Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

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Security - Don't share what some these folks are sharing! Something to drive home with our teachers.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Here is a recent email that I sent out to staff, but wanted to share since many of us use Google Apps in our private lives as well.   These security concerns came to light a few days ago. This article says they removed the search feature... but four days later... it's still there.

Security - We do try to keep you informed! 

Sorry - This is a long blurb... but very interesting.... 

We have really been trying to educate you on not opening attachments and falling for fake emails that send you to sites where they harvest your info. Asking you to log into Gmail when you are not actually on a legitimate Goole site, etc...  (Called phishing emails or attacks.) 

Today... I just want to point out... Make sure you know about sharing settings on documents. I know we have been using Google Docs for almost years now... but we still need to revisit security practices regularly.   Only share publically if you want that to be public. Sounds simple... but many do not.  Microsoft is playing catch up with Google with online documents and sharing.  Many of their users apparently do not know about sharing settings. 

Not sure why Microsoft does this... but you can go to their website and search for documents users have made public. (I am glad Google does not do this!)   Interesting to see how people have messed up.  

I removed the links to these documents since I am posting this publicly, but if you search for many interesting terms, you may find them and many others that people should never be sending out: 
Guessing this person does not really want to share the entire client list for their company...  or this person asking for their pardon ...  or this company's Sales history .....This guys Ambulance bill was pretty high ... or this person's phone application in India.  WOW! Some people and their companies are asking to be scammed. 

Why do I point this out?   Make sure you only share things with the audience you want to have access.  I have a lot of my tech training docs shared publicly... but I never share any network documents with information about our local network, devices, passwords, etc....

Google is very safe..... (and for that matter Microsoft probably is too) but we can accidently share things with the people or groups that we do want to have access.  Normally security comes down to the end user.   So always be cautious with emails and your share settings on docs. 

If a folder is shared with person X, Y and Z ... when you create a file in that folder... that fiels is then shared with person X, Y and Z. 

Not sure how to share or check a file - This doc should help. 

(This blurb is not triggered by any issues here at Norris, but a recent security article that pointed out the Microsoft Doc user problems mentioned above.)

Don't be Phished

Great tech tips... web tools, QR, Google, and more.... Our new app, and more... in this weeks posting.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Check out our new Mobile App for Norris!

I would encourage you (and your students) to download the new Norris mobile app for your phones and tablets. Make sure you do the initial setup as directed to customize the content for your needs.  Be the first to find out when school is closed!  Lunch menus, schedules, news, and more... all at your fingertips.  Just had a staff member tell me it's awesome...glad to hear that feedback!  Visit

Web tools and sites

A new safe search site for kids - Kiddle - check it out. 

Bamboozle - Create your own educational games for free, or play some of their pre-made games. Sample geography one here. 

Creating Elementary Portfolios with SeeSaw. (Free version and paid versions avail.) 10-minute audio podcast with links to items mentioned in the podcast. 

Nice listing of web creation tools (And a great example of an Adobe Spark Page.) (Scroll down the page.)

Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week – Try Know Recorder for Creating Video Lessons Their support page has some nice short intro videos to introduce you to this site and app.

Online audio Editing:

Edit sounds online! Free Technology for Teachers: 3 Online Alternatives to Audacity

Assessment tools:

Sure... Kahoot, Socrative, and few of my other favorites are in this list... but there are some other new ones too! This is a great list! - Know Students Better: 17 Tools for Formative Assessment

Google Chrome and apps:

150+ Chrome Apps and Extensions for Teachers and Students (Updated!) (I love how they present the list with the cards and short descriptions of the app/extension. 

Google Classroom:
New Feature! (Released Jan 2017) Google Classroom – Late Work Notifications

Google Sheets:

The Easier Way to Freeze Rows and Columns in Google Sheets - Via BetterCloud Monitor | There are simple tips that make a huge difference. If you're a Google Sheets user, this is one of those tips.

Google Photos:

Google Slides:

How to Add Your Voice to Google Slides - Short 3 min. how-to video

YouTube news:

Sad to see Annotations going away.  An awesome YouTube tool, that many never used..... BUT -- NEW --  Keep fans engaged with Cards & End Screens as we say goodbye to Annotations Editor  This short 2 1/2 minute video will show you how. 

