Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Working with the New Google Forms

Several months ago, Google issued a preview of the New Google Forms.  While users could work with Forms in the new look, they still had an option to switch back to the Old Forms if they weren't quite ready for the change.

Starting today, Google Forms officially has been updated to default to the New Google Forms interface.  If you have been putting off the transition to the new Forms and you are not yet familiar with the new look and feel, don't worry!  We've got you covered.  Take a look at the New Google Forms in this video tutorial  It'll help you ease into the change.  


The New Forms does offer a few changes, including:

  • Form AddOns and Script
    • You can access AddOns by clicking on the Puzzle Piece at the top of the screen 
  • Ability to View Individual Responses from the Editor
  • Access to Templates (http://forms.google.com)
  • Notifications for Every Form Response
  • Ability to Track Responses
For a full description of these changes, view the Google Apps Update Blog

Finally, if you're still missing the Old Forms, you can click the Running Man in the bottom left to switch back.  



Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Raise the Bar on Communication with Google Classroom and Google Calendar


One of the great features of Google Classroom is that teachers can assign work using documents created in Google Drive and Students can easily turn in work without the headache involved with sharing to multiple users.  But many teachers relate the frustration of not being able to share their Stream with parents so they can keep up with what is going on in Google Classroom.  Apart from giving parents their students' passwords, for a long time, there was no good solution for communicating that information.  


But several months ago, Classroom was updated to include the creation of a Google Calendar with each new course that is created.  If you have not taken advantage of this feature, you simply must.  Having a Calendar for the course creates that avenue of communication with parents so many teachers need and want.  
Dig in to this tutorial to learn how you can take advantage of the features in Google Calendar to communicate due dates, projects, and announcements to the parents of your students.










This video tutorial covers:
  • How to access  your Google Classroom Calendar
  • How to share your Calendar with parents
  • How to post your Class Calendar on Google Sites





Saturday, January 30, 2016

#edcamp918 Session Notes - Productivity with Google Forms

Today, I led a session at #edcamp918 on Productivity with Google Forms. These are the notes from that session.

Video Tutorials Available at http://www.techycoach.com/google-tutorials

  • Assessments and Grading - Flubaroo -This AddOn for Google Sheets allows you to grade a spreadsheet of answers from a Google Forms Quiz.  Watch this tutorial -


  • MadLibs & Google Forms - Autocrat is a great addon for Google Sheets (using the response sheet for a google form).  This tool will merge responses from a Google Form with any Google Doc containing merge tags (<<>>).  This allows for a wide range of applications including MadLibs! - Watch this tutorial-


  • But seriously, you can also use Autocrat for other purposes such as enrollment forms, club information, etc... - Watch this tutorial -   

#edcamp918 Session Notes - Google Sheets for the Classroom

I led a session on Google Sheets for the Classroom today at #edcamp918.  These are the notes from that session.  Where most of the information does not translate well into notes, I have included links to resources we discussed.  Hope this is helpful to those who are looking for new tools and uses for Google Sheets.

Find More Tutorial Videos on http://www.techycoach.com
Conditional Formatting & Data Validation -

AddOns - 


#edcamp918 Session Notes: Chrome Apps and Extensions

Today I led a session on Chrome Apps and Extensions.  These are the notes that were taken and shared in that session.  Enjoy!


Video Tutorials at http://www.techycoach.com


Extensions:

  • goo.gl: URL Shortener
  • Crafty Text: creates banners on screen
  • Tab Resize: create multiple screens automatically
  • Snagit: (TechSmith): screenshot that can be resized, saved into Google Drive
  • Clipular - similar to snagit but doesn’t save image to your computer (you can download if you want), it saves it to your clipular account and then you can easily drag and drop into whatever you’re working on
  • OneTab: reduces an entire set of tabs to one web address to share with students (then shorten to share)
  • Keep Awake: keeps the screen on for as long as you set it
  • Black Menu: click on extension icon and menu pops up with lots of google tools
  • Google Tone: broadcast a web address to other computers in the room (that have tone installed) to give them a notification and one click there
  • Share to Classroom: automatically shares the website you’re on to your google classroom


