Connect More Apps to Your Google Drive
We often think Google Apps is synonymous with the basic elements of Microsoft Office – Docs for word, Slides for PowerPoint, Sheets for Excel… But that’s not so! Click the red “NEW” button in your Google Drive and then click “MORE” at the bottom. You’ll see a bunch of other apps including Google Forms, Drawings, Google My Maps, and others. Click “CONNECT MORE APPS” at the bottom to open a pop-up shop to connect even MORE apps to your Google Drive!
Some that I like and have used in the past include…
- Drive Template Gallery (for those old school Microsoft Office Templates like resumes, calendars, etc).
- Floorplanner (for designing room layouts, house designs, etc. Good when teaching a play)
- LucidChart (for mindmaps and brainstorming. Saves to Google Drive.)
- LucidPress (for documents, portfolios, pamphlets, etc.)
Personalize Your Google Search Screen
Did you know that you can personalize your search screen in Google Chrome by picking a background and adding shortcuts? Open a new tab and click on Customize this page, which you can find behind the pencil icon in the right bottom corner. Now you have the choice to either upload your own background image or choose an image from Chrome. If you like to add a shortcut, you just need to click Add shortcut and add the name and URL of the site.
Starred Content in Google Drive
Adding content to a starred folder is a quick and easy way to better organize and access the content you need when you need it. To do this, simply right-click on a document or folder –> then select “add to starred” to place in the starred folder. You can find the starred folder at the bottom of the left navigation in your Google Drive above the trash. This is a good idea to star the class folders that you are teaching this year and update each year with whatever you need. To unstar content, just go into the folder, then right-click the document or folder you want to unstar, and select “remove from starred”.
Pin Chrome Tabs
Simple yet effective, you can ‘pin” tabs you use frequently in Chrome. All you have to do is hover over a tab –> right-click –> and choose “pin tab”. This will shrink your tab and move it to the left while also removing the dreaded “x” button that closes your tab. You can always unpin them to bring them back!
Use Google Arts and Culture for Lessons and Activities
Did you know Google Arts and Culture offers a little bit of everything? VR tours, games/trivia, history about comic books, painters and paintings, the wizarding world of Harry Potter, and more! There are even lesson plans and activities you can turn key with your students.
Create QR Codes in Chrome
Want to share something out as a QR code rather quickly and easily? Did you know that in Chrome, a recent update added a built-in QR Code generator within your URL bar. Simply click in your URL bar, where ever you are (on a Google Doc, Slide, website, video, etc) and then you’ll see a little square QR code icon to the far right of the URL bar. Click on that and a QR code is generated right away. Just download or copy and share it out with your students! Now they can scan it with their phones to access whatever you generated it for.
Insert Images, Links, and More in Google Docs
You can insert images, hyperlinks, Google Drawings, and more into a Google Doc. Open the document that you saved in your Google Practice Folder. This week, try adding some hyperlinks to other documents or files in your Google Drive or hyperlinks to websites. Think old-school Webquest! Then, dress up your document by inserting –> images. You can even design your own header image by simply inserting a Google Drawing –> then creating your own image and inserting it into your Google Doc. Make your document eye-catching and engaging.
Google Skills Assessment
Test your skills with the Microsoft Migration Skills Assessment. You can see what you can and can’t do on Google. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/1/d/1egR9de7DFf2cEGlKydIR710wVsgsrGFwpzdlVrBSOCw/copy?usp=gmail
Google’s Applied Digital Skills Curriculum
Check out Google’s Applied Digital Skills Curriculum. It is a WEALTH of knowledge! Applied Digital Skills is a free, video-based, online curriculum that prepares students of all ages for the growing number of jobs that require basic digital skills. EVERYTHING IS FREE! Not only do they learn HOW to use Google tech, but there are full-blown lesson plans for you to just turnkey to them. And they learn everything through project-based learning. Even educators like yourselves can use this platform to learn more about Google and practice your skills.
Google’s NEW @ Doc Feature
You may have noticed the new @ icon when you open a NEW Google Doc. Simply type the @ symbol into a Google Doc, and a list of popup options will appear. You can tag someone else in your document (similar to how you can tag them in a comment) by simply typing @ followed by their name/email address. Google will even automatically find your most recent/ frequent contacts and list them in the pop-up. You can also insert type the @ symbol then click files in the pop-up and select a file (any file) from your Google Drive and attach it to the Doc. This goes a step further than a simple hyperlink as it actually allows you and others in the document to “preview”/view” the file! Even better type the @ symbol then paste the URL to a youtube video and it will embed the video into the document so you can preview it within the Google Doc! Handy when using Digital Playlists/ Hyperdocs.
