Google Drive for Mac/PC: Selective Syncing

Google Drive for Mac/PC is a desktop application that allows you to sync the contents of your Google Drive in the cloud to a folder stored locally on your Mac/PC. This service provides several important services:

  • Manage files and folders from your Desktop as well as via the web interface.
  • Offline access to your Google Apps files.
  • A backup of your non-Google files (e.g. iWork, SMART Notebook, Photoshop), but without having to download the files to your computer every time you want to work on them.

However, while Google Drive can hold terabytes of data your computer’s hard drive may not. That is why Google has updated their app to allow users to selectively sync folders and subfolders. When you choose to remove a folder from syncing, it and its contents will be removed from the local folder stored on your hard drive (thereby freeing up valuable disk space) but will still be accessible via the Google Drive web interface.

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In addition, if you choose to delete a Google Drive file from your Desktop that has been shared, Drive will give you a “heads up” that this action may cause those users to lose  shared access.

For more information, check out their post on the Google Drive Blog.

Google Newspaper Archives (Gr. 6-12)

Google Newspaper Archives – Read newspapers from around the world!

From part of the Google News app, the newspaper archives contains digital versions of various newspaper editions from around the world from various points in time. Search the archive by keyword or alphabetically, or if you know the specific newspaper by name use the ‘Find’ command (Ctrl+F or Cmd+F) to quickly locate the newspaper in question. Each newspaper listing shows the number of issues contained within and the time span covered (note that there may be gaps within the timelines).

Clicking on a newspaper will take you to a new window with a horizontal timeline organized by year. You can adjust the display settings so that the timeline is organized by day, week, month, year, or decade. At the top of each column you will see the number of available issues. Clicking on an issue will bring up a page-by-page view with options to scroll, fit to height, and view fullscreen. Use the ‘Link to Article’ tool to generate a link to a specific article within a specific newspaper issue.

INTEGRATION

  • Compare and contrast news headlines from different newspapers from different places around the world.
  • Compare writing styles from different time periods.

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Google Calendar Now Has “Reminders”

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 1.31.26 PMIf you wanted to schedule a reminder using Google Calendar, using the Tasks tool was the way to go (just make sure you set a due date for the task). This worked great unless you were using the mobile version of Calendar since it doesn’t have nor display items from the Tasks tool. All of that changed last week when Google announced that Reminders has arrived for Google Calendar mobile.

How it works:

  1. On your mobile device, use the same Plus button you would use to create an event and choose the new Reminder option.
  2. Fill in the text box provided using the suggestion list provided or add your own custom reminder message. NOTE: Each reminder type contains its own list of pre-filled suggestions and the email, call, text, and meet options will automatically display your contacts list in the app window.
  3. Set your deadline.
  4. Determine if the reminder needs to repeat.
  5. Tap SAVE to finish.

One of my favorite features is that reminders “stick around.” If a reminder doesn’t get completed by the due date, then it will appear at the top of your Calendar agenda on the following day, and the day after, and so forth. The reminder will continue to “stick around” until you swipe it away (because you’ve completed the task of course) and move on to the next item on your to-do list.

Reminders is available for Android and Apple iOS, with a version for the web promised soon. For more information, check out their post on the Gmail blog.

 

Information Literacy w/Google Apps (Hangout Archive)

This is an archived video from a Google Hangout ‘On-Air’ session, presented to an audience of middle school level educators.

DESCRIPTION

This Google Hangout Archive introduces staff to Google’s Research Tool found in Google Docs/Slides. This video also covers how to use Google’s advanced ‘Search Tools’ for students in our 1-to-1 Chromebook environment (5/6th grade) and for students in our 1-to-1 iPad environment (7/8th grade).

Duration: 11:18

Add Missing Google Classroom Calendars

With the recent integration of calendars into Google Classroom, some of our students are seeing some of their class calendars in Google Calendar but not others (i.e. the class calendars are not visible from the Calendar web app or the iOS mobile app). Why some students are experiencing this and not others is unknown.

This tutorial will show how to force Calendar to add Classroom Calendars so that they can be seen within the web application and from the Google Calendar iOS app.

Calendar Comes to Google Classroom

Shortly after Google Classroom debuted, one of the components that teachers asked to be integrated into the app was Google Calendar. As the 2015-16 school year got underway, Classroom was still devoid of a calendar option. All appeared to be lost. But in reality, Google was on the case and in late September Google Calendar came to Classroom.

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There are two ways for students and teachers to access their Classroom’s Calendar:

  1. From the ‘sandwich’ menu in the top-left corner of Classroom
  2. From the ‘About’ tab

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 12.21.56 PMA third option is to access the Classroom’s Calendar directly from the Calendar app (there is also a shortcut to this option under the ‘About’ tab). Any assignment that is posted in Classroom that has a due date will appear in that Classroom’s calendar. And, just as in the Calendar App, teachers and students can filter assignments by specific classes or see all of the assignments from all of their classes on one screen. If teachers do not see their Classroom’s calendar in the Calendar App, then Google suggests that they may need to “Add a post to the class stream to create the calendar.”

Finally, now that a Classroom’s calendar can be accessed in the Calendar App there are more options at the teacher’s disposal to easily share this information with parents. Teachers can open up the sharing permissions on the Classroom calendar, then embed it on their teacher website. Parents who have Google accounts themselves will have the additional option to add their child’s Classroom calendar to their own Calendar App.

If a video would help explain these exciting new developments, then I would recommend checking out these two by Jenn Scheffer:


Google Forms Gets Cozy With Classroom

gClassroom add menuIn my Digital Citizenship class, I sometimes use a Google Form as an assessment tool with my students. While a Google Form cannot be embedded into Google Classroom’s Stream (soon Google, yes?), one can easily attach the link to the live form. The first time I did this I posted the Form link as an Announcement, but then couldn’t tell when students actually completed the assessment. The second time around I posted the Form link as part of an Assignment, but while students remembered to ‘Submit’ the completed Form many forgot to ‘Turn In’ the assignment in Classroom. Now, I realize that I could just open up the Form Responses spreadsheet to check for completion, but I was so hoping for a more…efficient way to spot-check completion. That’s when Google does what it does best: change.

Assignment attachment optionsLast week in the Google for Education feed on Google Plus, they announced improved integration between Classroom and Forms (click here for the post). Now you can attach a Google Form to an assignment in Classroom (i.e. forgo the paper clip option and instead choose ‘Attach Google Drive Item’).  Then, when students go to submit your Form, they will be prompted to also TURN IN the assignment in Classroom. As an added bonus, when teachers go to the Google Forms assignment in Classroom there is now a direct link to the Form Responses spreadsheet.

 

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Sometimes you just have to embrace “Living in Beta.”