Apps:

  • Socrative: Quick assessment tool
  • Remind: a super easy way to stay in touch with your students/parents

Additional Tips

  • To right click on chromebook, just press with 2 fingers
  • Go incognito mode to test things to see what it looks like if you’re not logged in to you

Friday, January 29, 2016

Google Tone and the Chromebook Classroom





For all the teachers out there in a 1:1 environment using Chromebooks, have I got a deal for you!  If you've ever had a URL link that you wanted to share with your class and you dread reading it out loud for kids to enter into their device, you've got to try Google Tone.  

Google Tone is a Chrome Extension that you can use to share URL Links by an audible tone.  Here's how it works.  

  1. First, both computers (sending and receiving) must have Google Tone installed as an extension on the Chrome Browser. 
  2. Next, visit any website that you want to share with you students.
  3. Click the Google Tone icon on your browser.
  4. An audible tone will sound that can be received by your students' Chromebooks.
  5. Students will be prompted by a popup message to visit the URL shared by your computer.
  6. Its that easy!
While  you certainly can provide a link to students by placing it on the board, adding it as an announcement on Google Classroom or as a link on a webpage, having the ability to share a link on the fly that students can quickly view is a definite must for any 1:1 classroom.

Try it out!

Need Help with Chrome Extensions?  Watch this video! 



Change the Subject in a Gmail Reply

If you are a recent convert to Gmail, you may have noticed that when you reply to an email from someone, the Subject Line does not readily appear allowing you to change it.

If you reply to someone and you need to change the Subject line, there are a few easy steps to accomplish this.

1.  Open an email
2.  Click Reply
3.  To the left of the Address of the recipient, click the Reply drop-down Menu.
4.  Choose Edit Subject
5.  The email will appear in a Pop Out window allowing you to edit the subject line.

Its that easy!  Watch the animation below if you need further help.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Make your own Mad Libs with Google Forms

Do you remember Mad Libs?  They were those funny little stories that had parts of speech missing from them, and the gist behind them was to substitute random words for those parts of speech to see what fun ensued.  

Have you ever thought about making your own?  Or thought of the possibility of applying the same method to help kids learn a topic in your Social Studies, Science, or ELA class?  Maybe if you turned a passage from classic literature or a creative writing class into a Mad Lib exercise, your kids might just have enough fun that the learnin' sticks.

Its pretty easy to make your own with a Google Form.  This tutorial, along with the Autocrat AddOn for Google Sheets can help you make it happen.  Just watch!



Thursday, January 21, 2016

Use Google Drawings to Create Dynamic Text and Clip Art

One of the things that many people miss when making the transition from Microsoft Office to Google Docs are the text and clip art editing tools.  But don't forget that inside Google Docs and Slides, you can insert artwork using Google Drawings.  By using Google Drawings you can:
  • Insert Annotated Screenshots
  • Create Drop Shadow Effects for Text
  • Add Shapes and Flowcharts
  • Create your own Clip Art
  • Insert Annotated Images


To give you a sense of how easy it is, watch this video that explains how to use Drawings to accomplish a few of the tasks listed above.



While making your own effects and clip art may take some time, it is worth it.  Give it a try!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Schools and Mobile Devices - iPads, Computers or Chromebooks...Oh My!



Recently a question was submitted to the Techy Coach site asking about the use of mobile devices in the classroom.  The question specifically asks:


"Would you recommend a school that is mostly on an Apple platform to add Chromebooks to its mix...we are looking at Chromebooks because of their price and to meet the  increased enrollment demands.  More specifically, would you recommend Chromebooks for 4th-5th grade?"
In the world of 1:1 computing, I don't really feel that there is one exact fit for schools regarding mobile devices.  Different devices serve different needs, and I believe that schools need to be flexible in their choices when creating a learning environment to foster 21st century computing skills.  Flexibility, in this case, means that schools need to understand that while workhorse devices such as PCs and Macs offer the ability to install programs such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and others, mobile devices such as Chromebooks and iPads offer the ability to mimic many tools with smaller apps that consume fewer resources, storage space, and are often free.  And while schools may be willing to sacrifice larger programs for price and more accessible (free) tools, they will ultimately find that they still need those big box programs.  So in answering this question, I'll fill in gaps by explaining what our district has done to work towards a solution.  



