Use Operators in Google Search

I cringe a bit when I watch this video that I made in 2010 due to the voice, and my emphasis, but even more importantly, some of the information is no longer valid. Here’s a highlight of what’s different in using Search operators in Google now.

  • +word used to be a verbatim search where word had to exist on the page, but this was deprecated in 2011, and now it is a search for word on Google+ pages. You can still use “word” to do a verbatim search for either a word or a phrase.
  • ~ used to beĀ  a synonym search and is now used for nothing

The video is still valid from 1:04 to 3:53. The only curiosity is that a search of define:iron gives many more results than define iron, and I haven’t figured out why that is. Answers welcomed.

Operators covered in the video

  • OR
  • verbatim/phrase search
  • * wildcard search
  • define

If you’re doing a Google search, and need help with the operators, take a look at Advanced Search.

Google Slides Update on iOS: Layouts and Themes

Last week’s (23/03/16) update of Google Slides on iOS included two significant new features. Users can now easily modify themes and slide layouts in the iOS App. Google Support provides the following steps for accessing the new features:

Add a theme

  • Open a presentation.
  • Tap More .
  • Tap Change theme.
  • To apply a theme to all slides in your presentation, tap a theme.

Change the layout of a slide

  • Open a presentation and select a slide.
  • In the slide picker, tap the slide you want to change.
  • In theIMG_0785 menu that appears, tap Change layout.
  • Choose the layout you want to use.


Note that the update still does not allow you to add an image as a background to a slide.

Try out the features and share them with your students.

Check out Document Outline in Google Docs

This month, Google added a new feature to Google Docs, that shows you an outline of your document. It works on laptops, and Android tablets and smart phones. Take a look. It could be useful for generating an outline for students from a sample work (teacher use) or for students to create an outline of a report (student use) as an initial step in the writing process.

Create a Slideshow using YouTube

Many teachers use Picasa Web Albums to create slideshows for their blogs. However, Edublogs has recently had a problem where the embed code only works if the teacher only stays in Text mode and doesn’t switch between Text and Visual mode.

Creating a gallery of photos is always an option, but if you’d prefer a slideshow mode, use YouTube.

How to Create a Slideshow in YouTube

  1. Go to Upload in YouTube.
  2. Click on Create beside Photo SlideshowScreen Shot 2015-09-19 at 18.19.03
  3. You have an option to use photos in your Google + Profile. Otherwise, you can upload photos from your computer.
  4. After selecting or uploading the photos, and confirming the order, click on Next.
  5. You can customize the Slide Duration, Effect and Transition, as well as select an audio track to play with your slide (no audio is an option).Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 18.30.29
  6. Click Upload.
  7. Make sure your “video” is unlisted.Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 18.32.48
  8. Check the advanced settings. I suggest turning Comments off, and enabling embedding (so that you can put the slideshow on your blog).Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 18.33.29
  9. Click Done.
  10. Once your video is uploaded, copy the address, and paste it in your post/page. (Make sure that the link is on a line by itself and that you are working in Visual Mode.)

Managing Subscriptions in Edublogs

You can subscribe people to your site on Edublogs one by one, or using a csv file. Your csv file should have a column of e-mail addresses, one per cell. To create a csv file, use Excel and save as Comma Separated Values (csv). If you would like to subscribe a person without sending them a confirmation e-mail, turn on Auto opt-in.

Add subscribers to your blog

Add subscribers to your blog. Auto opt-in is off in this example

To see who is subscribed to your blog, go to the subscribers tab.

To set up how notifications are managed, go to Settings.

Subscriptions | Settings | Mail Template

mail settings 1

Select if you want the notification e-mail to include the full post content. If the box is not checked, an excerpt will be mailed instead.

You may also customize the text of the subscription confirmation email on this page if you’d like. Remember to Save changes before exiting the page.

Subscriptions | Settings | General Settings

You have several options that you can set on this page. I will emphasize three of them

reply to address

Set a no reply address to prevent your address from being marked as a spammer.

send how often

Decide when notifications should be sent by the blog

If you select weekly digest, you may select the day of the week but not the time. Also, you have to make sure to visit your site the day before your selected day. This option seems unreliable to me.

get notifications

Decide if you’d like to be notified when people subscribe/unsubscribe

Finally, deleting a subscriber is easy. If you have a class blog, you may want to unsubscribe parents of former students before subscribing the parents of your current students. To do so, go to the Subscribers tab, select the people you’d like to unsubscribe, and perform the bulk action called Cancel subscriptions.