Adding Shared Items to Google Classroom Error

ADD button in gClassroomOne of the many features found inside of Google Classroom is the ability for students to ‘ADD’ additional artifacts to an assignment. This is a valuable tool as it allows students to demonstrate their understanding and ability to meet the standard(s) using a wide variety of tools and then attach the artifacts to the assignment. This option is so important that the first assignment I give to my students is to practice using this tool by ADDING a screenshot of their favorite Chromebook app.

The effectiveness of this tool came into question recently when a student attempted to ADD a Google Doc that was shared with their partner. The student who created the gDoc, (i.e. the owner) was able to successfully ADD the shared file to the Classroom assignment. However, not only was their partner (i.e. with ‘Can edit’ access) unable to ADD the shared file but could not even find the gDoc, even though they confirmed that the file was in their Google Drive.

What the Google is going on?

Thanks to some ingenious troubleshooting by a pair of 6th grade students, we discovered that a student may only ADD a file to an assignment in Classroom if they are the owner of that file. So, this is what the girls did:

  1. Student A, who created the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.
  2. She then went to the gDoc in Drive and used the Share tool to transfer ownership of the file to her partner, student B.
  3. Student B, now the owner of the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.

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Now, some may say that this is only a minor inconvenient issue. However, not knowing why both project partners cannot attach a shared file to an assignment has caused frustration for several of my students. Plus, I can’t help but brag just a little bit for the two students whose independent troubleshooting solved this mystery for us.

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Embed Videos w/Google Drawings

Embedding videos inside of Google products has sometimes been an absolute bear to achieve. For example, if you wanted to embed or ‘Insert’ a video into a Google Slides presentation then the video had to be accessible via YouTube. However, if you give Google some time and engage in that age-old practice of patience then things can change, like how now you can embed video files into a slide from Google Drive. Here’s the thing, if you can do this then you can embed a video into a Google Doc.

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I know, I know, there is not Insert -> Video… option inside of Google Docs. But, there is the option to insert a Google Drawing and this is your “IN”. Thanks to Joli Boucher over at Flipped Tech Coaching, here is a video that will walk you through the process.

This work around has great potential for those who are getting into creating HyperDocs and now HyperDrawings. It allows teachers and students to interact with different types of media without having to jump between tabs or windows. That is, until Google gets around to adding the Insert -> Video… option into Google Docs.

~”If you send them feedback, they might just make it happen.”

Quickly Copy Formatting Settings

paint-format-iconHave you noticed this icon while working inside of a Google Doc? How about a Google Slides project? Google Drawings? Do you have any idea what it does? In fact, it can be a powerful tool that allows the user to customize the format of a piece of text then quickly apply it at various points throughout the artifact.

To use the Paint Format tool:

  1. Format a piece of text/cell with the size, style, or color into the desired appearance.
  2. Highlight the text/cell, then activate the Paint format tool.
  3. To apply the format to a single word, simply double+click on the word. To apply the format to a series of words, a sentence, a paragraph, etc. then click-&-drag your cursor over the desired text.
  4. To quickly apply the format to multiple places throughout your artifact, double+click on the Paint format tool to lock it into the ‘ON’ position. When done, click on the Paint format tool again to turn it off.

To see the Paint format tool in action please refer to the video below from BetterCloud Monitor.

G Suite for EDU: Custom Template Galleries

In addition to the Drive web app, Google recently created a web interface for each of their primary Drive apps:screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-12-17-56-pm

Using these interfaces allows the user to see all of the files that are stored in their Google Drive that can be accessed by the particular app. For example, navigating to slides.google.com will show all of the Google Slides files stored in your Drive, as well as any presentations formatted for Microsoft PowerPoint that the Slides app can read.

screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-12-28-33-pmAt the top of the interface will be displayed a list of templates provided by Google for users to start with; why re-invent the wheel if you don’t have to, right? Clicking on the TEMPLATE GALLERY link in the top-right corner of the window will expand the bar to reveal additional available templates.

