Friday, December 18, 2015

Google Gifts: Using Your Mobile Camera within Google Apps

Today, we "wrap up" our Google Gifts series.  We began our series with a post about images, so we will come full circle as we head out for Winter Break.  Today, we're sharing about using your mobile device camera within Google Apps.

If you have a mobile phone or a tablet, we'd highly recommend that you download the mobile versions of Google Apps.  If you have an Android device, they are installed already as part of the Android OS.  If you have an iOS device, you can install Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides (these are all separate installs).  In addition, we'd recommend installing the Google Photos app.  Once you have the apps installed, you can take advantage of using the camera in your mobile device.
Google Drive App Options (iOS)

Why would I use it?  What does it do?
One of the amazing things about using Google Drive as part of an EDU domain is that we have unlimited storage. File size is always a consideration when thinking about using images & video for teaching and learning, and Google Drive provides a good spot to store your media files and do the following:
  1. Use the Upload option in the Google Drive app to put videos or images from your camera roll or photos into a folder in Google Drive.  If you already have an existing folder where you'd like them to land, choose that before uploading the files.  Or, upload them to Google Drive and move them after the fact.
  2. Select Use Camera so that you can record video directly into Google Drive as an .mp4.  This is a great option if you'd like to capture video but don't necessarily want it to be hosted on YouTube or another video site.  The video files can be shared in the same way that other files are shared in Google Drive.  (You can do the same with photos: take them on the fly and save them into Google Drive).
  3. Use the Insert option (represented by the + icon) when in Google Slides to add images directly from your mobile device. This would come in handy if you wanted to create a slideshow of student work or add photos from something like a field trip to share with a wider audience (like parents).  You can also add images into Google Docs using the same icon.
  4. Use the Google Photos app to automatically (or manually) back-up any images on your mobile device to Google Drive.  This is a great option when traveling so that you can store your images online (be careful about your data plan if you're not on wifi).  And, because you can now share photo albums, you can collect images from multiple people in one place (kind of like ShutterFly).  This would work well for things like field trips or times when you'd like students to share images in a shared album for later use. 
Where can I learn more?
Like other aspects of Google, their mobile apps are constantly being updated and enhanced.  The best source of information for mobile apps updates is the Google Help Center for iOS or Android or the Google Apps Updates Blog.  If you are a freqent Google Apps user, you can subscribe to emailed alerts from their blog.

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