Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

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💥 Tech items - Some great tips and tools to check out 👀 in this weeks post!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Google releases Chrome Canvas web app for drawing with ‘Ink’  - Just visit this site and start drawing! More info here.   (We have added a direct link to this and the AWW App in Clever) 
  • -Save drawings
  • -Export file if needed (PNG picture file format.) 
  • -Easy, Simple, & Fast!
I have added this one along with some other great ones to my doc: Use your iPad or Chromebook (Android app) as a Whiteboard <---Check it out! 

Free app! For kids in grades K-3 - Quality reading practice has never been easier.
Rivet is a free (Developed by Google Labs) program that provides access to  3,000+ free books across 14 categories in a kid-friendly interface. More info about the app can be found in our info document.  (Feel free to share this with parents tool) 

EdPuzzle has some great new features.  (This is an awesome tool for videos in your classroom.) It integrates with Google Classroom too!  Great for making sure students have watched the assigned video. You can even quiz them along the way! 

Here are a few of the new features:
Live Mode 
Project your edpuzzle for the whole class while your students answer live on their own devices… watch together, have fun and spark discussion!

Open Class 
Now students can watch videos without having to create an account – perfect for quick practice and elementary students! 

Are you using Comments in Google Classroom with grading assignments/Docs? 
Remember, the # will bring up your list of comments to insert. It's a nice time saver!  More info in this short 2-minute video. 

Display the word count as you type in Google Docs - New feature 
(Starting gradual roll out on 9-9-19.)  Instead of going to Tools > Word Count each time you want to view this information, now, you can simply select Tools > Word count > Display word count while typing to continuously display it in the lower-left corner of your doc:

Here's one for the math teachers - Need to do equations in Google docs?
Give the Auto-LaTeX Equations add-on a try. This add-on lets you automatically convert every LaTeX equation in your document into beautiful images! Simply enclose your math equations within $$ ... $$ and click the button in the sidebar, and all of your equations will be rendered in LaTeX!

3 easy strategies to organize your Google Classroom - This article has some great tips on getting your classroom organized.  Note - I have added this resource to our Google Classroom tips and trick doc

New Features coming - Switch to a Blank Screen and Set Advanced Time Options for Presentations in Google Slides
Via G Suite Updates | Google is adding two new features in Slides Present mode to help you better control and customize your presentations: keyboard shortcuts to switch to a blank screen and looping and auto advance time options for presentations. More info here. 

Some great resources from Matt Miller's Ditch that textbook email:
Check out his site with some amazing resources that grow each week! 
Here are just a few: 
20 Seesaw ideas with Chromebooks for K-12 classes  We are pushing every K-2 teacher at Norris to use SeeSaw - but check out these great ideas for everyone! 
Signup on the right-hand page of his website to get a weekly email with some great resources. 

Great email tip if you do not really want to give out your actual email address. This avoids creating a junk email address for conferences, etc...

Have you ever signed up for a conference, newsletter, or other services as a requirement or to get a discount Instead of setting up a different Gmail account for that unwanted Spam give this a try!

By simply adding a + to the end of your username (but before the "@") you can create infinite variations of your Gmail address. For example, will direct email to your main address ( without giving it away to spammers. You can then filter messages containing "username+norris" into your junk or trash folder so you never have to be bothered to delete them again.   (Do this using Filters in Gmail.)  As shown above, this will work for EDU domains like our or for regular Gmail accounts as well.) 

Google Drive tips:

Share for a limited time - You can make a file in your Drive storage available to someone else only for a limited period of time. Right-click the file and select “Share,” Type in the name or email address of the person with whom you want to share and click the “Send” button.

Fax a file from drive - Need to send a fax from your Google Drive - No problem with the HelloFax add-on.  (Free and paid plans.)  Click the big “New” button in Drive’s upper-left corner, select “More,” and then “Connect more apps.” Search for “HelloFax” in the window that appears, then click the green “Connect” button and follow the steps to authorize the service.

Maintain different versions of files -  With Google Docs you have version history as well as named versions right inside of the doc.  But with non-google files like PDF's Pictures, etc... did you know you can keep up to 100 different/older versions of the same file?  In Drive right-click on a file to upload a new version or to download an older version of the file.  This how-to article will help if you have further questions. 

