3 New Google Drive Features Teachers Should Know about

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December 6, 2016
Over the last few weeks, Google Drive added a number of interesting features to its main services Docs, Slides and Sheets. The most recent addition was announced today and concerns Google Sheets settings (see number 2 below ).  If you have missed any of these updates, here is a quick overview of the three most important new Google Drive features that are especially useful for us as teachers and educators.

1- Adding citation feature to Explore in Google Docs 

A citation feature has been added to Explore allowing users to easily cite their sources with the click of a button. This is especially useful for students working on writing projects (e,g research papers), citations are added as footnotes and students have the option to change citation formats (choose between MLA, APA, and Chicago Styles). However note here that this feature is only available for Explore in Google Docs in the web and it will take from one to 3 days for this feature to be visible to all users.  Here is how you can use citations in Docs Explore:

  • Open a Google document
  • Click on Explore at the bottom right
  • To add a citation from the web, hover over the search result and click Cite as footnote Cite as footnote. To set the citation style as MLA, APA, or Chicago, click More More.

2- Interesting features added to Google Sheets settings

‘To prevent the errors that sometimes plague complex calculations, today we’re launching a new setting in Sheets on the web (File > Spreadsheet settings > Calculation > Iterative calculation) that allows you to set the maximum number of times a calculation with a circular reference can take place. In addition, you can specify a “convergence threshold,” and when results from successive calculations differ by less than that threshold value, the calculations will stop (even if the maximum number of calculations has yet to be reached).’

3- Export Google Slide presentations in OPD (OpenDocument Presentation) format

Google Slides users can now easily export their presentations in OPD format. This is how to do it: ‘From a Google Slides presentation, click File > Download as > ODP Document (.odp) to download your presentation as an ODP file. The file will be saved to your default download folder.With this update, you can now import and export all three major OpenDocument file formats: .odt files for documents, .ods for spreadsheets, and .odp for presentations.’