Here's a collection of the weekly Tech Tips! Get the most out of your technology. Check out these useful tech tips and tricks you should know, and recommendations on how to boost your tech-bound productivity.
Instantly Scan QR Codes with Apple Devices
Need to scan a QR Code quickly? Simply open the camera app on your smartphone device, hold it up against the QR code to scan, and it will instantly recognise the code (and provide you the option to open the code's link). This works with all Apple devices (eg. iPad / iPhone) running iOS 11 or later, and a select number of newer Android devices. If your phone doesn't natively support QR code scanning, there are a number of good apps you can download, such as 'QR Code Reader and Scanner'.
Quickly re-open an accidentally-closed tab in Chrome
Did you accidentally close an important tab in Google Chrome? Undo the action and bring it back straight away by pressing CMD + SHIFT + T. Need to quickly open a new blank tab in Chrome? Press CMD + T.
Quick lookup on GMail
For many of us, our GMail has quite a large number of emails. Sometimes, quickly finding an email from someone you are currently collaborating with can be cumbersome. To quickly search for the emails from a particular recipient; simply right-click on their name in the first column of the GMail Inbox, then select 'Find Emails from... '. This will then provide you a list of all the emails from that recipient.
Use Google Spreadsheets as a checklist
A class checklist that's on paper is cumbersome, prone to get lost and a waste of paper. Put your class list on a Google Spreadsheet, insert tickboxes in one of the columns (Insert - Tickbox), and you now have a fully functional online class checklist. Install the Google Sheets app to your smartphone, and you now have access to your checklist wherever you go.
Blank out your projected screen using the Mute Function
There are times, when presenting on the big screen, that you will need to take your display offline (eg. to mark the roll on Sentral). Instead of pulling out the display plug, press the DISPLAY MUTE button on the Epson controller instead. It will instantly turn the display off (the projector's still running, but now in mute mode). When you're ready to resume presenting, just press the button again. It is a much quicker way of blanking out your display; and it will save the projector's lamp too.
Voice Typing in Docs
Google Docs gets even more powerful with Voice Typing. This is an extremely powerful tool that allows voice data to be transcribed to a Google Doc. Try it as an activity with your students for taking notes in a group-based setting, or even in situations where a student currently cannot write/type and note-taking is required. The voice-typing feature is available by selecting it under Tools in Google Docs.
Super fast access to a calculator
Need access to a calculator super fast? Simply go to finder (press on the magnifying glass in the top right) and type in your math equation. The answer is instantly calculated for you. Press enter, and the usual calculator will also open with the answer (in case you wanted to check the answer).
Review unwanted Apps that are connected to your CeNet Account
Every time we connect to an app with our CeNet account, we are giving some sort of accessibility of our account to the app. Over time, some apps are no longer used. It would be a safe and secure bet to remove those apps from having access to your account. To review these apps that are connected to your CeNet account:
1) Open GMail
2) Click on the Apps menu (the 9 dots in the top right)
3) Select Account
4) Click on Security on the left-side menu
5) Scroll all the way down and select 'Signing in with Google'. Check the apps that currently have access to your account. Remove the ones that you no longer require. (Keep macOS and Hapara though - macOS is your macbook and Hapara is Teacher Dashboard)
If you make a mistake and accidentally remove an app, don't worry. The next time you use the app, Google will just ask you again if you trust the app with your account.
Mute those annoying sites that autoplay videos
There are a number of sites on the web that have decided to annoy users by playing videos that follow you while you scroll a page with the sound on. Instead of frantically closing the tab (or muting it) and swearing at your monitor, you can now just mute the entire site for good:
1) Right click on the tab of the site
2) Click on Mute Site
Re-open that accidentally-closed tab
Did you accidentally close a tab on Chrome (or even Safari)? Recently closed tabs can be instantly brought back to life:
In Chrome, simply click on History and you will find that the second group list are the tabs you recently closed.
In Safari, click on History then Recently Closed. You can even restore a whole window of tabs in case you accidentally closed Safari.
On an iOS device (like an iPhone), press the tab icon (the bottom right icon that looks like two boxes), then press and hold down the + button. Recently closed tabs will then appear on a list for you.
Create Mindmaps, flowcharts and more with LucidChart
This has been reviewed before, but LucidChart has recently had a substantial upgrade (You can now connect LucidChart with Google Classroom!). Create many kinds of mindmaps with your class using simple drag and drop, and even have your students share their mindmaps with you. To get started; simply go to the Google Apps button (the nine dots in the top-right corner in GMail), scroll all the way down to the bottom and select LucidChart.
Backing up your Google Drive
For many of us, it is the annual ritual in making sure our important data is archived / kept safe after another busy school year. Here are the steps to archive your Google Drive:
1) Click on the 9 dots in the top-right corner of the GMail interface.
2) Select 'Account', then scroll down to the 'Personal Info & Privacy' box.
