Friday, January 29, 2016

Quick Tip: Force "Make a Copy" on Google Drive Shares

Sometimes you just want to quickly share a template and make it easy for students or colleagues to make a copy.

Up until today your process probably looked something like this:
  1. Share the file or document with read-only permissions as suits your need. 
  2. Make the link accessible to your audience, along with instructions on how to make a copy.
  3. Prepare to answer questions on how to copy, be amazed by those who recreate the document, or annoyed when you realize the entire class is typing in the template (because you accidentally gave everyone Edit access!).

Here is an equally simple, yet less frustrating method. Please note that this quick tip only works with Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Images.
  1. Share the file or document with read-only permissions as suits your need. 
  2. Copy the Link to Share (from Share Settings popup).
  3. Paste the address, replace the last section with the word copy.

For example:
Original share link:
Force to make a copy share link:

Don't Forget to Share!
No matter what you append, users will not be able to view or access the file unless it has been Shared in some way. You can share with individuals, groups, or the whole world. You can give access to Edit, View, or Comment.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pangrams (Holoalphabetic Sentences)

Pangrams, or holoalphabetic sentences, are sentences that contain all letters of the alphabet. Perhaps the most common example is "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." Pangrams can be particularly useful in keyboarding instruction and quick assessment. With just one sentence, students demonstrate their ability to navigate the full keyboard including the Shift key and punctuation.

The sentences that come from this forced structure can sometimes be funny, poetic, or just downright weird. Some of my sources for these holoalphabetic sentences:

What else can you do with pangrams?
  • With younger students, identify each letter in the sentence, look for vowels, consonants, blends, etc.. Count how many times letters appear (a perfect pangram will only have 26 characters, each letter appearing only once).
  • As a small writing activity, challenge students to write their own pangram. Increase the challenge and specify a theme, writing style, or limit the number of words or character.
  • In the real world, pangrams are often used to demonstrate a font, typeface, or handwriting. Invite your students to develop a pangram that speaks to the feeling of a chosen font.

Image credit: Orion Champadiyil

Monday, January 25, 2016

Google Drive: Print a Batch of Documents

There is no doubt that the increased use of digital tools means a decreased use of printers. However there are times when reading student work on the screen is not practical, or doable, for teachers.

Below are steps for teachers who would like to print a large group of documents stored to Google Drive. Remember that all Classroom documents are stored in their own folder in Drive!

This process is somewhat cumbersome, but it accomplishes the task:
  1. Prep:
    • Make sure your default printer is the printer you would like these documents to go to.
    • Create a temporary folder on your desktop.
  2. In Drive:
    • Select the files to be printed. There are two ways to do this:
      • Select multiple documents by holding down the control key and clicking each file. Right click and choose download. 
      • Alternatively, open the folder containing the assignment. Click the down arrow next to the folder name and choose Download.
    • Selected files will download into a .zip file. Google Doc files will convert to MS Word.
  3. On the PC:
    • Open the downloaded .zip file.
    • Move the files in the zip folder to the temporary folder created on the desktop. (We can't print directly from a zip folder.)
    • Select all files in the temporary folder (Control-A), right click, choose print. Word will open, but you shouldn't see each file open -- files will just go to printer.

Do you know of a simpler way to accomplish this task? I would love to hear from you! Send me an email or tweet with your solution!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

High Point Google Apps Summit

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to participate in the High Point Google Apps and BYOD Summit. Alice Keeler shared her passion for using technology transform the learning experience for our students, along with the tools she uses in her classroom. There were also presentations about 3D printers, Twitter for teachers, tech for specific content areas, and great tools for teaching.

I was able to lead a workshop and share my favorite and most-used Google apps, add-ons, and extensions. With only 45 minutes, I knew there wasn't going to be able to cover everything in depth while still allowing time to "play" with the tools. To ensure that my audience had ready access to the tools, tips, and suggested uses I re-purposed my training site: Apps, Extensions, Add-Ons, Oh My!  During this workshop we looked at:

  • LucidChart 
  • OneTab
  • Save to Google Drive
  • Snagit
  • Choice Eliminator
  • Doctopus
  • TextHelp Study Skills


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Quick Tip: Keyboard Shortcuts

Commit this short list to memory. You will be tested the next time you are typing a document, entering information in an online form, or participating in an online chat/comment/discussion. The shortcuts work in most productivity tools and browsers. In most cases, Mac users can replace Control with Command.
  • Control-A ➤ Select everything in document or tab
  • Control-C ➤ Copy the selected text or item
  • Control-X ➤ Cut, or remove the selected text or item
  • Control-V ➤ Paste the most recently copied or cut text or item
  • Control-Enter ➤ Force a new page

These formatting shortcuts work as a toggle. Turn formatting on or off with these key combinations:
  • Control-B ➤ Bold the selected text
  • Control-I ➤ Italicize the selected text
  • Control-U ➤ Underline the selected text

These shortcuts are helpful for "oops" moments or during repetitive tasks:
  • Control-Z ➤ Undo the most recent action
  • Control-Y ➤ Repeat the most recent action

Do you often have multiple windows or programs open? What about completing online forms?
  • Alt-Tab ➤ Quickly switch between open windows
  • Tab ➤ Go forward one field
  • Shift-Tab ➤ Go back one field

Looking for more?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Cool Tool: viewpure

A few weeks ago I attended the NJASL Annual Conference. During one of the workshops I was reminded of a great tool, one that makes sharing YouTube videos a little more school friendly.

Viewpure is a free, web-based tool that allows anyone to share a simplified video page. Viewpure removes most of the advertising, suggested videos, description, and comments. Clicking the information icon reveals the title, description and direct link to the original video.

Advanced settings allow for a custom URL, password protection, and start/end time. (I was not able to get any video to start or end at a select time based on these settings.)


Friday, December 4, 2015

Wild Reads - Round 2

The latest version of our elementary Media Center Wild Reads bulletin boar is complete! This month we asked a member of the front office staff, one of the gym teachers, and one teacher from each grade to share their favorite story from our elementary school library.