At the beginning of the weekend, while I was working on some of my PD presentations on Slides, I noticed the new little “Explore” icon that kept popping up in the right corner of my screen. As if demanding my attention and begging for me to click on it, I took a break from my work to explore what the newest Google feature.
"Explore" is available on Google Slides, Docs, and Sheets. The purpose of the program is to provide recommendations in order to make the programs easier to use.
Design Slides Presentations with Ease.
It's a lot easier to create your own Slides templates, now! I think this will make people more inclined to design their own customized templates as opposed to simply using the background colors and themes that come with Slides.
I'm also excited because now my students will have more control over their presentations!
Adios, Formulas. Using Explore in Sheets
I'm not the biggest fan of math (which is why I spend most of my day in ELA), so Sheets has always intimidated me a little. Sure, it's great for lists, but the functions and math formulas freaked me out a little. I was always afraid of the error messages.
Explore makes this process a little easier. Now, you can sort data by words not just formulas. You can ask explore questions about your data. For example, when looking at a student log of how many books they've read, instead of embedding a formula for total page number, I can type "How many pages were read?" and the answer will automatically appear. Explore creates general questions that you might have, but you can also type in a question yourself.
For my Sheets with data, like my Gamification Leaderboard, it generates graphs automatically so I can visually see the information being presented. I can see a bar graph or histogram of the amount of experience points my students have.
Makes Sheets a whole lot less intimidating
Side Note: You can also change the colors and formatting of the Sheet.
Explore in Docs. Hello, Templates!
The Explore feature expands on what was formerly the Google Research Tool in Google Docs. Based on the content in your document, it will generate instant suggestions for websites and links that could be of potential help. It also goes through your Drive to find other Docs, Slides, or resources that have similar ideas to the ones in your Doc. You can also simply search your Drive or the web without leaving your document. Clicking on an outside resource will open a new window that will show the entire text, but the key quotes and phrases will automatically appear in the box.
I'm already thinking about how this will make research for expository and argument texts easier, especially when students are saving articles and links to their Drive!
If you get the chance, check out Google's Explore feature. Let me know what you think of it or how you're thinking of using it for yourself or your classes!