Thursday, March 30, 2017

Google Apps Connected to Google Drive

Google Drive Apps are web-based applications (programs) that are designed to be used on with Google Drive. These apps add functionality to Google Drive. The apps add various features to the Drive interface, ranging from advanced file management tools to utilities that let you edit things beyond basic documents and spreadsheets.

Below is a Collection of Recommended Apps Connected to Google Drive to Support Teachers and Students

Learn More About Using Google Drive Apps

Google Drive apps are available in the Chrome Web Store, but they can also be added in in Google Drive. Once you install them, you can use them with Google Drive on the web. Apps are compatible with all supported browsers.


1. Login to your Google Drive using the Chrome Browser or a Chromebook.

2. Left Click on button the and scroll down and left click on + Connect more apps

3. A new window will pop up to Connect apps to Drive


You can browse popular Drive Apps on this screen.

Scrolling over a Drive App Logo will roll over a window with a brief description.

You can search for apps by name or topic.

The Drop Down allows you to browse Drive Apps by topic. The Education category is a great place to find some useful Apps.

4. Click on the button to add an App to your Google Drive.

5. A pop-up window will confirm your selection. Leave the Make (Name of App) the default app for files it can open checked and click . The App will now appear in the New drop-down menu in Google Drive.

6. You can now find the App in Drive by clicking on  button and scrolling down to more.

Manage Google Drive apps
1. In Google Drive, from the settings menu , select Manage apps.

2. Check the box Use by default for files it can open.

3. Uninstall a Google Drive app

You can uninstall a Google Drive app at any time. When you uninstall, your files will still be accessible in Google Drive, but you’ll no longer be able to use the app.

Find the app in the list and click the Options button.

Select Disconnect from Drive.

In most cases, uninstalling a Google Drive app will remove its access to files in your Google Drive. Go to the "Authorizing applications & sites" section of to double check.

Additional Tips for opening files in Google Drive

If you don’t set a default, you can open a file with an app by right-clicking its title in Google Drive.

If you’ve set a default and you’d like to open a particular file with a different app, right-click its title in Google Drive and select an alternate app.

If two apps use the same file type (for example, you’ve installed two apps that both let you read PDF files), the app most recently selected as default will be the default.

Additional Resources

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Google Arts and Culture - Digital Collaboration for Everyone

The Google Arts and Culture Site can be a powerful resource for teachers and students to connect to Global Cultures and Explore the World. Teachers can use the features of the site to help students connect to different cultures and ideas. 

Explore Artists, Mediums, Art Movements, Historical events, Historical figures, and Places. I particularly love the virtual museums and tours of historical and cultural "places". 

I think this post from Google is a great spot to start exploring the power of Google Arts and Culture. 

We've also put together this interactive Google Slide Deck to help teachers and students explore the essential sections of Google Arts and Culture.

Google Arts & Culture also provides teachers and students with a wealth of resources that can be connected to the ISTE Standards for Students.

How would you use Google Arts & Culture in your classroom?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Creative Screencasting - Powerful Teaching and Learning Tools

"Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing." - Linda Naiman

When you think of screencasts, you typically think of tutorials connected to a piece of software or an app. Screencasting can also be a powerful way to share resources with students. One of my favorite uses of screencasts is when students can record their learning experiences. Students can use screencasts to visually and verbally demonstrate learning.

Screencasting in the Classroom
  • Students record how they use the web to research a concept. 
  • Students create a presentation based on a web resource. 
  • Students can create flipped tutorials to share with classmates. 
  • Students can review key concepts presented by a teacher in a blended learning model. 
  • Teachers can use screencasts to provide feedback on digital activities. 
  • Students can review a website or online reading. 
  • Students can explain their thought process as they create a diagram or mind map. 
  • Students can record and narrate a traditional slide-based presentation. 
There are many great screencasting tools, here are a few of our web-based favorites for Chromebooks and Chrome
  • Screencastify
    Screencastify is a simple video screen capture software (aka. screencast recorder) for Chrome. It is able to record all screen activity inside a tab, including audio. Just press record and the content of your tab is recorded. So you can easily create a screencast for video tutorials, record presentations etc. It also supports desktop capturing, allowing you to record anything on your screen (not just tabs). 
  • Viewedit
    ViewedIt breaks down communication barriers by allowing you to simply communicate with anyone through video. To make this as easy as talking to a friend, we have one-click screen recording, easy video sharing in email and social, and notifications when people watch your videos. 
  • WeVideo
    WeVideo makes video editing easy for everyone and accessible from anywhere. 
  • Explain Everything
    Explain Everything™ Interactive Whiteboard brings together an interactive screencasting whiteboard and a content discovery portal. Dynamic and easy-to-use interactive screencasting whiteboard 
  • Screencast-O-Matic
    Use their world famous recorder to record on-screen activity for short tutorials, visual presentations, and communicate while you demonstrate! 
  • Nimbus
    Capture the web page, either part of it or the whole browser window, edit your screenshots in a very user-friendly interface. Record screencasts - record video from your screen. 
  • SoapBox
    You can record your screen and your webcam simultaneously, then take advantage of a unique “split-screen” view, where the webcam feed is side-by-side with the screencast.

