Tech Tip Tuesday: End of Year Google Cleaning

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The end of the year is quickly approaching. With that, I wanted to share a few tips for cleaning your Google Drive, Gmail, and Calendar.

  1. Make sure everything has a home in Drive: This is key. Google Drive works from the top level down, meaning, if you can get everything in your “My Drive” folder in a folder, then cleaning up the things within these folders will be SO much easier.
  2. Color-code or star your Drive folders: If you right-click on a folder in your Google Drive, a quick menu will appear. Click on or hover over “Change Color” to pick a color for your folder. This makes it easier to locate specific folders in thumbnail/tile view. Also, in the quick menu is an option to “Add Star”. Starred folders appear in your drive drop-down menu, separating them from everything else for quick and easy access. It’s a good idea to update this yearly with your most used folders (especially if you have folders for specific classes). If your classes change, then you can just right-click on the folder and “Remove Star”.
  3. Create an “Archive” Drive Folder: One good idea is to create a yearly “Archive” Folder. Then, drag everything from this year into that folder. This is great if you have a lot of student work that has been shared with you, that you don’t want to clutter up your drive or get mixed up with your own personal resources.
  4. Archive old Email: This is a quick and effective one. Check the box next to an email message, then choose the “Archive” button at the top. This will clean up your inbox, but still make it where all of those archived emails are accessible/searchable.
  5. Hide Old Calendars: In Google Calendar, you can easily hide from calendars you no longer want to see in your dropdown list. Simply hover over the calendar, click on the 3 dots (more option), then select “Hide Calendar”. This doesn’t remove you from them, just removes them from the list!
  6. The dreaded “Shared With Me” Drive Folder: This one is a pain. But simply, just go in here and look for things you want to keep. If you want it, click and drag it to the folder you want to organize it in. As far as everything else? Don’t touch it. The same goes for your “Recent” folder. I wouldn’t try to clean this out.
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Tech Tip Tuesday: Search Gmail Like a Pro

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Gmail includes a pretty simple feature that allows you to search for specific emails using some clever operators. You can type in that search bar, add in some words, and hope to locate the specific email you are looking for. But sometimes, you get back way too many or you can’t locate what it is you seek. I put together a Gmail Crib Sheet that covers the Gmail Operators and how to use them. You can access the document here!

Hope this helps!

 

Tech Tip Tuesday: Leave Voice Comments Instead!

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Tired of leaving the same comments on a Google Doc for students and realizing they aren’t reading them? Wish there was a way to personalize these comments a little more? You NEED to check out the Google Doc add-on Kaizena!

Kaizena is a Google Doc add-on (you’ll need to install it from within Google Docs) that affords you the opportunity to highlight text on a Google Doc and speak, instead of write, comments- leaving voice “notes” back to the owner of the document! There are a number of VERY USEFUL features with Kaizena including: feedback features, color-coding, lessons, and tracking of skills. You can even create a bank/folder of voice comments you have created/left for students, so that you do not have to recreate the same thing for eac.! What a time saver! Best of all, everything works within the Google Doc. No leaving the document to open Kaizena, then heading back to the document to insert the comment.

To get started, visit the Kaizena link above, or open a Google Doc –> click on add-ons –> get add-ons –> then do a search for Kaizena. Click on the app –> then install. It will ask you or permissions to sync with your Google account. Accept it. Once in, go back to add-ons –> select Kaizena –> and it will open in the right pane of the screen. Set up your classes and grade levels and you are set to begin!

Hope this helps!

 

Tech Tip Tuesday: Embed into Google Sites

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The new(ish) Google Sites is entirely revamped and for the better. One of the nicest features they added is the ability to embed external content into your site, similar to embedding external tools into Schoology. So now your Google Site can be a complete blended learning experience.

To do this simply go to the website or tool you want to use. Depending on the site, this is usually found under the option to “share”. Copy the URL. Then head back to your Google Site and click the “embed” button -> then “embed code” –> then paste the code you copied and insert.

This will embed any tool you copy into your Google Site, now making the site interactive. NOTE: If you click on embed, but you only have the option to embed URL, then you will have to wait until the slow release is delivered to everyone within our district.

Some tools you can embed:

  • Padlet
  • Thinglink
  • Desmos
  • Polleverywhere
  • NPR Radio

Here is a cool function of this ability. You can actually take advantage of this embed option to embed youtube videos directly into your website and REMOVE all of the content around the video. To do this, go to Youtube and find the video you want to embed –> click on “share” –> click “embed” –> in the box that opens uncheck all of the “embed options” –> copy the long code at the top, then follow the directions above to embed into the site.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: New Google Keep Integration

tech-tip-tuesday

Google recently updated its Google Keep app and integrated it into Google Docs. If you don’t know what Google Keep is- Keep is a note-taking app built as part of the Google Suite. Unfortunately, it often goes unused as most do not know it is even there, let alone what they can do with it. Users can use keep to take notes, built “to-do” lists, find and save sources/links, archive information, and transfer little notes between your cell phone and your desktop using the Keep App for IOS or AndroidContinue reading