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Amazing 'Must-Have' Google Add-ons, Tips, Tricks & Features - Activating Change

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Monday, June 24, 3:00–4:00 pm
Location: Terrace Ballroom II/III, Level 4 (near Posters)

Bret Gensburg  
Not your typical Google Apps or Add-ons session. Explore hidden secrets and many of the best must-have add-ons. These will change the way you work, share, collaborate, communicate and save time. Interact and share your favorites, too.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Advanced
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: For the most possible interaction, participants should have a G-Mail Account, or an associated Google Account (GAFE) to their email. Having such an account would allow me to share the practice and demo files made for this session. If participants do not have such an account, they can still participate in other ways with just an Internet enabled device.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Online tools, apps and resources
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Digital Age Learning Environments
  • Maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources for teacher and student use in technology-rich learning environments.
Professional Development and Program Evaluation
  • Conduct needs assessments to inform the content and delivery of technology-related professional learning programs that result in a positive impact on student learning.
Teaching, Learning and Assessments
  • Coach teachers in and model effective use of technology tools and resources to systematically collect and analyze student achievement data, interpret results, and communicate findings to improve instructional practice and maximize student learning.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Knowing how to utilize Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Forms, etc. is in itself a powerful tool in an educator's tool box. Yet there are many "hidden" secrets to each App. Moreover Google has opened its platform to allow others to develop Apps and tools that can integrate seamlessly into already standard environment. Combined, these features can save so much time for an educators as well as revolutionize yet again the way communication and collaboration is explored. There are hundreds of these Add-ons that so many users, even experienced users, are unaware they are available. These Add-ons when added and used can take what we already know about Google Apps to the next level. It is impossible to know it all, and keep up with everything changing.

This session is constantly evolving, updating, and expanding as new tools become available, and designed to share numerous Add-ons and other free online tools. This session is designed to share numerous "Must-Have" Google Add-ons and other less known features. Although a session could be dedicated to just one particular Add-on, this session will be designed to share as many as possible with resources for the participants to review and practice afterwards. More advance features of the apps and Add-ons will be shown as well as some of the more awesome tricks or less known apps. However, just because they are “Awesome” does not mean they make the list. Each Add-on or tool shown will have been tested and used regularly and only if they connect to the learning environment, day-to-day educator tasks, or offer another educational benefit will they be shown. Many sessions have been designed like this to show favorite tools, but rarely are they all connected to the educational work. Only meaningful tools that will save time, bring an educational gain, etc. will be shown. Additionally, often participants in a session like this often have ideas of their own but because of the nature of the session cannot share. This session will have a form where participants can share their additional ideas with each other. The list of these ideas and the ones shown will be available for review after the session as well. Lastly, participants will leave with a plethora of innovative resources for them to accomplish education tasks. To demonstrate the various tools, practice files, etc. will be created. All of these will be shared so that the participants can obtain copies later to practice. These resources will also be shared in a way that will allow the participants to also focus more on the session and not have to constantly look away to take notes, etc. Participants will also be able to share what they have learned with others both in the session and at home. Each tool shared will be tagged with their “educational benefit” for quick review and searching.


The beginning of this session will be sharing of a dedicated website. This site will distribute all resources, practice examples, etc. to the participants as well as act as an example of the methods shown. An online form, and explanation, will be given for participants to “add” their ideas to the list. There will also be a little bit of time to explain the online space created to share, follow, and use later. Then a complete list of the Add-ons and tools prepared will be shown. The standard apps shown, it is possible and expected that the participants may already know. However the focus will be on the less known, but extremely beneficial, features, tips, tricks, etc. Additionally, there will be multiple tools that are new to each participant. As participants are familiar with a certain Add-on, they can add their own experiences to the dialog throughout the session. The introduction and set-up should take about 10 min. The remaining time will be going through each Add-on, feature, and tool prepared. Each tool will be presented with a scenario first. To understand the educational benefit first. Then the tool shown, then how the tool works, or is created. In nearly every case, examples and/or practice files will be shared with the participants for their review and future self learning. General topic tools to be shown include, but are not limited to, Google Apps: advance features, tips, and tricks to Google Docs, Sheets, and Forms, various, sometimes unknown, methods in sharing and distributing various Google Docs, Sheets, etc., over 30 "Must-Have" Add-ons for Google Docs, Sheets, and Forms (as well as numerous other less needed but handy to have Add-ons). and other Google Apps and features (such as URL Shortener). Also intended to be shared are other online tools such as Remind, HTML writers, etc. These will be woven into the instruction as they connect to other tools already shown. The last 5-10 min will be to review the list generated by the participants during the session.

Supporting research

There are so many articles on how Google Apps has led the way in cloud-based schooling. Some on how it saves money, others on the various tools themselves. A lot have to do with higher education as they adopted Google Apps faster than most k-12 schools. Still with the technology being ever evolving, the best resources are from the users. You Tube, and simply asking Google, how to… can be the best research.

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Bret Gensburg, Eagle Technology Integrations

A former high school mathematics teacher and technology integration specialist, Bret now shares his passion for teaching and learning with educators around the globe. He is a Google Certified Educator (Level 1 & 2) and a SMART Exemplary Educator. He loves helping others find solutions to their educational needs and often thinks, "There's an Add-on or formula for that!" Bret's lively and animated presentations are sure to keep you entertained and informed with the focus on instruction leading technology, not technology leading instruction.

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