Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Google Drive Template Gallery

As busy educators, we have learn to work smarter.  When we can use something that is already made and tweak it to be what we need, it saves valuable time.  You probably know that Microsoft Office has pre-made templates for nearly anything you can imagine - calendars, flyers, newsletters, business letters, fax cover sheets, PowerPoint presentations, etc.  Did you know Google has a template gallery also?

To connect this handy gallery to your Google Drive, follow these easy steps: 

1. From your Drive, click on the red "New" button, go down to "More" and choose "Connect more apps".

2.  Search for "Drive Template Gallery" and you will see it come up in the results.  Click the blue "Connect" button.

3.  It will connect to your Drive and then give you a little confirmation window.  You can leave that checkbox marked and then click "ok". 

Done!  Now you can go back to your Drive and click the red "New" button, go to "More" and then choose "From template".  The first time you do this it will probably ask permission for the template gallery to know who you are on Google. 

Now you can browse the template gallery using the navigation on the left.  If you are part of an organization, you will land in your organization's template gallery, which may be blank.  To access all the templates, click on "Public Templates".

When you find one you like, you click "Use this template" and it will make a copy of the document that you can rename and edit to your heart's content.  If you need a closer look before you make a choice, you can click "Preview" and the document will open larger.  

Have fun browsing templates!

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Show YouTube Videos Without the Clutter

When I need to show a YouTube video, the ads, recommended videos, and comments can really clutter up the page.  I don't necessarily want my students to see those other items because they are distracting or just not...appropriate.  Easy fix!  Use ViewPure.

ViewPure will clear that ads, recommended videos, comments, etc. off of the video.  It will also allow you to create a custom URL (explained later in the post) so you can easily tell students where to go.  With a custom URL you can even set a video to only play a certain segment of the video.  When you, or your students, go to the custom URL, it will start and end where you specify - every time.

To set this up, browse to www.viewpure.com.   Once you get there, you can get your cleaned up YouTube video two different ways.

1.  Copy the URL from the YouTube video that you want to show and paste it into the white box on the page and click the dark blue "Purify" button.  You will then see your purified video.

2.  Go to this page and drag the red "Purify" button into your bookmark bar (for Chrome users).  If your bookmark bar is not showing, press ctrl-shift-B (⌘-shift-B for Mac) to make it appear.  Now, anytime you are watching a YouTube video that you'd like to have purified, you can simply press the Purify button in your bookmark bar and it will purify the video.

You can keep the URL for the purified video to use again, send to a colleague, or post for your students so that when they click on the link it will show them a purified video and not take them to YouTube.  Just copy and paste the URL in the address bar after it purifies your video.

To make a custom URL, you'll want to browse to www.viewpure.com and paste the YouTube URL into the white box and then click on the little gear icon.

This will allow you to enter your desired URL.  Your URL must be alphanumeric (numbers and/or letters) with no special characters.  It cannot be exactly 11 characters and it must be available, meaning someone else hasn't already chosen to use that exact URL with ViewPure.

You have the option of making a password for your video - this is nice if you want to post something you made and put on YouTube on a public website, but don't really want anyone but your students to be able to access it.

This is also where you can set the start and end time.  You must choose a custom URL in order to set the start and end time.

When you are done with your settings, click the blue purify button and you will be all set.  You can give that custom URL to your students and if you wanted it to have a password or a certain start/end time, it will do just that.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Google Forms: Changing Response Location

Unless you have specified otherwise, Google Forms will create a new responses spreadsheet for each of your forms.  Did you know you can change this location?  One reason why you might want to change this location is to have responses from multiple forms in the same document.

Scenario:  I'm doing a review activity in all of my 6 periods of Science.  I'd like to have all the responses in the same document to be more organized and save me some time while I'm looking over the results. 


Step 1 - Create your form for the first period as usual.  Forms will automatically set up your responses document.  

Step 2 - Copy and rename your form for the second period.  Forms will automatically set up your responses document, but you are going to change that.  Click on the "Responses" menu and choose "Change response destination".  

This will open a window.  Mark the option for it to be on a new sheet in an existing spreadsheet and then click "Choose".

It will open another window where you can choose the spreadsheet where you would like your responses to go.  In this case, I'm going to select Science Review Period 1.  Choose your spreadsheet and then click "Select".

Now, if you go to the spreadsheet you chose, you will see both form responses tabs are there.  You can rename the tabs so you know which period is which.  It puts the new form in front, so the "Form Responses 2" tab will be my Period 2 class.   

Step 3: Repeat Step 2 for all the other Science periods.  

Step 4: Delete the extra response sheets that were created when you made the forms since you won't be using them.

All done!  Handy, right?  

If you are new to Google Forms - check out my Google Forms 101 post.

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Google Forms: Deleting Responses

Sometimes you need to delete responses from a Google Form.  Maybe it is a new year or a new class period and you don't need to save the previous responses.  It might also be because you tested your form a few times and now you want to delete those test attempts.  I want to give you a few tips about deleting form responses.

Something to keep in mind is that Google Forms essentially inserts a new row into the spreadsheet when it puts in a new response.  If you have any extra text populating any of the cells of a clean row, it will be pushed down and the new responses will be above it.  This means that in the background, Forms is keeping track of where the next response should go.  If you simply delete the text of the responses you want to get rid of, you will end up with a bunch of blank rows at the top of your sheet.  Forms will continue inserting responses where it left off.  If you want to truly delete the responses, you need to select the whole row by clicking on the far left cell that has the row number in it.  Then you can right click and delete the whole row.  This will remove the row entirely and Forms will now put new responses at the very top (assuming you deleted all the existing responses).

Now, before you delete anything, think about if there is a chance you might want these responses at any point in the future.  If the answer could be yes, you have a few options.  You can go to the bottom left corner of your spreadsheet and duplicate the sheet and save those answers in another tab across the bottom of the page.  Then you can delete the answers from the first sheet and you will be ready to go.

You can also choose to hide the rows with the responses in them.  This way you don't have to see them, but they will still be there.  To do this, select the entire row(s) and right click.  Choose the option for hiding the rows.

Keep in mind that hidden responses will still show up when you run a summary of responses from the form menu.

If you are new to Google Forms - check out my Google Forms 101 post.

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Customize the Look of Your Google Form

Google Forms has some pretty nice looking themes for you to choose from when you go to create your form.  I was happy with the standard themes.  I was even happier when I realized you can customize them!

When you are editing your form, you will see the "Change theme" button across the top.  

When you click "Change theme", you will get a theme chooser window that opens on the right side of your form.  You can scroll through and choose the theme you like best.  Once you click on your desired theme, you can use it as is, or you can click on the "Customize" option that comes up.

Once you click "Customize", you will see all the options that you have control over.  

Click on "Header image" at the top and click "Choose image".  You can then scroll through all the fun header images they supply or upload your own image.

You also have options for font style, color, and size for titles, descriptions, questions, help text, and options.  They give you the chance to change your form background color and the page background image as well.

To get back to editing your form once you have made all your choices, click on "Edit questions" across the top of your screen.

Have fun customizing your forms!

If you are new to Google Forms - check out my Google Forms 101 post.

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