Thursday, September 3, 2015

Awesome Updates to Google Apps

Google just released some new updates to various Google Apps that will be some nice improvements for use in the classroom.  You can find their post about the updates at http://googleappsupdates.blogspot.com/2015/09/do-your-best-work-with-google-docs.html but I wanted to go over the top updates for the classroom.

1.  Voice to Text in Google Docs

  • While there have been some Chrome extensions that offered voice to text features, having it built in to all Google Docs on the web or through an app makes it much easier to use.  Voice to text can be really useful as an assistive tool for students who have issues when it comes to writing but can explain their ideas more effectively.  This is also useful to help students record their thoughts or to help them get started writing out something that may be a bit more complex.  You can quickly find the Voice tools under the "Tools" tab.


2.  Templates
  • Google has finally made templates available in various Google Apps.  By clicking on the Home button in Docs, Sheets, or Slides; you can create a new doc using any of the various templates provided.  A lot of these will be really useful to students as they prepare reports, resumes, or other types of docs where a template helps to organize it.



3.  Explore tools in Sheets
  • Google has also made it much easier to "see" your data in a Google Sheet using the Explore tools.  This tool will quickly create graphs and charts based on the data in your sheet.  This could make it much easier for both students and teachers to be able to make sense of and use data to make informed decisions or conclusions.



4.  New Google Forms
  • Google has also updated Google Forms with a new layout and tools.  You have to "opt-in" right now to get access to the new Forms but you can still leave them to get back to the old Forms.  Go here to opt-in to the new Forms.  Mostly, they layout while editing the Forms looks more up-to-date and will be easier to use for people new to Forms.  Others, who have used Forms extensively, will of course have to take some time to get used to the new layout.  The looks are not the only things to change as you have new customization options and the results will now appear in the same page as the Form editing.  


There are some other updates to Google Apps included in this but you can find out about all of them by clicking the link above to get to Google's blog post.  You can also watch the video below to see some of the updates in action.