With Google Chrome, you can click Ctrl+Shift+T to undo a closed tab and it appears right back. It also saves your browsing history. Just click the “back” key to go back. You can also “pin” tabs to the top so it removes the accidental hitting of the “x”. You can do this by simply right-clicking on a chrome tab –> then pin.
Comment on Microsoft Word/Excel or Images, Videos, PDF’s
While transitioning to Google you may have documents you are working on with others that you haven’t necessarily converted yet. No sweat! You can actually collaborate on these documents similar to a Google Doc as long as you have already uploaded it to your Google Drive. This works for Miscrosoft Word, excel and Images/videos/PDF’s.
To comment, just double-click on the file in your Google Drive. Then In the upper right corner, click on the “Add a comment” button.
Download Google Files as Word Files
Although you’ll be using Google for all your file needs as well as Google Drive, you will ALWAYS be able to open your files back in Microsoft as needed. This means if you need a file to be sent to some organization and they need it in Word, Excel, or PDF you can simply download the Google File back to your computer as the type you need. You won’t be able to edit and open it on your computer, but it will be fine to send to someone. All you have to do is open the file you want to download back as Microsoft word in your Google Drive, Excel, or PDF. Then click file –> download as –> and pick the file type you want. (This changes based on the file type you originally opened in Google).
Transfer Ownership of Google Drive Documents
Oftentimes, we create documents that someone else ends up taking over. But then the documents sit in our Google Drive, even if we no longer need them. And, if we delete them, the person on the other end will lose that document too (unless they have made a copy of it). So what can we do?
You can transfer the ownership of the document to someone else! Now this only works with people in the same domain, meaning you cannot share something in your RIH Google Drive with someone outside RIH or your personal account even. But, you can transfer ownership from a personal account to anywhere. Here is how…
- First, select the individual document or folder that you want to transfer in Drive.
- Open the file and click Share in the top-right corner of the file.
- Type the email address of the new owner in the “Invite people” field. Click Share & save.
- Click Advanced in the bottom-right corner of the sharing box.
- Click the drop-down menu next to the name of the person you want to own the file or folder.
- Select “Is owner”. Click Done.
It is that simple. Now they own the document and you can delete it from your Google Drive.
Advanced Google Search in Google Docs
Keeping everything students do within 1-2 big platforms helps mitigate student distractions. Google offers a host of add-ons, features, and tools within their suite of apps, as well as a number of key tools already built within. Google affords you the ability to do research right within a Google Doc. With this tool (found by clicking “tools” –> “research”) you can perform a basic Google search, search images, access Google Scholar (which is an awesome feature), find quotes, and look up words in the dictionary. Another nice feature this tool offers is being able to search by usage rights (key when teaching students about copyright and licensing) as well as citation format (MLA, APA, and Chicago). When you put content from the research pane into your document, it will even include the citation with a footnote at the bottom of your page in the format that you choose.
This works wonders by confining your students to using 1 program at a time, and helping them learn about finding credible scholarly sources/articles. You as the teacher will have an easier time managing the class, knowing that every student screen should show a Google Doc. A simple “scholarly” search for The Great Gatsby (by clicking the filter results dropdown in the search bar within the research tool) will yield a number of scholarly sources, in a variety of formats, including PDF (which can be clicked to open the document/source, as well as websites. Click “save” below a search result you or your students like, to save it to your library. You can access all of your saved searches/articles by going to scholar.google.com.
Insert Google Drive Videos into Slides
One of the cool features wth Google Slides, is the ease with which you can insert and embed video into a presentation from Youtube. Google has now taken it a step further and allows you to insert and embed video from your Google Drive! Here’s how to do this:
Open up Google Slides. Next, click on the “insert” tab at the top –> then “video”. This is the same way you would insert and embed Youtube videos into a presentation. Once the window opens, you will see that you have the option to insert a video from Youtube, by a Youtube URL, or the new “Google Drive” option. Click that–> then decide whether the video is in “My Drive”, “Shared With Me”, or “Recent” (these are the same folders that appear when you are in your Google Drive.
Select the video, and it will be inserted in your presentation. To adjust the video settings, right click on the video to open the video panel.
Pro Tip: Why not crowdsource student projects using Google Slides? You could create a Google Slide presentation and open the share settings to anyone with the link can edit, then share that out with your class/students. As the teacher, create a template on slide 1 that you would like the rest of your students/class to follow. Then have each student/group copy the template to their own slide in your presentation, enter their information, and then insert a video of their project/activity/video log/ etc. into the slide. Students can then see every other group’s work and comment!
