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Tagged With: google apps

How to Use Google Sheets in the K-12 Classroom

google sheetsNothing turns data into information like a spreadsheet. We as teachers understand that, which is why spreadsheets are a fundamental tool to critically analyze any data that includes numbers. There are many options (Numbers, Excel, and Open Office to name just a few), but arguably the most popular is Google Sheets. If you’re using Google Classroom or G Suite, you already have it. That means there’s no separate log-in required, no unique password for students to forget, and no special install required to push it out to students. It’s right there, as part of the education package.

Most spreadsheet programs have similar options, so what characteristics make Google Sheets stand out? Read on.

Pros

The most common positives mentioned by users are:

  • You can collaborate with friends and colleagues.
  • You can share the spreadsheet as an embed, either with viewing privileges or editing ones.
  • It can be synced across all devices, whether at home or school.
  • It works on all digital devices whether it’s a Mac, Windows, Chromebook, or iPad.
  • It provides a revision history, allowing you to scroll back to a better version of your work and/or track the contributions of collaborators.
  • It includes a chat window where collaborators can discuss their work before changing the spreadsheet.
  • Because Sheets is part of Google, it easily imports data from other Google Apps. It also exports nicely to the increasingly broad group of partners who work with Google Apps.

One more that I list as a Pro, but could be a Con: Sheets is easier to learn (that’s the Pro). The reason is there’s less to learn (that’s the Con). It focuses on the most popular functions, not the depth of need. If you’re a lite user of spreadsheets, this will serve you well, but if you are moderate to advanced, you may struggle to find the tool you were used to in Excel — if you can find it at all. For example, pivot tables are strictly an Excel tool.

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Categories: Reviews, Spreadsheets | Tags: , | 1 Comment

169 Tech Tip #20: How to Add a Link to MS Word

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: #20–How to add a link to MS Word

Category: EDIT/FORMAT

Sub-category: MS Office, Google Apps, Keyboarding

Q:  I want to link a resource in Word/Google Docs to a website. How do I do that?

A:  Follow these easy steps:

  • Go to the website you want to link to.
  • Copy the address from the address bar (Ctrl+C or Edit>copy from the menus).
  • Return to your doc (it’s waiting on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen or simply click Alt+Tab).
  • Highlight the words you want to link to the website.
  • Press Ctrl+K; press Ctrl+V; push enter.
  • The words turns blue with a line under them, showing it’s a link.
  • To use the link, Ctrl+click on the words.

There are sophisticated options that go along with adding links, but this is quick and easy.

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Categories: Tech tips, Word processing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

How to Use Google Apps

Here’s a collection of Ask a Tech Teacher articles addressing individual Google Apps:

Google Docs

Google Drawings

Google Forms

Google Hangouts

Google Keep

Google Voice

This isn’t meant to be comprehensive. Yet. If your favorite Google App isn’t listed and you’d like me to review it, fill out the form below:

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Categories: Web Tools | Tags: | 2 Comments

How to Use Google Drawings

google appsGoogle Drawings is a free, web-based drawing tool that allows users to collaborate and work together in real time to create flowcharts, organizational charts, website wireframes, mind maps, concept maps, drawings, and more. It is included in GAFE, Google Classroom, G Suite, and Google Drive (this may vary in managed domains, depending upon whether the administrator turns on access to this tool).

To use Google Drawing, here’s what you do:

  • Open your Google Drive account; go to New and select Google Drawings. 
  • Insert shapes, lines, an image, or text with the editing tools.
  • When finished, add this drawing to another Google Doc, slideshow, or spreadsheet, save it as a stand-alone file, and/or share it with others in a wide variety of methods. 

There are a lot of drawing programs available — SumoPaint, KidPix, and TuxPaint to name a few. All wonderful in their own right. So why use Google Drawings instead of a tool you are already familiar with? Here are seven reasons:

  • it’s collaborative
  • projects are easily shared with teacher 
  • it can be used at home and school — and synced between the two locations
  • it is minimalist — the project is easy to find in the student’s Google Drive (if they attend a Google school). No tracking it down and wondering, “What tool did I use to create this project?”
  • changes or edits are easy to add — just open the project in Google Drive and edit
  • project can be embedded into student digital portfolio or class gallery
  • project can be downloaded as an image file, a vector graphic, or a PDF

Be aware: Each drawing program mentioned above may have some of these, but few have all. Except, of course, Google Drawings.

Here are eight projects that are perfect for Google Drawings:

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Categories: Reviews | Tags: | 1 Comment

How Google Docs Improves Writing

google docsGoogle Docs is a free word processing program that does 99% of everything a student will ever need to do when writing. What isn’t included as part of the Google Docs program tool can be augmented with mostly free third-party add-ons, extensions, and apps. It operates in the cloud so there’re no download foibles, pesky maintenance, or expensive yearly upgrades. The end result is a learning tool that is powerful, robust, scalable, and because it’s free, is the equitable solution to so many concerns over education’s digital divide.

