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Interested in a few new ways to use Google with your students?

Do you think you know everything there is to know about Google? Not so fast -- there's likely more to Google than you think.

Take a look at some of the most overlooked Google uses for administrators, teachers, and students.

Along with each tool and idea description, I'm including a brief 3-minute video tutorial to show you in detail how to use each Google idea. Pretty cool, huh?

Learn how to increase student collaboration, eliminate assessment paperwork, create custom search engines, and more.

You're sure to learn something new in this article, just remember to click through to each additional page so you don't miss out on any tips!

First up, learn how one Google tool provides a collaborative and creative outlet for students of all ages.

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What do you use for student collaboration projects?

Have you ever wanted students to work together on a project or presentation from two different classrooms or even, remotely, from two different geographic locations? With Google Presentations, you can have up to 10 people at one time (students together, you and students, you and other teachers, or any combination of students or teachers, or perhaps even parents) working together at the same time on a student collaboration project. Like PowerPoint, with Google Presentations, you add slides and content, and then manipulate them into a logical sequence to form a presentation.

In this Classroom 3-Minute Problem Solver, Kim Munoz uses an example of asking a group of students to work on a presentation about a set of new vocabulary words. Kim first creates a bare bones presentation with a word per slide, then turns things over to the class where it's the students' jobs to find images and definitions of those terms that fit best. What's fun for both teachers and students is that, if the teacher projects the presentation in progress on an overhead screen, everyone can see the presentation evolving in real-time.

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For our next lesser-known Google use for the classroom, we'll learn a better way to search online with students.

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There is an easier way to search online with students...

Ever wondered how to keep your students focused while searching, and ensure they are only searching the correct classroom materials? In this 3-Minute Classroom Problem Solver, SimpleK12's Teacher Learning Community presenter Kim Munoz walks you through the process of creating a custom search engine to use with your students. This means the next time you search online with students, they'll keep their focus and only go within the boundaries you create for them.

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The Google Custom Search Engine, like most tools that we share here at SimpleK12, is completely free. Don't be fooled by its "all business" appearance, this is a wonderful tool to use in the classroom with students.

After setting up your free Google account, you can create as many custom search engines as you like, making it easier than ever to search online with students. Take a look at the video above and learn how to set up your own search engine in just 3 minutes.

Google Custom Search Engine has some wonderful benefits, including:

  • increased search relevancy
  • lack of advertisements in search results
  • simple to embed anywhere you need it

After you've made your own custom search, try encouraging students to create their own or have them contribute high-quality educational websites to add to your own custom classroom search.

Next up, we'll take a look at how you can eliminate your assessment paperwork using Google.

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What teacher wouldn't want to eliminate assessment paperwork?

Are you tired of collecting paperwork from your students? Do you wish there was a way you could collect them and keep them digitally in your computer? The answer is easier than you think. In this 3-Minute Classroom Problem Solver, SimpleK12's Teacher Learning Community presenter Kim Munoz explains how you can use Google Drive to eliminate assessment paperwork, saving you precious time. Yippee!

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Kim does a wonderful job explaining how she uses Google Forms to collect information from students and house it digitally inside her Google Drive account. She'll walk you through how to create a basic form. I promise you, it's simple! You do NOT need to be a tech wizard to create your first form from scratch. Google takes care of all of the details for you. (If you'd like to learn more in-depth from Kim on setting up your first form, click here.)

Once you get going with Google Forms, there are so many ways you can use it to help you in the classroom. Entrance tickets, exit tickets, pop-quizzes, sign-up forms, parent questionnaires, feedback surveys, and more - it's all possible with Google Forms.

Now let's take a look at how to supercharge your web browser, click over to the next page to learn how.

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Improve your browser experience with Google

Would you like to maximize your use of Google Chrome Extensions in your classroom? In this 3-Minute Classroom Problem Solver, SimpleK12’s Teacher Learning Community presenter, Kim Munoz, explains how to best use Google Chrome Extensions.

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Google Chrome Extensions are small programs that add new features to your browser to personalize and improve your browser experience. These extensions can either be found by pressing your apps icon on a new tab in Chrome or by visiting the Google Chrome Web Store. Here are some extensions that are great for classroom use:

  • goo.gl URL Shortner – This extension will shorten any URL code for easy-to-read links to put on class websites or in emails. It can also create QR Codes for easy student access.
  • Grammarly – This extension checks your spelling and grammar on most sites where you have to enter information.
  • OneTab – This extension takes all your open tabs and puts them into one. This one tab is in a Table of Contents format, so everything is easy to find.
These are just a few of the Extensions you can use in your classroom to increase efficiency and improve your browser experience. Check these extensions out and let us know of any others you can add to the list, then leave us a comment below.

