Finding Documents in Drive using “Recent”

DriveI was recently in the middle of a presentation, and I had asked the teachers to complete a Google Form. The form was embedded in my website, but I wanted to show them how Google Forms gathers the responses in a spreadsheet. I went into my Google Drive… and I had a total brain freeze. I could not for the life of me remember what I had named the form, let alone where I had put it. Thankfully, being able to find the sheet by looking under “Recents” saved the day!

Recent Items

Under the red “Create” button in Google Drive is a listing of how you can view your documents. You can view the documents that are in your own Drive. If you have shared items that you haven’t moved into your Drive, you can find them by clicking on “Shared with Me.” If there are items you have starred as important, you can search for them by clicking on Starred. And if you haven’t found what you are looking for in this manner but you know you have recently created, edited, or modified a document, you can find it by clicking on “Recent.”

Drive Recent

Once you click on it, all of the items you have recently viewed or modified will be shown. You will know you are looking at your recent items because the word “Recent” on the left will turn red. Drive Recent 2

Within the Recent items, you can then filter in some additional ways to find documents. There are two filtering menus that are side-by-side, which gives you some flexibility in how you find what you are looking for.

Drive Recents 5

You can filter by the owner of the document. This is especially helpful if you know that the item you are looking for is one that is owned by another user and has been shared with you. The filter on the left works in conjunction with the filter to the far right. You will notice that both drop-down menus are the same, but you can’t have the same option chosen in both menus.

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What Do You Think?

Do you have a way of organizing your Google Drive so that you can easily find your documents (without having to use Recent)? Please share if you do!

Google Tip: Shortcuts Rule!

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 5.51.27 PMHave you ever wanted to know something really, really fast when doing a Google search? I know I have! The thing I’ve been most curious about is earthquakes. My husband always feels them and I rarely do. When he asks, “Did you feel that? We just had an earthquake,” I never believe him. But now there’s a quick and easy way for him to prove himself right! Not only that, but there’s a quick and easy way to find information about many different things in Google using these shortcuts.

Give it a Try

Go to Google in your favorite search engine. My favorite happens to be Chrome. Type in earthquakes, and you should see this!

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Traveling soon? Type in your flight information. You can also find out what time it is in your destination.

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Need to know money conversion rates for upcoming travel?

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Do you cook or bake? I love cooking but sometimes I can’t find my teaspoons. I always wonder how many teaspoons I’d need to make a tablespoon. Check this out— and the little arrows allow you to change any of the value types so you can convert any measurement (not just in the kitchen!).

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Type in an arithmetic problem (or the word, calculator) and, guess what? You’ll get a calculator.

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Wondering how your stock is doing?

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Feeling bored? Type in the name of any celebrity and “bacon no.” You don’t need the quotation marks. I have yet to find any celebrity that has a Bacon number of more than 2. That’s insane! (and no, I won’t tell you how long I spent doing this today…)

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Is This All?

I could go on and on. You can use find the weather forecast, sports scores, upcoming movie times at your favorite theater, word translations, driving directions, health conditions, restaurants in the area, anything! I was reminded of these shortcuts this weekend at the Annual CUE Conference. Thanks to Brandon Wislocki, who demonstrated these awesome shortcuts at the Google in Education West Coast Summit and at the CUE conference.

What Do You Think?

Do you know of any other shortcuts that aren’t listed here? More importantly, have you found a celebrity that has a larger-than-two Bacon Number?

Safety First! How to Filter Google Searches on the iPad

Attachment-1It’s pretty safe to say that teachers want to keep their students safe while they are on the Web. We teach our students appropriate online behavior, we teach them never to share personal information on social networks, and we teach them to be good digital citizens. In addition, school districts have filtering systems that help keep students from inappropriate content when they are searching on the computers. Sometimes, though, unsavory images and content get through filters. This video shows how to set up another level of safety when using the iPads by turning on Safe Search in two different Web browsers.


Where Do I Turn in My Assignment? Digital Solutions for the 1:1 Classroom

TurnItIn2One of the biggest challenges of a 1:1 mobile device program is figuring out how to have students turn in work. Depending on a school district’s policies, students can’t always email their work, and printing work is also not an option unless the teacher has a wireless printer. Teachers need solutions for getting work from their students.

Of course it’s best when every teacher in a school or district uses the same method for delivering assignments to students and receiving assignments from students. However, if there isn’t a system in place, teachers do have options such as:

  1. Learning Management System (Haiku LearningBlackboardMy Big Campus, or the like).
  2. Google Drive to share work with students and have them turn things in. This works best with a Google Apps for Education Domain. Other Google solutions include Google Classroom or having students submit work via a Google form.
  3. Edmodo, a social network for teachers and students that has similar function to an LMS (but is not an LMS)
  4. Dropbox for students to retrieve assignments and upload work.
  5. Evernote
  6. Email

Many of the K-8 teachers I work with are wary of any tool that requires students to create an account using an email address (Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive). I’ve seen teachers work around this in a number of ways, and the most common way to make this happen is to have a shared account that all students can access. I’m not a huge fan of shared accounts because of the implications when a student forgets to “Keep Your Digital Hands to Your Digital Self,” but sometimes it’s the best (and quickest) solution.

No matter what, teachers need support from administrators and parents in order to get digital projects and papers from their students.

What’s your teacher-student-teacher workflow?

Cool Gmail Tip: username+anything

gmailI recently rediscovered something that I had learned about a few years back and then forgot about because at the time, I didn’t really understand how it worked. I had wanted to start blogging with my 6th graders, allowing them to create their own blog attached to mine, and I was exploring using Through this website, I learned that I could use my own gmail address,  add +student1 (or something that makes sense for you) and students could use that to create their edublog accounts.

It seems like everything I recommend to teachers to do with students requires them to have an account, which means they would need an email address. Not all students have email addresses, so this “trick” seems like an easy way for students to create accounts for tools such as Evernote, Voicethread, Wikispaces, and other Web 2.0 tools. Just be sure to have obtained parent permission through an AUP or something similar for students to be accessing these tools.

From the Google Support website:

“Gmail doesn’t offer traditional aliases, but you can receive messages sent to For example, messages sent to are delivered to”

Here are the steps you would need to take:

  1. Create a gmail account separate from any personal accounts you may have (for example,
  2. Assign students a number or have them use their first name to set up accounts
  3. When asked for an email address to sign up for something, students put in
  4. When the website or application sends a verification email, it will come to your new gmail account. Verify all the accounts and your class is in business!

The students will always their +student1 email address to log into the account, but any correspondence from the tool will come to your inbox. It shouldn’t be a whole lot to handle, but you should be aware that it will happen. This isn’t the ideal situation, but it works in a pinch!

What Do You Think?

I’m sure there are other ideas for using this Gmail trick with students. What are yours?

Keeping your Digital Hands to Your Digital Self

photoPart of my job as an Academic Coach is to present demo lessons. A lesson that has been requested  often is the one I facilitate on creating a classroom Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). You can see an example of what an AUP should contain by visiting Having an AUP in place before starting with mobile devices (or any technology) in the classroom is a critical step in having a successful mobile device initiative and Common Core implementation. The classroom AUP is created with student input, is stated in positive language, and is created in addition to the school or district AUP.

The lesson I facilitate with students takes between 30-40 minutes depending on how much experience the students have . Throughout the lesson, the students and I create a Tree Map (from Thinking Maps, with “iPads in the Classroom” as our topic and the following three branches: Classroom Behavior, Device Management, and Educational Uses. For each branch, there are non-negotiable elements that the teacher and I have discussed. Even if the students don’t generate these ideas in their group conversations, the teacher or I will make sure that these topics get put on the Tree Map.

One of the most important things that goes on the Tree Map is: “Keep Your Digital Hands to Your Digital Self.” In the elementary schools I work with, the students are sharing the devices. For this reason, some additional rules about acceptable use need to be discussed. Here are the things I tell the students:

  • Leave photos in the camera roll, even if you didn’t take them
  • If another student has started a presentation of any kind, leave it alone or save it and start a new one
  • In a shared Dropbox or Google Drive account, only open your own work and keep comments appropriate
  • Get permission before using the camera and before taking photos or video of others
  • If you come across anything that is not appropriate for school, tell the teacher immediately

The concept  “Keep Your Digital Hands to Your Digital Self” leads to more robust lessons on digital citizenship. The AUP lesson is just the introduction so that there are guidelines in place for students to begin using the devices in the classroom. Follow up lessons with more practice with being good digital citizens is the key to continued success as Common Core requires students to interact with content on digital media.

What Do You Think?

How do you introduce iPads and Acceptable Use to your students?