Monday, November 14, 2016

Search Google Drive from the Omnibox

Save a few steps when you need to search for something in your Google Drive by setting up the Omnibox (that's what the address bar in Chrome is called) to automatically search those places when you type in a special keyword. I search Google Drive MANY times each day, but I never have to go to Google Drive before I do it. Saves me a ton of time!

Do this by going up to the Omnibox (where the website URL is across the top) and right-clicking in it.  Then choose "Manage Search Engines and Site Search" from the list.

Under the "Site search" section, click the "Add" button on the right. 

A box will pop up asking for the Search engine name, a keyword, and the URL.  This trick works by using a keyword.  Whenever you type that keyword into the Omnibox and then hit the spacebar (or the tab key), it will be ready for you to type in what you want to search for on that specific website.  You can see below what I typed in for Google Drive.  You can choose a different keyword if you want, but be sure that the URL is exactly the same as what I typed.

When you are done, click "Add". 

Now, no matter what website I'm currently on, I can go to the Omnibox and type in dr and hit the spacebar or tab.  Then it will be ready for me to search Google Drive.  It's a beautiful, time-saving thing!

You can do this for most any website that has a search feature - Amazon, YouTube, Bible Gateway, etc.  Just repeat the process we did above.  To get the correct URL, you'll need to search for something on the desired website and copy the URL of the search results.  Then when you paste it into the new search engine entry, replace the word or phrase that you searched for (and anything after it) with %s.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

CraftyCursor Google Chrome Extension

I learned about this great Chrome Extension from my friend Amanda Taylor (@TeacherandGeek).  Head on over to the Chrome Web Store and search for CraftyCursor.  When you see it, click on the blue "Add to Chrome" button.

After you install CraftyCursor, you may need to refresh your Chrome browser before it will work.  Click on the CraftyCursor icon in the upper right of your screen when you are ready to use it.

You can set your color using the drop down and then click "Start highlighting".  Now you will get a highlighted circle around your cursor to help your audience track with your mouse movements.

To stop highlighting, simply click on the CraftyCursor icon again and click "Stop highlighting".

Friday, October 7, 2016

Google Forms 101

Google Forms is a digital form and survey tool.  It allows you to gather, organize, analyze, and manipulate data.  Put very simply, you create questions, give people the web address to your form, and sit back while Google automatically compiles the data for you.  It is so versatile!  Not only is it handy for information gathering, but it can help with class discussions and also streamline and make paperless many of the processes and routines that occur daily in your classroom.  This is a pretty powerful app, and it has many unique features.  In this post, I'm just giving you the basics of what it can do.

To create a Google Form, you just navigate to your Google Drive and click on the blue "New" button, mouse over the "More" option at the bottom and then choose "Google Forms".

(You could also download an awesome extension that allows you to create a new form (slide, doc, spreadsheet or drawing, too) from anywhere on the web, just by clicking the button.  Read about this must have extension here.)

This will take you to a new untitled form.  The first thing I recommend is to give your form a title so that you can find it again later.  Take a look at the interface you'll see.

Settings Menu

Let's take a look at the settings menu you can access by clicking on the little gear icon in the upper right.  This menu has three tabs.  The first one that comes up is "General".

The top checkbox will collect the email address of those filling out your form by adding a question at the top of the form that asks for an email address.  If you have also chosen to restrict the form to just your organization, this question won't appear as the email address collection will happen automatically in the background.  

The second box, "Response receipts" is only usable if you have chosen to collect email addresses.  If you do collect email addresses and want people to get a copy of their responses, you can check this box.  It will give you the option to always send a copy of responses, or allow the respondent to choose if they want one or not. 

The third check box, "Restrict to...", allows you to lock down the form so that only those individuals in your organization can fill out the form.

The next check box does just what it says - only allows the respondent to submit once.  If you check this box, it will require users to log in with a Google Account - though it won't tell you who they are unless the "Collect email addresses" option is also checked. 

The bottom two links will decide what the respondent can do after they submit. 

The next tab in the menu is "Presentation".

The top option shows a progress bar for the respondent so that if it is a long form with many pages or "sections" they will see how close they are to finishing.  

The second box will shuffle the question order on each page or section.  It will not mix questions with questions from another page or "section" of the form. 

The last box allows you to show a link to return to the beginning and take the form again - this is nice if it is a form you are filling out repeatedly for different students.  

The last section is a place for you to put a confirmation message.  This is what your respondents see once they hit the submit button.

The last tab in the settings menu is "Quizzes".  You can use this to make your form into a self-grading quiz.  If you want to know more details about how to do this - you can check out this tutorial video

Question Types

There are many question types you can choose from.  The default first question is a multiple choice question, but if you click on "multiple choice" it will give you a list of other question types. 

Once you choose your question type, it will give you the options to enter your answer choices.  You have most anything you could want here, except true and false - but I just do a multiple choice question with only two answer choices - true and false.  

Question Options

You can make a question required  - meaning the respondent cannot submit the form without answering the question - by clicking on the "Required" slider to turn it on.

