Month: March 2016

Chrome Shortcuts

by Joe Kemery: @Mr_Kemery

We are all creatures of habit.  Most of us are Google users because it just feels natural for us but even within the Google sphere, we have our personal preferences.  Today, I wanted to explore some of the most frequently used shortcuts that have made life easier for me, as well as custom shortcuts that can really make using Google personal.

One of my favorite shortcuts is the Ctrl + Tab Number.  I almost always have 8+ tabs open in Chrome.  Having the ability to toggle quickly between those tabs has been such a simple blessing.  I never realized just how much time is wasted using the mouse until I didn’t have to use it any longer.  Where I’ve found it is especially helpful is when using pinned tabs.  In order to pin a tab, simply right click on the tab and select ‘Pin Tab’.  Pinned tabs are tabs that have been condensed and will open each time you open Chrome.  With that being done, I ALWAYS keep those tabs in a very specific order and they are never moved.  Regardless of what I am doing, I know that tabs #1-4 will be exactly there, further simplifying the process.

To get the most out of Chrome, extensions are such a huge part of my browsing expe
rience. Setting custom shortcuts is yet another fantastic way to really make Chrome wpinned tabsork for you. A few clicks within your Chrome browser can create custom keyboard shortcuts, opening your favorite extensions in seconds! In Chrome, enter the Settings, and Select the Extensions on your right hand side. If you scroll down to the bottom of the list, you will find the Keyboard Shortcut option. Here, you can create custom shortcuts for all of your most frequently used Extensions.  A few of my favorite Extensions to use with shortcuts are the
goo.gl URL shortener, the TechSmith Snagit Screen Capturer, and the Open Compose Window in Gmail. Each of these is an extension that I use almost every day. It helps that I can quickly compose an email, gather resources, or create a quick tutorial without completely shifting my attention from what I am doing.

And finally, two last shortcuts that I use daily are Ctrl + F and Ctrl + L.  Both of these are essential to lightning fast researching and resource gathering.  Using Control + L will help you quickly move the cursor back into the Omnibar for another search.  I find this really helpful for gathering student resources.  Even my students are finding that to be useful as we explore how to do their own research. Octrl Fnce in a web page, I use the Ctrl + F feature to quickly skim for important information. This is an added search bar that will search any site for specific words or phrases.  No matter how refined my Google Search is, I am generally left with thousands of options to choose from. Using Ctrl +F is a great way to quickly determine if a page is what I am looking for.

There are hundreds of different shortcuts, and I can’t say that I really use or think about the vast majority of them, but finding those few that make your life easier really makes Chrome feel personalized.

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Voice Typing Shortcuts and Edits

by Joe Kemery: @Mr_Kemery

I know that we’ve already seen one post on Voice Typing, but with all the new tricks that have recently been added, I just felt that another post was in order. Voice typing is great for capturing ideas, jotting down a quick note or letter, and really capturing those ‘stream of thought’ moments. It is so useful to be able to really focus on ideas and concepts without needing to touch your keyboard.

 

On February 24th, Google announced that you can also edit and format your documents with your voice. Getting started is a breeze, simply select “Voice typing” in the “Tools” menu when you’re using Docs in Chrome. Anyone familiar with the speech-to-text applications on most phones will be very comfortable with the technology.  The biggest thing to get comfortable with is saying the punctuation marks. Although a bit awkward while typing those first few sentences, it becomes very fluid after a few minutes.  When teaching my students how to use this tool, I generally start by having them read a page from a book, practicing the punctuation marks in particular.

 

Editing and Formatting do take a bit more time to get comfortable with, but for quick changes, it has proved to be invaluable.  Simple edits and revisions can now be done hands free! Rather than selecting text, clicking buttons and toggling between different tools, you can now quickly tell Docs exactly what you want it to do.  In the short amount of time that this has been available, I’ve really found it beneficial when conferencing with students on their own writing.  It is no longer about making edits on their writing, or explaining my notes to the student.  We can now edit together, with our conversation being an authentic, teachable moment.  The editing and formatting commands can be a bit overwhelming, so for my students I have started with a very simple list of commands. It’s also helpful in the teaching of grammar rules, with students being taught a new commands after direct instruction that has been given.

As they become very comfortable with those commands, I will be adding others. My focus has been on the basic rules so far, but I plan on expanding to include formatting in addition to editing.

 

Check out the full list of commands in the Help Center or simply say “Voice commands help” when you’re voice typing.