Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New versions of the Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides Android Apps

New versions of the Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps for Android are now available on Google Play. 

The Docs app now has line spacing controls that let you choose single, double or fractional line spacing, the Sheets app has new scrollbars for faster navigation, and the Slides app now supports inserting, moving, resizing, and rotating text boxes, shapes, and lines.

All three apps are now even friendlier with Office files with easier file creation and other updates, and we’ve added better accessibility options. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Conversion support for additional Microsoft® Office formats!

We know some of you work with Office files regularly, so we’re adding conversion support in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for 15 new Office file formats.

New formats supported include:

dot, dotx, dotm*, docm* conversions to Google Docs
xlt, xltx, xltm*, xlsm* conversions to Google Sheets
pot, potx, potm*, pptm*, pps, ppsx, ppsm* conversions to Google Slides

We’ve been listening to your feedback and along with the ability to bring in these new formats, we’ve also added better conversion support for charts, SmartArt, and merged table cells in your Office documents.

After the conversion, you can edit, collaborate on, and share your file online. When you convert a file, the original file will remain intact and accessible from Google Drive.

*Note: Macros will be removed from macro file formats upon conversion

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Google Apps Update

New version of the Google Drive app for Android

Posted: 29 Oct 2014 02:51 PM PDT

A new version of the Google Drive Android app is coming to Google Play. The launch includes:

New Design: The new interface, leveraging some of the Material Design principles recently announced, puts your content front and center and makes creating, uploading and accessing it easier than ever. 

Improved Search: The search tool makes it easy to find the content you’re looking for by updating results as you type each letter into the search box. 

Better Sharing: Add a custom message when you share a file so your collaborators know why you sent it. You can also turn on link sharing to make the file “public” and set access to view, comment, or edit. This automatically copies the link to the clipboard and allows you to paste it wherever you want.

Enhanced PDF Viewer: A new PDF viewer lets you find, select and copy text in PDFs, and it’s built right into Drive so you don’t need to launch another app.

Release track:

Rapid release and Scheduled release (gradual rollout)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Big Changes in Google Drive!

In a little over two years, Drive has become the cloud storage and sharing solution for more than 190 million people worldwide who use it regularly at home, work and school. For many of the 30 million students and educators using Google Apps for Education, Drive has even replaced their bookbags. Why lug around piles of paper or overstuffed binders when every type of document or file can be retrieved from the nearest Chromebook, tablet, smartphone or browser?

Earlier this year, we introduced Drive for Work—a premium version of Google Apps for Work—and now we’re bringing that same power to schools. Today we’re announcing Drive for Education, an infinitely large, ultra-secure and entirely free bookbag for the 21st century.

Drive for Education will be available to all Google Apps for Education customers at no charge and will include:
  • Unlimited storage: No more worrying about how much space you have left or about which user needs more gigabytes. Drive for Education supports individual files up to 5TB in size and will be available in coming weeks. 
  • VaultGoogle Apps Vault, our solution for search and discovery for compliance needs, will be coming free to all Apps for Education users by the end of the year. 
  • Enhanced Auditing: Reporting and auditing tools and an Audit API easily let you see the activity of a file, are also on the way. 
All of this comes with the same world-class security that protects all Drive users. Every file uploaded to Google Drive is encrypted, not only from your device to Google and in transit between Google data centers, but also at rest on Google servers. As always, the data that schools and students put into our systems is theirsClassroom, which recently launched to Google Apps for Education users, makes using Drive in school even better by automatically organizing all Classroom assignments into Drive folders. And Google Apps for Education remains free to nonprofit educational institutions with no ads or ads-related scanning.

We want educators and students who use Google Apps for Education to be able to focus on the learning experience—not the technology that supports it. With Drive for Education, users can put an end to worries about storage limits and more easily maintain a safe, effective and compliant learning environment.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Google Update: More Ways to Build and Share Google Forms

Several new features have launched today in Google Forms, making them easier to build and share:

Find what you’re looking for
  • Search the menus: Quickly access nearly all features in Forms without having to dig through menus. To use this feature, press Alt + / or look under the Help menu.

New ways to manage your questions
  • Shuffle questions: Randomize the order of questions on quizzes or surveys
  • Allow one response per person: Ensure that a person only responds to your form once
  • Validate information for grid questions: Limit people to one response per column for grid-style questions using the new option under “advanced settings”

Get the word out with shorter URLs
  • Shorten URLs to your forms: Make it easier for people to get to your form

Monday, September 8, 2014

Alternatives to YouTube

Sometimes, what you want can't be found on YouTube. Check out this link to see 50+ alternatives! There are some very cool sites here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Simplified Sharing Experience for Google Docs Editors and Google Drive

We have launched a new simplified sharing experience for the Google Docs editors and Google Drive, making it easier for people to find and copy the link for a file or folder to share with others.

 To give access to your content to others, click the blue “Share” button (or select a file/folder in Drive and click the person icon), and you’ll see a new “Get shareable link” button and grey icon in the upper right corner of the pop-up window. With one click on “Get shareable link,” you’ll see your file’s link appear and that the icon turns from grey to green, meaning that the file is ready to be shared with view-only access.

 If you want anyone with the link to do more with your file, like leave comments and suggestions or make edits, just change “Can view” to “Can comment” or “Can edit” in the dropdown. And as always, if you only want certain people to be able to view, comment on, or edit your file, add their email addresses and we’ll send them a link that only they can access.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Custom Themes for Google Forms!