    If you are looking for addtional resources to whiteboard or create visuals while sceencasting, please explore this post.

Additional Screencasting Resources

How would you use screen casting to support learning in your classroom?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Chrome Omnibox Tips and Tricks

The primary purpose of this post is to share some of the Chrome Omnibox abilities. We've also created this tutorial document connected to this post.

Search in Omnibox

You can search directly by typing text into the Omnibox and click return. You can also set up custom search options directly from your Omnibox.
You can also search a specific website from the Omnibox
Type the name of a website in the address bar AND press “Tab”, which will change the address bar to search that website. Any keyword you type after this will be searchedonn the website and take you directly to the site.

Chrome Help - Custom Search

There are also a variety of very useful quick actions you can complete using the Omnibox. You don’t need to go to to take advantage of these quick takes. Some of our favorites are listed below.


Start a countdown timer by typing: timer (or tm) and a time in the Omnibox.


Convert just about any units of measure by typing: convert a unit to a unit.


Solve math problems in your Omnibox by typing in an equation.

Or if you click the search button after typing the equation will open up a basic calculator.


Get weather for any zip code or location by typing: weather and a zip code or name of a city.


Need a word defined?: Type define or def with a word in the Omnibox for a quick definition.

Quickly translate a word or phrase from one language to another: type translate and then the word or phrase.

Get Directions

Get quick directions or a map of a location: type map and location 1 to location 2.

Roll the Dice

Need a quick roll of the dice for an activity: type roll a die and a single six-sided die will roll. 

Flip a Coin

Heads or tails to make a decision? Type flip a coin in the Omnibox and chrome will flip for you.

Currency Exchange

You can retrieve and calculate all foreign currencies from Omnibox. Just type the amount of the currency and click return.

Bonus - Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Ctrl+1-8 = Pressing Ctrl and any number 1 through 8 will move to the corresponding tab in your tab bar. 
  • Ctrl+9 = Switch to the last tab. 
  • Ctrl+Tab = Scroll through tabs. 
  • Ctrl+H = Show history. 
  • Ctrl+J = Open Downloads window . 
  • Ctrl+K = Move the cursor to the Omnibox (address bar). 
  • Ctrl+T = Open a new tab. 
  • Ctrl+Shift+T = Reopen recently closed tab. 
  • Ctrl+W = Close the current tab. 
  • Ctrl+F = Opens a text search box for the page. 
  • Ctrl+L = Hightlight url in omnibox. 
  • Ctrl+C = Copy text to clipboard. 
  • Ctrl+V = Paste text from clipboard. 
  • Ctrl+Shift+N = Open new incognito window. 
  • More Chrome Keyboard Shortcuts

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Awesome Shortcuts for Sharing Google Docs (Copy, Templates, or Preview)

Google Classroom is a great resource to share Google files with students or other teachers. Google Classroom allows you to quickly share viewable or editable documents. You can also have Google Classroom make a copy for each student enrolled in your classroom. Google classroom only supports this sharing for students and teachers enrolled in your classroom.

Sometimes you need to share a document outside of Google Classroom. The sharing options in Google Docs allow you to share a document directly with anyone. You can get a link that allows you to share a document using 1 of these 3 choices: "Anyone Can view", "Anyone Can Comment", or "Anyone Can Edit". You can also share with specific users. Click here to learn more about Google sharing settings.

There are also several shortcuts that allow the owner of a document to have anyone who clicks on the link to either make a copy, display as a template, or preview the document.

Click on each of the links below to see the different options.

Here's how you can force a Hack Your URL for Google Docs, Sheets, Drawings, and Slides.
1. Make sure the document is not private. It must be a viewable document. ("Anyone with link can view" or "Public on the web."

2. Click on the Share and the shareable link will appear in a popup window. If you copy the link it will look like this:

3. If you want to share the link and force users to make a copy, you just need to modify the shareable link. Delete the end of the link up to the forward slash (/). Then type the word copy at the end of the link so that it looks like this:

4. If you want to share the link and force users to make a copy with any comments, you just need to modify the shareable link. Delete the end of the link up to the forward slash (/). Then type the word copy at the end of the link so that it looks like this:

5. You can also give users the option to see the document as a template. This would allow them to preview the document and choose to make a copy.

6. You can do the same thing if you just want them to see a preview of the document in their browser without the Google Drive menu bar. This would look like this:

7. Google Slides allows you to share presentations that open automatically in the Presentation View. Simply replace the end of the sharing url with the word present. It would look like this:

8. Share the link in an email or on a website. You can even use a URL shortener with the link to get the same results. 

Here is a quick screenshot of the process of changing the url. Let us know if you have any questions or additional shortcuts in the comments below.

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