It’s no surprise that Google Docs and its sister programs — Google Spreadsheets, Google Slideshows, Google Draw, and Google Forms — have taken education by storm, usually in a package like Google Apps for Education (GAFE) or Google Classroom. While it does have a moderate learning curve (no worse than MS Word), once traveled, teachers quickly adopt it as their own and find many reasons why this has become their favorite tool. Here are the top eleven reasons from the educators I talk to:

Always up

I’ve never had the experience of logging into Google Drive (where Google Docs live) and having it not open. On the other hand, I have often experienced that heart-stopping occurrence with MS Word when it suddenly won’t work or a Word file has become corrupted for no reason I can tell. Using Google Docs has probably added years to my life just in the lowered stress levels.

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Categories: Writing | Tags: | 2 Comments

How to Use Google Forms in the Classroom

google formsThere are lots of free survey and polling sites (two popular options are PollDaddy and Survey Monkey), but often they limit the number of surveys you can create or how many questions you can include without ‘leveling up’ to a premium version. Among the teachers I know who are always looking for ways to save their limited pennies, Google Forms is a run-away favorite. It is intuitive, flexible, professional, can be adapted to school colors and images, and can be shared as a link or an embed. You can work alone or with colleagues and there are a wide variety of options that tweak the form to your needs.

Using available templates, a customized form can be completed in under five minutes. Responses are collected to a Google Spreadsheet that can be private or shared with participants and can be sorted and analyzed like any other spreadsheet.

Google Forms integrates well with Google Apps for Education, Google Classroom and many LMSs such as Blackboard.

How to use it

Google Forms is simple to use. Just follow these steps:

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Categories: Teacher resources, Tech tips | Tags: | 14 Comments

9 Google Apps Tips You Don’t Want to Miss

gafeHere are the top 9 nine Google Apps tips according to Ask a Tech Teacher readers:

  1. Embed a File from Google Drive
  2. Google Apps lesson plan
  3. 8 Google Apps Tricks Every Teacher Should Know
  4. Google Hangouts–Are You Using Them Yet?
  5. How to Embed Student Work into Digital Portfolios
  6. Book Review: Google Apps Meets Common Core
  7. Dear Otto: How do I teach Google Drive to K/1?
  8. Google Gravity
  9. Google Apps Support Bloom’s Taxonomy–Take a Look

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Categories: Google, Teacher resources, Web Tools | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Embed a File from Google Drive

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each week, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: So many colleagues are embedding documents to their blogs and websites, but I don’t know how to do that. Can you help?

A: I love this part of Google Apps. When your Google document is complete–that includes Docs, Spreadsheets, Slides, and Drawings:

  • Go to ‘Share’ in the upper right corner; select the option you prefer–allowing viewers to just view or edit
  • Click File>Publish to the Web (on the menu bar)
  • Select the link and copy-paste to your website (I’ve done this below) OR select Embed
  • Copy the HTML code that starts with ‘<iframe…’
  • Paste into blog, wiki, website like I did below:

Let’s try this out. Here’s a collaborative spreadsheet to share Exit Ticket ideas. Your name is optional. Strongly consider adding the linkback so we can add each other to our PLN–a great way to share ideas and knowledge. Access the spreadsheet and tell us your favorite warm-up activities and exit tickets:

Here’s the embedded document:

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Categories: Classroom management, Computer skills, Teacher resources, Tech tips | Tags: | 2 Comments

Google Hangouts–Are You Using Them Yet?

google hangoutClasstime traditionally is a static point in time. Students show up in your room. You teach for 50 minutes (or however long the period is). You may post study guides and homework on a class website, but they don’t make a lot of sense to the student who missed class because s/he was sick or out of town. Those students—you try to meet after school to catch them up, which may or may not work with your schedule or theirs. Or they get notes from friends which also may or may not work.

That has become a dated idea. Let me give you an example. My daughter invited me to participate in one of her MBA classes at the University of Maryland (with instructor permission). I’m in California; she’s in DC. Five years ago, that would have been a show-stopper, but not anymore. She broadcast the class on her iPad with her Google Hangouts (GHO) app, sent me an invite, and that’s it. I saw everything she did. When her professor accessed an internet program, I brought it up on my computer and worked along with him. When he played a TED talk, I listened on my screen. When I had a question, I typed it into the backchannel (a message board that pops up with GHO) and my daughter asked for me (since I was observing, I muted my mic).

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Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

3 education tools you don’t want to miss

wowHere are three tools that work-around problems you have every week–maybe every day–in your classes. Sit down with a cuppa and be prepared to be wowed.

  • Google Voice
  • Email aliases
  • Get Psyched music

Google Voice

Price: Free
Rating: 5/5

Overview

Google Voice is a web-based phone service that works through your current phone or your computer. It’s free, and available through a Google account (if you have Gmail, you’re eligible). Incoming calls can be forwarded to your cell or landline (or both) or ring through your computer-based Google Voice account. Voicemails and text messages are transcribed and sent to your Gmail address. Outgoing calls can be made through the website or by calling your handset (smartphone or landline) first, then it calls the number you entered. Here’s what the dashboard looks like (intentionally blurred in spots):

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Categories: Classroom management, Education reform, Music | Tags: , | 2 Comments