Years ago, I heard plenty of complaints about how Google Docs just didn’t measure up to Microsoft Word. My response always centered around the ways that Google Docs could change the way we worked and students learned. Most people have bought in, but I still occasionally hear complaints about missing features. One of them is adding captions to pictures – a major informational text skill in the English Language Arts standards.
Check out the GIF below to see how to use the “Insert > Drawing” tool to perform this task.
I should note, as has been pointed out that me on Twitter, that this process will reduce the quality of the image. I think that, for a student’s project it’s still okay. Just, you know, maybe not for your doctoral research paper or school yearbook.
Ever wish you could put the same file in each students’ folder without making copies? Have a project that belongs in your Science folder and your English Language Arts folder? Any time that you need a Google Drive file to be in multiple locations, use Shift+Z to open up the “Add To” option. The same file will be in each location – edit it in one location, it updates in the other. Awesome sauce.
The Duplicate Tabs button is probably an under-used option for most people. However, it can really come in handy. Every now and then, I need to keep a specific email open, but get back to my inbox. Duplicate Tab. Sometimes, I need to have a course in Schoology open, but open another. Duplicate Tab. One of my favorite uses, though, is when I have more than one Google Form submission that I have to fill out and they all have some similar entries (i.e., multiple session proposals for a conference, discipline referrals for the same incident with different students). Dup-li-cate Tab! Check out how that looks in the GIF below:
Sometimes you know who you collaborated on a doc with, but just can’t come up with a search that leads you to that doc. Why not use their email address to track down the doc?
I discovered this search term when I was asked to track down all interactions between two specific students. This gave me the capability to see all docs on which they had communicated, provide them to our administrator and delete the docs from the student accounts.
It’s nice to have easy access to lots of sites, but that bookmarks bar can get crowded. Use Bookmark folders on your bar to categorize them while still having convenient access.
2. Shorten those bookmark titles.
Shorter bookmark titles take up less bookmark bar space. Take the title out to just use the sites logo. If the site doesn’t have a logo, or it doesn’t make the destination clear (like a docs logo), use short words or even emojis to save space!
3. Create Bookmarks for Creating New Docs or Slides
Did you know that docs.google.com/create opens up a fresh new Doc? Or that slides.google.com/create does the same with Google Slides? Create bookmarks for those links and have quick access to that capability.
4. Different Bookmarks for Different sections of your Drive.
Do you go to your Starred files often? Need quick access to Shared with Me when someone sends you a file in a meeting? Do you have a folder for all of your students’ assignments that you go to daily? Make a special bookmark for different locations!
5. Different Bookmarks for Different Parts of Docs, Slides or Sheets
Different tabs in Sheets, Headings in Docs and slides in Slides have different URL’s. That means you can make your bookmark (or a link you send in an email or message to someone) direct you (or the recipient) to a specific spot. It’s nice when you want to send someone to today’s meeting agenda in the massive Doc with all meeting agendas in it. It’s also super convenient if you regularly access a certain spreadsheet tab.
6. Bookmark specific sections of GMail
Have a certain GMail label you access regularly? Want quick access to your starred or important files? Want to be able to get to emails from your admin or boss quickly? Create a bookmark for that exact part of your Gmail.
7. Bookmark specific Calendar Views
Want to be able to access Day, Week, Month, Agenda or a Custom View quickly? Make it a bookmark.
Being able to have side-by-side windows open is a key functionality tool when using computers. Doing it quickly and easily makes it even better. Chrome OS has two little-known shortcuts and one little-known tool that support this. Check them out in the video below!
Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to be a little more efficient. Two of my most used in Google Chrome are:
Ctrl+W (or ⌘+W on Mac) for closing your “top” tab (the one showing on your screen).
Ctrl+Shift+T (or ⌘+Shift+T on Mac) for opening your most recently closed tab.
#2 is probably my fave. Not only does it open your most recently closed tab, even if you closed it hours ago or even before shutting down Chrome, but it can open an entire window full of tabs, if you closed them. But my favorite-est part of it? Well, it has an educational aspect of course:
Ever walked by a student and seen them quickly close a tab before you got there? Ctrl+Shift+T to the rescue! Just imagine that student’s face when they find out that their teacher is a Chrome Keyboard Shortcut Ninja!!
This pretty well summarizes my approach to use of technology. If I can find a way to trim seconds or minutes off tasks without sacrificing quality, I’m all for it.
In recent posts about Google Docs, I shared how to boost font formatting efficiency with the Paint Format Tool and the Select Matching Text option. This post’s topic fits well with those 2.
Most people type in Google Docs and change fonts as needed without ever noticing the Text Styles dropdown. They live in “Normal Text” mode, but change their fonts regularly. But they are missing out! There is hidden functionality in that dropdown . . .
It allows you to change your default font styles. Are you an elementary school teacher who always types in size 16 font? Change your default! Are you a professional basketball team owner who always types in Comic Sans? Change your default! Do you believe that Helvetica is the world’s best font? Double-space all of the time? Prefer blue font? Like size 13? Always typing in italics? Change your default!
Using titles & headings adds other functionalities to your Doc. Do you have a 100-page Google Doc for your lesson plans and hate trying to navigate it to find the correct snippet? Use Headings & Document Outline view! Here’s how . . .
The quote at the top is often credited to David Dunham, though it appears that he’s not the originator of the quote).
My obsession with Google Sheets is no secret. I loooove spreadsheets. And I think that they have a big place in education, especially in math (but elsewhere as well).
Recently, I posted about how you can prove the mean (or average) formula using Google Sheets. In this post, I’d like to share with you how you can find all 3 measures of center (or measures of central tendency) and explore them in Google Sheets. I love to change or add numbers in the data set and ask students to make predictions about what will happen. It really is a great–and relevant–way for students to become more familiar with these statistical measures.