What is a Leaf?

Content that is published to SharingTree is called a Leaf. Any file in your Google Drive or on an electronic device can be published in minutes using our service. You can choose to publish your original content for free or charge any price. Users then use Paypal for paid content or just OPEN the leaf to have it transferred directly to their Google Drive. Publishers can also add a title, tags, and a description to help others find their content. For education resources, the grade level and standards can also be entered. Leaves looks like the following in SharingTree:

Leaf Page
Preview of Leaf

For Leaves you have published you can also revise any information and add different preview images to it by going to Leaves -> Published

You also have the option to delete any content you have published using the Trash can or Remove options.

If you would like us to add additional features let us know by going to Account -> Contact

What is a Group?

A Group is a collection of content from one publisher. They can include leaves (published content), images, and links to YouTube videos. Groups are easily recognized in SharingTree by their blue Group banner in the upper left corner.

Group Preview Page

Purchasing or opening a free group creates a folder in your Google Drive with all the content inside in one simple click!

Editable content can then be customized for your personal use. We also include a Google sheet in the Group folder with links to all the images and YouTube videos. Groups can be offered at a discount compared to purchasing the individual Leaves and you also qualify for free updates or additions to any content in the group. Check out shared “Groups” by going to the right toolbar on the desktop or clicking the three dots ( ⋮ ) icon on mobile . And all of this works identically on your phone as long as you have Google Drive app installed (see link below).

Google Drive App (iOS)

Google Drive App (Android)

Right Toolbar with Leaf and Group search options

Hopefully we have inspired you to share your content 🙂 Start by clicking ‘Add a Leaf today or to publish a Group by going to Groups -> Published -> New Group. For more on how to make a Group see this article.

Option to make a ‘New Group

What is a Collab?

Collabs are free content (Leaves) published under a copyright option that allows others to “remix” and publish a modified version of the original file. This article focuses on the WHY behind collabs and then how SharingTree supports collaborations on remixable content.

As teachers, Eddie and I spent a lot of time developing custom G Suite lessons for our students alone. As we talked, we realized we wanted to build a community where teachers from around the world could collaborate and not have to create content by themselves. One day we drew out a tree diagram, like the one shown below, to model the sharing of lessons, and this image led to the name SharingTree. It is also why we call published content ‘leaves’.

Tree Diagram showing sharing of remixed content and our Original SharingTree Logo

When you publish a lesson using a remix license, you are allowing others to collaborate and share their version with our community. SharingTree will always provide the ability to charge for copyrighted content, but we also want to provide tools to make collaborating on lessons with teachers from around the world possible. The next part of this article shows how we enable collaborations on SharingTree.

How do I find remixable content?

You can search for remixable leaves using the ‘Collab’ option on the right toolbar. Anytime you ‘Open’ a free leaf on SharingTree and notice it has a ‘Collabs’ button next to it, then the leaf can be remixed.

Right search bar with “Collab” option selected to find remixable leaves
Collabs” button shows on all remixable leaves

How do I add a remixed lesson?

Clicking the ‘Collabs‘ button will take you to the bottom page where other Collab leaves based on the original are shown. Here you also have the option to add your own remix using the ‘Add a Collab‘ button.

When you click the ‘Add a Collab‘ button, you select a file from your Google Drive or Device to publish just like ‘Add a Leaf‘. The file you publish should relate to the original (extension, different format, modified grade level, etc.) and it will inherit the same copyright options. Using ‘Add a Collab‘ links your new remix to the original in the Collab section of both leaves. Your new Collab will be marked with a yellow ‘Collab‘ label to distinguish it from the original with a green ‘Leaf’ label.

Video showing linking between Original Leaf and Leaf publish using “Add a Collab”

Try ‘Add a Leaf‘ or ‘Add a Collab‘ today. We are excited to build this community with you.

Who are we?

SharingTree was started by two teachers, Eddie and Dave. Our goal is to allow people to easily publish content from their Google Drive and collaborate with others from around the world.

Eddie and Dave are both science teachers in Oceanside, CA. Oceanside is about 20 miles north of San Diego and enjoys temperate weather most of the year.

Eddie moved to Oceanside, CA in 1986 and was raised by a hard-working single mom. He grew up skateboarding the streets of Oceanside during the birth of street skating. Science and Art have always been something he enjoys. Eddie is a 2001 graduate of Cal Poly Pomona with a Bachelor’s degree in Crop Science and minor in Plant Pathology. After graduating, he worked in Africa, helping farmers with crop production and plant disease problems. Eddie taught for 12 years in Pomona at the high school and middle level and then returned to Cal Poly for a Master’s degree in Educational Technology in 2013. He has been a high school science teacher in Oceanside Unified School district since 2013.

