Monday, July 25, 2016

Using Appointment Slots in Google Calendar

Using Appointment Slots in Google Calendar

You might be asking "What are appointment slots and why would I want to use them?".
Appointment slots allow users to set aside blocks of time on their calendars where their colleagues  or students can reserve specific portions. Each calendar also comes with a unique URL for the appointments page, so it can be easily shared or embedded.
Perhaps you are a teacher and want to create time slots to meet with individual students. Or maybe you are an administrator and you want to set up appointments with staff without the hassle of trying to coordinate a time. Or maybe you want to use appointment slots to create room or resource reservations on a special calendar for these items such as a computer lab, library, iPad cart etc.. In any case, I think you will find setting up appointment slots easy to create and manage.

Setting Up Appointment Slots

  1. Go to Google Calendar.Make sure that you're in Week view or any Day view.
  2. Click on the date you want to set the appointment slots for.
  3. In the event box, click "Appointment slots"
  4. Enter the details of the appointment.
  5. You can choose to set the time as a single appointment, or divide it up into smaller appointments by changing "type" settings.

Add Others to the Appointment

Do you want a collaborator or secretary to have access to see book time slots for you? 
Note: You should only add people who will be assisting with the appointment 
It's as easy as adding the person that you want to assist you as a Guest. Simply enter their username in the "Add Guests" field to the right of the "Title" field.

This is how your appointment slots will display in your calendar.

Invite Others to Book Appointments

  1. Open Google Calendar.
  2. Click any appointment slot event and choose edit details.
  3. Copy and paste the calendar's appointment page link found at the top of event.
  4. Send this link to people who want to book an appointment. You only need to get the link once, it will display all appointment slots on your calendar.

Tip: For teachers, a great way to share the link would be via Google Classroom. 

Thank you, Amy Mayer, for a wonderful YouTube video tutorial on appointment slots!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pomodoro Apps and Extensions


Pomodoro Technique

 It's all about focus!

What in the world is the Pomodoro Technique? Well, if you haven't heard of this time management tool yet, let me give you a very brief overview:
The Pomodoro technique was developed in the late 1980's by Francesco Cirillo.  Cirillo used a classic kitchen tomato timer to break down 25-minute work intervals. Hence, the name, as Pomodoro means tomato in Italian.
The Pomodoro technique breaks down work into 25-minute chunks to make it easier to meet productivity goals. The premise being that if you tackle a task in short bursts you can remain hyper-focused and accomplish more by powering through any distractions.  This way, you don't exhaust yourself by pushing yourself too hard, or accomplish too little because you don't manage distractions.

If you do a quick Google Search for the Pomodoro Technique you will find hundreds of resources about using this method. I am not going to get into the nuts and bolts of the technique, I just want to point you to some excellent apps to use if you decide that this is worthwhile for you to use personally or in the classroom.

Click on the app name to install.

Google Chrome:

Simple Pomodoro - Exactly that. Very simple timer. Price - Free
Strict Workflow - A more robust extension that can block popular websites during work sessions. Price - Free

Chrome Apps:
Pure Pomodoro App - Simple app that runs outside of the Chrome browser in a small window that is always on top, so you can see your status no matter what you are doing. Price - Free
Pomodoro Timer - If you want to track your productivity, this app gives you historical data regarding your Pomodoro performance. Price - Free

iOs Apps:

Pomodoro Time - Simple timer with a nice user interface. Price - Free version with ads, paid version $2.49
Focus Time -  Offers detailed task history, multi-device support with iCloud and Dropbox syncing. Price - $4.99
Be Focused - A little more complex as it allows you to use categories for sessions so you know how long you have worked on various projects. Offers an Apple watch app. Price - Free

Android Apps:

Simple Pomodoro - Same as above. Will sync your device and Google. Price - Free
Clockwork Tomato - Beautiful, customizable display. Time management, clock, and activity log. Offers integrated Android wear. Price - Free with in-app purchases
Clear Focus -  Easy to use interface. Allows the user to create and tag timers for individual projects, historical data.  Price - Free with in-app purchases

POMODORO TECHNIQUE and POMODORO are the trade marks of Francesco Cirillo. This post is not affiliated or associated with or endorsed by the Pomodoro Technique® or Francesco Cirillo

Monday, July 11, 2016

Google Dictionary Extension for Chrome

Google Dictionary

Opening a new tab and going to or Google to find the definition of an unfamiliar word only takes seconds, but it's even quicker with the Google Dictionary extension.

Go here to install the Google Dictionary extension for Chrome. Once installed, the icon for the extension will appear at the top of your browser window like this:

Using the Google Dictionary Extension

1. Double click on a word and the definition window pops up:

2. Click on More to get more information, including translation and pronunciation:

3. You can click on the dictionary icon in the toolbar even when a word isn't selected and type in your own search.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Remove Blank Rows Google Sheets Add-on

Today I am going to show you a very useful Google Sheets Add-on, Remove Blank Rows.

Remove Blank Rows

Do you need to delete or hide multiple blank rows in a spreadsheet? You can pick through all the data and delete rows one by one, or you can install the Remove Blank Rows Add-on. It is an efficient way to clean your entire sheet quickly and easily.
Click here to install the Add-on

Once you have the Add-on, here is a short video tutorial that shows it in action.