The Beginning of Mobile Access
About 6 years ago, our district started purchasing iPad carts to place in each building.  The drive was to provide classrooms with access to the web for research, as well as rich video content and access to apps for drill and practice.  The initial push was in the elementary schools, with middle school and high school to follow.  While iPads provided a great deal of flexibility with free apps and instant access to the web, the cost was smaller than placing PCs and Macs in classrooms, and they took up less space.  

Eventually, every building had at least one cart, while others had multiple carts that were used as checkout labs on an as needed basis.  This lessened the competition for computer labs and library access, and allowed more teachers/classrooms to conduct research and connect with the web.


1:1 Budget Concerns
Our district is a medium sized district for our state, but it is not by any means a "rich" district.  By this I mean, we face some of the same budget restraints that smaller schools face.  As a result, we began to slow down on the purchase of iPads and started to take a hard look at our budget, while discussing the need to provide access to all students.  We knew we could not afford to place a device in the hands of every student, so the question was, how could we provide access for all and still remain within our budget.  

Google Apps for Education had been around for a while, and our district had been exploring the opportunity to become a GAFE school.  I used this as an opportunity to discuss the cost savings of Chromebooks.   While the carts for Chromebooks tended to be about the same in cost as iPad carts, the devices were around $100 to $200 cheaper.  Once you multiply that cost by 30-35 devices per cart, the costs savings is great.  The question some had was whether the Chromebooks would be as sturdy as an iPad.  But the initial cost and the addition of a keyboard (add about $99 to $150 to an iPad for keyboards) and Chromebooks were the obvious choice.  

We began the process of purchasing Chromebook carts with our technology budget, and placed one cart in each ELA classroom, from 6th grade up.  This meant that every student in grades 6-12 would have access to a mobile device at some point, every day.  We also decided that for future purposes, iPads would be pushed down to the Elementary Schools as they seemed more suitable for the needs of K-5 students.  We then shifted our computer rotation cycle so that instead of PCs, libraries would receive a Chromebook cart instead, which allowed us to save money within our budget.  This meant that the only PCs we had in our building were in Career Tech classes, which needed a device capable of running Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite, and in checkout computer labs.   As we did so, we started to hear more and more from our elementary teachers, stating that they would also like to have access to Chromebooks.  



Suitability Across the District
What we have found is that while iPads were a great addition to our district, we have grown to like our Chromebooks more every day.  Here are some of the benefits we have found in using Chromebooks:


  • The Chrome Web Store provides access to a wide range of free apps, including all Google Apps.
  • The added functionality of a keyboard means that our students are practicing keyboarding skills while accessing apps and information on the web.  
  • Google Apps, admittedly, is much easier to access and use on a Chromebook than on an iPad.
  • The IT department has found that managing Chromebooks is much easier.  After the initial setup, devices can be managed remotely from a computer.  (iPad management requires hands on operation for updating and managing).
  • Chromebooks allow any user to login and use them without worrying about account security once they log off.
We have not found that our elementary students have any more difficulty using Chromebooks than our secondary students, meaning that 4th -5th grade students can use them just fine.  In fact, using Chromebooks more closely mimic the experience students encounter when at a computer workstation, especially since most students use them for web research.  The suite of apps in Google Drive also creates an experience similar to what students would experience when using most other programs such as Word, PPT, Excel, Pages, Keynote and Numbers.   



