Our top ten back-to-school tips

Get sorted with everything from school supplies to study habits with YouTube’s edu, beauty and fashion gurus. Here are 10 ways to get ready for the year ahead, with the advice of some pros.

1. Where to start with school supplies?
It can be a bit overwhelming to work out what you need and where to get it from. Don’t worry--these gurus have you covered. Have a look at StilaBabe09, Make up by Mandy, Mama Mia Makeup and beauty is good for hacks, ideas and awesome supplies.

2. Study like a boss
Now’s the perfect time to get ahead on your study routine. It won’t be long before you’re back on the old ABCs (or much worse!). YouTube gurus have great ideas for studying and memorization - take a look at Macbby11’s thoughts on the subject.

3. All locked up: Organization 101
With everything happening at the start of the school year, it’s easy to forget how to get organized. Thankfully StilaBabe09 and MacBarbie07 have you covered with awesome ways to get your locker into shape. What’s more motivating than a cute locker to see in between classes?

4. Get a private tutor for free
From calculating Pi with real pies to a crash course in world history, there are more than 1,000 education channels in YouTube's Education category, comprising over 850,000 individual videos. Check out lessons, tips and tricks to make Spanish your amigo and to doodle your way to straight As.

5. What’s in your backpack?
So you’ve got your outfit, and your school supplies, but what about your backpack? That’s Heart has some good tips for things to remember to pack, Ava Allan has some great advice on choosing a backpack, and AllyCutie95 decorates hers beautifully. You’re indecisive no longer! Game on, September.

6. What to wear? Wardrobe--check!
It can be tough to work out what to wear each day. Take any stress out of coming up with ideas by sneaking a peek at the experts. My Life as Eva, Make up by Mandy and Clothes Encounters have got some great mix and match ideas for you.

7. Wall organizer and desk accessories
It’s a known fact: a neat, pretty workspace will make you want to hit the books even harder. So don’t delay: check out Anne or Shine and Paper Pastels for some awesome tips for shaping up your space for the school year.

8. Getting techie with it
One of the things you might need to think about at school is buying a new laptop, and it can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily, SourceFedNERD has gone and done the research and they can tell you what to look for and what you might need. Phew!

9. Hairstyles, served up on a plait
Wanting a bit of inspiration after the summer holiday? These hair gurus have you all plaited, braided and stitched up. The imaginative gurus Lilith Moon, Andrea’s Choice and Cute Girls Hairstyles have ideas aplenty, with summer ‘dos looking oh-so-easy.

10. College advice
Advice on colleges can be super tricky. Sometimes it helps to hear about other people’s experiences--you can turn to gurus like Leigh Ann Says and Sarah Belle and see what they recommend and advise in your college years. If you’re kicking off your college experience, here’s our guide to making it a smooth transition to campus life.

Kate Mason, YouTube Communications, recently watched "Janelle Monae - PrimeTime ft. Miguel."

Head back to school with Drive: Student Edition

Guest posted by Alex Nagourney

Alex Nagourney is a 2013 graduate of Wellesley College. She was a 2011 Google BOLD intern and a Google Student Ambassador from 2011-2013. She currently lives in New York City.

Summer is coming to an end, which for college students usually means the end of a grueling internship, a road-trip or cross-country flight back to campus, embracing friends you have not seen in months, and, oh yeah, that other tiny detail: the start of classes.

With so much else going on — friends, extracurriculars, sports — students today need to be as efficient and productive as possible when they dedicate time to studying and doing homework. In this age of internet transformation, Gen Y is more tech savvy than ever before, and we expect online education to meet our technology standards.

The purpose (and hope) of this blog post is to give a few examples of how I used — and benefitted from — Google Docs, Slides, and Forms in college.

Example 1: Have a group project? Stay calm, cool, and collected. Docs make collaboration easy!

If you have ever had to work on a group paper or project, you know how cumbersome and inefficient the process can be. There are two ways to go about accomplishing this task: (1) your group sends 173 emails trying to coordinate a time at which everyone is available to meet or (2) each person writes a portion of the paper and the group tries to synthesize uncoordinated chunks of different writing styles into one cohesive paper, which always ends with one Type A student editing the entire thing. Luckily, there is now an option 3, and it’s called Google Docs.

To start using Docs, just open a doc, share it with the group members, and write. It’s that simple. Having the ability to work together in the cloud means no coordinating schedules, no wasting time on multiple revisions, and no unequal division of group member contributions.

For example, when I had to complete a group paper for an Economics class, my two groupmates and I decided we would each write one-third of the paper. We put our respective portions into a single document and then went through each other’s writing, adding comments and correcting errors when necessary.
Example 2: Google Slides. Enough Said.