Google Drawing:

Avoid clicking on emails, they are constantly phishing you - Hot of Twitter! 

Awesome video tool, free apps for the day/week, cool tools, tips and more in this weeks tech posting..

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A couple nice apps - Free for a limited time:

First giveaway ever. Free for just one day! No ads. No in-apps. Best sound level meter in your pocket! 

Teach Your Monster Read for iOS – Free Through the Weekend 

Web tools and sites:

One for the K-2 Math folks -- a fantastic FREE web-based tool that provides mind-growing monthly math challenges to unlock your students’ higher-order thinking. Plus can be used as an independent math center to provide math enrichment that supplements your curriculum. (Looks like this one works on about any all 

Free Technology for Teachers: 7 Great Tools for Creating Flipped Lessons from Existing Videos from Richard Byrne’s (Contains a few of my favorites - EDPuzzle PlayPosit and more....) 

I have mentioned this one in past... but worth noting again!  Learn how to make your own Jeopardy-style review game with Flippity and Google Sheets and gamify your classroom for greater learning. 

Top 10 Music Tools - Web and Mobile

CommonLit -- Free Fiction & Nonfiction Literacy Resources, Curriculum, & Assessment Materials for Middle & High School English Language Arts

Looking for science videos for younger students? Check out SciShow Kids

Simple Video Recording:
Loom just released integration with Gmail and Drive which is really cool. Not sure if you have seen this one, but it's pretty cool for creating a quick talking head or other videos. (You can even download them.) 

Inline image 1

I have updated my doc "Creating Video and Video Slide Shows" to include these new features. Check it out for some more great, simple and free tools.

Google Docs:

This is a pretty slick idea - Never thought of doing this! An Easy Way to Color Code and Organize Ideas in a Google Doc (Nice way for students to organize their thoughts within a doc.) 

Google Keep:
I mentioned this in my last tech posting/email and very seldom do I mention something twice in a row... this is great!  Google Docs just added Google Keep integration! Chek out my help doc... and make sure you watch the short video on how easy it is for inserting comments from Keep into a Google Doc. 

We do not recommend using the Google Drive Sync Program. 
We have very few staff members using the Google Drive Syn program that get's installed on your computer.  (Similar to an installable program that Dropbox has that keeps your local computer files synced to Dropbox.)  You big reason for not using it is that a virus or ransomware program on your computer would infect those files and they would then get synced to your Google drive and infect those files on Drive. (The other reason is that it can fill up your local computer PC/Mac drive if you do not know what you are doing setting up the sync.) 

Google Classroom:

Google is opening up Google Classroom to users without G Suite for Education accounts. Now, teachers and students in many different environments can teach or attend classes, manage assignments and instantly collaborate—all with their personal Google accounts.

Are we preparing for our 1-1 and more devices here at Norris???

Ran across this great advice via a tweet

All of my tech emails are archived!

Remember, all of tech emails are posted and archived on my blog so you can easily reference them at any time!

Free Apps, tips, Google Keep!, and other cool tech stuff in this weeks list.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Check your Spam folder on a daily basis - Make it a part of your routine.

95% of what goes in your spam folder is junk... so you can delete it right away.  But at time legitimate emails find their way into spam.  Check the spam folder on a daily basis. Short how-to video.  If there are certain emails that you want to make sure that do not land in your spam folder, you can set up filters. This short video will walk you through the process of setting up a filter. 

Web sites and tools:

National Geographic Videos for Your Next Lesson - 360-degree videos!  Check out their list here

Discovery News is a YouTube channel full of videos for use in your classroom.

10 great websites to access and find quality audiobooks for your students. 

Technology Task/App Challenges for Teachers by Ron Burke TOUCH this image to discover its story. Image tagging powered by ThingLink

Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week – Use Toontastic 3D to Create Animated Videos. (Free IOS & Google Play apps.) 

4 Virtual Exit Slip Prompts to Check for Understanding with Spark Post.  (I love all the free Adobe Spark tools!  Post is one that can get overlooked in the classroom.) 