What Should You Do?
If you currently use Macs or iPads, or if you are thinking of adding Chromebooks to the mix in your district, I would suggest you strongly consider a few of the points below:

  • What will the primary use of devices be? 
  • What will students access? 
  • Will devices be used primarily for access to web services, or specific programs?
  • What apps do you currently use? Check for availability of apps in the Chrome Web Store.
In addition to answering these questions, you will also need to consider infrastructure needs (WiFi, Bandwidth) and Student Access.  If you are seriously considering Chromebooks, you'll want to start by exploring the possibilities that Google Apps for Education can offer.  Once we did so, we found that universal access to Google Apps for all teachers and students meant that we could work and communicate more easily through Gmail, Google Drive and Google Classroom.  And finally, any district considering the addition of any device to their curriculum will want to make sure that they consider Teacher Buy-In.  After all, if you don't have buy in from your teachers, it could make or break your implementation plan.  To do this, we provided extensive in house training to our teachers in the Spring and Summer prior to implementation, and throughout the school year.  If you need help in providing training,  I have tutorials available, you can find trainers online, or your can train your own teachers here.



Good Luck and if you have questions, please post them here!




Friday, January 08, 2016

Getting Comfortable with Gmail - Preview Pane

If you are a new user to Gmail and you miss certain features of your old email client, it can be difficult.  But for the most part, Gmail has a feature for most everything, so you don't have to worry.  

One features many of our teachers miss is the Preview Pane.  If you miss this feature, you are in luck.  You will need to click on the Gear icon at the top right and choose Settings.  Once there, go to the LABS menu.  From here, you can choose the Preview Pane lab by clicking Enable.  Make sure to Save Changes.

Once you have enabled this lab, you will see that at the top right of Gmail you will now have a "Toggle Split Pane Mode" button, allowing you to have a Vertical or Horizontal Preview Pane for your Inbox.  


You can also configure your inbox to "Pre-Sort" incoming mail into Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, or Forums so that you can keep a handle on the flood of mail coming in.  This allows you to keep everything in its place.  




Beyond this, if you still need tips on keeping your email  under check, you can also use Labels.  Rather than assigning email into folders, Gmail allows you to apply labels to your incoming mail so it can easily be found later.  But not just one label.  Whereas with other email clients, a message can only be filed away in one folder, you can apply up to 5000 labels to one email message.  So you no longer have to worry if you have an email that applies to multiple topics.  Watch this video to learn more.



Thursday, December 31, 2015

Gmail Series Part V: Setting Up a Signature Line

If you've seen email coming through your inbox with a fancy signature line, and you were just a bit jealous, this video is for you.  Learn how to set up your signature line complete with formatting, links, and Social Media icons.  Happy New Year and Enjoy!


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New to Google Drive? Check out this handy Cheat Sheet!

If you are a new Google Drive user, you may need the help of a handy cheat sheet.  Try this one on for size.  If you need extra help, you can also find some useful tutorials on my webpage.  Happy Googling!  Click the image below to download...


Monday, December 28, 2015

Templates Available for Google Mobile Apps

If you've been waiting with bated breath for the coming of templates to Google Mobile Apps, then wait no longer!  Yesterday, Google launched templates in Docs, Sheets, and Slides for iOS and Android.  

Now when you create a document in any of these apps, you have the option of choosing from several templates.  Now formatting is a breeze, as it has already been done for you.  Take a peek at left.  

Make sure to visit the iOS app store or Google Play Store for your mobile device and update your apps to see these changes.  Also visit the launch site to see more about these changes.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

If you've ever created a Google Form in one account (say a personal Gmail account) and then wished you had created it in another account (your GAFE account, for instance), you've probably noticed that there is no SHARE button on Google Forms.  But you CAN still share a form with someone else.  All you have to do is Add a Collaborator to your form.  

To do this in the OLD Google Forms:


  1. Click on the File Menu in Forms and Click Add Collaborators.  
  2. In the Invite People section, add the email address of the person you want to share your form with, along with the level of permissions you wish to grant.
  3. Click Send and then Click Done.