Now, Google has added the ability for G Suite for Education and Work users to use and upload their own artifacts to the TEMPLATE GALLERY under a tab for their organization.

  1. Navigate to one of the app web interfaces listed above.
  2. Click on the TEMPLATE GALLERY button in the top-right corner of the page.
  3. At the top-left there should now be two tabs: GENERAL and YOUR ORGANIZATION NAME. Click on the latter.
  4. Templates that have already been contributed to the gallery will now be displayed. Use the SUBMIT TEMPLATE button in the top-right corner of the page to upload and share your own template(s).

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NOTE: If you do not see the new galleries, then this feature may have been disabled. Contact your Google Admin about requesting access to the new galleries and template submission option. For more information, please refer to this post on the G Suite Updates blog.

Assign Action Items in Google Docs

One of the tools found in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides is the ability highlight a piece of text, table cell, or any object for that matter on the page and link it to a comment. This allows users who have ‘Can edit’ or ‘Can comment’ access to provide feedback on the content of the file.

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screen_shot_2016-10-31_at_9_44_26_amAnother feature of the ‘Add comment’ tool is the ability to draw a user’s attention to a specific comment. This is handy when you are providing feedback on a collaborative document and want to direct a comment to a specific member of the group. To use, include the member’s email address with either an @ or + in front, then select from the list of matching users. This will send an email notification to the user you specify.

 


screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-9-32-52-amGoogle’s latest feature now gives us the ability to ‘assign’ an action to a specific user using the comment tool. Now, when you mention a specific user inside a comment, you will see the option to assign the action item to them. Assigning an action will send them an email notification AND tag the document inside of Drive.

 

 


When the recipient of an Action item opens Google Drive, they will see a ‘Follow-up’ notifier located in the top-right corner of the Doc (grid view) or at the end of the file name (list view). Hovering over the numerical notifier will show them how many action and/or suggestion items are contained within the document. When the recipient has completed the action item that was assigned to them, they can mark it as done by clicking on the check box located in the top-right corner of the comment box.

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Screen Shot 2016-10-31 at 9.42.33 AM.pngFinally, an action item can be re-assigned to a different member by using the ‘Reply…’ box to enter another member’s email address. The comment tool will detect the new user and ask you to confirm that you want to re-assign this action item.

For more information on using Action items with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides please refer to the Google Help page.

Google Welcomes Columns to Docs

Google has added a small but “mighty” feature to Docs that will allow you to format text into two or even three columns. Even better, this option need not be applied to the entire document…yes, you heard me correctly. To access this feature, highlight the text you’d like to convert into columns, then go to the Docs menu bar and select Format -> Columns. From here you can then select from one, two, or three columns. If you select the “More options…” choice, then you access additional tools such as set the column spacing and add a divider line between the columns.

In addition to Columns, Google has updated Google Drive with some additional tools:

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP), which is the technical name for “search like you talk.” In other words, the “Did you mean…” feature that shows up at the top of some Google web search results pages is now running inside of Drive. It will also attempt to compensate for any spelling errors in your keywords. This feature will be rolled out in the next few weeks.
  • If you upload a file to Drive and then convert it to Google format (a Word document to Google Docs for example), then Google will make the original file format accessible to you from the Revision History tool in Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

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For more information on these enhancements, check out the post from the official Google Drive Blog.

Chart Integration Comes to Google Docs/Slides

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 10.13.58 AMUsers have asked for it and now they can have it. Yes, Google Drive now supports the integration of charts built from data within a Google Sheets file into Google Docs and Slides files.  Now, when you go to the Insert menu and highlight ‘Chart’ from the drop-down menu, a new option is available labeled “From Sheets…” Some additional options include:


  • Direct link to a Sheets file: Once you have inserted the chart onto your Doc or Slide, you can use it to jump directly to the Sheets file that contains the chart data.

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  • One-click updating: If the data in your Sheets file is edited, you can instruct your chart in the Doc/Slides file to reflect these changes with a single click.

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For more information and to see examples of the chart integration in action, check out this great post from The Techy Coach Blog by Shawn Beard.