Thursday, July 25, 2013

5 Handy Google Drive Shortcuts

This evening when I attempted to access my Google Drive dashboard the way that I have been doing it for years by typing "" a brand new Google Document instead. This caused me to try "" to see if a new presentation would open, it did. Apparently, these shortcuts have worked for some people for a while. The shortcuts just started working with my Google Drive account this evening. Altogether I found five shortcuts that will allow you to skip the step of opening your Google Drive dashboard before creating a new document, slideshow, form, spreadsheet, or drawing.

These are the five shortcuts to note. 

1. To create a new Google Document: 
2. To create a new Google Slides Presentation:
3. To create a new Google Form:
4. To create a new Google Spreadsheet:
5. To create a new Google Drawing:

How to Disable Tabs in the New Gmail Layout

One of the constants of using free services like Gmail is that changes to the service can occur whether you like them or not. One of the recent changes to Gmail is the new tabs layout. Some people like this layout and others do not. If you fall into the camp of people who don't like, here's a quick video about how to disable it.

If you're subscribed to this blog or others via email and haven't received an email in a while, you may find that the emails are being filtered into the "social" or "promotions" tab in the new Gmail layout.

H/T to Chris Brogan

How to Quickly Create Simple Online Quizzes

QuizPoo is a free online quiz creation tool. Quizzes created on QuizPoo have a simple format based on an "either or framework." When you create a QuizPoo quiz all of your questions have only two answer choices. For example, I created a four question quiz about my dogs. Each of the questions only had Max and Morrison as answer choices. See my sample quiz here. I did not include pictures in my quiz, but that is an option.

Applications for Education
I almost didn't write about QuizPoo because I thought that it was too basic. But then I realized that the QuizPoo format could be good for creating quizzes about characters or story lines in a book. For example, if I could create a quiz about two characters from The Odyssey and have the questions be about a particular characteristic or action of the characters.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How to Create Your Own Custom Search Engine

I've posted directions for creating your own Google Custom Search Engine in the past. Since the last time I published those directions Google changed some of the settings so this morning I made a new slideshow of directions for making your own search engine. Those directions are posted below (use the full screen mode to see the details).

Cooking With Solar Energy - A Hands-on Project for Students is a good place for teachers to find videos, interactive activities, and lesson plans for teaching about climates and climate change. One of the teaching activities that I found on I think elementary, middle, and high school students could enjoy is making a solar oven (link opens a PDF). The Making a Solar Oven PDF includes directions for building your solar oven and tips for cooking in it. You and your students can build a solar oven using materials that are commonly found in schools, homes, and grocery stores.

Applications for Education
Making a solar oven and baking some cookies in it could be a great way to get students excited to learn about solar energy. At the middle school and high school levels you could have students experiment with modifications of the original design to see if they can increase or decrease temperatures and cooking times in their solar ovens.