Sync Google Drive to Schoology
Did you know that you can sync and attach Google Drive to Schoology? This way, students can submit their work right from their Google Drive and you can upload/attach/embed files to your Schoology assignments. Here is how you and your students can sync Google Drive to your Schoology account.
First, at the top of your Schoology window select the “resources” –> “Apps.” Next, click “install apps” from the middle column. In the pop-up window that follows, check off any box next to the app(s) that you want to install and sync to your account. (Tip: You can also sync the following apps to Schoology as well: Youtube, Khan Academy, Evernote, Dropbox, etc). Now click “install.” Google Drive should open a pop-up window asking for permission to access your account/drive. This is ok as Schoology and Google need to sync across each other’s interface. Allow this!
Whichever app(s) you installed should now show up under the “my resources” column. Select “Google Drive” (if not already opened) and the right column should now open with all of your folders and/or files from your Google Drive. From this you can: open a file or folder that you want (which opens it in Google Drive on the web), create a new folder/doc/sheet/slide/drawing, or import the document as a file or link (to do this place the check next to the document you want to select and the “import” button will appear next to “add resources.” These are the same steps you want your students to follow if you want them to sync their Google Drive accounts to their Schoology.
Next, to have students submit work from their Google Drive simply have them click “submit” in your assignment –> “resources” –> “apps” –> “Google Drive” –> select the file they want by placing a check in the box next to the file –> then “import” –>
Pro Tip: When creating an assignment in Schoology, don’t just insert the link or attach a file, instead, embed it! If it is in your Google Drive simply create an assignment as usual but then click the “insert content” button –> “Google Drive” –> check the file you want to embed –> “import” –> “import embed.”
Create Labels in Google Contacts
So what is Google contacts first and foremost? Google Contacts lets you organize, review, and merge your contacts, create personal mailing lists, quickly send messages to groups of people you contact the most, and keep all your contact information in one place to reach several people at once.
To access it, simply open the Google Apps icon (or Google Rubik’s Cube/Waffle) and select Google Contacts.
At the left under “Labels,” click Create label –> Type a name, then click Save.
Next, add contacts to a label
- Select one of the following:
- A single contact: Check the box next to the contact name.
- Multiple contacts: Check the boxes next to all the contacts you want to add.
- All contacts: Check the box next to any contact and in the top left, click Selection Actions All.
- At the top, click Manage labels, –> Click the group label you want –> Click Apply.
Google Focus Time
Google recently implemented a new feature called Focus Time within Google Calendar. This is a neat little tool to help you (and/or your students) practice the skill of time management. This is all about planning out sessions of work where you won’t be interrupted, in order to complete your tasks. All you need to do is schedule the focus time right in your Google Calendar directly.
To do this, just create a new event as normal. Within, you’ll see a new “task type” called Focus Time. Click on that, then you can set the visibility to “Public” or “Private”. You can also set this event to automatically decline any invitations during that time frame.
NEW Office Editing for Google Drive
Originally, you had to set your Google Drive to convert Microsoft Office files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) to the Google Apps version in order to edit/type in them, otherwise, the files were opening in preview mode. You can still do this, which is a great idea if you are mass uploading and converting or want to just start scratch with a new Google Doc, but now, if you upload a Microsoft file to your Google Drive, the default will be that it opens and allows you to type/edit the document, keeping its original Office properties. This seems to also keep the formatting of the files more closely in tune with their original version, but note that some hiccups still occur. This is now called Office editing mode. Any password-protected Microsoft Files will still only open in preview mode in your Google Drive and will require you to manually convert them to Google.
NEW Gmail Update
There is a new Gmail update. As has been the case, Google has been slowly connecting their apps within each other with Google Chat, Meet, Tasks, Docs, Classroom etc integrating in more ways from different platforms. Some of you may already see this, and others may experience it shortly.
You can find out more below.
Image Editing in Google Docs
You can now do a lot of editing when it comes to images, inside a Google Doc. You can still insert Google Drawings in a Google Doc too, but now, Google has updated Docs to offer more options when you create and import documents with images. You can fade images above or behind text or more including the ability to superimpose text onto an image, or vice versa. This is a great way to spice up those Google Doc lessons/activities and make them more engaging.
For more help, check out this video: https://youtu.be/0k3RNZfMPZA
Google Doc Watermarks
Google recently added a new feature to include a watermark in a Google Doc. Follow these steps:
- Open a Google Doc
- Click “insert” –> “watermark”
- A right pane panel will open. Click image –> then select where the image you want to be the watermark is stored. You can pick from Google Drive, camera, upload a file, or even select one from the web.
- Next, feel free to edit the formatting of the watermark image by adjusting the transparency, color, or size and position.
