One 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:
- Student A, who created the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.
- She then went to the gDoc in Drive and used the Share tool to transfer ownership of the file to her partner, student B.
- Student B, now the owner of the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.
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.
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.
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.”
Google likes to promote their cloud services and specifically the ability to work on artifacts in real-time that reflect real-time changes. However, there are still times when hard copies of artifacts are needed and Google recognizes this. Because users cannot install printer software on their Chromebooks, Google has created a cloud-based printing service.
The ‘Select a destination’ Window
1. The print destination selection window is divided into three groups:
- Recent Destinations: This is where your recent print destination will be listed, with the most recent one listed at the top.
- Local Destinations: This option allows you to download a file instead of printing it.
- Google Cloud Print: This option lists all of the printers your account has been given access to. NOTE: This option by default shows the top 5/6 recently selected devices. To see the entire list of available printers, scroll to the bottom of the list and click on the “Show All…” button.
2. Once a printer is selected, use the left-hand sidebar to configure the printer for the desired output from the printer.
3. If you desire more customization options, then go to the bottom of the sidebar and click on the plus sign for “More settings.”
Additional Print Options
If you know the name of the printer you’d like to use, then you can easily start typing the name of that printer into the Search destinations box at the top of the window.
Save to Google Drive
This feature allows you to create a digital file out of the information you have on the screen and save it directly to your Google Drive. This can come in handy when, for example, you want to save a copy of a webpage.
Save as PDF
This feature allows you to create a digital file out of the information you have on the screen and save it to the Files App on your Chromebook. This feature can come in handy when you want to create a local copy of a webpage, or when you want to convert a file to a read-only PDF.
CleanPrint Chrome Extension
Many of today’s webpages are not formatted to print neatly on an 8 ½ by 11 in. piece of paper. When printing in this situation, you may want to consider using the CleanPrint Chrome extension. This tool will remove any ads, images, and other items that take up extra space (and paper), leaving only the important text to be printed. We have deployed this extension to all of our users at York Middle School to help with reducing printer consumables.
To use CleanPrint:
- Navigate to the webpage you want to print.
- Click on the CleanPrint extension icon to have the webpage “optimized” for printing.
- In the CleanPrint preview window, remove any items that you do not need included in the print job, then select the desired output option from the left-hand sidebar menu
There will be times when the WiFi we rely on for Internet access will go down. Some have the mistaken impression that if WiFi access is lost then a Chromebook is rendered useless, since it is designed to work “in the cloud.” However, this is not so you can use your Chromebook in a limited capacity.
- When you turn on your Chromebook, if you see the screen below then refer to the last line in the window and the link provided: “If you’ve already registered on this device, you can sign in as an existing user.” As long as you have signed into the Chromebook at least once before (when there was WiFi/Internet access) then this option will allow you to still login.
- The Chromebook will load a local copy of your Google Account profile that is stored on the its internal hard drive.
Google Drive Offline
If you would like access to your Google Drive files when there is no WiFi/Internet available, then you can enable Google Drive Offline. This will allow you to edit files native to Google Drive (e.g. Docs, Sheets, Slides, & Drawings) offline and then have the changes synced back to the cloud automatically when WiFi service is restored.
- Go to drive.google.com, then locate the Settings gear icon at the far-right end of the Drive toolbar.
- From the drop-down menu choose ‘Settings’
- Under the General tab, locate the ‘Offline’ heading.
- Place a check in the checkbox to enable offline syncing of Google Drive files.
NOTE: Not all files will be available for offline access. This includes PDF’s, Google Forms, images, videos, and files that haven’t been accessed by you in some time. Files that have been shared with you and therefore you are not the owner of will also be inaccessible during this time.
Have 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:
- Format a piece of text/cell with the size, style, or color into the desired appearance.
- Highlight the text/cell, then activate the Paint format tool.
- 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.
- 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.
Google Drawings, an app found inside of Google Drive, has become more and more my go-to resource for creating artifacts and activities that are interactive. You can customize the workspace to any size you need using the File -> Page Setup, access multiple line and shape tools, and insert objects from the same sources as you can from a Google Doc or Slides file. The possibilities for this tool are only limited by our own imaginations.
Case and point, I recently read a how-to article from edtechteacher by Ben Sondgeroth where he outlines the true power of Google Drawings to create interactive artifacts. Ben walks you through how to create an interactive Google Drawing using Parts of a Cell as an example, among several others. My favorite example is the interactive States of the U.S. map, where each state has been linked to a video about that state from the History Channel. You can watch his video as he goes about this step-by-step below.
- Using interactive Google Drawings fits in quite nicely if you are using a flipped classroom setup or use Hyperdocs in your lessons.
- Share this technique with your students and see what interactive Drawings products they can build. I decided to add this to the list of options for my students to use when creating their Upstander Superhero as part of our unit of study on Cyberbullying.