Check Out Google Templates

by Michelle Nass, Downingtown High School West Librarian

Disclaimer: I’m a huge fan of Google Apps in the classroom for many reasons, but one is because it is an equalizer. Everyone has access. As a librarian, I’m all about equitable and awesome access for all. However, I’ve run across a few problems that I just didn’t have time to investigate, and one of those problems was the lack of templates.

My husband needed help writing his resume and where is my resume wizard? And recently, one of my favorite teacher friends, Shelly Francies, had this incredible idea for a lesson, but it called for a newsletter template. Argh! Where’s my newsletter template!? In a time when we ask many of our students to work digitally and outside of our school environments, we cannot expect that they all have a particular software program at home. There had to be an answer. Enter Google Templates!

I’ve written before about the usefulness of the Google Add-Ons that can be linked to Google Docs, and this is one of those. Truth be told, I knew they were useful, but I spent little time exploring. Who has the time? Today, I took a quick dive into the apps that can be connected to Drive and found a wealth of potential for teachers and students. I’ve attached the screen cast that I developed for that class that needs newsletters.*  It shows you how to:

  • Find the apps to connect to your Google Docs
  • Quickly navigate through those apps, with a brief stop-over into the teacher and student section. (So much to explore here! Maybe another time…)
  • Search for specific apps and link it to your Docs.
  • Use the “research tool” to help create your product. (Do you know about this yet? You should!)

There are just so many applications and customizations to the Google Apps. Mrs. Francies and I were remarking today on what a useful skill set this is for our students… to know what tools are available to them (for free!), how to customize them, and then how to utilize them to create a product that best reflects their learning and ingenuity. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty cool.

*Note: The template app in this video is called Drive Template Gallery.

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