When Eddie is not helping around the house with his two boys, he enjoys doing bodywork on vintage cars and scooters, organic gardening, video game programming, and skateboarding.

Dave grew up in the Bay Area and moved to Carlsbad after graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1999. He worked as an engineer for the Navy and then transferred into teaching 15 years ago. Dave currently teaches physics at Oceanside High School and recently adding engineering courses to support their new STEM pathway. His hobbies outside of education are his family, biking, CrossFit, coffee, and donuts.

If you have any feedback about SharingTree or how we can better help G Suite users collaborate, please reach out to us at contact@sharingtree.net. We are excited to build this community with you.

How do I make a Group?

A group is a collection of leaves (published files), and it can also include YouTube videos and images with or without links. Users can open/purchase all the content in a Group in one click, and SharingTree makes a folder in their Google Drive with all the content for that Group.

To make a Group open the left account toolbar using the three bars icon (☰), then navigate to Groups -> Published.

Going to Accounts (☰) then Groups -> Published

Once here, you can make a new group or update any published groups.

Click the ‘+’ to make a New Group

You start by selecting a Group name. Hyphens are the only special character allowed. This name will also be part of the URL for the group.

Make a Group options

Next, you can select any published leaves to include in the Group, add a Youtube video, and any images with or without a URL link.

Lastly, you will identify a resource type, short description, optional long description, and a price ($0 for free) for the Group and click Save.

An example group to view is Kelly Hilton’s The First Days of School. This group contains resources from her ebook by the same title. When a user Opens/Purchases a Group, all the leaves (files) are added directly to their Google Drive in a folder with the Group name, and an additional spreadsheet called Other Content shows links to all additional resources.

Group transferred to user’s Google Drive

Let us know how our Group feature works for you and if you have any suggestions to improve it. Try publishing your first Leaf or Group today.

Visual Guide – Using ‘Add a Leaf’ to publish content

The “Add a Leaf” button on the top toolbar allows you to publish content in your Google Drive or Device to SharingTree. Start by clicking the ‘Add a Leaf button and then follow the steps below. Publishing should only take a few minutes and be sure you have the right to publish the content.

Click ‘Add a Leaf’
Add a Leaf screen, Red indicates a required field

One important choice is the type of COPYRIGHT to apply to your document. See our copyright guide to help you decide. Copyrighted content can always be converted to Collaborative or Creative Commons later. You can also revise most information later by going to Leaves -> Published. The exception is you can not change Creative Commons or Collaborative content you publish to Copyrighted later. The last page you will see for ‘Add a Leaf’ is below.

View your added Leaf and Sharing on Social Media

This page lets you click the link to view your published leaf. You can also change any information or add a custom image using Leaves -> Published or selecting Manage leaf.

Thanks for learning how to use ‘Add a Leaf‘ to share content with the world directly from G Suite. Please let us know if you have any ideas to improve collaborating from G Suite.


The table above summarizes the publishing options for content (Leaves) using SharingTree. The content you publish must be your original work, or you must have all required publishing and trademark rights to the content. SharingTree offers three license types when publishing content using ‘Add a Leaf‘. They are COPYRIGHTED, COLLABORATIVE or CREATIVE COMMONS as shown below.

The default option is COPYRIGHTED. Selecting COPYRIGHTED retains all your rights as the content creator. COPYRIGHTED content can be FREE ($0) or any price you select and it can only be used by others for personal use with no redistribution rights. Collaborations on COPYRIGHTED content is not possible. An author can change COPYRIGHTED published content to COLLABORATIVE or one of the CREATIVE COMMONS licenses at any time.

The second option is COLLABORATIVE. The COLLABORATIVE option is only available if you set the price to $0 (FREE). You also will see the following POP-UP warning you that you are choosing to make this content available for others to remix and share only on SharingTree (limited redistribution license). Collaborative content can be be changed to a Creative Commons license at any time or deleted. For more on Creative Commons licenses see this blog post.

Collaborative License Pop-up warning

Content that is designated as COLLABORATIVE can be part of a COLLABORATION where other users are able to remix and upload a modified version for others to use on SharingTree. No other redistribution of remixed content is allowed by this license, unlike all Creative Commons licenses which allow unlimited redistribution. For the full details of the COLLABORATIVE license see https://sharingtree.link/CollaborativeLicense.

You can easily identify remixed content (leaves) by the yellow Collab Banner in upper left of a leaf’s preview image.

Collab vs Leaf Content

The quick recap is select COPYRIGHTED is you are unsure or want to charge $ for your content. You can always change COPYRIGHTS content to any other license type later. Only select COLLABORATIVE or a CREATIVE COMMONS License if you want to allow others to remix and collaborate on your work through SharingTree using the “Add a Collab” feature.

For more information on collaborations see the article “What is a Collab?“.

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