February 17, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Make Life Easier with Google Add-Ons | Tech Tidbits

Google Add OnsJust what we need! More work…Teachers frequently lament that administrators constantly add on things to their already over loaded plate! What is the message we always hear? This isn’t really extra work; it is something that will actually make your work easier. I’ve never believed that assertion, but I’m starting to believe it now with Google Apps add-ons!

Google add-ons are online applications that are woven into the documents, spreadsheets, and forms of Google Drive. Google released these a few weeks ago so that while you are “doing your work,” you can now use these tools to make just about everything easier.

Easy BibHere is an example. Many librarians encourage the use of online bibliography creators like EasyBib for online research. Your students are writing and want to add an online source to their Works Cited page. Now they can simply open the EasyBib add-on within Google Drive and a window appears at the right side of their screen. They paste in the url of a website, choose MLA, APA or CHICAGO style, and then click on “ADD BIBLIOGRAPHY TO DOC” and voilà—there is a correctly formatted Works Cited page at the bottom of their document.Cite Added

The days of laboriously creating bibliographic entries for research papers are over. EasyBib is just one example of a Google add-on which simplifies everyday tasks. Here are some more great educational add-ons you should check out.

When students are doing peer editing, they can now use Track Changes to accept or reject revisions their peers have made to their document.

Texthelp Highlighting Tools highlight and mark text in several colors.  Users can organize by color or sequentially as a note taking skill.

Need to create diagrams? Try Lucidchart Diagrams, the mind map creator MindMeister or even create snap-to-grid drawings and floor plans with Gliffy diagrams.

How about a Thesaurus add-on?

If, when working with a committee or group of people, you typically email a document for review and approval, try Letterfeed Workflow to get readers to comment and sign off on a document. Perhaps you need to chat with your peers. There is conference call add-on, UberConference, which can be used to solicit live advice and feedback while you are editing your document!

For grading papers, try Flubaroo. It has been a longtime favorite of teachers and is a great add-on to use with Google Sheets. Teachers can score and analyze student work.  Check out the FLUBAROO video.

If you need a more robust grading, rubric, and management tool try Doctopus. It can be used to create a folder management system for your students, email grades and feedback, and even use a rubric creation tool called GOOBRIC to paste a graded rubric at the base of a document! See this video for more information!

Google, the company, creates an amazing work space for its employees with restaurants, barber/beauty shops, gyms, etc., all located on Google’s work sites throughout the country. They want to create an atmosphere so comfortable for its employees that they won’t need to leave.  Perhaps they are trying for the same feeling with Google Drive. Add-ons will accomplish all the tasks we need so we won’t have to turn to any other tool. I’m obviously on the Google bandwagon.

We would love to hear about how you are using Google add-ins.Check out this video and get started.

See also: Joyce Valenza’s recent post on her NeverEnding Search blog.


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Phil Goerner About Phil Goerner

Phil Goerner is the teacher librarian and tech innovator at Silver Creek High School in Longmont, CO. He can be found on Twitter @pgoerner. Phil is also an adjunct professor with University of Colorado at Denver in the School Library and Instructional Leadership program.

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