Go Paperless With Hyperdocs

For an upcoming training on Chromebooks, I developed a section on Hyperdocs.  If you aren't familiar with Hyperdocs, they are essentially a Document (Google Docs, Slides, or Google Sites) set up to create an interactive and engaging lesson to help students cover a short topic or unit.

Hyperdocs can be modified for several different uses:

  • Differentiation
  • Collaboration
  • Independent Study
This tutorial video explains some basic information on formatting a Google Doc as a Hyperdoc.  If you are interested in more information, check out "The Hyperdocs Handbook" by Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis.


Timesaver Tip: Set Up A Photo Gallery in the New Google Sites

The next timesaver tip I have to share with you involves Google Sites (both old and new) and a Class Photo Gallery.  

If you've ever set up a Google Slide show as a photo gallery and then embedded the presentation on a Google Site, you know how awesome it can be to add more photos later, and make it easy for people to view class pictures on your website.

Let's take that one step further and use a feature that is found inside Google Sites:  Insert>Google Drive>Folder.  Watch this video to see what I mean!


Timesaver Tip: Track Student Progress This Year

We all know that, as a teacher, time is a commodity that is hard to come by.  So to help you out as we approach a new school year, I'll be sharing a few posts on tips you can use to save time in the classroom.  The first of those will focus on tracking student progress. 

Many teachers have the need to track student progress over the semester, so that at the progress reporting period, they can assess whether a student has made gains or has shown a drop in their skill level.  This can be with reading, math, or almost any subject.  

But finding the time to assess each student and track data over a long period of time, without taking a huge amount of time out of your schedule can be difficult.  To make this task easier, try using a spreadsheet in Google Sheets.  There are tools available that can make the job of logging data, tracking it, and visually identifying trends, a piece of cake.

This tip utilizes Google Sheets, Conditional Formatting, and Sparklines.  If you aren't familiar with these tools in Sheets, don't worry.  The video below will explain everything.



Broadcast Student Work to the Head of the Class!

ApplicationRecently, Google released the Google Cast for Education App.  This app is a game-changer in terms of student presentation and collaboration.  
The purpose of the app is to allow users to broadcast work from the chrome browser on their device to the screen at the front of the room.  It does require that the computer/chromebook attached to your projector/TV have Google Chrome and the Google Cast for Education app.

Watch this video for a quick overview:

For schools who are working 1:1 with Chromebooks, this is an obvious choice in terms of presenting student work, and allowing for collaboration and discussion.  But use stretches so far beyond that.  Imagine you are in training with teachers, or in a faculty meeting.  If a participant has an example of a website or video they are trying to share, you no longer have to worry about having to switch devices, or look up the information on the computer attached to your projector/TV.  You can simply allow them to share their Chrome window directly to the Receiver device.

To get started:

  1. Add the Google Cast for Education App to the Chrome Browser on your Teacher Computer.
  2. Open the App and setup your Receiver Name
  3. Click the Share Button
  4. Add any students or teachers (email addresses) or courses from Google Classroom that are allowed to Cast.
  5. You are ready to receive Casts.

For Students

  1. Students will need the Google Cast Extension on their Chrome Browser.
    1. Check with your GAFE Admin about setting this extension up for all students.
  2. When students are using the Chrome browser, they can click on the Cast extension in their Chrome browser and ask to broadcast their browser or tab to your Google Cast for Education screen.
  3. When they are finished, they can click Stop Casting.

Try it out this summer and then brainstorm ways you can use it right away at the start of the school year.  How will you use it?  Leave a comment on this article.


GoogleFest OK 2016 - Presentations and Questions

As promised, here is the article with both of my presentations from GoogleFest OK 2016.  This event was a huge success and was an afternoon full of information and fun.  Plus it was free - Thanks to the Google Data Center in Pryor, OK and the TulsaTech Owasso Campus.

There were two tracks during the conference, so the first of the two slide shows is a Google basics treatment called Getting Started with Google Apps for Education.  The second is a quick look at Google Apps tips for advanced users, called Go! Go! Google - 25 Tips in 30 Minutes.  

Questions from the audience are posted at the end of this article, along with my answers.  Thanks to all who were in attendance!


  • Can you take your google docs with you if you leave the school district?
    • Yes, you can! With graduating seniors, we help them migrate their portfolio of work from their GAFE account to a free Gmail account so they can take it with them to college. Go to https://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout to download a ZIP file of all information you'd like to migrate from your old Drive account. Then decompress your ZIP file and upload the contents to your new Drive account.

