Saturday, April 19, 2014

New Google Apps Launcher is Customizable

Well, Google has done it again!  They have come through on a feature for which I have been waiting patiently....or not so patiently.  You can now edit the apps launcher, which many people have nicknamed the "waffle" that appears in the upper right hand corner of the screen when you are in a Google app.  This means you can put the ones you use most at the top.

Take me for example.  I use Gmail, Calendar, Blogger, Sites, Drive and Groups the most.  I can now make sure they are at the top of the list.  All you have to do is drag and drop the ones you want at the top.  If there is an app that does not show on the More list, it is still simple to add them.  First, go to the app and then click on the app launcher (waffle grid).  At the bottom will be a shortcut to the app and a question asking if you would like to add it to your grid.  How easy is that?

I can arrange my apps in my personal Google account, but can't do that in my school district Google account.  I searched several times trying to find out if it is going to be released for school district accounts as well.  I will keep you posted on what I find.  Please post to the comments if you know the answer to that question.

For more information and more detailed directions, check out the Google support information page on how to switch between products. Scroll down to the section on how to "customize your menu".

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Google Drive Add Ons - Mindmeister

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GR4PJI4GtM4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Google+ for Business

On March 12th, I am conducting a training for Kewaunee County Economic Development with a focus on Google+ and Google Drive.  I have a lot of experience using Google Drive, so I am just looking for ideas on how businesses can use these tools.  In education, we use them for student work, planning agendas, gather data, and more.  I am looking for more ideas specifically for businesses, so please post them in the comments below.

I use Google+ for myself and just create my Google+ page for my 21st Century Academy business.  There are a ton of videos out there that give you ideas for using Google+ to connect with customers and grow your business.  Here are a couple that I have watched.  Please share more resources if you have others you think are helpful.




Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Embed Videos in Google Forms

I LOVE Google's newer feature!  Google now added the ability to embed a YouTube video or another video that is posted on the web into a Google Form.  This makes it possible to post a video and then have students answer questions about what they learned. This is great for formative assessment especially in a flipped classroom setting.  If you are familiar with embedding an image, this will be super easy!  

When you have your Google Form created, you click on the "Add item" button and then click on "Video".  If you want to insert a You Tube video, put in the name of the video and click the search button.  Select the video you want from the list of search results and then click "Select" at the bottom of the window.  You then get back to the Form where you can add a title and a caption for the video.  You can select to have the video aligned to the right, center or left.  Then click "Done".  Your video is now on your form.

Below the video, you can add questions about the video just like you normally add questions to a Form. This allows you to actually build a quiz or formative assessment related to the video.  Students don't have to go to another website to find the video...the video is embedded into the Form!

If you want to have a self-scoring quiz, check out Flubaroo.  It is a free script that you can use with Google Forms to auto-score the quiz.  It is super simple and saves you a ton of time!

I plan on using this feature as I build modules for my upcoming grad class on Google Tools.  I am building modules that participants will work through.  This will allow me to get some formative feedback as they work through the training videos.  How do you think this feature can enhance teaching and learning?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Master Slides in Google Slides

I really like a lot of the features in Google Slides (formerly called Google Presentations).  The ability to create a presentation collaboratively allows users to work together in a way that was not possible before.  Crowdsourcing presentations is a great way to gather information.  Pulaski Community Schools' K-5 Assessment Committee created a presentation on formative assessment to be used at each school.  Committee members were each assigned certain topics and created their slides when they had time.  The presentation was used and shared with all K-5 staff at each school's building inservice.  As teachers shared additional formative assessment ideas, they were added to the presentation.  We now have a great resource for our teachers when they are looking for formative assessment ideas!  I even found it on someone's blog!  That was encouraging to know that what we created was found valuable outside our organization as well.

A new feature that Google just added to Slides it the ability to create a Master slide.  We all have to admit that the themes in Google Slides is a bit limiting.  That is the one thing I miss from PowerPoint.  Well, now it will be really easy to create Master slides for each slide type. This allows you to have the same background and header or footer on each slide.  Previously, you had to go to each slide and recreate this.  Even with the "Duplicate Slide" option, you often had to recreate text boxes and bulleted lists in order to get the slide to do what you want.  It is really easy to do as well!  Check out this two minute video for instructions. (Note: The video title at publishing was Master Slides in Google Sheets...this was a typo on their part.)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Content Discovery Tools - How to find great online content with less effort

Content Discovery Tools by Robin Good | ZEEF is a blog article listing tons of content discovery tools by focus.  I was pleased to see that several of the tools I use made it to the list.  Flipboard was the top one listed for News Discovery tools.  I love how Flipboard allows me to create my own online magazines and share them with others.  I am looking for a new RSS reader since Google Reader has gone away.  I have been trying to use Feedly and see that it also has the top spot on Robin's list of RSS readers.  I just have to get comfortable with it.  There are several other tools that I had not heard of and will have to check out. Which tools do you use?

Content Discovery Tools - How to find great online content with less effort

Content Discovery Tools by Robin Good | ZEEF is a blog article listing tons of content discovery tools by focus.  I was pleased to see that several of the tools I use made it to the list.  Flipboard was the top one listed for News Discovery tools.  I love how Flipboard allows me to create my own online magazines and share them with others.  I am looking for a new RSS reader since Google Reader has gone away.  I have been trying to use Feedly and see that it also has the top spot on Robin's list of RSS readers.  I just have to get comfortable with it.  There are several other tools that I had not heard of and will have to check out. Which tools do you use?