Tuesday, March 10, 2015

3 Quick Tips for Organizing Google Drive

Use "NEW" and select "Folder" to
create a new Folder in Drive
    Between created files, shared files, student work, uploads, photos, and all the other stuff that seems to find its way into our Google Drive, it sure is easy to let things get out of control.  Keeping track of your files in Google Drive is a fairly simple, but incredibly valuable skill for teachers and students.  Here's the three top tools I use in Google Drive to keep things where I can find them.

1) Create Folders
    Use the "New" button in Google Drive and select "Folder."  Name the folder, then drag and drop files you'd like organized into that folder.  Want to separate files even further?  Then use the "New" button again to create a folder within a folder.  For example, if I have a "Math" folder, I might create more folders for 1st hour, 2nd hour, etc.

2) Color code your Folders
   I'm a visual guy, and color-coding my Google Drive folders makes it easy for me to notice my folders.  Find the folder you want to color, right-click, then choose "Change Color."  There are 24 different colors to choose from- have fun!

Right-click a folder to change its color

3) Starred
   There are a few files I access consistently, or need my attention for a short time.  In those cases, I will "Star" the files by right-clicking the file and choosing "Star."  Those files are then automatically stored in the "Starred" menu on the left side of the screen, ready to be accessed.
You can add a STAR by right-clicking a file, or open the file and click
the star next to the title.  The folder icon next to the star will allow you
to move the file to a folder in Drive.

    No longer need them in the Starred?  Simply right-click the file again, the choose "Remove Star."  The file will be removed from the Starred menu.

     Creating folders, color-coding them, and using Stars has really cleaned up my Drive and kept things easy to find.   Just a few minutes of organizing has saved me countless hours of looking for files. And remember, if you still need help finding a file, Google has a search bar at the top of Drive which will only search for files using the search terms you type in.

Friday, March 6, 2015

2 Ways to Show Youtube Videos without Youtube

    I'm sure you're like me, and whenever I wanted to show a Youtube video in class, I always made sure to watch the entire video before showing it to students.  You never know, after all, what might pop up in a Youtube video.
    The past few years, however, I've also had to watch out for all the "other" stuff- you know, suggested videos that Youtube embeds after your video, the videos and descriptions on the right side of the screen, and the comments at the bottom of the screen.  Some of that stuff can be downright offensive and inappropriate in a school setting.  As an educator, here's two websites that allow you to show (or download) Youtube videos in class without all the other "stuff."

1) Safeshare.tv-
    Safeshare.tv is a website that will strip away all the comments and suggested videos and leave you with a nice, clean website with only your video playing.  It will even eliminate the end-of-video suggestions!  All you need to do is find your video in Youtube, copy the Youtube URL, and paste it into Safeshare.tv.  It will generate a new link with your stripped down video.  Safeshare.tv also allows you to download the video as an MP3 or MP4 file!  Here's an example of how it works:
Copy URL from Youtube
Paste URL, then click "Take me to safe view"
This is what the "Safe View" looks like!  No extra "stuff!"  Plus, you have the ability to download the video.

2) Viewpure.com-
   View Pure is similar to Safeshare.tv- copy and paste the Youtube link into View Pure, then click, "Purify."  Although you cannot download a video once it has been purified, I do like that ViewPure.com gives you a button to add to your bookmark bar.  This button allows you to skip the step of visiting the ViewPure.com website- simply go to the Youtube video that you want purified, then click the ViewPure button in your bookmark bar and it will take you to a purified version of the video!
Copy URL from Youtube
Paste URL and click "Purify."  Or, click and drag the small, orange "Purify"
button to your bookmark bar and purify videos directly on Youtube!

This is what a "Purified" video looks like.  No download capabilities, but no other "stuff," either.
There are a some Chrome Extensions that you can add from the Chrome Store that will do similar things to Youtube videos.  Make sure to check out some of them here.