One of the complaints from Day 1 with Google Docs was the inability to add columns.  Not too long ago, Google added this functionality, but it’s still sorely lacking in customizability.  So, here’s a workaround:

1. Insert a Table
2. Enter your text and images
3. Make the table’s border 0 point (a.k.a., invisible)
4. Find a microphone
5. Drop it

## Exploring the Number pi with Google Sheets & Forms

What better way to celebrate Pi Day than with a hands-on, tech-on exploration activity that helps students build their own understanding of what pi really is?  Well, probably a good piece of pie, but this is awesome nonetheless.

Here’s what you do:

1. Get a bunch of fabric tape measures (using string and then measuring lengths on the string works too).
2. Get a bunch of circular objects.
3. Have kids measure the circumference and diameter of different circular objects.
4. Instruct the kids to submit their measurements to a Google Form
(note: my form doesn’t collect names, but it would be best to collect them so you can help kids who have measurement errors).
5. Setup a QUERY formula to find the circumference/diameter for each entry.
=QUERY(B2:C1000, “select B/C”)
6. Fix that pesky 2 in the Query formula after the first submission – when the first entry inserts a row, it changes B2 to B3.  Change it after the first entry and you’re good to go.
7. Setup an AVERAGE formula to find the mean of the circumference/diameter calculations.
8. Project the spreadsheet as entries are recorded.  See what your kiddos notice about the numbers they see on their screen!

## Locate your Collaborator by Clicking on their Icon

Wait, what page are you on?
I’m confused.  What slide are you referring to?
Ugh, what cell are you in!?

GSuite’s tools make collaboration–both between adults and between students–a piece of cake, but it can still be tough to keep up with one another, especially in lengthy Docs, Sheets or Slide decks.  Did you know that if you click on their icon it will jump you right to their location?  You’re welcome.

Check out the two GIFs below . . .

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.

## I am not a technician.

I am not a technician. Technicians spent long hours and put in lots of work to become qualified to fix software, network, server, hardware and other technology issues. I can’t perform the tasks they can.

I, on the other hand, spent long hours and put in lots of work to become qualified to lead in the integration of technology into the learning experience. For that reason, call me a Technology Integration Specialist. I’ll accept Tech Coach as well, but not technician. And please, don’t call either of us “tech guy” (or girl).

PS. If I help you fix something with your computer or other technology, it’s probably because fixing it benefits student learning and not fixing it detracts from student learning.  It’s all about the kids.  Not the tech.

PPS. If I help you fix something with your computer or other technology that does not relate to student learning, it still does not make me a technician. It makes me nice. And you should buy me a cup of coffee for that. Or a burrito. Or a taco. I will also accept nachos. Heck, I’d be happy with a “Thanks, bro!” and a fist bump.

## Trying out FlipGrid

After seeing Amy Roediger‘s post about FlipGrid, I had to try it.

FlipGrid is a platform where (1) teacher poses a prompt or question, (2) students access that “grid” with a code, (3) students record their response, (4) students view each other’s responses and (5) students can comment on or like classmate’s response(s).

Amy’s example of the students showing, describing and explaining Chemistry lab experiments/demonstrations was phenomenal.  On her first attempt out of the gate, she went above and beyond the “record a video response” format.

So, I’m getting in on the action.  At this link, you’ll see a prompt from me.  Hopefully, you’ll also see other professionals’ responses.  And, even more hopefully (if that makes sense), you’ll record you response.  I can’t want to hear what you share!!