Thursday, October 8, 2020

How to Share Sections of Google Docs in Google Classroom - And Why You Might Do That

Yesterday a reader sent me an interesting question about Google Docs and Google Classroom. She wanted to know if there was a way to share just one of a few pages of a Google Doc with her students via Google Classroom. One solution would be to copy the content of that one page and paste it into a new document that is then shared in Google Classroom.

Another option for sharing just one page of multiple page Google Doc would be to export as a PDF only one page of the Google Doc then share that one page PDF in Google Classroom. Students will then have to use the “open with Google Docs” option to convert the PDF back into a Google Doc that they can comment on or edit. The process sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. In the following video I demonstrate that process from a teacher’s perspective and show it from a student’s perspective.

Applications for Education
Why would you do this? I've done it with lab procedure documents from Cisco NetAcad that I have as PDFs when I want students to do the first part of a lab but not the second part on a given day. By sharing only the first page I can be sure that they won't go ahead to the second part of the lab without me supervising it (particularly important when working with electricity). 

How to Create Citations and Bibliographies in Google Docs - No Add-ons Required

For years I used the Easy Bib add-on to add citations and create bibliographies in Google Docs. A couple of weeks ago Google added an updated citation tool to Google Docs that makes the Easy Bib add-on redundant. With the latest update to Google Docs you can now create MLA, APA, and Chicago style citations directly in Google Docs without the need for a third-party add-on. You'll find the new citation feature in the tools drop-down menu in Google Docs. 

In the following video I demonstrate how to create citations and bibliographies in Google Docs. One of the aspects of the new tool that I like is that it walks students through where to put each piece of required information. 

Whenever I've shared bibliography tools like this in the past I have received emails from folks who think that students should learn how to make bibliographies without the help of an add-on. To that I say, I learned how to make a bibliography by following the template in an early 90’s version of The Student Writer. Using a template provided by Google Docs isn’t much different than that. And at the end of the day, I'm more concerned with getting my high school students to recognize the importance of citing their sources than I am having them learn the exact (often changing) rules of MLA or APA.