  • How were the animations created for your presentation? Gifs?
    • For my presentations I used SnagIt, which is a software that allows you to create screenshots and animated GIFs. It was available as a Chrome extension, which was created by TechSmith. While they are no longer supporting this extension in the Chrome Webstore, you can purchase the software from their website here - https://www.techsmith.com/.
    • I also use Camtasia by Techsmith, which allows you to create professional quality videos.

  • How does the new Google Form quizzes handle fill in the blank questions? Does it mark it for review?
    • At this time, you cannot assign a correct answer or points to a short answer question. As a result, it also does not allow you to mark them. This would mean that you would need to average the score manually.
    • You could use an AddOn such as Flubaroo to handle this, as it does allow you to adjust the grade after scoring short answer questions.
    • Flubaroo - https://goo.gl/DralHr
    • Tutorial - http://goo.gl/JXQmS8

  • When docs are translated in different languages, does it change the sentence structure -- like if it changes to English to Spanish, does it put the nouns and verbs in the appropriate places?
    • Yes it does. However, with any translation tool, you will want to educate students to be wary of using them to cheat in a foreign language class, as they sometimes do make mistakes. But from what I have seen and hear, foreign students have been pleased with what Google Translate does in Google Docs.

  • Is the document identifier in another location (like settings) in addition to being part of the web address? Is that identifier a GUID?
    • It is not located anywhere else. It is located only in the address line, as you can see in this sample address for the presentation above:
      • https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1avF9htF0nf7DcPesIPvmUscVOBk99vCMz2vkatSFi9o/edit?usp=sharing
      • The ID for this doc is highlighted in red.

    • GUID (Globally Unique Identifier) are typically used by Microsoft, and some other entities, for Java, C++, and programming uses.

    • The string of characters in the address for a Google Doc is not a GUID.

  • Is google nav in doc like verbatim? https://paperlessdebate.com
    • If you are speaking of the navigation pane you can use with Google Docs (Tools>Document Outline), no. It is strictly a tool to navigate through a document using the headings of your doc.
    • If you are speaking of the Research Tools in Docs and Slides, check out this tutorial to see how it compares when researching and formatting your document (https://youtu.be/spe9WoQQBJo?list=PLWs92wbpe-2ZhdIDbo9yAuGwhD2ooWGif)

  • I would like to have a Google Form that is evergreen and can be updated by the student and will overwrite fields in the sheet based on log in ID of the Student. Is it possible???
    • Google Forms are strictly used to gather information in a way similar to what you would find in Poll Everywhere or Survey Monkey.
    • They are evergreen in the sense that they can be continually updated and utilized far into the future.
    • If you have created the form, the student cannot edit it, unless you add them as a collaborator.
    • It will not automatically allow you to overwrite existing fields based on Login, but you can make this happen using a script. Try this link to see how - https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/docs/GJIihaVGrJQ

  • Can you import a drawing that you have already created into a Google Doc?
    • There are two ways to handle this.
      • You can simply open the Google Drawing, Click File>Download As and save the drawing as an image (JPG, PNG), and then insert into your document.
      • Or, follow these instructions from the Google Docs Editors Help page
        1. Sign in to Drive at drive.google.com.
        2. Open a drawing.
        3. Click the Edit menu.
        4. Hover over “Web clipboard” and select Copy entire drawing to web clipboard.
        5. Open the Google Doc or Slide where you want to insert the drawing.
        6. Click the Edit menu > Hover over “Web clipboard” > Click the drawing name.
        7. A copy of your drawing has been added to the file.

  • How can I share a contact in gmail?
    • To my knowledge, there is no simple way to do this in a free Gmail account, due to privacy settings in Gmail and Contacts. All information I have read is that you are only able to do this in the same domain.
    • In a GAFE Gmail Account you can share your entire contact list:
      1. Click on the dropdown menu in the upper left, next to the words Gmail.
      2. Choose Contacts
      3. Place a check next the contact you would like to share.
      4. Click the More button at the top.
      5. Click Manage Delegation Settings
      6. Add email addresses with whom you'd like to share your contacts list.
    • This is probably not the answer you were looking for, as I assume you wish to only share ONE contact, as in the form of a vCard. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to do this.

  • How can I convert information from a spreadsheet back into doc format without having to copy and paste every cell?
    • The best solution to this issue is to use the Google Sheets AddOn, Save As Doc.
    • This will allow you to convert a Google Sheet to a Google Doc.