Thursday, February 26, 2015

Quick Google Tips from #METC15: Drive, Docs, & Calendar

In my last post I listed some of my favorite Google things from #METC15 a few weeks ago. Today, I'd like to share some specifics. 

The following tips and tricks were presented in the "Google Like a Ninja" session led by Greg Lawrence (@greglawrence) and Michael McCann (@mccann1776), two Google Certified Teachers and instructional technology coaches in the Wentzville School District. Their "Google Ninja Showdown" slideshow is shared here, though it only lists what they demonstrated. Their presentation was a live demo in Google Apps, a showdown of rounds in each app with the audience voting on a winner (when they could connect to the internet, that is).

DRIVE - Force your students to COPY a file to their drive:

Sharing docs in Drive via a shareable link is a lifesaver for many of us. I love that uploading a document to Drive and using that link on Moodle lets me edit or update the file for a new school year without the multi-step process of uploading it to Moodle again. 

If I want every student to have her own copy of the file to edit (a worksheet, for example), but don't want all of my students to edit MY copy, I can follow these steps to simplify things in class when they need to access the file:

  1. In Drive, access the file you want to share (you can open it or simply select the file within drive)
  2. Click the SHARE button 
  3. Click "Get shareable link" and change the sharing settings to "anyone with the link" and "can view" or "People at [your organization] with the link can view" 
  4. Click the COPY LINK button or "Get Shareable Link" to copy the URL to the clipboard
  5. Click Done
  6. Go to the website, doc, email, or wherever you want to post your link
  7. Paste the URL into the space
  8. Note where the word "edit" is in the sharing URL:
  9. Replace the word "edit" with "copy" in the URL 
  10. When your students click the link, they will be prompted with this screen: 
  11. Students click the MAKE A COPY button and the file is now saved in their Drives
DOCS - Use "Replace with" codes for grading comments:

A simple tip for giving feedback in a Google Doc was to create your own special codes that Google recognizes and replaces with longer text. Helpful for those commonly used phrases when grading papers. In TurnItIn, we make them QuickMarks (or they are provided in the pre-made sets). This is a way to create a version of those marks in Google Docs.
  1. Open a Google Doc
  2. Under Tools, click on Preferences, which will show you this pop-up window: 
  3. You can see some of the commonly "replace with" codes. Add your own! Some examples:
  4. Use these codes when adding feedback for your students... but only in the body of the document. I thought our presenters said you could use the "replace with" feature in comments, but I cannot get them to work... I find that to be a bummer. Hopefully you can find other ways to use custom "replace with" options.
CALENDAR - Share attachments with your events:

I guess I never paid attention to the "Add attachment" option when editing the details of an event on Google Calendar before METC. Now that I'm a Google Ninja, though, I'm loving it. I see this as a great tool for my teachers who put their assignments on a Google Calendar that is embedded in their Moodle page (CJ teachers - I'd love to help you do this!). If they store their homework files (reading assignments, worksheets, project descriptions, etc.) in Google Drive and share them from there anyways, this is a great option. Also great for having people sign up for time slots for conferences, to bring food to an event, etc.
  1. Make sure you have the appropriate sharing settings applied to the Doc/Sheets/Slides/etc. file you are attaching
  2. Open your calendar
  3. Create your event or choose a previously existing one and click "Edit Event"
  4. On the event details page, click "Add attachment" next to Attachment (about halfway down the page, just above the Event color choices)
  5. Choose a file you already have in your Drive or click Upload to add a file from your computer
  6. Click the SELECT button
  7. The file name shows up next to "Attachment" on the event details page
  8. Click the red SAVE button at the top of the page
  9. Now when students view the event on the calendar and click "more details", the attachment will appear as a link in the window
Stay tuned for more #METC15 sharing - Google and beyond!

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