To get a few more options for your questions you can click the little three dots icon in the bottom right corner of the question.  It will give you different options depending on your question type.

The most common ones you might need are to show "Description" which allows you to give a little direction about how to answer or if you want to put in an example.  Another one might be to show "Data validation" for a paragraph or short answer question, which allows you to make the answer be something specific like it must have an @ symbol because they are supposed to type an email address or something like that.  You can also choose "Go to section based on answer" for multiple choice which can send them to a separate page depending on which answer they choose.  

Adding Images to a Specific Question or Answer

You can add an image as part of your question, or as part of a multiple choice answer option.  Click on a question to edit it.  If you put your mouse on the Question text, a little image icon will appear to the right and you can click on it.  Same for putting your mouse over an answer choice.


Answer choice 

Adding Other Items

You can add other items to your form using the vertical bar on the right.

You can click to add a new question or to import a question you have already used on a different Google Form.

Adding a title and description lets you put additional text into your form that isn't necessarily tied to a question.  It can be instructions or other information that your respondents need to know. 

Adding a section adds another "page" that your respondent will see.  For example, they might answer some questions and then click next to answer more questions.  It only shows them one "section" at a time and they will need to click to go to the next section or page. 

Customize the Look

You can customize the look of your form by clicking on the color palette in the upper right.  When you click on the palette, you are shown a variety of colors.  If you want something a little more decorative, click on the little image icon in the bottom right to be taken to a window where you can choose from many different themes or even upload your own image.


You can learn all about how to find and analyze the form responses in this "Where Are My Responses?" post. 

How to Send Out My Form

When you are all finished creating your form, you can click the "Send" button in the upper right and get some options on how to distribute your form.  

There you go!  That should give you everything you need to know to start creating your very own Google Forms.  Have fun!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Google Forms: Deleting Responses

You made a Google Form and then you filled it out to test it.  Or maybe you are reusing a form and you want to get rid of last year's responses.  You can do this very easily.

You can delete the responses in the form only, or in the spreadsheet only.  You can delete them from both places - but these are two separate actions.

Deleting Responses From the Form

1.  Click over to the responses section.

2.  Click on the little three dots icon in the top right corner.

3.  Choose "Delete all responses" from the menu.

4.  Click "ok" when it warns you.

As it stated in the warning, this does not delete the responses from the spreadsheet if one was created.

Deleting Responses From the Spreadsheet

1.  Go to the spreadsheet where your responses are.
2.  Delete the entire row for each of the responses you wish to delete - you can select more than one at a time.

If you just delete the text and not the entire rows, Google Forms will still skip those rows when new responses come in.  If you want to clear the responses for good, you should delete the entire row.  

If you want to keep the responses but not see them, you can simply hide the rows.

You can also duplicate the sheet so that you can save old responses before you delete them from the "live" sheet.

Google Forms: Where Are My Responses?

Now that you've made a Google Form and you've got some responses - let's talk about where to find the response information and all the options you have to choose from.

Responses live in the Google Form itself.  You can click on "Responses" across the top to see them.  You'll notice it will tell you right at the top how many responses you have received.

Once you click over to the responses, you'll see a variety of things.  

Some of these options are pretty self explanatory, but I want to detail a few that might not be as obvious.  

Getting to the Spreadsheet
In the older Google Forms, a spreadsheet was automatically created.  Now, if you want a spreadsheet - which is where all the magic happens in my opinion - you have to tell it to create one.  To do this, you can click on the little green spreadsheet icon near the top.  

On a brand new form, the first time you click the spreadsheet icon, it will prompt you with two choices: 

1.  Create a new spreadsheet named after your form.
2.  Select an existing spreadsheet where you want the answers to go.  This can be very handy if you are creating a different copy of a form for multiple classes.  It allows you to have different forms for each class, but then all the answers feed into different tabs across the bottom of the spreadsheet.  You can click here to watch this quick video to see how that would look.

Once you have made your choice you can click on the blue "create" button.

Any other time you click the spreadsheet icon, it will take you directly to the spreadsheet where your responses can be found.   

Other Options
If you click on the three dots icon next to the spreadsheet icon, it will give you a variety of other options.  

You can choose to get email notifications, change a response destination from one you have already set up, unlink the form from a spreadsheet, download all of the responses into a .csv (spreadsheet file), print all the responses, or delete the responses.  Deleting can be tricky - you can read my post about it for more information.  

Viewing and analyzing your Google Form responses could not be easier!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

CraftyText Extension

Ever needed to give students or an audience a word, code, website, etc. to copy down or type in and you have to spell it out loud repeatedly so they can get it?  I've got a solution for you.  CraftyText Extension!  With just a click you can have giant text displayed across your screen.

Browse to the Chrome Web Store by typing "Chrome Web Store" into Google or just clicking on this link.  Type "CraftyText" into the search bar and then hit enter.  You'll see CraftyText listed under extensions.  Click the blue "Add to Chrome" button.

You'll be prompted for permission to install.  Click "Add Extension". 

The extension will now be installed and you can see the little CT icon to the right of your address bar.

