Tag Archives: Google

Find Anything in you Google Drive

If you are anything like me, your Google Drive is a bit of a mess. No matter how much I try to keep it organized, documents and files find their way outside of my carefully crafted and structured filing system. This isn’t just an issue for my Google Drive account. I have this problem in general.

search-windowWell, the benefit of using Google Drive for your file storage is that you get to use Google’s Search features within you Drive. If you type a key term (like the document title) in the Google Drive Search Bar, it will pull up all files with that title and it will also search within the document for key terms. If you would like to narrow your search further, you can edit features such as: owner (to find that file shared with you by someone else), shared with (to find that document you’re collaborating on), file-type, dated modified, and more.

So, even if you’re terrible at organization (like I am), you can always find the file that you’re looking for!

How to Create a Self-Graded Quiz in Google Forms

The new Google Forms allows you to create self-grading quizzes right within the form (no need for an add-on!). This is a great way to create bell-ringers, exit tickets, or quick assessments. Creating a self-graded form is easy! screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-1-37-25-pm

First, create a new Google Form and give it a title. Next enter your questions (for auto-grading, they will need to be in the form of multiple-choice, check boxes, or drop-down. Once you have created your quiz, click on the settings button (the gear shaped icon in the top right). Select the “Quizzes” tab and toggle on “Make this a Quiz.”

Next you can select when students will see their scores and if they can answers they left blank.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-1-37-38-pmNext, you will need to set your answer key. At the bottom of questions you have already created or new ones that you create, there will be a blue “Answer Key.” Click on this button. You will then select the right answer(s) that will be used as the key. You can also set the number of points each question is worth.

Once you have set all of your answers and point values, the quiz is ready to go! You can share with students via email, link, or even QR code!

How to email a Google Doc (Without Leaving Google Docs)

The best feature of Google Docs is the ability to collaborate with others. Sometimes, you need to send a copy of a Google Doc to someone who doesscreen-shot-2016-09-15-at-8-08-10-am not work in the Google atmosphere. You can easily email a Google Doc as an attachment to someone right within the document! To do this, click on File –> email as an attachment.

Next, in the pop up window, select the form you would like (PDF, MS Word, Rich Text Format, HTML, Plain Text, Open Document, or just paste it into the email itself! Enter the email address, include a message, and your email is sent! This is a feature that works even if your domain does not have gmail enabled (although you should tick “send a copy to myself” if you would like a confirmation of the email).

This is a great way to send off finished drafts or to share material with individuals who do not work within the Google platform.

How (and why) to add a photo to your Google Account

I work a lot in the Google platform, both within my school as well as my peers at other institutions. It’s a great collaborative platform. I’m always surprised to find that most people don’t have a photo set for their Google Account. There are actually some good reasons to set a photo (even if it’s not *your* photo):

  • It gives your account personality and branding.
  • It allows senders to know they are sharing with the right person.
  • It can help you to keep multiple accounts straight.

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-1-30-09-pmAdding a photo to your Google Account is easy. Open up one of your Google Apps, like Google Drive. At the top right of the page, you will see either the initial of your first name or a photo (if you or your administrator has previous set one). Click on that circle and then click on the text “change.”

Next, a window will pop up that allows you to upload a photo, access photos from Google Photos or Google+, or to take a photo (if your computer is equipped with a camera). You will then have the option to crop the photo, align, and enter a caption. Then click “set as profile photo” and you are done!


Free Interactive & Directed GAFE Training Tool

Synergise has been a long popular training tool for Google Apps. It provided interactive training and walkthroughs for organizations at a nominal fee. Last Spring, Google acquired Synergise in order to offer this support to a broader audience – for free. Now, your institution (Google Apps for Education/Work/Non-Profits) can roll-out this in house training system for free under the rebranded “Training for Google Apps.” It’s a great resources for your users and allows them to expand and self-direct their training.

Screenshot (1)

Courtesy of Google Chrome Store

To use this feature, your Google Apps administrator will have to install it using Google’s Marketplace Apps. Next, they can either force-install it as a Chrome Extension for the institution, or direct users to install this tool via the Google Chrome webstore. Training for Google Apps also allows you to shape your organization’s support system by recommending lessons, adding your own content, and running reports. This is a great way for you to provide scaled and relevant support for your school or workforce.

