!
  • To make a copy of a file, single click on the file(s) in Google Drive and use the 3 dots menu in the toolbar to choose “Make a copy.”
YouTube video

I have created an unofficial Add-on to copy your files from a folder in your school account to your personal account.

Want More Help with This? Become a Premium Member

2. Move Your Files to the Shared Drive

Once you leave the school and the tech department deletes your account your files are gone forever. If you made some rubrics or other files you want your colleagues to still have access to you will want to move your files into the school Share Drive. Go to drive.google.com and locate “Shared drives” on the left side. Drag your files or folders into this shared drive. This will ensure your files are not deleted once your account is deleted. Note: You will not have access to those files since your account will be deleted. However, your colleagues can still access them.

3. Google Takeout

First, Google Takeout has to be enabled by the IT department for you to use it. Thus, Google Takeout might not be an option if your school does not allow it. Google Takeout exports your files NOT as Google Files, but rather as PDF’s and Microsoft Files. Your Jams will be exported as a PDF, thus they are not Google Jamboard files anymore. Your Google Forms do not export at all.

Google Takeout does NOT transfer Google Forms

Takeout Google Classroom

Before you get excited to see that Google Takeout has an option for taking out your Google Classroom assignments be aware that it exports the files as a JSON file. There is no way to easily open this in your new Google Classroom at your new school.

4. Transfer Files to a New Google Account

IF your school allows you to transfer from your school account to a Google Account you can use your Google Account settings to make the transfer. This will “transfer” your Google Drive files and emails. It still will not transfer your Google Forms. Transfer means “makes a copy.” This definitely helps though! But again beware: Your school has to ALLOW you to transfer the files. They may have it disabled.

5. Schoolytics for Google Classroom

If you are a Google Classroom user you can log into schoolytics.com for free and after syncing your Google Classroom files go to the CONTENT LIBRARY. It says “Library” at the top center. THIS IS IN BETA! You can add your Google Classroom assignments to the Schoolytics Workspace. Those assignments can then be shared with another Google Account. You can even share assignments with your personal Gmail account.

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