Earlier this year, Google added the ability to type up your own Summary for your doc in the left sidebar where the doc outline appears.
The outline is autogenerated by your use of headings, titles, subtitles, and other items in your doc, but the summary is something that you type in manually.
There doesn’t appear to be a limit to how long it can be, but you’re unable to do any formatting within it. You can use Shift+Enter to add line breaks though.
This summary will appear in that left sidebar for all viewers and it also shows up in other places, like the details pane that you can see in Google Docs. That’s a nice way to tell people what the doc is before they open it.
Need to know as soon as someone adds something to the meeting agenda? Eagerly awaiting a student starting their first draft of an overdue paper? Want to keep a watchful eye on a super important doc? Well, Google has a new feature that can help you!
You can now choose to be notified via email if a file is edited.
And it’s on a per-file basis, meaning you can have this setting on for your staff luncheon list, but off for your assessment schedule doc.
The email that you receive will tell you the what, when, and who, of any changes that were made. You can set them from within the doc by clicking Tools, then Notification Settings. Or you can access it by clicking the comments button in the top right and then the bell. Once you’re in there you can choose to be notified of all comments, no comments, or just comments that tag you.
And, the major new feature, you can choose to be notified about added or removed content. You’ll also see these same options in your Gmail when you receive a notification about a doc, including the ones that we’ve been receiving for years about comments. Now there’s a notification dropdown with these additional settings.
I just used Google Docs to write a blog post referencing my book, Educational Duct Tape, and while proofreading it I noticed I totally forgot to italicize the book title each time I referenced it. I could fix one of them and use the paint format tool to apply that fix to all of them . . . or I could fix one of them, copy it, and then paste it in place of the other ones or . . .
💡I could use the new multiple text selection option in Google Docs.
You can now highlight a set of text–or double click a single word–and then hold down control, or command on a Mac, while highlighting other text or double-clicking other words, and they’ll all be selected!
I can now use this to select multiple instances of the phrase Educational Duct Tape and make them all be italicized! You can also do this to delete multiple chunks of text at once or even copy them.
The copy option is weird, because it just copies those words and then you paste just those words. It’s interesting.
You can also use it with pasting. For example, if I want to add the book’s subtitle – An EdTech Integration Mindset – each time the title is referenced, I can copy the full title with the subtitle, select all instances of the title, and click paste, and it’ll paste it in each place! Pretty cool stuff.
This feature should be active in all Google accounts at this point.
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.
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.)
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.)
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 classroomfrom 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.
Just go to File > Page Setup and select Pagelesss to start! You’ll notice that your page looks pretty much the same except for the boundary around the page disappearing.
Sure, page breaks will disappear as will headers, footers, and footnotes, but the width of your text will still fit a typical piece of paper.
You’ll now want to click on View > Text Width and select a different text. Then, when you change the normal zoom option that you see in the toolbar, it’ll make your text larger without zooming in to the page itself. The real benefit is being able to make tables and images as wide as you’d like. I think this feature has some room to grow, but I’m really glad to see it added!
In the 19th regular episode of Season 2, I am sharing an episode with Catlin Tucker, author of Balance With Blended Learning, where we talk about how teachers can streamline feedback during class time so that they have less to do outside of class time. Catlin shares strategies from John Hattie and Mark Barnes as well as a handful of great tech tips to make feedback more efficient!
Mike Mohammad joined me in episode 28 of the Educational Duct Tape Podcast to discuss 2 questions that an educator might have. One of the topics that we discussed was learner profiles. Mike posed the question, “How can students create a profile of themselves as a learner to share with an audience beyond the classroom?”
While Mike and I did not discuss the it during the show, I want to quickly compare and contrast the terms learner profile and digital portfolio. While there are similarities (both are typically curated by the student, both showcase the students work in school and both are often done digitally) there are also some differences (typically, digital portfolios are a showcase of academic work and growth while learner profiles also often focus on the students’ capabilities, characteristics and aptitudes as a learner).
Regardless of which end result you’re looking to cultivate in your school (learner profile, digital portfolio or a blend of both), there are plenty of tools that you can leverage.
A week after the episode in which Mike and I discusssed this aired, I hosted a Twitter chat about the questions from our talk.
Here are some of the participants’ responses to the question about learner profiles:
It’s safe to say that most educators agree that feedback should be given to students not just at the end of an assignment, but also during. Many educators would even say that the “during” feedback is more important, especially in writing. But, how do we do that efficiently? Reading & assessing student work twice takes up lots of time.
Well, I have 4 tips that I think can help.
By comparing a rough draft (or earlier draft) to the final draft (or most current draft), the teacher can assess the changes being made and decide if additional changes are necessary. It’s also a great way for teachers to see what areas for improvement students are and are not catching.
Google Docs offers some great functions for doing this. In this post, I’ll share 3 tips with you to help with this process.
On 1/7/19, Google announced that you could now embed previously created Google Drawings into Google Docs. Before this announcement, you could create new Drawings from within a Doc, but you could not pull in Drawings created in the regular Drawings platform.
This was limiting, because the Drawings tool within Docs was only provided a small workspace and had less tools. It was also frustrating that a Drawing couldn’t be in both places – a Drawing and Doc – without copying and pasting or using the following workaround.
Up to this point, the best workaround was to download the Drawing as an image and then insert that image into the Doc. This was frustrating for a few reasons: it involved inconvenient extra steps and it meant that the Drawing in the Doc would not update if the actual Drawing was updated.
Well, now Google has made good on fixing this. In the Google Docs Insert menu, go to Drawing and now you can select New to create a new one or From Drive to select one that you created in the Google Drawings platform. When the drawing is changed in Drawings, you’ll see an Update option in the Doc to show the changes (unless you selected Unlink when you added the Drawing). Check it out in the animated GIF below: