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Google Drive

You may have noticed a banner at the top of your GoogleDocs home page, inviting you to try Google Drive.  Google has added some features to Docs and like the “new look” for email, you have the choice to opt in now or later.
You’ll find a quick summary online.  Here’s a quick video overview. (Ignore the part about a desktop folder for now)


You may have noticed the recent return of an old friend from the beginning of the school year–Chrome!  It fast became the preferred browser for lots of good reasons, especially because it makes GoogleApps function to it’s fullest.

Here are a few tips to get you started.  Set Chrome as your default browser, import your bookmarks from IE or Firefox, dress it up with themes, and more!  Like with Gmail, you can customize Chrome.   And no matter where you go, your Chrome preferences and settings will follow you.

Here’s something other browsers can’t offer… Apps!  Here’s how it works:

Look for more tips and tricks for Chrome in the coming weeks.

What I like about GoogleApps

The final Norski Ninja tip really isn’t a tip at all… it’s a chance for you to share and learn from each other.  To do that, we’re using a Google Form so you can see how it works.

Over the course of the past two months, we’ve done a lot:

  • we’ve moved from Groupwise to Gmail
  • we’ve integrated Google Calendar to sign up for labs and other common areas
  • we’ve shared Docs to collaborate on projects
  • we’ve used Google Forms to collect data
  • and more!

An example of a Google Form is here… a place for you to submit What I like about GoogleApps.  This is the front-end survey your respondents will see.  Feel free to fill it out as many times as you’d like!

We’ve shared the form with all of you, so if you open your Google Docs home page, you’ll see the back-end data collection in a spreadsheet.  This is where you’ll see everyone’s responses.  Next week, we’ll randomly choose some prize winners!

Click the Go Google! tab at the top of this page to see all the Norski Ninja tips, links, and How-To’s for going Google!

Norski Ninja: Week 9!

We’re in the home stretch of our Norski Ninja series. And today we’ll begin thinking about the ways we love GoogleApps as next week’s tip will be just that–sharing the good parts of this change. Here are this week’s Ninja skills:

  • Calendar: Sharing your calendar with others takes a few steps and we covered that in Week Three. Now you can take it a step further by creating additional calendars to share. How about a classroom activities calendar? How about a volunteer calendar? A project calendar? You may not want classroom, sports, club, or other activities merged with your calendar, so just create another one. Share it. Embed it on your web page.
  • Mail: February can be pretty busy and your Gmail box might be filling up now, so use filters to automatically categorize, label, color-code, and organize your messages.  Say you’d like all of the messages from your principal to be labeled “Important”–a filter can do that. (This feature is similar to Rules in Groupwise.) Here’s how filters work in Gmail.
  • Docs: Although it’s improving all the time (Tables! Presentations! Page Numbers!), I’ll admit that Docs does not do everything that Word does. Sometimes you might need a more elaborate layout than Docs can offer. In that case, try downloading your GoogleDoc in another format for revision or sharing. Go to File >> Download As. You’ll have a choice of formats:
    • Word: Use this one if you’re going to do a big layout, need more clipart or need to use the excellent SmartArt in Office.
    • PDF: Use this one if you’re not going to make changes to the document, but you want to “freeze” it for posting to the web, sharing with others, or as an alternative to printing.
    • RTF: This format is pretty universal. Almost any word processor will open it up. It won’t be fancy, but it will be shareable and editable by lots of tools, including the very confusing Microsoft Works.
  • Here’s more information on downloading, including Drawings, Presentations, and more!
  • You can download and upload files to GoogleDocs much like you would use a flash drive. You don’t have to convert them to upload and you may still share with others. When you’re using Docs, Mail, and Calendar to cut down on the paper in your life, you are definitely approaching black belt status.

Remember to comment on this post to be entered into our weekly Google drawing. Give it a try! Tell us how you’ve used any of these tools or any Google tools.

Norski Ninja: Week 8!

It’s Week 8 in our Norski Ninja series… these are Gold Belt skills, almost to Black Belt!
If you feel like you’re falling behind, don’t worry.  Check out the Go Google tab above for an archive of Ninja tips and more.