Applying themes to forms is a great way to personalize and tailor them to
their intended audience. With this launch, people working with Google Forms 
will now be able to apply custom themes to their forms.
This includes adding custom images or logos to the header and page 
background, specifying the font details (type, size, color) and paragraph 
alignment for the form text, and choosing the color for the form and page 
backgrounds. WeĆ¢€™ve also refreshed the overall Forms UI and added a brand 
new gallery of modern default themes.
In addition, if a form using a custom theme is shared within a domain, 
others can copy that theme in order to use it themselves. This helps to 
ensure a consistent look and feel across forms used in that domain.
Release track:Rapid release, with Scheduled release coming in three weeks.

Monday, March 31, 2014

TwistedWave: Create & Edit Audio Online for Free and Save to Your Google Drive!

Many teachers (particularly in the elementary buildings) frequently ask about audio editing options to support their students adding audio (narration) to projects they have created. Now, there is a new option available that is free and that works on a Chromebook and on a PC: TwistedWave.

This application allows the user to create and edit audio recording and to save them in their Google Drive.

If you want to work with files longer than 30 seconds, you will need to create a free account to do so. The applications supports a number of editing tools and would likely fit the needs of many users!

It is FREE during beta testing according to the website. All bets are off after the beta period.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Scripts to Amp up the Power of Your Spreadsheets

Google Spreadsheets and Forms are powerful tools that allow you to collect data. Adding the power of Scripts to your spreadsheets will dramatically increase the power and functionality of your spreadsheets and allow you to do things like automatically grade, email and generate Google Docs and PDF files based on the data you collect! These are just a few of the things that scripts can do for you! Here’s a brief overview of some of the script tools and what they can do for you. Check with your building PD Committee Representative for upcoming PD on these and other script tools!

Flubaroo: http://www.flubaroo.com/flubaroo-user-guide

Flubaroo is a free tool that helps you quickly grade multiple-choice or fill-in-blank assignments.
More than just a grading tool, Flubaroo also:
  • Computes average assignment score.
  • Computes average score per question, and flags low-scoring questions.
  • Shows you a grade distribution graph.
  • Gives you the option to email each student their grade, and an answer key.
  • Lets you send individualized feedback to each student.

gClassFolders: http://www.gclassfolders.com/

gClassFolders is a free, Google-Spreadsheet-based add-on for Google Apps for EDU that creates class folders for students and teachers to simplify and streamline their experience of using Google's world class productivity and collaboration tools in the classroom. Version 2 was released on 2/13/13 and contains the following new features:
  • Ability to run in "Single Teacher Mode" or "School Mode" - school mode anticipates use over multiple semesters and at the scale of many classrooms.
  • Ability to add students and classes over time without recreating all folders.
  • Bulk operations like "Remove from class", "Add teacher," "Add school aide," "Move to another class," and "Archive course"
  • Internationalized interface runs in over 70 languages via Google Translate API.
  • Plugs into gClassHub, a gallery of tools that allows any teacher running gClassFolders to instantly launch spreadsheets containing useful scripts like Doctopus, autoCrat progress reports, etc. PRE-POPULATED with their student roster and student assignment folder IDs!

Autocrat: http://cloudlab.newvisions.org/scripts/autocrat

The autoCrat script enables you to automate the creation of personalized documents and emails from the cloud. The script is a multi-purpose document merge tool that allows you to take any personalized, row-based spreadsheet data and create, save, attach to email, and share templated documents. The user first creates a template Google Doc. autoCrat can then populate the template document with data from a Google Spreadsheet.
  • Merge any spreadsheet or Google Form data into personalized, templated Google Docs or PDFs.
  • Create your template file as a Google Document or Spreadsheet using <<merge tags>>.
  • Easy-to-use field-mapper takes the hassle out of setting up merges.
  • Organizes merged files into a collection of your choosing.
  • Dynamically names Docs, organizes links in your spreadsheet to improve your workflow when accessing Docs later.
  • Enables sending of PDFs as email attachments.
  • Allows for setting of conditions to only merge Doc if a value matches a criteria.
  • Share merged Docs with recipient(s) as view-only or as editor.
  • Include merge data in document header and footer.
  • Great for form letters, progress reports, personalized student assignments, equipment invoices, transcripts, etc.

Doctopus: http://www.googlegooru.com/doctopus-for-edus-1/

Doctopus is a Google Spreadsheet script developed by Andrew Stillman that can help teachers manage the flow of shared work in in their Google Drive accounts. It is one of the best ways to create assignments in bulk, while maintaining the same naming conventions and sharing them directly with students. The basic concept behind the script is to enable teachers to quickly share documents with all of the students on a roster, monitor usage of shared documents, and give students feedback within that roster spreadsheet.
  • Doctopus takes the class roster and it lets you designate groupings. 
  • You can have different starter documents per group, in the case of a jigsaw-style project.  They get copied, provisioned, shared with the right kids, and it takes thirty seconds.  And they're all sitting there in a folder, organized for you as the teacher. 
  • Doctopus even lets you distribute the documents into student dropboxes in Drive, so the student always knows where to find assignments.  You've got links to each of them, they show you the last edit time on the document. 
  • If there's a group that you notice is shopping for sneakers instead of doing the work, you could literally project it on your screen in the room.  
  • You have the ability to grade and offer feedback in the spreadsheet and then instantly send that feedback to students.  
  • You can strip away editing rights if you want to create a deadline. When you hand back the first draft, and you want students to resume their editing, you just give the editing rights back.
  • The most recent version of Doctopus now allows you to add a teacher's aide or a co-teacher, so that you can share the burdens of evaluating student work.  That's going to be great for teacher teams, or cross-grade level projects where you have multiple teachers that you want reviewing and jurying the same work. 
  • Doctopus is also good for individualized assignments.  It lets you do single-level, individual starter documents, or you can create different level starter documents for each student.