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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Power of Asking Questions

          As a Digital Learning Specialist in a growing suburban school district, I field many questions about Google during my times on campuses and through e-mails. Google is fabulous and I love working in Drive, but there are definitely aspects to the Google Learning Curve that I have observed. Like most people, when I hit a stumbling block in Google, I resort to "googling" for an answer. Not surprising, it often yields quick and accurate results.
        For those times when I can't find my answer on-line, I turn to my resident Google expert, my thirteen-year-old son, Max. Max has been a Google devotee for years, and he switches in and out of his three (that I know of) Google Drive accounts seamlessly on all of his devices (iPad and lap-top.) There have been a couple of great Max Google insights lately that I have shared with teachers, and I'll share them below.
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Google Doc Insights from a Google-phile

Issue: "I want to create columns in Google Docs. How do I do that?"

Insight: In Docs, go to INSERT at the top. Then, click TABLE. Choose the number of columns in the table tool. To remove the grid lines of the table itself, go to TABLE on the top bar and then choose the last option in the drop-down menu, TABLE PROPERTIES. Where it says TABLE BORDER, there will be a black box with a down arrow. Click on the down arrow, and then choose the white option. Then, click the blue OKAY in the bottom left of the pop-up box. 

Issue: "I need to change my margins and fit all of my stuff on one page. Where is that?"

Insight: In the top bar, click on FILE and then go towards the bottom of the drop down menu, and click on PAGE SETUP. Then, adjust MARGINS in the boxes on the right. Click on the blue OKAY when you are done. It will not let you completely remove the footer, but it will let you do itty bitty margins, if you want.
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          Neither of these things were earth-shattering insights, but they reminded me of how important asking questions is for educators. Teachers have to be comfortable to ask questions and to try and learn new things even when they are frustrated. We expect this of students, but it is easy to forget what not-having-the-answers feels like. Becoming a true life-long learner means embracing how much you don't know and actively searching out others who can help you learn. Sometimes that is a thirteen-year-old boy and sometimes it is a teacher whose blog you read weekly to pick up some new cool ideas to use in your classroom. Learning opportunities and resources are everywhere, so start thinking about what questions you need to get answered.