In the New Google Forms:
  1. Click the More icon 
  2. Choose Add Collaborators
  3. In the Invite People section, add the email address of the person you want to share your form with, along with the level of permissions you wish to grant.
  4. Click Send and then Click Done.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Copy Events from a Shared Google Calendar to your Personal Calendar

Sometimes when you subscribe to another organizational calendar, you want to copy events from that shared calendar to your personal calendar.  There is a quick and easy way to do this in Google Calendar.  To do this:

1. From Google Calendar, click on the event you wish to copy.2.  Choose Copy to My Calendar.3.  A dialog box will open allowing you to edit and save the event.  4. Make changes if necessary and click Save.





Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Essential Guide to Google Calendar Part III: Share a Calendar

In the previous video for the Essential Guide to Google Calendar, we explored the creation of Secondary Calendars.  At some point, you may want to share your calendar with fellow teachers, parents, or students for the purpose of sharing information, or even sharing management and editing responsibilities for that calendar.  To help users understand how to share a calendar, Part III explores calendar sharing.  Check out the video here:














Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Essential Guide to Google Calendar Part II: Secondary Calendars

In Part II of the Essential Guide to Google Calendar, we explore Secondary Calendars.  In addition to the primary calendar associated with your Google Apps account, you can also set up and share secondary calendars for any reason with anyone.  For instance, if you have an athletics schedule that you would like to keep track of and share with parents, faculty, staff and students, you can do that!  Users can create multiple calendars, track them by color coding them, and set up events in each, while viewing them from the same screen.  Watch the video below to learn how to setup secondary calendars.  

Look for future tutorials in this series on Embedding Calendars, Google Classroom & Calendars, and Setting Up Appointment Slots. Did you miss Part I:  Getting Started?  Check it out here!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Essential Guide to Google Calendar Part I: Getting Started

For those of you who are new to Google Calendar, there are several great features that you'll love, including:


  • Appointment Slots (GAFE Only)
  • Shared Calendars
  • Multiple Secondary Calendars
  • Video Calls (Hangouts)
Watch the Essential Guide to Google Calendar series to find out what you've been missing!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Gmail Series Part IV: Using Labs and Canned Responses

If you're like me, you get several messages in your inbox throughout the year that illicit the same response, but you are never quite sure that you've always responded to each question with the same consistent message.  That's where Canned Responses come in.  Watch this video to learn how to turn on the Canned Responses Lab in Gmail, and then use Gmail Filters to cut down on your response time and ensure that you are getting the same quality message out to everyone.  


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Have a Question for the Techy Coach?

Often, my posts come as a result of questions from teachers in my district.  If you have a question  you'd like to ask the Tech Coach, just us the Submit A Question link above, or enter your question below.  Your question may become a blog post on this page!  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Have You Seen the New Google Forms?

Google released a new look and feel to Google Forms back in September, but if you haven't made the change  yet, take a look at this video that highlights some of the changes.  The new look is aligned with the look and feel of Google Drive and Classroom.  You may find something you like!


Friday, December 18, 2015

Gmail Series Part III: Scheduling a Calendar Event from a Gmail Message

This short tutorial explains how to turn a simple meeting request in an email into a Calendar Event in Google Calendar.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Alternatives to the Interactive Whiteboard

With so many schools going 1:1, Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)have begun to take a backseat to laptops, iPads and Chromebooks.  Recently, Epson and Smart released news that all Epson Brightlink interactive projectors would be bundled with Smart Notebook software as a standard install.  This drastically changes the playing field given the downturn in sales that IWB companies have faced in recent years.  To see info on the Epson projector with Smart Notebook, click here.

All this discussion made me think about use of IWBs in the classroom and options available to teachers.  Most of these thoughts come from classes I created on Differentiated Instruction and Gaming in the Classroom.  In a perfect world:


  • Any content in your lesson you can interact with increases student interest.
  • Students - NOT Teachers - should be using the IWB.  
  • As a general rule, 33% or more of your students are kinesthetic, and should have ways to interact with content.
The problem with IWBs is that you can typically only allow 1-2 students at the board at a time, mostly because older boards only allow a single touch, and newer boards -although they have multitouch options - are not broad enough to allow too many students at a time.  So what do you do with an IWB?  Most teachers relegate themselves to using the board for instruction and as an input tool to navigate while teaching.  So since the world isn't perfect, and since there are still - yes, STILL - teachers out there without an IWB, there ought to be cheaper options.  