3 Virtual Reality Tools for the Classroom

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius.


Virtual Reality (VR) has long be seen as the realm of science fiction. However, VR has been making a big splash in education and, with a low price point, is entering the classroom quickly. Here are three tools that you can use to bring Virtual Reality into your classroom.

Google Expeditions

Last year, Google announced Google Expeditions, a system that brings educational virtual reality into the classroom. While you have to be a partner school to try it out, you can use the same features in your classroom with Google Cardboard, a smartphone, and cardboard compatible apps. For example, students can hunt for dinosaurs in their own Dino Park, take a virtual tour of the National Parks and Museums with VR Tours, or learn about the brain by playing InMind. You can even create your own Virtual Reality experiences using an Android Phone or Tablet with Cardboard Camera

ThingLink 360° & VR Editor

This year, ThingLink introduced its own 360° and Virtual Reality editor. It allows users to create annotated and “touchable” 3D experiences, check out this demo below:


This is a great way for students to create content to demonstrate their learning. For example, on a field trip, they could record the environment and annotate the vegetation or animals that they see. These ThingLink VR experiences can even include multimedia.

Nearpod Virtual Field Trips

Nearpod VR and Nearpod Field Trips allows you to send students on “virtual field trips” right in your classroom using the Nearpod learning platform. Students can visit the Roman Colosseum, the Great Barrier Reef, or the Great Wall of China (just to name a few). This is a great way to add context to existing learning experiences. Many of these Virtual Field Trips are free, just browse their content catalogue.

These three tools are just a handful of new applications coming into the classroom to enhance student learning using virtual environments. Now students can not only consume, but create Virtual Reality content and share it with others.

Reflections on ISTE 2016

I have just returned from the 2016 ISTE Conference in Denver Colorado. Like every ISTE conference, I return both exhausted and exhilarated. I had a personal milestone at ISTE, becoming the Chair for the Independent School Educator’s Network; I am both excited and a little overwhelmed about the prospects of the new year. Looking back at ISTE, here are a few of the highlights.

Amazon Inspire

gallery-1467038201-amazon-inspire-landscapeAmazon announced the beta launch of its teacher platform, Amazon Inspire. It will be a free marketplace for teachers to access lesson plans, worksheets, and a variety of instructional materials. This is Amazon’s first serious step into the education market and I’m curious to see how it evolves. I signed up for early access, and you can to using this link.

Google Rolls out even more Tools

Google highlighted some very cool tools. One that especially caught my eye is Google Cast; this is a Chrome extensions that will allow users to project their screen wirelessly from one Chrome browser to another. It’s still in beta form, but holds a lot of promise. Google has also double downed on their programming tool Pencil. They have provided a lot of free tools to make programming with Pencil much easier and some tools to help you get started coding music, games, and art. It’s a great tool to bring coding into your classroom.

Microsoft Doubles Down on OneNote & MineCraft

Microsoft_OneNote_2013_logo.svgMicrosoft is putting a lot of weight behind OneNote (its powerful note-taking tool); paired with a Surface or other touch-based computer, it’s a great resource in the classroom. While I’m a great fan, I still see it reserved solely for older students (think High School and College) power users. It’s interface will intimidate beginners and it’s far too complex for elementary and all but the most advanced middle-schoolers. MineCraft was literally everywhere. One of my goals for the next year is to become more proficient in this tool so that I can bring it into my classroom.

Makerspaces are having a Moment

My good friend Vinnie Vrotny has been a makerspace advocate far before they were “a thing.” He put together and hosted our Makerspace Playground, highlighting cool activities and learning spaces that encourage exploration and creativity. Various themes on makerspaces and tinkering were omnipresent on the exhibitor floor as well as in various sessions.

ISTE is always an exciting time for educators, we get to see what’s coming and what has been going on at other schools around the world. I’m excited to watch these new tools unfold over the next year and then reflect on them again next year after ISTE 2017 in San Antonio.