10. Find a Time

If your school uses Google Calendar for keeping track of meetings and room availability?  To limit the number of emails back and forth of “are you available” and “I am not then, try this time,” Google Calendar has created the ‘Find a Time’ feature.

Go into creating an event and invite some of your colleagues using the ‘Add guests’ menu on the right-hand side.

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Once you have added people now you can select the “Find a Time” and begin to find a time that works the best for all guests invited.  *If you do not see the calendar of your guests, they do have to ‘share’ it with you.

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To pick the time, just click on the calendar shown and it will highlight the time where you can see what everyone is doing then.

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Say goodbye to scheduling emails!

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9. 2016 – Year In Search

Every year, Google  produces their year in search.  This year I found personally powerful with all of the events that happened.

Check out the Google Trends, Year in Search video here.

More than just the powerful video, check out this great list of breakout searches, by month, for the year 2016.

Specific to Canada (though you can change the location with the dropdown menu), here are the top searches by category.

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Dropdown menu to change location for search results

If you are bringing this into your classroom, when you click on the top searches, you will get be sent to that searches Google Trends graph which will showcase how popular that search was over a specified time period.

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Here are some great prompting questions:

  • When was this search most popular and how do you know this?
  • What was happening in Canada, at that time, to increase the number of searches?
  • If we looked outside of Canada, do you think we would see this as a top search?  Justify your answer.
  • What is the overall trend of this search?  What does this tell you about Canadian culture?

8. Custom Page Size

Coming from a Microsoft Office world, I always thought of Google Slides as a Slide Deck.  A place to make slides and add in cool transitions to wow my audience.

It was not until Michelle Armstrong, Regional Director of EdTechTeam Canada, showed me that you can edit the size of a slide and really change it into a working document where you have no limitations on where you can add in images, write, and create.

When you have Google Slides open, go to File -> Page Set-Up.

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This will allow you to then choose “Custom” and enter in the size of slide you would like to have.

You can have your standard piece of paper – 8.5 x 11 inches, or experiment to make the size that best works for your creation.

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Now your favourite GSuite Tool has just turned into the most powerful tool you and your students have access to!

7. Customized Links

URLs are so much a part of our lives now.  Whether it is sending your friend to the next best cat video (like this cute guy) or helping your students get to the right website, links help us greatly.

There are also links to webpages or blog posts that we use all the time which may have a less than appealing URL.  How can you help to make customized URLs?

bitly.com is my answer.  By creating an account, you are able to change what comes after the “bit.ly/”.

The easiest way to sign up for Bitly.com is to use your Twitter account as then all of your URLs will be saved (and you do not have to remember another password).

Once there, click “Create Bitlink” in the top right corner.

Paste the long (or short) URL into the box and this menu appears:

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Now you can customize the bit.ly/ URL for your website.  Keep in mind that case of the letters matter (if you put a capital in it you must type it in the URL).

Within your Bitly.com account, all of your customized URL’s will be saved.

It is worth knowing that once you set an URL, you cannot update the original link it sends to, so make sure to paste the right original URL!

Happy Customizing!

6. Hiding Your Links

We all know what a URL looks like.  It has the http:// then three w’s.  It is not the prettiest thing to look at.

Plus, when you are writing a blog post or working on a web page, you don’t want to see the URL, you just want your readers to be able to click on the link.

To hide your URL’s behind text, highlight the text that you want.  Then click the button in the menu bar that looks like chains linked together.

If you love keyboard shortcuts, instead of finding that button you can type “Ctrl” + “k”.

This will pop up a window that will allow you to paste in your URL and the text that will be shown instead.

Click OK and you all set!

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5. Eye Dropper Extension

Whether it is for a colour scheme of a school’s webpage or ensuring that your font matches your clubs logo, colours matter in the digital world.

The pre-chosen colours in many of the dropdown menus are good, but they do not match your wanted colours perfectly.

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Regular pre-chosen colours in a GSuite tool.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a tool that could easily match any colour on your screen AND give you the Hex Code or RBG code?

Wait no longer – the Eye Dropper Extension is here! screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-12-41-20-pm

Using Google Chrome, follow the link above to add this extension to Chrome.  Once added, click on the eye dropper icon.  This will open up the eye dropper menu:

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From here you can either select “Eye Dropper” or “Color Picker”.  Colour Picker is similar to your regular colour wheel to select the colour of your choice.

The real magic, in my opinion, is in the “Eye Dropper” menu.  When selected, you now have a button that says “Pick colour from web page.”  If you click on that button you will notice that your cursor is now has a little box that shows the colour it is hovering over.

Find the colour you want to use and click on it.  Now the boxes in the Eye Dropper menu will change to that colour.  From here, you can pull the code you need for the tool you are using.

If we wanted to add the purple colour I have selected in the screen shot to a Google Drawing shape, we need to click on “custom” in the colour selection menu.

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Once custom is selected, you can then change the letters/numbers after the “#” to the ones that match from the Eye Dropper menu.

Selecting “OK” will change the selected items to that colour! Say hello to beautifully coloured digital work!

4. Filter Views

Data drives our world.  We use it to identify interventions for students, we use it to provide feedback to our teaching methods, we use it to make assumptions or to start inquiring about a topic.

Google Sheets allows us to view large amounts of data at once all while collaborating with as many people as we would like.

Take this Google Sheet for example.  We have multiple columns which can be sorted.  If we wanted to, we could sort the “Class Level” column in order.

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When you do this though, you will notice that the entire sheet shifts rows to match your recent sort.  Super handy if you are the only one looking at the data, but frustrating for everyone else in the Google Sheet as you have just changed their view too!

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Filter Views in Google Sheets solves this problem.  Each person can select their own Filter View which will ONLY change their view, not the entire spreadsheet.

You can find filter views under the martini glass, Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 2.53.24 PM.png, in the top menu. Clicking on the small triangle beside it, you can then select to “Create a New Filter View.”

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When you have selected a filter view, you will notice that the row and column headers are now black.  This is your indication that you are in the filter view.

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From here, you can name your filter view to save it for next time. So if I wanted to create a filter view that sorts the Class Level and a new filter view that sorts the major, I could do that.  Now that information is easily accessible to me and all who use the Google Sheet without changing everyone’s view!

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