Use Google Drive to Fill Out PDF Forms - Via BetterCloud Monitor | If you don’t have the right software, filling out PDF forms on your computer can be a frustrating experience. Luckily, this trick using Google Drive makes filling out PDF forms a breeze.

How to Embed Charts from Google Sheets in Slides and Docs (And Update Them with One Click) - Via BetterCloud Monitor | If you use the same chart in multiple documents and presentations in G Suite, and that chart changes, it's time-consuming to replace it in each and every file. Luckily, with this update, you don't have to worry about that anymore.

Teach Your Monster to Read: This site is great for the younger students and ESL students.

inklewriter is a free tool designed to allow anyone to write and publish interactive stories. It’s perfect for writers who want to try out interactivity, but also for teachers and students looking to mix computer skills and creative writing.

Sutori:  This is a place students can create their own digital story timelines. (Check out some of the samples to see what students can do with this tool. Pretty cool.) 

The end of passive viewing - Engage viewers by integrating quizzes, polls, and CTAs into videos.  I like EdPuzzle much better for it's features in education, but Vizia has some merits with a few videos too. (Vizia makes a quiz from any video and sends answers to a spreadsheet! Nice for creating more interaction with your videos.) 

Machine Learning?  --This one is fun to see in action. (Have your volume up to hear it.)  Quick, Draw:  This is a game built with machine learning. You draw, and a neural network tries to guess what you’re drawing. 

If you have not tried Google Keep - Now may be a good time! (This has turned into a great Google tool with many applications for teachers and students!) 

Google’s Note-Taking App Keep Joins G Suite, Now Integrates with Google Docs - Check out my Google Keep Tips and Tricks to get you started with this tool

Create a Shared Checklist With Google Keep - Via BetterCloud Monitor | Collaborating on a grocery list? Organizing tasks in a group project? Try creating a shared checklist in Google Keep. This short 1 minute video will get you started

Google Chrome:

12 Power Apps and Extensions for Chrome (This list contains a few of my favorites including Magic Actions for YouTube! Note- Snagit is no longer available, but Nimbus gets a nod ) 

Google Sheets:

Flippity now has a Google Sheets add-on!  <--- CHECK IT OUT   With this add-on Easily turn a Google™ Spreadsheet into a Set of Online Flashcards and Other Cool Stuff.  

Google Slides:

Advanced Tips and Tricks for Google Slides  Via -BetterCloud Monitor | You might already know the basics for making awesome presentations using Google Slides. But there are a few more features you can use to make your design and flow even better.

Google Sites:

If you use the new Google Sites and want a way to easily embed your recent Drive files or folders in a web page, check this out.

Google Docs:

How to Link to a Specific Paragraph in Google Docs - Short How-To Video.  Via etterCloud Monitor | If you ever have a Google Doc that’s tens or hundreds of pages long, it can be difficult to find a specific section of text. To save time, try providing a direct link to a specific paragraph in your document.

Check out these Add-Ons and Templates for Google Docs and Sheets developed for education. (You will not find these in the add-on store!) 

Google Forms:

How to Insert a Logo (or class graphic) in Google Forms - This short 2 -minute video will get you started. Extra tip - Need to create a graphic? Use Canva! 

Google Classroom:

IOS Apps:

Must-Have iPad Apps for Content Creation - Many of these are great free apps (Adobe Spark,  Shadow Pupets, etc... and a few of the paid apps we have licenses for. - Puppet Pals) 

Phonto: Add text to photo’s…a lot of great ways to use this in the classroom. (Free) 

Wordimals! - Free for today (3-14-17)- Unlock the full version! Fun word game for kids and the entire family!

Today only: Unlock the full version free of charge! Access the in-app store, tap on “No Ads and Infinite Keys,” and confirm your action. Wordimals is loaded with fun themed word searches that the whole family can enjoy. Pick a grid size and a category, and then get to work. At the bottom of the screen you’ll see how many words need to be found and the length of each word. Drag your finger over letters in any direction in order to connect them. Time is ticking, however, so move quickly. The game allows you to skip any level at any time, and features a forgiving hint system. It also includes more than 200 word searches.