Monday, July 27, 2015

Google Drive Plugin for Microsoft Office - Improving Google/Microsoft Dual Citizenship

Hello fellow educators. For all your using GAFE (Google Apps for Education), Google recently dropped a little morsel that will make our dual citizenship of Google and Microsoft much easier. Since my job as technology coach has me neck deep into Google, I have toyed with idea of abandoning Microsoft and Windows completely. This thought is pretty outrageous considering I have always been a Microsoft geek. For the most part, Google Docs, Slides and Sheets are slightly watered down versions of Office, but they are always improving. But still, many of us prefer the features and functionality of Office. Before Google released their Google Drive Plugin for Office, you could live in both worlds, but you had to download your files from Drive and open them on your machine in Office. Not terribly difficult, but anything to make our lives a little easier and remove annoying steps is welcomed.
Here's how it works. Google "Google Drive Plugin for Microsoft Office." This search will show you results that link you the download of this plugin. Download the plugin and install. With this installed, you will make Google Drive a destination from which you can pull and open documents in Microsoft Office (Word, Slides, Sheets). There will be no need for downloading from Drive. When finished editing a document on Word, you can save the changes back to Drive.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Simple App Smash

It's been a good summer. I have taken three mini vacations since mid June. Now, I am getting emails daily from teachers with ed tech questions. The sooner I get my head back in the game, the better. That being said, back in mid June, I spent some time in a seminar with the legendary Jon Corippo and Joe Marquez. These two dudes gave me a plethora of ideas for app smashing. Since then, I have been jotting down what I call "App Smash Recipes". Here is a simple one I just thought of the other day. If you don't know what app smashing is, it is when you use two or more apps/programs to design a lesson or presentation. I call this recipe "Googley Audiobooks." Yes, I know, it's a cheesy name, but whatever. Here's how it works. Search for a website that offers free downloads of audiobooks. I like to use LibriVox. Download the books and or chapters to your computer. From there, go to This is the address for Google Play Music. This service allows you to store up to 20,000 songs (mp3 files) for free. From this service, you can stream the audio files on any computer, phone or tablet. Add the audio files to your library. From there, organize the chapters into playlists for easy playback when listening to the book yourself or with students. With students, it can be a whole class listen and follow, or it can be used as a station. In addition, I recommend uploading the files to your Google Drive. This will allow you to share the audio files with students and embed on a website or blog. The reason I suggest uploading the files into both Drive and Google Play Music is because Drive helps with sharing and embedding, and Google Play Music makes for easier playback. Give it a shot. Tell me what you think. Let me know if you have any ideas to improve this simple recipe. Adam