Presentations are an inevitable college assignment. Whether you are a history or physics major, you cannot escape this task. Before using Slides, the process of creating presentations was inefficient, awkward (so...what should we put on this slide…?) and time-consuming.

For one of my physics laboratory experiments, my partner was an exchange student from France. While we understood each other in the lab by scribbling Greek letters and numbers to solve problems, at times it was difficult to communicate since English wasn’t her first language. So when we had to create our presentation, it sounded like a grueling task for both of us.

We decided to use Slides, divide the work, add notes, and edit together from within the presentation. Our communication was clear and efficient when we typed comments to each other since we could take our time to be articulate, which virtually dissolved our language barrier. In the end, creating the presentation was quite enjoyable; we were proud of the final product and our professors were impressed by how well we worked together.

Example 3: Using Forms to organize information and make it universally accessible and useful...sound familiar?

Being a full-time student and an active member of an extracurricular activity (sport, club, fraternity/sorority, etc.) can sometimes feel like a full-time job. It requires teamwork, organization, time-management, and dedication.

Being the leader of a group demands more: writing agendas, scheduling meetings, organizing fundraisers, and sticking to a budget. Keeping track of all of these items can be difficult, as each task requires different resources — email, documents, spreadsheets, polls, and more.

As the house president of a 165-student residence hall for two years, I struggled to keep track of it all, but after switching to Forms, the whole process became seamless.

For our fundraiser, my house sold over 300 t-shirts to the student body. Because of the high quantity, we utilized a pre-order process in which students could order their size/color and pay in advance. Before we had Google Forms, we used a paper form to collect pre-orders (I still try to block out all those hours spent inputting the paper orders into my computer!).

Not only did using a form make it easier to collect pre-orders, it also made it easier to distribute the order form. As a result, our pre-orders increased by 40% in one year! The form did all of the heavy lifting for me. Orders were seamlessly filed into a spreadsheet, and I simply had to click “Show summary of responses” to place the order, making my job easier and freeing up time so that I could focus on other aspects of my role as a leader.
So there you have it, three examples of how using Docs, Slides, and Forms in college made me more efficient, saved me time, and increased my productivity. For those of you about to begin a new semester, good luck!

Head back to school with Drive: Teacher Edition

Posted by guest blogger Wendy Gorton

Wendy Gorton is an education consultant for organizations around the world. She’s a former classroom teacher, Google Certified Teacher and Trainer, and is passionate about creating learner-centered environments using tools like Google Apps for Education

Follow the Drive Google+ page this and next week for daily tips and suggestions for using Drive in the classroom.

Google Drive is the all-in-one tool I wish I had my first year of teaching. It not only keeps all of your lesson plans, activities, and research organized, but it's an outstanding way to engage your students, give them feedback, and give their writing a real audience—like their peers or classrooms around the world.

Here are 3 tips to help teachers prepare for going back to school with Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms

1. Use Slides to get to know your students 
A great first-week introductory activity is to create a single slide deck, and then invite each of your students to share a bit about themselves on their own personal slide. It’s a fantastic get-to-know-you activity for the first week of school and you’ll be amazed by the creativity that comes out of your students! 

The screenshot below shows how Google Student Ambassadors from 9 different countries used Slides to introduce themselves before gathering to meet each other at an event in Indonesia this summer.

Want to get this going with your students? Easy—create a new Slides deck on the first week of school, click the blue Share button to invite your students, and give them a little direction for their individual slide by adding comments.

2. Use Docs to create a classroom “Bill of Rights” 
The first week of class is that precious transition from the “honeymoon” period of angelic children to learning the norms of your classroom culture. Help start the year off right by inviting students to co-create their ideas of citizenship and a happy learning environment, Docs style.

Start by creating a copy of this template and then invite students to join in with you to add their ideas, ratify by adding a comment, and use their editing prowess to come up with a final copy to live by for the coming year.

3. Use Forms to get to know your students (and their prior knowledge!) 
Get to know your classroom as soon as possible, using Forms to gather information about their needs, interests, and abilities beforehand. Consider creating a simple Form for a survey for your students (and for your parents!) and have fun showing the data on your projector and learning about your class as a whole.

Forms can be used as a very quick getting started activity before any lesson as well—take this example from a social studies classroom before talking about population. By placing a quick Form on your classroom site or emailing your students the Form, you can quickly grasp your students' prior knowledge—before you start teaching.

In this case, our team was a bit off, but helped us not only talk about population but estimation and numbers in general (answer? 7.1 billion and counting. My favorite answer? One ‘goggle.’)
One last tip: Google Apps for Education
You know this is way easier when your school has its own Google Apps for education set up, right? It’s free, and no technical expertise is needed to get started.

I hope you give one of these ideas a try and let me know how it goes on my Google+ page.