Now when you have text you'd like to share with your audience, just click on the CraftyText icon and a little box will open for you.  (Sometimes you need to refresh your Chrome window before it will work the first time after you install it.)  Type whatever text you'd like displayed into the box and hit enter.

Then you will see the text displayed giant size across your screen.

When you are done with the text, click the CT icon again and it will go away.  If you have any trouble getting it to work the first time, go ahead and refresh your browser. 

If you like CraftyText, you'll definitely want to give CraftyCursor a try!  It will put a little colored dot around your cursor to help your audience follow along with your movements around the screen. 

These are two of my very favorite extensions.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Force a Copy of a Google Doc

There are times when you need to give your students - or maybe even your colleagues - a copy of a Google Doc.  Perhaps it is a template they need to fill out or some other type of assignment or plan that they need their own copy of so they can edit it and make it their own.  Rather than asking them to go in and go to File-->Make a copy, you can edit your link so that it will prompt them to make a copy as soon as they click on the link.

All you need to do is change your sharing settings so that the person will be able to have "view" access to the file.  You can do this by clicking on the blue "Share" button on the top right corner of your document.

If you are doing this for just a few people, type their names in and their accounts will pop up for you.  Here is the difference - be sure to click on the "Advanced" link at the bottom of the sharing settings window.

Clicking on "Advanced" will add some new options to the window.  Be sure to uncheck the box that says to "Notify people" - you don't want them to get an email letting them know you shared the file with them.  You want them to click on the link you are going to send them separately.  Once you've unchecked the box, you can click on the blue "OK" button to save the changes.

​If you are sharing with a whole class or a large group of people - the easiest way to accomplish the correct sharing privileges is to click on the blue "Share" button and then click "Advanced" just like I showed above.  You'll notice it says the access is set to Private - Only you can access.  You'll see a blue "Change" link just to the right.  Click on that.

Change the link sharing to be "Anyone at [your organization] with the link" and be sure the access level is set to "Can view".  (This will only work if you are sharing with people who all have email addresses belonging to your organization.  If you are sharing outside your organization, choose "Anyone with the link" instead.) Then click the blue "Save" button.  Sharing this way won't notify anyone via email.  It will just allow anyone with an organization email address to have view only access to the file - but only if they have the link.

Whether you shared with a few specific people, or anyone at your organization, once you click "Save" it will go back to the general sharing options window.  You will see that it now shows the access you just selected.  At the top of the window will be the URL link you need to copy and paste to give to whomever you wish to share the file.  Once you have copied the URL you can click the blue "Done" button.

Now is where we edit the link so that it will prompt people to make a copy instead of taking them into the file.  You'll want to make a hyperlink for your students or colleagues to click on so they can see a phrase of your choice as the link instead of the ugly URL - if you need instructions on making a hyperlink - click here to see how.

When you paste your URL into the hyperlink it will look something like this:

Near the end of the URL you will see "/edit" with some other text after it.

Delete everything after the / and change it to say "copy".

That's it!  Now when some one clicks on the link - it will take them to this screen - prompting them to make a copy of your document.  When they click "Make a copy", it will make a copy, save the file to their Google Drive, and allow them to begin editing their own copy of the document.

This can come in very handy to avoid any confusion when people need a copy of your Google Docs.

Hack The HTML Code to Resize Images

There are many products we use that have HTML in the background.  For instance, you are reading this blog post on Blogger, which I have edited in this happy little editor, however - in the background is HTML code commanding what you see.  Sometimes my editor doesn't give me the options to do what I'd like to do, so I can edit the HTML code to modify my post.

Perfect example:

I'm working on a blog post right now about forcing a copy of a Google Doc.  I inserted a picture into my post and the original size was too large, so I had four choices in my editor: Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large.  I picked Extra Large because it looks best in the editing window.  The other three sizes are just too small.  The picture looks great!

When I preview my post though, I get this:

My picture overlaps the sidebar on my blog.  What can I do?  Well...I can edit the HTML!  In the upper left hand corner of my Blogger post, I have a button that allows me to make the switch between my nice easy compose editor and the HTML code.

Once I get into the HTML code, I'm going to search for the image code.  I'll know it because it will list a long web address (the URL of the picture) and I'll see the words height and width with some numbers next to them.  Like this:

I can change these numbers and my picture will still look ok, as long as I keep the ratio the same.  So I've tested and figured out that using 80% of these numbers will get me a nice size that fits into my post.  So I will take 640 and multiply by .8 to get 512.  Then I will multiply 115 x .8 and get 92.  I'll change the numbers accordingly and then click in the top left to return to the compose editor.  

Now my picture looks smaller in the editor.  

When I go to preview now, it is perfectly sized!

You can almost always find access to the HTML code of your website - you just have to hunt for it.  I've edited the HTML in Google Sites, Blogger, and Weebly.  If you aren't sure how to edit the HTML to do what you want it to do, just do a search on Google for it.  I can almost guarantee someone will have a post about how to do it.  

Don't feel stuck by the options in your editor, hack that HTML code to make your site look the way you want! 

Helping teachers incorporate technology, one tech tip at a time.