Google Supports Autonomous Student Research

When it comes to students doing research Google Docs is one of the best tools around. Google Docs has many hidden features for supporting all different learning styles. It offers voice typing for the student who has difficulty expressing themselves with pen & paper. Another feature I really like is the Research Tool! This allows the student to do research right within the document without having to open a million browser tabs or windows.

The research tool provides the student with the ability to simply drag diagrams, clipart, and links right into a document. The student can easily cite resources in several different formats: MLA, Chicago and APA.

No need to worry about image usage rights when the researcher selects, “Free to use, share or modify even commercially” in the filter image results section of the Research Tool. The Google Docs Research Tool supports research by minimizing frustration to create a report which respects the owners rights.

Google Docs Research Tool Introduction

Using Research Tool

Using Labels: One Gmail Timesaving Features

Can you believe I’m one of those disorganized type of people? However Google APPS for Education (GAfE) is transforming my life and due to filter features I’m maximizing upon the time spent with organizing my inbox. Imagine once you read your E-mail it automatically files itself into folders for easy retrieval at a later date. I think this is a very cool feature which many of us tend to overlook. Over the years I’ve dreaded opening my Gmail In-box due to all the clutter. Now look how clean and organized it appears.

Gmail

THIS IS HOW TO CREATE A FILTER WITH A NEW LABEL

filtering Gmail

  1. Open E-mail
  2. Click down arrow for drop down menu
  3. Scroll down click filter
  4. Select the type of filter search & then click create filter with search
  5. Choose how you would like the E-mail filtered.
    1. The above screencast shows how to create a NEW Label (Folder)
    2. Choose New label from dropdown menu
    3. Give the label a name
    4. Choose where the label should be nested
    5. Click create (if there are other E-mail from that contact a sentence will appear at the bottom of the window asking if you want to include those E-mails. Click to approve.
    6. Find the label in the list and right click for dropdown menu
      1. Click a standard label color or customize

The filter feature is just one of a handful of timesaving tips for G-mail.

Avoid Copyright Issues by Empowering Students to be Creative

Lately I’ve noticed two topics mentioned over and over in my Twitter feed as well as in some educational articles. It seems both copyright issues and how to engage students with being creative are hot topics. Sorry for this old cliche but, “Why not kill two birds with one stone?

Understanding copyrights along with the Teacher’s Act and Fair Use is complicated due to the internet and public sharing. The question keeps arising what is meant by “Within the Four Walls of a Classroom”? In this post I’m not going to talk about the issue itself. Instead I’m going to suggest supporting the students creative thinking skills by showing them how to use Google Drawing to create clipart. This way one can avoid the whole copyright issue by supporting the students creativity.

  • Go to Google Drive
    • Click New
    • Scroll down to more
    • Then click on Google Drawings

Open Google Drawing-2

  • Layer shapes to Create Images
    • Insert a shape
    • Change the color
    • Adjust the border
    • Create a second shape
    • Move to back

Create clipart

  • Keep repeating above steps until the clipart is finished

THIS IS MY COMPLETED GOOGLE DRAWINGS CLIPART 

Create Clip Art Creativity

  • Download Google Drawing as a png or jpeg to use clip art with computer or web based programs

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 11.27.22 AM

TIPS:

  • You can use the Scribble Tool to draw freehand style

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 11.10.30 AM

  • Don’t forget about using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+D or CMD+D for duplicating shapes

CTRL + D

Having Fun Manipulating Clipart Color

I like using the Google Drawing and Presentation Slides image options tool.  This tool allows the user to change the color of the clipart from a wide variety of choices. It also lets the user adjust the brightness, contrast, and transparency.

Changing Color of Clipart

I especially like the transparency feature. The transparency feature allows me to place a textured clipart layer behind a solid colored shape. This creates an interesting effect.  Here is a shape with a textured underlay.

Changing Color of Clipart-2

NOTE:  The above shape was made from these two shapes:

  • The underlay shape

Changing Color of Clipart-3

  • Top layer shape

Changing Color of ClipartTIPS:

  • To use a solid shape you created in Google Drawing download the image as a .png and then re-upload it as an inserted image. This will allow you manipulate the solid colored shape with the image option tool.
  • When using clipart found in an internet search make sure is okay to reuse and manipulate the image. Most Creative Commons and Open Clipart Sources will state if the creator permits the clipart to be used in this manner. The sites generally provide guides on how to attribute the source.

Google Docs File Extensions Explained

Google Docs is based upon the premise of file sharing and on-line collaboration. You may have noticed they still offer the opportunity to download a document for printing. Over the years I’ve heard colleagues confused about which file format to use when downloading to print or share electronically with others. Theoretically Google Docs was created to be shared without having to save it as another file extension. Below is a basic chart explaining the different file extensions. My only recommendation is if you’re downloading to print it seems the PDF extension works the best.

Google Doc File Extensions