Next up, we'll look at a research tool that'll blow your mind!

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Help your students document research

If you're interested in helping students more easily create citations, this tool is for you.

One of the benefits of using Google Docs in the classroom is the additional help provided by Google via all of the wonderful features of their free word processing tool. Let's take a minute to look a one of these extra add-ons, the Research feature.

In this 3-Minute Classroom Problem Solver video, Kim Munoz shows how you and your students can use the Research feature in Google Docs to add relevant research to papers, along with the proper footnotes and citations.

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For more on writing with Google Docs, I highly recommend this online training session from SimpleK12, Improve Writing Skills Using Digital Writing and Google Docs. Explore more of the writing features of Google Docs, all through the expertise of an experienced technology trainer with years of classroom experience. Join trainer Susan Oxnevad as she shows how to use Google Docs to incorporate digital writing into your curriculum thoughtfully. She explains how to utilize the latest Google Docs features fully, such as integrated reference tools and collaborative revision tools to help you and your students embrace digital writing.

Coming up, we'll learn how to get organized while using Google Classroom.

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Organize everything with Google Classroom

Attention Google Apps for Education Schools - you need to prioritize using Google Classroom to get organized and streamline your assignments.

Do you wish you had a central place to keep track of all of the Google tools you're using in school? In this 3-Minute Classroom Problem Solver video, Kim Munoz shows how you can use Google Classroom to organize everything Google; and, with all that Google has to offer, that's a mighty nice set of tools to have.

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Google Classroom is, at its simplest, a way to manage your classroom. You can create assignments, send feedback, and keep everything organized in one central place inside your account. You do need to have a Google Apps for Education account (provided by your school) in order to access Google Classroom at this time. So if this is something you have access to at this time, you should definitely consider setting your students up inside a classroom account.

If you'd like to get more in-depth about using this great tool, I recommend the training session from the Teacher Learning Community (SimpleK12), Google Classroom: An Intro to Saving Time, Staying Organized, and Improving Communication. Join experienced technology specialist Jerry Swiatek as he discusses various features of the tool, as well as the requirements, and explains how it goes hand-in-hand with Google Apps for Education, Google Drive, and Google Docs. He also shows how you can use it to reduce paperwork and efficiently manage the document and assignment workflow between teachers and students to help keep everyone organized. Look at Classroom from both the teacher and student sides in order to give you the best idea of what it looks like, and how it can benefit teachers and students alike.

Last but not least, we'll take a look at a fun way to get creative with your students online.

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A cool way to draw online

Have you ever noticed that lesser-known tool inside your Google Drive account called Google Drawings? Let's take a look at how you can use it to draw online.

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In this 3-Minute Classroom Problem Solver video, master trainer and Teacher Learning Community presenter Kimberly Munoz explains how to use Google Drawings to illustrate, draw, and create in the classroom. Insert images, create shapes, label photographs, draw arrows -- you and your students will enjoy getting creative with this fun free tool.

Once you get comfortable with Google Drawings, you can use it to create custom Venn Diagrams, graphic organizers, sticky note boards, infographics, annotations, and more. Students can work alone on their work, or collaborate with peers and edit the same drawing in real-time.

One of my favorite things about Google Drawings is the feature that allows you to search and insert images. Using the insert feature, you can search the web and find relevant images to use in your drawings.

To learn more about Google Drawings, I recommend watching the on-demand training video, Using Google Apps to Create Interactive Student or Class Projects. In this fast-paced session, join experienced educator Meredith Martin as she explains how to use Google Slides and Google Drawings to go beyond the basics with your class to create interactive reports, projects, lessons, and more.

So what did you think of our list of lesser-known Google tips? What did we leave out? What are you trying out first? Let me know in a comment below.

SimpleK12 is a leading provider of online Google training for educators. Click here to browse their course listing, which includes over 100 titles specific to Google for educators.

I’d bet money that you will learn something new and useful in this webinar. – Patty Mullinax's SimpleK12 Google review

If you're looking for a fun one to start out with, I recommend Google Guru: 20 Hidden Google Tricks for Schools and Classrooms. Join high school teacher-leader Shervette Miller-Payton as she shares some of the most overlooked Google tricks and apps that administrators, teachers, and students can use. She'll explain how you can become a guru of advanced searches, document shortcuts, email organization, video editing, and quite a bit more.

7 Lesser-known Google Ideas for the Classroom Click to Tweet

What lesser-known google ideas are you most excited to try with your students? Share your thoughts in a comment on this article.

Kimber Thompson is a Lead Moderator for SimpleK12 webinars and a Contributing Editor for SimpleK12.com. She writes frequently about education topics, and is passionate about tools and techniques that inspire young learners. You may reach her with ideas and comments at editor@simplek12.com.


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