More Google Apps magic on more platforms

As the Google Drive and Google Apps for Education (GAfE) suites have matured, so have the available compatible apps across mobile platforms. This means you can do more on-the-go and using whatever device available than ever before. It also puts the power of GAfE in the hands of more people as they can be accessed on devices across many price points. And, of course, the More Google Apps magic on more platformsapps are free.

It is important to note that not all ‘smart’ devices can access Google Apps effectively – read the post Does Google Apps for Education play nice with BYOD? for more on this. It also has ideas on how to breathe new life into old technology.

Also, the mobile apps tend not to have all the features of the browser based versions; this can be an advantage. Fewer features can sometimes mean greater productivity, particularly for people distracted by ‘bells and whistles’ like hundreds of fonts (yep, that’s me!). You can potentially use the desktop versions through the Chrome mobile browser but I have personally found this to be a frustrating experience.

Sometimes, the mobile versions liberate you to do things that are difficult on a desktop or laptop. Have a look at the post Create a comic in 3 minutes or less with Google Slides (with bonus puppies!) for one idea using Slides on an iPad.

Below is a quick reference table for many Google Apps across devices. It has already changed from when I first put it together as the mobile apps have improved. Some of the mobile apps are closer to their browser based counterparts than others. You will need to do more research to find out specifically what won’t work on the mobile apps. (I tried to find the definitive Google list but I was unable to).

The great thing is most apps retain their collaborative and commenting ability.

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1-minute Google Drawings hack: refine your illustrations using edit points

A1-minute Google Drawings hack few weeks ago I shared this video demonstrating how anybody could create custom illustrations in Google Drawings without even a single artistic bone in your body. Tonight I was finalising an illustration of a motorbike leathers template to use with my class tomorrow. Some of the lines and curves were, well, a little wonky. I remembered I could use the Edit points tool to refine curves and lines of shapes.

As I started to do it, I thought, “Why not share a video on how to do it?” So… here it is!

By the way, the motorbike leathers template is for an integrated unit of study on motor bike safety (I have a lot of students interested in motorbikes!). Students will have the option to customise their leathers online via Google Classroom or they can use a printed version to draw/paint their customisations.

I love that, with Google Drawings, I can create my own resources to suit my purposes and then distribute them in hard copy, online or both.

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Template: Basic interactive poster using Google Drawing

For some of the subjects I teach, students are required to create a digital text (as part of the General Education for Adults (CGEA) vocational qualifications). A simple test to work out if a text is ‘digital’ is-can it be consumed in its entirety by printing it out? If the answer is ‘Yes’, then it does not meet the criteria for a digital text. Another way of looking at it is a text that is multi-media, multi-modal or interactive (alright, enough of the academics already!)

So I have been looking at ways for students to create these digital texts using Chromebooks. I was considering Prezi but did not like the idea of students having to create an account, having everything public, etc. Plus, am I the only one that gets a little motion sick with all that zooming and whirling?

So I looked to Google Drive…

I have only just very recently become acquainted with the delight that is Google Drawing. It is so easy and flexible to use. So I played around with creating a simple digital text template. Here is a preview of what I came up with:

SMLInteractive poster-basic

Yes, it’s simple but I thought it was a good starting point. From here, it can be adapted to many different abilities and outcomes and hopefully inspire students to totally reinvent the poster with their own touches and design.

I am planning to develop a more sophisticated interactive poster template to share. In the meantime, here is a link to the template for your own use.

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