10 Tech Tips:

G Suite Intro

So, an email address is just an email address - right? Not necessarily. In many cases, organizations are moving towards using a combination product, like G Suite or Office 365, that offers a range of web-based tools for the creation and sharing of content. For an organization to be able to harness the power of G Suite for free, they have to apply as either a non-profit K12 or higher ed school or an established non-profit organization. Has your organization made the move to G Suite? Or are you considering the switch? In either case, here are some tips and tricks for managing and navigating G Suite.

Quick Disclaimer: Products like those in G Suite are continually being updated and upgraded. Additionally, your G Suite Administrator may have configured the accounts in your domain to have (or not have) certain permissions. Don't be surprised if your G Suite account looks a bit different or has different permissions than the ones in the example videos. We'll be sticking to basic functions during these videos, but be aware that there may be slight differences.

Intro to G Suite Goals:

  1. Navigate between the different apps
  2. Identify ways that you could use Gmail and Google Calendar in your organization
  3. Explore Google Drive as the hub for Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms
  4. Create (and share) new projects in Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms

Bonus: Create a fun survey to send to your coworkers!

Gmail & Google Calendar

Email and scheduling seem to be backbone of any organization. With G Suite, your organization's contacts are pre-populated for ease of use and calendars can be shared to facilitate scheduling. The "Find a Time" feature in Google Calendar is especially helpful when you need to schedule that important meeting regarding just who keeps adding mustaches to the 'Kittens of the Library' calendar in the break room.

Of course, Gmail can be used for all of those communication functions that we typically use email for - but with the integration of Google Drive, it becomes a much more useful tool for sharing information. The Apps Launcher (or waffle, if you prefer food references) is located at the top of each G Suite product and is your tool for navigating between G Suite Apps.

Additionally, using G Suite as an administrator means that it is simple to manage your organization's accounts. When new people are hired, it is simple to get them up and running with a new account. When someone forgets their password (and someone will always be forgetting their password), it is simple to reset their password from the admin account and get them back to work.

GSuite - Email & Calendar.mp4

How could an integrated email and calendar increase productivity at your organization?

Google Drive

Google Drive is the home base or hub for all of the content that you create. It's like a digital file cabinet that's available on any computer. You can organize items that you created in Drive as well as items that you upload to your Drive (such as photos, videos, pdfs, etc.) into folders. Folders can then be shared (so everyone who has access to the folder has access to all of the contents of that folder) or organized as you see fit.

GSuite - Google Drive.mp4

Already have Google Drive? Create a folder, give it a name, and assign it a color (hint: right click on the folder). Feeling daring? Upload an image to your Drive or share your new folder with a coworker for some collaboration.

Don't have Google Drive yet? Come up with a few pros and cons of cloud based storage so that you can further the conversation when it comes up at your organization.

Google Docs

Google Docs is a web-based word processing app. It can be used to create a huge variety of documents, like memos, essays, posters, flyers, etc. The content that you create is stored on the cloud - which is a big deal if you've had a computer crash. The documents can all be collaborative as well; more than one person can work on a document at a time. Shared workstations are easier to manage and collaboration can happen asynchronously when using G Suite apps.

GSuite - Google Docs.mp4

Already have Google Drive? Create a folder, give it a name, and assign it a color (hint: right click on the folder). Feeling daring? Upload an image to your Drive or share your new folder with a coworker for some collaboration.

Don't have Google Drive yet? Come up with a few pros and cons of cloud based storage so that you can further the conversation when it comes up at your organization.

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is a web-based spreadsheet program. It can be used to create budget spreadsheets, calendars, invoices, databases, etc. Again, everything is stored on the cloud, automatically saved, and can be accessed collaboratively.

GSuite - Google Sheets.mp4

Create a new Sheet and give it a name. Add up some numbers with a formula, freeze the top row with your headers, and change the formatting of the text. (You can, of course, share this one, too.)

Google Slides

Google Slides is a web-based presentation tool. It can create a huge range of different styles of presentations. You can add video directly from your Drive or from YouTube (another Google product), images from Drive, and graphs from Sheets. Sharing and collaboration can happen the same way as with the other apps.

Bonus Tip: There are sites that provide additional templates for Slides - Slides Carnival has some brilliantly designed templates that are free to use and simple to add to your Drive.

GSuite - Google Slides.mp4

Create a new Slides presentation and explore the different templates and types of slides that you add to a presentation (make sure to use the little arrow next to the plus to see all of the options). Want to share it? You know what to do!

Google Forms

Google Forms is actually a combination of two apps - Forms and Sheets. Forms is where you can create, design, edit, and send out your Form with a variety of types of questions. Sheets is where you can store, sort, and analyze your collected data. A Google Form can be used any time that you would like a simple way to collect information electronically - survey, exit ticket, poll, work order, purchase order, voting for favorite lunch spot, etc.

Collaboration is a bit different with Forms. When you click on Send in the upper right (if you're not paying attention it almost looks exactly like the Share button!), you will see the options for how to send out your Form to the people who should respond (usually, you can make a link available for them to follow). However, in order to add a collaborator (ie. someone else who can edit the form), you have to click on Send and then click on the smaller text that says 'Add collaborators' in the lower left.

GSuite - Google Forms.mp4

Create a Form and give it a name. Add a variety of fun questions for your coworkers (or other group of people) to answer. Use various types of questions (multiple choice, short answer, checkboxes, dropdown, etc.) and mark at least one question as required.

Bonus: Use the Send button to send out your form to a group of people in order to collect their responses. Wait, either patiently or not so patiently, for respondents to, well, respond - then access the form again to view the results.

RECAP

G Suite is a powerful set of web-based tools that allow for cloud storage, asynchronous collaboration, seamless sharing of content, and simple administrative management.

Management of accounts and passwords is straightforward, in-progress work is automatically saved to the cloud and no longer tied to a particular workstation, collaboration can happen from across the building or from across the country, and available two-step authentication adds some peace of mind for your IT staff.