- Then click “done”.
- If you click off the watermark and want to go back to format it, simply right-click on the watermark and the right side panel will open.
Google Security: See Devices That Access Your Account
For many of us, we open and access our Google accounts on the go, which is part of the benefit (and power) of using Google. You get access to anything, from anywhere. Desktop, cellphone, Macbook, iPad, etc. And, not only do you manage all of your “stuff” but you also manage a personal Google account and the school district Google account.
google.com/devices is a great website to practice some good web security. It lets you see any devices (computers, phones, tablets, etc) that have access to or opened your Google account. This is a great website to go to every now and then to check to make sure only you have access to your account. It is a great way to practice web security. And if you are just curious as to what has access to your Google account, you can go there to see! Plus, you can manage all accounts, sign out of anything you no longer want to have access to, and delete things. Pro tip: should you see something you do NOT recognize, it is best practice to change your password.
Check out this site here for some Google Account Help.
Customize Google Doc Bullets
In a Google Doc, insert a bullet point. Then, right-click the bullet point and choose “more bullets”. A Special character window will open. Select any character you want as your bullet point or search for something specific. Easy as that!
Make Your School Account the Default Google Account
I recently had a few teachers tell me that when students open a google document that they shared with them, and go back to access it later, they cannot find it. They later come to find out that the file was saved to their personal Google account and not the school one. This happens all of the time and it is easy to be logged into multiple Google accounts at the same time. Yes, you can switch your account by clocking on your profile in the top right corner –> and selecting the account you need but there is another way.
Did you know that the first account you signed into is actually set as the default account for Google? Probably not! So what you need to do is click your profile in the upper right corner –> and sign out of all accounts. Then re-sign in using your school account first. If you still need your personal account, then sign in again with that account. Although you can switch between accounts, you should no longer have the issue of Google saving your documents to the wrong account if it is needed for school. Now that you know how to do this, pass this tip on to your students!
Remove Old Chrome Extensions
If you are like me, you have A LOT of Chrome extensions. Some of which you no longer use or use very sparingly. To remove the unwanted ones, or manage your extensions open Chrome. Click the puzzle piece icon to the right of your URL bar –> find the extension you no longer want and click the 3 dots (more options) button –> then remove from Chrome. The pin icon will also move the extension to the right of your URL if it is something you use often.
Google Chat Updates
Google has recently changed Google Chat. What they used to call “Rooms” is now called “Spaces”. You may have noticed this change in your Gmail, where spaces now appear in the bottom right corner. The chat box has also moved to the top right corner.
Google is planning to add more features to Spaces. Spaces will also seamlessly integrate with Calendar, Drive, Tasks and other Google Workspace services to allow for better collaboration and communication.
Embed Linked Google Form Charts into Docs, Slides, Drawings
You can now embed linked response charts from Google Forms into a Google Doc, Google Slides presentation, or a Google Drawing. When new form responses are received, anyone with the proper permissions can refresh an embedded chart by simply clicking the “Update” button. This eliminates the need to re-copy the chart from the form.
This feature is useful for sharing real-time responses to polls or surveys and for incorporating Forms responses data into presentations or reports.
See Google Statuses
In addition to seeing when someone is out of the office, you can now see additional Google Calendar statuses like “In a meeting” or “In focus time” in Google Chat. This will make it easier for your colleagues to identify appropriate times to message you. You can set your status at the top of your Gmail to the left of the ? button. Click on on “Active” button dropdown and set your new status!
Trimmed Gmail Messages
Gmail is able to keep all email messages from the same people together in what it calls “conversation view”. Google will then trim the content of an email if it contains text you’ve already seen in the same conversation. This is great when a conversation has a lot of replies. But what if you wanted to see the information from previous conversations or the sender’s information?
All you have to do is look for three dots (more options button) at the end of the message. When you hover your mouse a little popup will say “Show trimmed content.” Click on that and everything will open up.
Hope this helps!
Cut, copy and paste files using keyboard shortcuts in Google Drive Web
You can now use familiar keyboard shortcuts Ctrl + C (or ⌘ + C on Mac), Ctrl + X and Ctrl + V to copy, cut and paste Google Drive files in your Chrome browser. This saves you time by allowing you to copy one or more files and move them to new locations in Drive, and across multiple tabs, with fewer clicks.
To help you more easily organize files in multiple locations without necessarily creating duplicate files, Ctrl + C, Ctrl + Shift + V will create shortcuts.
Lastly, you can open files or folders in a new tab using Ctrl+Enter, so that you can easily view multiple files at once, or use different tabs to more easily organize files between two different folder locations.
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