Friday, May 23, 2014

Takeout Your Data!

Google offers a fantastic resource called Google Takeout that will help you to backup and or store your data.  When making use of Google tools, your data is stored in the cloud. While we are promised that the data is secure, sometimes having a copy of your data "just in case" is nice.  Also, at this time of year, should you be moving or retiring, you might want to take a copy of your Google work with you.  While you might not like all the services archived, you can elect from many services as shown:

 A Google Takeout Archive is created, downloaded and can be taken with you easily.  Our friends in Franklin have created a great synopsis of Google Takeout in this tutorial:

Click here to launch video

Once you have exported your data, you are emailed a notification that your archive is ready for downloads.  This archive is downloaded as a zip file.  When the zip file is opened, you will find a folder that contains organized folders by the content service type.  This process is not only easy but a great way to archive valuable data.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Add-on Additions

Google Docs has a few new Add-Ons that are worth checking out! It had been a while since I check back into the Google Add-on menu.  I suspect that the resources available in the Google Docs Add-on page will grow quickly and in just the past few weeks there are some notable new ones.
If you are not familiar with Google Docs Add-ons, they appear in the main menu bar after opening a Google Doc or Sheet.  You will see different Add-ons depending on which App you are using.  The ones that run on a Google Spreadsheet (like the Doctopus Add-on) have no use for a Document, so they do not show when entering the Add-ons from a Document.  To explore the Add-ons first open a Document or Spreadsheet.  In the top menu bar, click Add-ons, and Get Add-ons as shown:
Much like you would see in the Google Store, you will see icons of the available Odd-ons.  Clicking on the icon will bring up information about that specific tool.  The benefit of Add-ons is that they work within the document type that you are working on and you do not have to leave the document to make use of the tool.  When this feature first become available, you just knew it was something that would take off, and I suspect it is beginning to!

Here are a few of the new Add-ons I am excited to explore how they can make a difference in the classroom as well as some that have been there from the start but are worth looking at again!:

Docs Add-ons


This Add-on addresses a problem that math teachers have complained about when using Google Docs for some time.  This tool will allow the user to create complex math and graphs from within the Google Doc from a sidebar tool.  There is a graph creator by which you type in an equation (y= formatted) and it will display the graph for the equation.  It also will create geometric signs, custom characters and formulas.  The creator of g(Math) has a great tutorial that will be valuable to those deciding if this is a worthwhile Add-on:


A second tool that is available in Google Docs is OpenClipArt.  This resources provides over 50,000 images as clip art from a sidebar in the Google Docs window.  This is a fantastic resource for educators and students wanting to add interest, color or image resources to their work.  

Sheets Add-ons


Doctopus is a well-loved scripts that you used to have to access through the scripts menu but is now and Add-on.  This script takes you class spreadsheet of names and emails and will organize and disseminate documents, assignments, and materials to certain or all students' Google Drives.  It will name the documents for each student and will even allow you to set up sharing settings.
This video should get you started:


Again, a well-loved script that is now available as an Add-on, Flubaroo is fantastic.  This script will support you as you assess students.  It will help you to grade, analyze and even email the students the results of the assessment.  An overview video should help you see what this script has to offer:

All of these Add-ons seem to be "adding on" quickly to keep checking back for more!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Week - Thank You!

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week Google has published this beautiful video.  The comments on the page read:

Thank you to the millions of passionate teachers who inspire curiosity in their classrooms...lesson after lesson, unit after unit, year after year. We're fortunate to have had many of you in our lives, and we can't wait to see what the future will bring because of the work you're doing today.
Please give yourself the gift of watching!

Thank you to all the amazing teachers out there!

Boost Engagement with EverySlide

PowerPoints, Keynote and Google Presentations are not necessarily my favorite choice for sharing information with large groups of people, but sometimes they are just what is needed. If you are going to use a presentation, why not make it viewable and available for each student as the information is presented? It gets even better as you can also add interactivity to run a quick poll of the group using the information on the slide itself! Everyslide is super simple to use and does not require any type of install for you or the students.

It works like this:
  1. Upload any presentation you have already created to your free educator Everyslide account.
  2. Click "present".
  3. A unique code will be generated of which you can share with the class.
  4. Ask for feedback or run a poll as you present.
  5. Students will be prompted to enter their email addresses at the end of the presentation, if you want to collect data on the class. Information about the responses and students will be downloaded to a spreadsheet. 
Check out the introductory video: