AEA 267 staff are quickly discovering the enormous benefits of using Google+ Hangouts to communicate with each other, either for those short 30-60 minute conversations to those 2-3 hour meetings. For those of you not familiar with "Hanging Out" yet, here's a little run down of Google Hangouts.
Hangouts are a video conferencing tool that is part of Google+. Some features that make it an indispensable tool include:
As with any tool, there are some things to keep in mind regarding best practices:
Google+ and the Hangouts are an effective tool for communicating across the agency (or across the office). As I wait for the next major snow storm, it is nice to know that I don't have to worry about traveling on Friday, as my group is planning on using Google+ Hangouts to hold our meeting. Now that many of you have already created a Google+ account, I did a little tutorial on some of the other features of Google+, such as how to edit your circles and how to share a post with a group of people or one other person. Which is especially helpful if you wanted to share a blog post or website with a group of people and discuss the post.
(Cross-posted on the Google Drive blog.)
With Google Drive, you can do more than just create, store, and share stuff. A variety of apps can help with everything from editing spreadsheets to signing documents electronically.
Forms let you easily create questionnaires and automatically collect responses in a spreadsheet. Today a new version launches, rebuilt to bring you a faster, cleaner, and more collaborative experience.
Now with collaboration
Create a form faster than ever. Just as with Docs, Sheets and Slides, you can now collaborate with others in real-time. If you need to work with two colleagues on a survey, all three of you can work on the same form simultaneously and even have a group chat on the side, without leaving the form.
Even if you’re working solo, some new changes will make creating and editing forms easier. All your changes are auto-saved and you can quickly undo/redo edits. Improved copy-and-paste will let you copy a list of bullets from the web or multiple rows of text from a spreadsheet; then, when you paste into a form, each line will be appear as an individual answer. And you can use keyboard shortcuts to get things done more quickly.
With the new Forms editor, you can continue using all the features you’re already familiar with:
- Scale: Whether you’re collecting responses from ten friends for a baby shower or ten thousand attendees at a conference, you can count on Forms to reliably collect data for any number of responses.
- Analyzing: See the responses you’ve received right in Google Forms or collect them neatly in Google Sheets. And you can now download a .csv file for more detailed analysis and reporting.
- Sharing: If you share a form directly in Google+, anyone in your circles can respond without leaving their stream. Or if you send a form via email, respondents can submit their answers right from Gmail.
This update to Forms will be rolling out to Rapid Release over the next few days, and to Scheduled Release in the coming weeks. You can create forms directly from Google Sheets or Drive, or install the Chrome Web App for easy access from your browser. Also check theGoogle Drive +page all week for tips and tricks.
For schools: The new Lenovo ThinkPad Chromebook
Google's newest partner Lenovo has announced a Chromebook based on their popular ThinkPad laptop. Meet the new Lenovo ThinkPad X131e Chromebook. Classrooms have unique hardware and software needs and this new Chromebook combines the hassle-free experience of Chrome OS with the ThinkPad’s rugged design for the classroom environment. With specialized features like a rubber bumper around the top cover, stronger corners, reinforced hinges and hinge brackets, and a high definition (HD) LED anti-glare screen, the Lenovo ThinkPad X131e Chromebook is ready for schools. Lasting up to 6.5 hours* with a latest-generation Intel processor, the ThinkPad Chromebook will keep up with even the most active students and teachers. Read more in Google's Blog Post.
VirtualizationChromebooks are becoming increasingly popular in schools. But what about schools that still use Windows applications? There was a Google Hangout on Air - Virtualization for Chromebooks - that featured an interactive discussion between a panel of current Chromebook schools/districts on enabling Windows application access with virtualization. In addition, Richland School District 2 shared some ways they use Ericom's AccessNow HTML5 RDP solution for accessing Windows applications from Chromebooks.
Take a look at the Hangout:
Google Drive lets you store up to 5 GB of files in your Google Drive account. Frequently, we have something on our computer that we want to edit as a Google document so the file will need to be uploaded to Google Drive.
Recently, Google changed their upload settings, so even if you modified your settings in the past, check the settings to make sure they are set as recommended at the end of this post.
To clarify, Google Drive allows you to upload documents with the following options:
You can upload...
You can tell the difference between files that Google Docs and files that are Word, PPT, or Excel by looking at the icons next to the file name. Google Drive documents (editable in Google Drive) have the following icons:
Lastly, check your upload settings. To get to your upload settings, open your Google Drive, click on the gear or wheel in the upper right hand corner, then click on upload settings, please set your settings to match these in the image below.
Check out the AEA 267 Google Apps Website for additional resources. You’ll also find a list of upcoming workshops that are available in each of the AEA 267 offices.
Using Google Drive can be a blessing and a headache at the same time. Files are appearing in your Google Drive left and right, you have no idea where they came from or how to get rid of them! Luckily, I have 5 helpful tips that can make your life a little easier when it comes to using Google Drive.
