Comment with Emojis in Google Docs

đź“Ł Guess what’s here? Emoji Reactions in Google Docs!

Smiley face! Face with open mouth! Thinking face! Face with tears of joy! Pile of poo! We all love emojis and now we can use them in lieu of comments in Google Docs.

Now, if you highlight some text you’ll see 3 options on the right side of the screen: add comment, add emoji reaction, and suggested edits. Other people who have editing or commenting access can then click on the same emoji to upvote (now it’ll show the same emoji with a 2 next to it) or they can highlight the text and add a different emoji.

How to add emoji reaction in Google Docs as Comments

You can add multiple emojis to the same spot as well.  If you click an emoji reaction that you’ve already added, it’ll make that reaction go away, or if there are more than one of it, it’ll reduce the number by one. When you hover the cursor over them, you can see who the emojis are from. They can also be resolved just like comments. These emoji show up in the comments menu in the top right corner, near the share button.

Emoji reactions are just like comments – they can only be added or viewed if you have editing or commenting access. People who are only viewers will neither see the emoji reactions nor be able to add reactions of their own. 

I love that Google made it possible to add ANY emoji, not just a handful, like thumbs up or smiley faces. Plus, when appropriate, there are different skin tone and gender options, including gender-neutral emoji.

(This update is available in ALL Google accounts including free ones.)

[Image Source: www.docs.google.com]

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Google adds Dropdown Menus and New Smart Chips to Google Docs!

⏬ OMG you can have dropdown menus in Google Docs now—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

“Use new table templates and dropdown chips in Google Docs to create highly collaborative documents”

 These additions primarily relate to the Google Docs smart chips menu that pops up when you type in an “@” symbol. Well, it now features a boatload of goodies. Many of them are just quick access to things we already had access to within the regular toolbar menus, but some surprises popped up recently.

Let’s run through all of the stuff that’s in there— 

  • First we have people, which lets you tag people in your doc
  • Building blocks, which let you insert templates that Google provides for things like meeting notes and email drafts
  • Files, which let you add little links to Google Drive files
  • Checklists, numbered lists, and bulleted lists
  • Images, drawings, and charts
  • Dates (which, TBH, I don’t see a whole lot of use in, but oh well)
  • Your text formatting selections (normal text, heading, title, etc.)
  • Calendar events
  • Page components like page numbers, page counts, headers, footers, page breaks, and watermarks—by the way, it’s crazy easy to add watermarks to Google docs now, have you tried it?
  • A table, plus some slick table templates that Google provides
  • Horizontal line, table of contents, bookmarks, footnotes, equations, special characters, and links.

Most of that is not that big of news, and almost all of it can be accessed from one of the normal menus at the top of the screen.

The big one is the last option in that “@” menu, which I left out in that list— Dropdowns!

You can select one of their pre-made dropdown sets or, the big news for teachers, you can make your own set. 

You can put in as many options as you want (at least as far as I can tell—I added 30 in my test).

You add the text and then select the color for each option. If this is a dropdown you’ll use regularly, you can even save it to use in the future! Plus if you copy the dropdown, you can then paste it elsewhere with the same options! It’s really rad.

Dropdown is also in the Insert menu at the top of the screen, so you can get to it from there too. 

There are lots of potential applications in the classroom from multiple choice questions, to a work feedback cycle, to management of student-paced or personalized learning setups, and more!

These dropdowns and the smart chips are available to ALL GOOGLE USERS.

[GIF Source: https://workspaceupdates.googleblog.com/2022/05/table-templates-and-dropdown-chips-for-google-docs.html ]

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Seesaw Improves How Students Interact with Teacher-Created Assignments

Back in March, Seesaw announced a set of updates that I’m pretty excited about.

For those of you not familiar with Seesaw, I often compare it to a combination of an LMS, a digital portfolio tool, and a parent/guardian communication tool.

Screengrab from Youtube Video showing the Seesaw app interface and the new updates for locking and unlocking items

It’s most often used by elementary teachers – case in point, 29.2% of the people who responded to my podcast survey use Seesaw, and of them almost 37% of them were PreK-6th grade teachers, and 0% were 7th-12th grade. (The other 63-ish% were in other roles like tech coaches etc.) It’s crazy though because it’s great for all ages.

Let’s talk about the updates!

  • In the past, if you sent an activity to your students, they were able to delete pages from the template. Now, students cannot delete the teacher-created pages, but they can create pages that they add.
  • In a similar vane, students were previously able to unlock parts of the template that the teacher had locked in place. Now, that option has been removed. If you lock it, your students cannot unlock it.
  • Previously, students could also reorder activity pages—typically by accident when scrolling—this has now been fixed. As the release says, they have ”adjusted the sensitivity of the reorder action in the Pages menu and disabled page reordering on drag gestures to prevent this issue..”
  • In the past, there were also problems with students accidentally creating new pages while drawing. They have now fixed that issue as well. 
  • And, finally, while many activities require students writing or drawing, some involve manipulatives that need to be moved around the screen. Previously, when opening one of these pages, the pen tool was selected and students ended up drawing on things instead of moving them.  Now, the app intelligently starts with the move tool if there are movable shapes and the pen tool if there are no movable shapes.

[Image Source: https://youtu.be/ax5EzL1iCDE?t=280, featuring the app interface from https://web.seesaw.me/]

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