The 8-Bit Instructor: Utilizing Google Docs (EP036)

Download the episode here.

Episode 36

This week, we take a look at tools and features in Google Docs that can help you and your students in class. Plus, some news and updates, and a tip from the treasure chest.

News & Updates

Google Workspace
  • Storage policy timeline changes
    • June 1, 2021 – high-quality photos count toward Drive quota
    • Feb 1, 2022 – newly created Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, or Jamboard files count toward storage (existing files will not count unless they’re modified after the date
Dept of  Ed
  • DoE discharges over $1.6 billion in HBCU Capital Finance debt
    • “Our HBCUs have long been on an uneven playing field, financially, as compared to many other postsecondary institutions,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “This relief will further support these mission-critical institutions and help to ensure they have more resources to educate and graduate students during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.”
    • This, along with other funds, grants HBCUs more than $5 billion

Treasure Chest:

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”

  • What do you see in your students?
  • What do you see in them that they don’t see in themselves?
  • What can you do to see that in them and empower them further?

Boss Battle: Utilizing Google Docs

Page Setup
  • Portrait/Landscape
    • If it’s not for print, you don’t have to be limited to standard paper size
    • I like Tabloid for online stuff
  • Now you can change dimensions for specific sections (orientation & margins)
  • Change background color
    • Pro tip: stick to light background colors
    • Pro tip: color code for different classes or preps
  • Edit, Suggest, View modes
  • Suggest mode is great for peer review
Inserting elements
  • Tables
    • Pro tip: use tables with 0 pt. border to organize multiple columns/rows
    • Pro tip: distribute rows or columns to even out space
  • Drawings
    • Create a new Drawing and edit it on the spot by double-clicking
  • Charts
    • Import charts directly from Sheets
  • Use paragraph styles and Docs will add a table of contents with links to each section
  • Things you may not know about
    • Format→ Text→ Capitalization (lowercase, UPPERCASE, Title Case)
    • Format→ Paragraph Styles→ Borders and Shading
      • Add borders and shading to specific sections of a Doc
    • Use emojis for bullets
      • Right-click on bullets and click More bullets
  • Paragraph Styles
    • Customize your paragraph styles
    • Find a font setting you like, then use the sub-menu next to a paragraph style and update the style to match
    • Found a combination that you love? Go down to options and save it as your default styles
  • Compare documents
  • Citations
    • Create a database of sources in the sidebar
    • Add parenthetical citations in the document
    • Add a new page at the bottom (Cmd/Ctrl + Enter) and add a bibliography
    • Still double-check citations
  • Translate document
    • Creates a new document in whatever language you need
    • Great for your ELL students and their parents
    • Be aware if your a language teacher
  • Voice typing
    • Great for quick first drafts
  • Preferences
    • Customize substitutions
    • Create your own autosubs
    • I use this for lesson plans to auto-replace standards and other things I use often
    • You can also auto-replace with emojis
  • Explore button (bottom right-hand corner)
    • Explore ideas that are in your doc
    • Easily add images
    • Cite a website as a footnote
    • Check your Drive for other documents (check student work)

Crew Members’ Board (#8BitCrew)

QOTW: What is something in Docs that you can use with what you’re already doing in class?

Use #8BitCrew on Twitter, tag me @comicsocks, or post longer stories in the comments section here.

Get connected

Check out my Google Classroom Udemy course.


Music by David Fesliyan (

  • Intro/Outro: “Retro Platforming”
  • Boss Battle: “Boss Battle Rock”
  • Crew Member’s Board: “Pirate Dance”
  • Wrap up: “Game Over” by Patrick de Arteaga

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links to products or services. I may receive commissions or bonuses from your actions on such links.

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