Obviously, having interactive software built into a projectors saves time and money.  And having options such as the Epson Brightlink, the Mimio, and, not to forget, the fact that SmartBoards and Promethean ActivBoards are now available as TVs, there are several options ranging from the expensive to the less expensive.  

But if you are like me, you like the super cheap or free options available to you.  That is why I think it is still too early to abandon the idea of the Wiimote Whiteboard.  

Several years ago, I put together a class on using the Wii in the Classroom.  One of the segments discussed the use of the Wii as an IWB.  Back then, the freeware was a bit clunky and the LED Pens used with them were still a bit simplistic, but times have changed and if you're willing to put the time and effort into exploring this option, it really works well.  Watch this video about the Wiimote Whiteboard:



If you're interested in setting up a WiiMote Whiteboard, here is a link where you can buy all the pieces you'll need to get started - http://teachwithtech.com/Wii-Remote-Interactive-Whiteboard-c28/
In a nutshell, though, here is what you'll need:


Why does this work? All Wii Remotes have a camera inside them that can register video feeds of light and dark images on a TV screen.  This is reported back to the Wii and helps the console track movements.  That, coupled with the fact that a Wii also has bluetooth capabilities, means that it can be linked to a bluetooth device.  With a little hacking and a little ingenuity, you've got the ability to create your own interactive experience.  

While this concept is not new, the software and the pens have come a long way in getting better.  It is not a free solution, but hopefully, if you are willing to spend $50 to $100, you've got the interactivity you need to free yourself from your desk.  





Gmail Series Part II: Organizing your Inbox

In this video segment on Gmail, we will discuss ways that you can organize and de-clutter your inbox.  Topics for this video include:
  • Configuring your Inbox
  • Labels
  • Starred Items
  • Conversation View

Better Searching in Google Drive

With the end of the school semester looming, I missed putting a post out about this update.  Early in December, Google made searching Google Drive simpler.  If you've ever lost a file and couldn't remember where you saved it, this is a lifesaver!

Now users can click in the "Search Drive" box and instantly click an icon to search for PDFs, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, etc....  You can also click More Search Tools to refine your search to include Date Modified, Keywords, Owners, Shared With and Location.

This release is already available to Gmail users.  GAFE Users on Scheduled Release will see this update in January.  If you don't see it, check with your Google Apps Admin to verify release time.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Awesome Changes to Google Classroom!

Yesterday, Google for Education posted on their blog, an article outlining some great changes that are coming to Google Classroom.  These changes, allowing for easier grading include:

  • Ability to export grades to Google Sheets
  • Ability to update point scale to any number you need
  • Keyboard navigation between students - use up/down arrow keys
  • Sort gradebook by student name - first or last
  • Private comments for students




What's in the Data? View a Summary of Responses in the New Google Forms

In the Old Google Forms, users had the option of clicking on the Responses Menu and choosing Summary of Responses to view a list of students who have taken your assessment, as well as pie charts and diagrams showing a breakdown of student responses.  These tools are wonderful when dissecting the data to see mastery of a topic.  


You still have the same option in the New Google Forms, but it is much easier to find and allows viewing without switching to a new tab in your browser.  Just click on  Responses at the top of your New Google Form and view.  Its that easy!








Reuse and Combine Old Google Forms Questions in a New Google Form

Often, teachers will use Google Forms to create quizzes and tests throughout the semester to assess students.  Wouldn't it be helpful to combine questions from those old forms into one common assessment at the end of the semester?  Well, there isn't a quick fix for this right now, but here are a few tips on how to copy and paste them, while taking out some of the tediousness of this task.  This option utilizes the Chrome Extension, Tab Resize to make life a little simpler.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Gmail Series Part I: Composing an Email


As our district moves deeper into the use of Google Tools as a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) District, I will be creating a few tutorials on Gmail.  This post is the first in a series of video tutorials on Gmail.  Check back later for more on this topic....