Color code folders or add emoji to the names of folders.  Right-click (or Ctrl-click) any folder and look for the “Change color” option.  Right-click to rename the folder and past the emoji as a part of the name. 

💥 Tech items - FlipGrid video tool, remote mouse, more fonts, great updates and more in this weeks tech tools! -Check them out.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Use your phone or tablet as a remote mouse on your computer!
This one has been around for a while but wanted to mention it again since we have a lot of new staff members.  This document will help get you started. If you need help, let us know. 

Are we helping our students get the most from their 1-1 Chromebook take-home devices?  The smart worker's guide to using a Chromebook offline has some great tips to share with our students. (And use with our staff Chromebooks.) 

Windows 10 has notifications in the taskbar - Don't miss out!

The new Chrome update includes a right-click option on webpages to send that page to your other devices. 
This is kind of a cool feature, that may come in handy once in a while.  Basically right click on a web page and select your device to send the web page to. 
  • You need to be running the current Chrome version. (So update your browser if you do not see it.)
  • You need to be logged in and syncing to those devices in order for them to show up.
  • You may need to reboot your phone for it to work.
  • The alert shows up in your notifications on the computer so you need to accept the request similar to a Google Casting request as shown in the above post. 

Expeditions Coming on Chromebooks!
Already have Chromebooks in your classroom? Now you can explore the over 1000 virtual reality tours in Google Expeditions on your Chrome OS devices. More info here. (The list of supported models is small right now, but growing.) This new feature is not a show-stopper right now, but it shows what's coming and it will be great.  (Remeber - we have several Expeditions carts that are available for use now.  Talk to Jason or your media centers for using these great resources.) 

Google Forms Updates & Improvements
Locked mode in Quizzes in Google Forms will be available starting in August. In addition to Locked mode, Google Forms will now enable you to import questions from other Forms into new ones in order to save time. More info here.

G Suite Update: More controls and customizations for headers and footers in Google Docs
Previously, you could set a single header or single footer for your entire document, with an option to make it different on the first page only. Now you can also define a specific header or footer for each section of your document, or use different headers and footers on odd and even page numbers.  More info here.

New fonts intended to help improve reading speed now available in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides
The Google Fonts team has teamed up with Thomas Jockin to create a series of fonts that are aimed at improving reading speed. To learn more about the research behind this initiative, see here for more details.   Here is a quick video by one of my favorite tech resources. 

Some great resources from the Norris Tech Bootcamp! 
Thanks to Jason Gault and to all of you that presented and attended our tech boot camp on August 6 & 7. If you have not been to one you may want to consider attending and/or presenting next year. I know Jason sent this out already but wanted to share again:  Here's a Google Doc containing the SESSION RESOURCES that were presented.  It's not the same as being there, but there some great takeaways from these resources.

If one of your students asks about an email from the tech department about issues with their YouTube account - Read this for more info: 
Everyone at Norris has a YouTube account. (They come with each G Suite account.)   Some users created a few things or used a few tools that caused that account to be a "branded" account.  No one really knew they had this and it was not a big deal until some change happened with Google and school created accounts with YouTube.  So - you can read this doc for more info if you get questions from any of your students.  We have sent an email to each staff member and student that was affected. (400+ students and 20+ staff accounts.) 

💥 Congrats to these staff members for becoming Google Certified over the summer:  Completed Level 1 -  7-18-19  Completed Level 1 8-7-19 Completed Level 7-2-19 Completed Level 1 -  7-5-19 Completed Level 1  7-30-19 Completed Level 1 -  6-10-19 Level 2💥 - 7-1-19 Completed Level 1 -  6-27-19 Level 2 💥 - 8-7-19 Completed Level 1 -  8-7-19

See our complete list of Google Certified Staff members here.  Watch out this spring for another opportunity to become Google Certified and earn an extra $600 doing it!

20 Google Slides activities to add awesome to classes 

Wow, there are some great ideas and templates in this article!   I love the Icon boards to get kids started right away. The Google Slides sticky notes template/idea is pretty cool. Some links to nice yearbooks and newsletters for the classroom.  Check them out! 

This article - 20 activities to Ditch that Textbook has some great templates for the K-2 teachers. We have these templates in our K-2 templates folder here.

FlipGrid - New feature added to record video.

💥 Tech tools - Windows 10 is here, new Google Classroom rubrics, GoGuardian new featuires, SeeSaw, New Google tips and more in this weeks tech email!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Google Classroom now has rubrics- and we are a part of the Beta.