The theme this week is embedding and attaching.

Calendar:  Want your invited guests to take a look at a document or agenda before the meeting?  You can attach a Google doc, presentation, form, spreadsheet, or upload a file from your computer.

From your Event Details, click Add Attachment.

Email:  You can attach and embed in emails too…

To attach a file from your computer:

To attach a Google Doc: 

    1. Open your Document (spreadsheet, presentation, etc.)
    2. File >> Email as Attachment.
    3. Notice you can choose the file type or paste the item itself into the email.

Docs:  Forms are a handy way to create a survey, collect responses, and work with data.

To embed your form within an email, look at the menu bar and click Form >> Send Form

You can also embed forms in webpages.  Here’s an example.  Contact me if you’re interested in trying this and aren’t sure how.

Don’t forget!  Prizes!

Send an email or better yet, comment here for a chance to win a Google prize!

Norski Ninja: Week 7!

This week’s edition of the Norski Ninja is all about returns . . . return receipts, returning emails, and survey returns. Read on for ways to increase your Ninja skills or look back on our previous tips or there’s always our Go Google! page where we are storing all sorts of Google assistance for you.

  • Gmail Return Receipts: One of the first things we missed about Groupwise was the return receipt.  Open a new message and take a look under the “To” line. You should see Add Cc, Add Bcc, and Request Return Receipt. Click on that last link and check the box that will appear. It looks like this. (This feature is not available for our personal Gmail accounts.)
  • Recurring Calendar Events: If you have events that occur at regular intervals, you can schedule them pretty easily in Google Calendar.  When you click the Create button on your calendar, a new screen will open that lets you enter all the details for your event. Underneath the title, you’ll see a checkbox for Repeat . . . once you check that, you’ll see all sorts of choices for your recurring event: weekly, daily, monthly, etc.  Want to see the pictures? Take a look at this page for all of the calendar basics. Setting up a recurring meeting is a little more than halfway down the page.
  • GoogleDocs and Forms:Forms are one of my favorite parts of GoogleDocs and the (relatively) new semester might be a great time for a form/survey. Create a form to find out more about your students. Create a form to see which families can help out on your next field trip. Create a form to organize the next staff potluck or select a meeting time. Use a form to create a formative assessment. The possibilities are endless. The nice part about a form is that you don’t need to share any part of the document or the results. You can send people the web address for your survey without sharing the results.

We’d love to hear from you . . . how are you using any part of Google to do interesting things. Add a comment to this post and you could win the prize of your choice. I have to say that bug light is pretty neat.

Norski Ninjas: Week 6

Norski Ninjas: Week 6

Calendar:  If you like to see your daily calendar events in a list, the “agenda” is the tool for you!  Click it and you’ll see the day’s events, ready for printing.   Want to have that list on a daily basis?  You can have your daily agenda emailed to you every day.  Click Calendar Settings >> Notifications >> Check the box to receive a daily email with your agenda.

Email Etiquette:

  • Be concise.  Say it in as few words as possible.  If the message is lengthy, let recipients know in the subject line.
  • EOM:  add this to the end of your subject line if the message is so concise it can fit there.  Your recipients will know they don’t need to open the email because you’ve summed it up in the subject line.
  • Subject line:  Make sure the subject accurately conveys the topic of your message.  Besides being proper etiquette, many people mark their email for later follow-up.  An accurate subject line helps them organize.
  • Timely replies:  Try to respond to necessary email within 24 hours.  If you’re ’emotionally compromised’ (we’ve all been there), wait until you’re level-headed and/or have a colleague give some feedback.
  • Reply All:  Avoid using “Reply All” unless you’re certain everyone in the group needs to receive, open, and read your response.
  • Proofread:  most browsers will automatically underline misspelled words.

Docs:  You may notice that more features are periodically added to docs, presentations, spreadsheets, forms and more.  The new presentation editor has some nice additions, including new themes, animations, transitions, shape linking, and drawing.

Don’t forget to send me an email or add a comment below to be included in this week’s prize drawing!  What tips have been useful for you?