Jan 262013

This is an amazing thing, and I am going to copy almost the entire post from Digital Inspirations here. This is one of those wonderful things that you need occasionally, and when you need it, you really need it. But all those other times, the knowledge just sits there and annoys you that it is taking up space in your brain, but you know the second you forget, BAM, you need it.

Which is why I am putting it here in my own blog. Let’s say you are collaborating with some teachers on a new curriculum idea, and you know that in 6 months when the deadline hits, no one will ever need the working docs because the finished docs will be released and that is all that matters.

It would be great to have the shared folder disappear from everyone’s Google Drive automatically. Well, thanks to Digital Inspirations, here is how you do it.

Set Expiration Dates & Temporarily Share Google Drive Folders

You create a folder in Google Drive and share it with Public or a small group. You then specify a date/time when you want that shared link to expire. The script, at the specified time, will create a copy of your shared folder and delete the original one. Thus the shared links would no longer work though the folder and files will stay in your Google Drive.

Let’s get this to work now.

  1. Open the Google Script and then choose File -> Make a Copy to copy this script into your Google Drive.
  2. Add the URL of your shared Google Drive folder and the expiration date in the script (use the YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM format).
  3. Go to Run -> Initialize and grant the necessary permissions.
  4. Go to Run -> Start and it will create a trigger that will auto-expire the shared links at the specified time.

That’s it. You can exit the Google Script page and it will send you an email notification when the shared links are disabled.

The Google script can be used for setting expiry dates against shared folders only but not for individual files due to certain limitations in Google Apps Script. Thus, in case you wish to auto-expire an individual file, just put in a new folder and share that entire folder.  — via

The Google Script in step 1 is a public script written by Digital Inspirations. You make a copy of the script, then copy paste one web URL from the shared folder into the document and insert the date.

Done. That is all it takes.

It doesn’t really revoke any sharing privileges, it circumvents them by copying the folder into a new, non-shared folder, and then deletes the original. Same effect though.

I can see this being useful for those certain projects we do. Maybe not all the time, but there are uses for sure.

Jun 272011

I admit it, I read the funny pages first thing on Sunday morning. Okay, maybe I should first admit that I have a daily subscription to the newspaper and read it cover to cover every day. But, on Sundays, I read the comics first.

Yesterday’s Doonesbury was an instant classic in my mind, worthy of my comics wall. Here is a link to it. I will wait while you read the whole thing. … … …

I know, right! They nailed the problem with memorizing random facts in only 5 panels. The other 3 are there just to be funny and set the mood, but panel 3 and 7 are the set up and punch lines.


The three panels in between show Zip’s friend asking some random questions on science, philosophy  and history, along with the fractional seconds it took Google to spit back the correct answer.

I took an informal poll last year in my class year, and around 50% of the class had smartphones that could access the internet. The rest of my learners could text questions to Google and get answers back (they had texting, most of them did not know they could do that) and all of them knew about Cha-Cha.

So what are the “Profound questions about what it means to be a student?” Here is my weak attempt at listing some.

  1. In an era where every learner has never known a time when information was not immediately findable, why do we (teachers) spend so much time asking learners to memorize formulas and facts?
  2. The comic makes an implicit assumption that faster is better. Is that correct? Is it important that a learner memorizes a fact and can recall it on demand, even if that means more time?
  3. The other assumption Zip makes is that Google or Cha-Cha are more accurate than his own brain, memory, understanding. Is that correct? I know I have asked questions in my classes and some learner says, “Why should I do that, I will just Cha-Cha the answer.” My response was, “Go for it, get your phone out and do it.” [That shocked the heck out of him, but he did it, and Cha-Cha failed!]
  4. Is there a middle ground? Can there be vital things they need to memorize, important things they don’t, and less important info they can look up?
  5. Is the goal of the lesson understanding (in the context of UbD) or rote memorization?
  6. Finally, what evidence is necessary for demonstrating the difference between the two in 5?

I think Doonesbury fit very nicely in my current PLN content discussions. Now it is time to do something about it.

Mar 142011

Tomorrow I will be doing a short presentation at our district’s Tech Café on some google tips. The hard part is figuring out which tips will be most useful.  Here are 4 different cheat sheets for google docs, search and mail.

Google for Teachers II

Google for power users

Google Cheat Sheet

Gmail tips

In addition, the nice folks who created GoogleGuide have some very excellent tips for searching effectively. And WebDesignLedger (WDL) has a nice guide with 11 different cheat sheets listed as well. There is so much information out there!

The bad part is, these things go out of date so quickly. Someone spends a ton of time making and formatting it only to have Google add features that make the “tip” irrelevant. Keeping up is a hard thing to do. And then, looking towards the future here in Washoe County, we are planning on moving to live@edu with Microsoft. That takes away the need for Google Docs, because we will all have access to 25 GB of storage as well as Word, Excel,  and Powerpoint.

Hmm, what to do, what to do. Relevant and useful, while still teaching things.

Here is my list:

1.  Searching with the “filetype:” command. Not many people know that you can specify a particular filetype when you search. For instance the search command, “modular mathematics filetype:ppt” will give all results for modular math that are powerpoints! How handy is that when creating lessons! Acceptable common formats for filetypes are: pdf, ppt, doc, xls, rtf. If you go to www.google.com and click “advanced search” for the rest of the types as well as more options.

2.  Using multiple calendars to keep track of different types of events.

3.  Publishing a calendar and allowing parents or students to subscribe to the calendar to keep updated on events (sports calendars, speech & debate calendars, etc)

4.  Enabling the calendar lab to post the birthdays found in your Google contacts on your Google calendar (making Google calendar and contacts to work together.)

5.  Using Google Bookmarks to store and communicate all those bookmarks you have to other people (I set up a new bookmark list for every speech and debate topic and share it out with my debaters).

6.  And, if that does not fill the 45 minutes (and I am pretty sure it will!), I will go over these last 2 ideas. I love these, and will be using the “homework hotline” idea next year for sure!

A homework hotline using google docs and creating quizzes (self grading) with gdocs.

Jan 122010

As if I needed any more reasons to use Google Docs besides the sharing, the collaboration, the fact it is free, the folders, the sharing of folders, and the fact that it is free; Google has given me one more reason.

A big, gigantic reason, actually.

I can now upload ANY type of file to Google Docs. I am no longer limited to only Word, Excel, PDF’s and PowerPoint docs like before!  Any type of document can be uploaded and stored on Google Docs, as long as the file is smaller than 250 megs.

That means most video files can be stored there. Images, RAW files, anything! But, Google only gives us 1 gig for free for files not converted to Google Docs format (and 10 gigs for files that are) . Aw shucks. Only 10 gigs :-(. I just checked the folder size on my Algebra 3-4, AP Stats, and Advanced Algebra Applications courses. All three folders, with all the support docs peaked at 7 gigs. The 10 gigs would be plenty for a significant time in the future.

But, when I run out of space, Google will sell me space (they are a business after all) for the exorbitant cost of 25 cents per year per gig.

Let me put that in perspective. I just purchased a 4 gig flash drive over Christmas break. I got it on sale for $9.99.  If I purchased that same 4 gigs from Google, it would cost me $1.00 per year. In 10 years I would spend the same amount.

The only difference is, with Google Docs, I would have access to my files 24/7, anywhere in the world, and I would never need to worry about losing the flash drive.

There is a reason why Google is so powerful, they are giving away awesome tools for free.