We recently joined the Google Classroom Rubrics beta. This is a unique opportunity for you to pilot a new unreleased feature in this product and help shape the development of rubrics in Classroom. Please review the beta details below:

Rubrics in Google Classroom
Through this beta, you will have the ability to create, view, and grade rubrics for individual assignments. Students will also start to see a new version of their assignment details page for your classes. This new version was designed to incorporate rubrics and make the page more useful overall. 

Getting Started and FAQs to help you use rubrics:

Your feedback is very important to Google. Remember you can send them feedback directly via the “Send feedback” button in Classroom. When submitting feedback, remember to include a screenshot and start the report with “Rubrics Pilot”. 

I look forward to hearing how this beta works for you and your students.

Misc Tech Tools:   

Enter a YouTube URL into  Play the video and press M. Enter the number of seconds of transcript you want, and Gnotes generates a Google doc with a screenshot and the transcript snippet. Check out the short how-to video here. 

PDFescape is a free online PDF editor! - Check out this short 4-minute tutorial to get started. Jason is doing a session on Flipgrid at the tech boot camp! Check it out! 

Flipgrid makes it easy to create video QR codes. 

Thanks to Tony Vincent @tonyvincent for the graphic and great tip! 

If you're using Google Drawings for learning activities, these tips might come in handy...

Thanks to Tony Vincent @tonyvincent for the graphic and great tip!  

Three Good Ways to Create Virtual Tours - Check them out here

   Have you heard? Seesaw is better than ever on Chromebooks! 

Rebuilt Tools, Optimized for Chromebooks
New full-screen canvas, rebuilt video recording, touchscreen compatibility, keyboard shortcuts, and more.

Seesaw & Google Classroom are a Perfect Pair
Students add work from Google Drive to their Seesaw portfolio to take learning further. Free teachers import Google Classroom rosters to set up Seesaw classes.

Miscellaneous Google Tech Tools:   
New Google form update - Import questions from previously existing forms into a new Google form.  This is a great new feature set!  Especially for those of us doing quizzes with Google Forms.  In the past, you had to use an add on called Forms Recycler to accomplish this task. 

Great Google Sheet add-on for Google Classroom!  -  rosterSync - Teacher Edition   This allows teachers to sync a Google Classroom course roster -- including student email addresses -- directly with Google Sheets. Easily get a list of email addresses of your students, parents, etc... (Very handy to get info into a spreadsheet for other uses too.)  (I have added this one to our growing list of Google Classroom -Tips and Tricks document.) 

Google Keep Notes: 10 tips and tricks to become a master -   Google Keep Notes might be the most underrated of Google’s services. It’s more than just a place to jot down your thoughts—it’s also the missing link to bring Docs, Calendar, Photos, and the rest of Google’s services together. Check out the tips here! 

Great Chrome Extension - Reader View:  Distraction-Free Reading Mode made easy!  We have added this to our approved Chrome apps and extensions for students list. (There are a couple of others in this same category that are pretty good for student too. -Announcify and Mercury Reader are worth looking at too.

How to Back up Your Google Photos Library Now That Google Drive Auto-sync Has Shut Down Some tips in this article.  (Personally, I just use the Google Photos App and the Shutterfly app on my phone to back up my pictures to two locations.) 

10 Can't-Miss Gmail Tips and Tricks That Will Change the Way You Email -  Some great tips in this article. 

Misc Tech Tips:  

Quick 1 Minute video for your students on how to organize their Google Drive. 

Updates to GoGuardian Teacher Interface Coming Soon
Get a sneak peek here!   It's coming this week! (Week of July 22nd. 2019) 
Here are some of the improvements
  • Ability to run commands directly from a student’s tile in screens view and from enlarged student screens
  • Better visibility of commands (ex: Snapshot button is static, no hovering required)
  • All live classrooms will appear in the main navigation
  • Ability to scroll through timeline view with computer trackpad

As always - avoid the reply all to emails when it's not necessary. 😀

Specific to Norris Staff: 
Hey - my desktop computer is now Windows 10. Where's my stuff? Where is my printer?
As noted this spring. Windows 7 is gone and we now have WIndows 10.  Hopefully, you saved your Z drive files (and your desktop is a part of the Z drive.) as noted in our tech emails and warnings sent this spring. Remember any programs installed and local data were lost as well.
Here is a quick overview of signing into Windows 10. It also includes links to setting up printers if you use something other than the follow-me print queues.  If you have a computer program that needs installed you will need to submit a helpdesk request. 