Tuesday, December 01, 2015

We've Gone Google!



This week, teachers in our district received their Teacher Login for Google Apps for Education.  When I teach classes on Google Drive and Google Apps, I often get skeptics who aren't sure why they would take the plunge.  Many just don't want to let go of the things they have traditionally relied on.  With that, here are a few reasons I give for the switch:

  • You can go paperless - Google Drive and Google Classroom let open up the possibility of pushing assignments out to students in the form of a link to a Google Doc, which students can copy and then fill in.  Then they can resubmit the lesson for grading.  Plus, inside Google Drive, you can comment on student work and share it back with them in real time, meaning they can receive feedback immediately - with no need to wait on papers to be passed back.

  • No more flash drives! - I used to carry around a small case that held all of my flash drives so I would always have my documents with me.  But with Google Drive, you can have all of your files with you as long as you have access to the internet.  That means on a computer, your phone, your tablet - anywhere!  But often people say, "what happens if the internet goes down?"  If you download Google Drive to your computer, your files are synced from the web to your computer - so you have a backup!

  • Publish your files to the web! - If you have presentations that you use in class or in meetings, you can publish your Google Slide presentation to the web or embed it on your Google Site.  Then any changes you make in the future will be available on your site and with others you have shared in real time.

  • Collaboration - By sharing a doc, you can work from anywhere at any time with others in real time.  

  • Put Google Drive to work for you - There are tons of Add Ons and Scripts that allow you to put Google to work for you. For instance, in our Virtual Academy program,  I have a form that I use for enrollment.  Our counselors fill the form to let me know what courses our online students need.  Once the counselor submits the form entry, a script called Autocrat automatically merges their selections with a document that is emailed to me!  


In an effort to help our teachers understand the world of possibilities this opens up to them, I am also publishing a few links I have found to be helpful with Google Apps and Google Drive.


For more tips and ideas from the web, follow me on our Google Educators of Oklahoma page on Facebook - Google Educators of Oklahoma


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Google Forms - Your Classroom Multi-Tool

Google Forms were originally developed to survey or gather information from respondents.  But with this easy to use tool you can quiz your students, flip your classroom, or create a discussion tool.

Forms for Assessments

If you'd like to find a quick way to create quizzes without the hassle of hand scoring assessments, try using Google Forms with the Google Sheet Add-On Flubaroo.  Watch this video to see how it works:



Flip Your Classroom

If you've recently made the switch to a flipped classroom, Google Forms can make your life a bit easier.  To ensure that your students are watching your videos as homework, add a short Form with a few questions as a check for understanding.

Just as you can insert questions, time, date, etc... you can also insert videos into a Google Form.  Watch this video to see how:


Discussion Tool

Finally, many teachers want the ability to create the feel of a discussion forum.  Google Classroom has made some great new additions to allow teachers to post questions, but if you aren't a GAFE district user, you'll want to use this tip.   Try using a Google Form as a discussion tool instead.  You'll need a website to post your form for a discussion, so I would suggest using a Google Site so you can embed your form there.  


  1. First, create your form with questions.  
  2. To add your form to your Google Site, go to the page where you want it to appear.
  3. Click the Edit button.
  4. Click Insert>Drive>Form
  5. Choose your form and click Select
  6. Edit your preferences and Save.
  7. Save your page.

Here's my form.  Fill it out and provide your own answers, then see what others are doing with Google Forms by scrolling down to view the Response Sheet.




Then, to allow everyone to see the responses of others, you can embed your Google Response Sheet on your Google Site.


  1. From your Google Site, click the Edit tool to edit your page.
  2. Click Insert>Drive>Spreadsheet
  3. Choose the Responses sheet for your Google Form.
  4. Click Select
  5. Edit your preferences and Save
  6. Save your page.



As each new respondent submits, their answers will show up in the posted sheet so everyone can see and discuss.  This is a great way to create an archive of answers that future learners can benefit from.