Tip of the Week: Google adds Templates, Voice, and Explore
I’ve always been a fan of the goodness that is Google. And I like when all of a sudden my GAFE tools have extra features.
For some of you, this all may not seem like a big deal. But recent small changes by Google in their online tools have made my life just a little bit easier. For those of you in GAFE schools or whose students use Google, these changes can also impact how you both interact with content and data.
The first change is how GAFE access templates. For the last few years, it’s been a bit awkward tracking down Docs, Slides, and Sheets templates. Google has done the right thing here by clearly placing easy to use templates on the individual sites for Docs, Sheets and Slides. Your kids will see several featured templates at the top of the page and can click the More button to see even more organized by type.
Not a huge deal but it does make it easier for your students (and you) to create clean, crisp, and beautiful products. You can still find templates created as part of your school account and the old goodies by visiting the old template gallery.
On the desktop side, Google added a option for voice typing into Docs for Chrome. Open the menu bar item under the Tools tab, a microphone pops up, click the icon, and you can just start dictating. Right now the feature only works in Docs and only in the Chrome browser. But it’s another handy feature, especially for younger kids and for those like me who struggle with the touch typing business.
The Sheets spreadsheet tool received what might be the biggest update. Called Explore, it’s designed to help you and students deal with large data sets more efficiently. When you click the Explore button, Google automatically analyzes the data in your spreadsheet and automatically creates a variety of charts and graphs that help you visualize your data. You also have the option to highlight certain pieces of your spreadsheet and the charts update automatically. The sidebar will also display quick facts about the trends it’s seeing in your data.
I haven’t played with this much but it seems like a great way for middle and high school students to start using a variety of different data sets as primary and secondary sources.