Wow - Are you coming to the tech Bootcamp on August 6&7?  Jason has lined up some great sessions!  Thanks to many of you!  We have an amazing staff that is always willing to share- Thanks!  Watch for more info coming to your inbox. 

KnowBe4 training - Did you complete it, but it says you did not? -If so, let us know. We had several users that completed the training and are getting reminder emails they need to still do it. If that is the case, let us know.  Jason has an open ticket with them looking into several accounts that seem to have this issue. (Drop Jason an email.- -Sorry for the problems!

Hope everyone has had a great summer and enjoys the remaining days!

💥 Tech tools - Map tools, see changes to our world via Google Earth, Gsuite tips and more in this weeks tech posting.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Misc web tools:

Watch videos together as a group -  (Create a free room and get started - no registration required.) Thanks to our very own James Myers for this one! 
31 of My Favorite Ed Tech Tools - By Richard Byrne Here is the video

AWESOME Math Drill site! - All grade levels- check it out+

Need a quick and easy password for student? - Check out (There is a button to generate a simple one or a strong one. (Do the strong one!) 

This one is a must for Teachers and YouTube.  I use to recommend Majic Actions for YouTube but now I recommend Improve YouTube.  This one has a lot of features and is simple to use.  (Go through the settings and slide one of the settings to stop YouTube ads.) 

The new kahoot creator makes game creation easier and 3x faster!  If you have not used kahoot or quizizz ... give it a try for a review game. 

Need to print a Calendar? - This site has a ton of different styles. They have them by year. 2019 is here. Find the ones at the bottom and select Google Sheet.  Example 2019 one here.

Our Tech Boot Camp is coming - August 6 & 7 - Be on the lookout for more info.
  • Great sessions!
  • Great lunch!
  • Stipends!
  • And more!
We would love for you to present (Contact Jason) as well. 

Free book reading app for the younger kids!
Better Reading Practice. - Reading practice has never been easier with Rivet, a reading app with over 2,000 FREE leveled books for kids. Check it out.  (It's really free!) 

GSuite Updates:
Check out the new G Suite Learning Center - Posted: 28 May 2019 - Visit the learning center.
Update all linked content with one click in Docs and Slides - Posted May 24, 2019, More info here. 

New features for Slides Present mode coming to Google Slides. 

Gradebook in Classroom now generally available - This new feature adds a tab in your Google Classroom with a grade book view. Coming next year - Looks like the grade book in Google Classroom may sync to our SIS (Student Information System) -PowerSchool. We have signed up for this beta to sync to PowerSchool but not sure if we will be accepted. 

See 35 years of change on Google Earth  -See the shirking Glaciers, expanding cities and more.   Meandering rivers, mining, and urban growth are just a few themes that you can explore in Google Earth Timelapse. A global, zoomable video that allows you to see anywhere in the world and witness Earth’s surface transform over the past 35 years.

Sign up to get Google for Education updates in your inbox. -  Sign up here

See Changes in Google Docs Over Time With Compare Documents
Via G Suite Updates | It’s now easier to compare two Google docs. This feature will show you the differences between the docs as “Suggested Edits” in a new document. NOTE - This will be rolling out soon.
Side note - This is a great extension for teachers to see the document history played back like a movie. Great for looking at student's docs. - Draftback

View the Edit History of a Cell in Sheets
Via G Suite Updates | “Show edit history” is a new feature in Sheets that will help you easily see the edit history of a cell, including who made the last edit, when that edit was made, and the cell’s previous value. NOTE - This will be rolling out soon. 

Two new formatting tools available in Docs - Posted: 30 May via GSuite updates.  More info here. 
  • Insert section breaks and view section breaks in Docs
  • Adjust margins per section - It’s now possible to use the ruler to adjust the left and right margins by section.

26 Incredibly Useful Things You Didn’t Know Google Calendar Could Do -  Checkout the article here.
#10 was great -  Switch your calendar view in an instant by tapping into one of Google Calendar’s super-handy hidden shortcuts: Press “1” or “d” for the day view, “2” or “w” for the week view, “3” or “m” for the month view, “4” or “x” for your custom view, “5” or “a” for the agenda view, and “6” or “y” for the year view.