3) Click on 'Control your content', then select 'Create Archive'.
4) Google will then guide you through what you want to archive (yes, you can archive your WHOLE Google Drive and GMail if you wish).
Be sure to do this at home because depending on the size of your archive; it may take a very long time to download your archive at school.
Make your Searches in GSuite Smarter
Trying to look for a file in Google Drive? Looking for a particular email in GMail? Instead of just typing the search criteria in the search box; click on the down-arrow to the right of the search box. This will give you a number of advanced search filters to use.
Make Spotlight Search Faster
An update to your Macbook's OS was made available recently. If you installed this update, you may have found that your Spotlight searches are slower than usual (and for some, the Spotlight search disappears altogether). To fix this, follow the steps below:
1) Go to the Apple logo in the top left
2) Select System Preferences
3) Click on Spotlight
4) Deselect Bookmarks & History
-This will make sure Spotlight does not search your internet history, which tends to grow astronomically (and hence makes the search go slower).
Limit the number of responses in a Google Form you create
This request has been asked a fair few times... How do you limit the number of responses in a Google form? If you're creating a form that requires people to register for something online, or getting your students to do a tally in class (but only want a certain number of responses), or even a form that is only available during a certain time; all you have to do is connect with 'FormLimiter'. It is an add-on to the Google Form app, and is available by simply accessing the app in the Google Web Store (or... you can go to http://bit.ly/2Fr6Qwl)
Share content easily with Google Drive
Using Google Sites? Needing an easier way to share data from Google Spreadsheets / Docs? Try the 'Publish to Web' feature. This will essentially make a link that you can use to then embed in to any external service (such as Google Sites or even Google Slides). Instead of just having a link to the data; the information will now display because it's embedded.
1) Open the file you wish to embed (Such as Google Spreadsheets)
2) Click on File, then select Publish to the web
3) Select whether you want a URL, or embed.
4) Click Publish. You will then be given a piece of code that you can then use to paste into your external document.
Quick Selection Keystrokes
A number of us already know about the keystrokes to quickly select items on our desktop; but many still don't use the advanced keystrokes below... Use these to quickly select items for processes like adding them to a Google Drive folder:
- Cmd + A: Select ALL items in an opened window
- Cmd + Pointer: Select a number of items in an opened window
- Shift + Pointer: Select a range of items in an opened window
- Cmd + D: Duplicate selected items (be very careful with this one... especially after doing Cmd + A!)
Make your searches in Google more effective using quotes
When searching for something specific, try using quotes to minimize the guesswork for Google search. When you put your search parameters in quotes, it tells the search engine to search for the whole phrase.
For instance, if you search for The Blue Mountains Bushland, the engine will search for content that contains those four words in any order.
However, if you search “The Blue Mountains Bushland”, it will search for that phrase exactly as you typed it. This can help locate specific information that may be buried under other content if not sorted out correctly.
The Quickest Way to Add an Image you've just taken to Google Drive
Let's say you (or your students) are about to share a piece of work... It might be notes written on the board, or an experiment that was conducted outside. The quickest way to take a picture of the content (to then have it shared and accessed) is through Google Drive's Use Camera feature:
1) Make sure you have the Google Drive app installed on your smart device, and logged in to your CeNet account
2) Select a folder that you'd like the picture to be uploaded to (Use a shared folder if you're going to have the picture accessible to others)
3) Press the + button in the bottom right corner
4) Select Use Camera. Take the picture, and it will then upload directly to your folder.
De-Clutter your new GMail Inbox
By default, the new GMail's inbox list is set so that a new line shows with an email whenever there's an attachment. Several emails with attachments will quickly make your inbox list very cluttered, so to revert to the original inbox list display:
1) Click on the cog in the top right of GMail
2) Select Display Density
3) Select Comfortable (or compact if you really want the inbox compressed)
4) Press OK, and you're done
Add Important Emails to your Tasks in GMail
If you receive a fair few emails that require an action (such as a request by a student for work to be reviewed), you can now easily add these to your Tasks in the new GMail task feature. From there you can then prioritise your tasks and even group them according to your requirements.
1) After opening the email in GMail, click on the 3 dots up the top of the email.
2) Select Add to Tasks.
3) The Tasks pane will open to the right of your window. The Tasks pane will now show you the tasks you have assigned. Drag your tasks according to its priority.
4) When a task is finished, simply click on the circle next to it (This will instantly delete the task).
Download the Google Tasks app to your smartphone, and you can then sync up your tasks so that you can also see them when you're away from your laptop.
A More Efficient Way to Copy and Paste Text
Have you been in a situation were you're trying to copy and paste heavily formatted text but don't want all the formatting (like the colour, size, font face, etc.?) Instead of pressing CMD+V, press CMD+SHIFT+V... This will paste your copied text without the formatting, and it will instead follow the formatting of your document.