1. Organize, Organize, Organize.
Take advantage of those organization tools. When you go to Google Drive, there is an option to create Documents, Presentations, etc. there is also can option to create folders? From there you can move files into those folders by selecting the document and then clicking on organize.
(Be careful that you don't move files out of a shared folder though! It will remove that file for everyone who has access to that folder.) These folders work just like your folders on your laptop or desktop computer. You can name them accordingly, nest them and change the colors of the folders.
2. Use the Search Toolbar
Google Drive has its own search toolbar.
Using this tool bar, you can search your entire Drive. When you put a search term in the textbox, it searching EVERYTHING in your drive for that term. It searches titles, descriptions and text within files, even PDFs. You can also apply some search operators to help narrow your search. For example, use quotes around a phrase to search for that EXACT phrase. Use the word OR to search for more than one word, use a hypen (-) to remove words from the search results. There are some other powerful search terms:
title: search within the title only
Google also provides documentation on these search terms. If I can't find something, the Search Toolbar is my go to tool!
3. Have more than one Google Account?
Remember if you have a Google Apps account provided for you by AEA 267 (or your place of employment), it should be used only for work related materials. Therefore, I have two Google accounts, one that I use for work and one that I use for personal things, such shopping, kids activities, etc. When you are in one Google account, it is a pain to log out of one and go to the other. Google provides something called multiple log ins. When I am logged in to my Google account and click on my name in the upper left hand corner of the web page, I see something like this. This way I can easily navigate between my two accounts.
To set this up, log into one account, then click on Add Account, and log in to the other account.
This is a great feature, and if you choose to use it, please keep in mind that it is ultimately your responsibility to know which account you are in. You can check this looking in the upper right hand side of your browser window.
Also, if you are using a company owned computer, keep in mind that ANY activity that you do on that computer, regardless of what account you are using, is subject to your employer's Acceptable Use Policy.
4. Bookmark Common Documents
Because each Google Document has its own unique web address, just like your favorite web pages, you can bookmark any Google Doc the same way as you would a web page (even ones that you don't own). For example, I have a document called Contract Days that I update frequently. Instead of opening up Google Drive and locating it in my list of files, I have the document bookmarked or listed in my favorites. This way I can easily locate it by clicking on the link that I have bookmarked.
5. Organize, Organize, Organize
Ok, I know that I've already said, but it bears repeating, and Google Drive has more than folders to keep you organized. If you have a file or files that someone has shared with you that you don't need anymore (e.g. old agendas, committee notes that you are no longer part of, documents that are no longer relevant, etc.) you don't have to keep them. I'm giving you permission to remove these items from your Google Drive. To do this, click on the box next to the file that you no longer need then click on the trash can icon at the top.
If you don't own the document or if you own the document and it isn't shared with others the document will disappear and you will receive a notice at the top saying that the item(s) was removed. If you own the document and it is shared with others, it will be moved to the trash and you will receive a notice at the top, that it was removed and is no longer shared with others. In other words, those who you gave permission to the document to edit it, view it, etc, will no longer have access to it.
If that is not what you wanted to do you can Undo it, by clicking on the blue Undo button, or going to your trash and restoring it. (Once you empty your trash, you cannot recover it.)
Lots more tips coming!
Also, check out the AEA 267 Google Apps Website for additional resources. You’ll also find a list of upcoming workshops that are available in each of the AEA 267 offices.
Google+ is now available for K-12 Domains. It must be turned on in the control panel for people to use.
Reminder, G+ is currently turned off for students, but new premium features have been released today. Check out our current settings, and watch this video http://goo.gl/ythaA.
More resources about Google+ will be coming to the site! Contact your AEA if you have questions.
Here is the link that will have the recording shortly!
"We just announced a new Samsung Chromebook. At $249 per device it offers an even more affordable way to bring Chromebooks and the power of the web to the classroom.
You can learn more about it in this blog post:(http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-new-chromebook-for-every-student.html)." - Google
To make it even easier for you to create stuff quickly, Documents, Spreadsheets, and Presentations–now called Docs, Sheets, and Slides–are now available as apps in the Chrome Web Store. Once installed, shortcuts to these apps will appear when you open a new tab in Chrome.
This blog post tells you more information.
Google Spreadsheets work much in the same way as other Google tools, in regard to sharing. For this reason, it is great to have the features of spreadsheets along with the option to share with it with your colleagues who need either viewing and/or editing rights to the spreadsheet. While Google spreadsheets work in much the same way as Excel, there are some nuances. One of them, is hiding rows and columns. One resource that I use when I want to learn something in Google, is Google Gooru. He has video short video tutorials that many times address those little known tips and tricks in Google. In April, he produced a video, Hiding Rows and Columns in Google Spreadsheets. If you have any questions or suggestions don't hesitate to contact one of the Google trainers: Kay Schmalen (firstname.lastname@example.org,us) Clair Judas (email@example.com) Jon Kruse (firstname.lastname@example.org) Dave Schaefer (email@example.com) Brian Unruh (firstname.lastname@example.org)