18. Did you know you can add an attachment directly to an event within Calendar—something like a PDF, image file, or document that you want all the invitees to see? 

Find out more: Check out the article here.

How to Split Text in Google Sheets
Via How-To Geek | Often, you need to split the content of a cell in your spreadsheet that is separated by a comma or space, such as the first and last names of a contact. Luckily, Google Sheets provides a simple, straightforward approach to dealing with merged datasets. Short how-to article here. 

Remember - help in G Suite is only a click away for you and your students.
Quick tutorials, short videos and more are only a click away.  More info here

I love Google's MyMaps - Use it this summer for your vacation!
Take a road trip with Google MyMaps - There are many classroom uses and personal uses (Can we say vacation!) for Google's MyMaps.  Have students create maps of historical trips, battles, etc...  Check it out.  (Yes it is one of the 8 mentioned in the posting above- "8 Options for Making Digital Maps " 

Google Photos Will Stop Syncing to Drive on July 10, 2019
Via G Suite Updates | Starting on July 10, 2019, Google Photos will no longer sync to Google Drive. From that date forward, if you add or delete files in Photos, they won’t be automatically added or deleted in Drive.  (In settings for drive you had to click a checkbox for the photos to appear as a folder in you may or may not see this folder or use it.) This will really only affect you as a user if you used this feature in drive.  More info here: Google Drive and Photos Are Splitting: What You Need to Know.  

💥 Tech tools - Great student sites, end of year tech tools, Google sheet tools and more in this weeks tech tips.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A list of Web tools and sites that require no registration for students. 
Here is a nice list of sites/tools that do not require students to create accounts:   This list has some great resources!

Create and Insert Image Carousels in New Sites
Via G Suite Updates -- Google is making it easier for site editors to share a selection of images in new Sites by creating a new image carousel.

SeeSaw End of Year Best Practices
Archive classes do not delete your classes or remove students! Do not turn off family access!  Here is a short 3 min. video.  (This is also included in our Norris Important end of year reminders for staff concerning technology document.) 

Clever - New features coming! Have you created a Classroom page?
Did you know you can build your own classroom page (Better than Symbaloo now!)  You can also click a button to launch an app/page for your entire class. If you need help, talk to Jason to get started today with your own class page!  Great short video tutorial here. 

Fun review games. Almost no prep time. 
If you're looking for new ways to review at the end of the year, this post from Matt's DitchThatTextbook is for you.

Twelve Tools for Creating End-of-Year Review Activities

Check out these resources compiled by Richard Byrne @rmbyrne

10 tools for effective peer feedback in the classroom

Teaching students some Chromebook skills? -This one is for you! 

G Suite for Education: 90 Million and Beyond!
Last month, Google announced that 90 million students and educators are now using G Suite for Education and shared 15+ G Suite product updates, including accessibility features like closed captions in Hangouts Meet, editing Office files from G Suite, inserting audio files into Slides, and more. Check out the news!

Google Classroom Updates
To help teachers and students find assignments quickly, Google added topic filters to the Classwork page and changed how new items and topics post to the top instead of the bottom so that students can see the newest information first (newly created courses only). To make Classroom accessible to all students, they also changed the way attachments appear in assignments by bringing back thumbnails- so all attachments now have an image preview, especially useful for students who aren’t yet reading. More on Classroom updates here

Sign up to get Google for Education updates in your inbox.  <--- I recommend signing up! (You only get 1 email a month packed with some great resources and updates for education. 

Three new features to format and work with data in Sheets
Posted: 08 May 2019 09:08 AM PDT
What’s changing 
We’re introducing three new features that will help you clean up and work with your data in Sheets. These features are: 
  • Remove duplicates 
  • Trim whitespace 
  • Compatible spreadsheet shortcuts 

How to Automate Google Sheets With Macros
How-To Geek | Google Sheets lets you automate repetitive tasks with macros, and you can then bind them to keyboard shortcuts to execute them quickly. They work using Google Apps Script to capture your actions for later use. When you record a macro in Google Sheets, it automatically creates an Apps Script with all the code to replicate your actions for you. This means you can create complex macros without knowing how to write code. How-to article here

Dropdown List in Google Sheets - How to article here-Simple!  From 

Misc. Gsuite tips:

Misc. Tech Resources: