Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

Welcome to my technology blog.
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💥 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: https://bit.ly/noreg19   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 http://jakemiller.net/ 



Misc. Gsuite tips:




Misc. Tech Resources:






💥 Tech tools - SeeSaw ambassadors, Google Classroom, Offline files, Shadow Art and more in this weeks tech post.

Monday, May 6, 2019


📌Our Norris SeeSaw Ambassador Program is off and running!
Congratulations to Haley Halvorsen on becoming our first K-2 Norris for becoming a SeeSaw Ambassador!  More Norris program details can be found here

HS - MS -IS - If you are not using Google Classroom-You are missing out! 
  • More and more products are integrating with Google Classroom. Pearson's Realize product just announced integrations with Google Classroom too. 
  • If you are using Google Classroom - You need to enable the parent notifications!
  • See Jason for more info and help to get started with Google Classroom! 
  • We are pushing this for grades 3 & up, but there are applications and uses for elementary as well, so we are willing to help if you want to use it with those younger grades too.  
⚠️ We need your help -it's only a few clicks! (And it's not Phishing!) 
We need to increase our subscribers to our YouTube Channels!  Visit this page  (Please!) and subscribe to all of our Norris YouTube Channels. There are some tech reasons that we need more subscribers, but I think it would be beneficial to all of our staff and students to be subscribed to all of our channels. (Notifications of live broadcasts, etc...) 



New right-click in Google Drive to make files available offline and more (Coming in the next few days)
It’s now possible for users to work on Docs, Sheets, and Slides files when your device is offline or have a bad internet connection within Google Drive. (It's always been available but now you can do it within Drive.)  You can also preview which files are available offline with a new offline preview mode.  More info here.  And there is more coming to the right-click menu... Via TechRepublic | If you depend upon Gmail for daily communication, you'll be happy to know about the new right-click context menu that gives users more power and flexibility. More info in this article.

Helping families develop healthy digital habits with Chromebooks
This article has several tools for Android and Chrome devices that are freely available to families to help monitor and guide digital citizenship at home.  (I have added this to our document - "Internet filtering and monitoring kids at home" which you can freely share with parents when questions arise.)  

📄27 incredibly useful things you didn’t know Google Sheets could do
There’s much more to Google Sheets than meets the eye. Unlock these advanced options–and watch your productivity soar.

Google Drive Workspaces is coming soon! 
Workspaces allow you to create a collection of files into a workspace. (pull files from different folders into a grouping while still leaving them in those folders. This article will show you the basics of priority and the new workspaces. -How to access and organize files faster in G Suite using Priority and Workspaces

Hey, my files are getting deleted from my Z drive (Network drive) this summer! (And Windows 10 is coming too!) 
We sent out an email to our Norris staff about this but I did want to include this in my blog posting since Windows 7 will be losing its support starting in January 2020.  It's very simple to move files to Google Drive!  I would upload entire folders but you can do individual files too. 








 How to Enable Gmail’s Hidden Email Preview Pane (We all have different email views that like and Gmail gives us that flexibility.)
Via How-To Geek | Gmail has a hidden preview panel that gives you a dual-pane view of your emails—just like in Outlook and other desktop email clients. Here’s how to enable it on the web and choose a horizontal or vertical split.


This one is kind of cool - and fun!  Shadow Art: Form Shadow Puppets With A.I. and Webcam

Google has taken the ancient practice of forming shadow puppets with your hands and turned it into an interactive digital experience. Check it out here: https://shadowart.withgoogle.com/?lang=en-us


How to Add Music to Spark Video with Soundtrap
Check out this quick tutorial on how to use these two easy and powerful tools together to "app smash" them together and turn out a great student project. 



 ⚠️🚨 I never want to sound like an alarmist, but these are the reason's we keep educating staff to be diligent and to always be careful about what you click on and what information you give out.  I know the phishing emails and required training (from KnowB4) can be a hassle... but we are trying to protect you and the district.  

Scott County Schools Victim of 3.7 Million Dollar CEO Fraud Phishing Scam 
(WKYT) - Scott County Schools has announced the district is a victim of a multi-million dollar online scam. The FBI is now investigating after Superintendent Dr. Kevin Hub said an undisclosed vendor told the district it was never paid for an invoice from two weeks ago. As the district investigated, it learned it fell victim to a fraudulent email disguising as the vendor.

"This is a process that we use currently in Scott County Schools. It's a way that we pay our vendors. And it was in this specific case, a single case, that we can verify, and this fraudulent email and fraudulent documentation is what caused this crime to happen."

The school lost USD 3.7 million as a result of the scam. Hub said the fraudsters no longer have access to the district's bank account, and there was no data breach involving personal information.

Sounds like they could use some new-school security awareness training. Video at WKYT:
https://blog.knowbe4.com/scott-county-schools-victim-of-3.7-million-ceo-fraud-scam
  


The City of Tallahassee Lost Half a Million Dollars in an Insidious Payroll Attack 

Hackers stole approximately 500K from the city of Tallahassee, Florida, by diverting city employees’ paychecks, according to USA Today. The attackers hacked a third-party vendor that provides the city’s payroll services and then redirected direct deposit payments to attacker-controlled accounts.

Tallahassee officials only learned of the attack after they were contacted by the city’s bank. The incident is still under investigation, but city spokeswoman Alison Faris said the attack is suspected to have originated outside of the US.

City officials said attackers try to compromise the city’s defenses every day, and last month a malicious Dropbox link was sent out from the email account of the city manager. Officials don’t believe this attack was related to the payroll theft, although IT experts noted that this type of phishing attack is often a precursor to more advanced attacks.

“Usually the way they get in is through email," Blake Dowling, CEO of Aegis Business Technologies, told USA Today. “Those happen all the time. If you’re not trained to be on the lookout for something, about how that may look or feel or the implications, it can bring your city to a crawl.”

Even secure networks are vulnerable to employees making a simple mistake and accidentally opening the door to an attacker. Supply-chain attacks like this one can have far-reaching impacts that can cripple a vendor’s reputation. New-school security awareness training can help your employees defend themselves against phishing attacks. USA Today has the story:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/04/05/hackers-divert-nearly-500-000-city-tallahassees-payroll/3383451002/
  


The above two articles are from the KnowBe4 product - Check it out, it's worth having at your school. 

💥 Tech tools - Some great new Gsuite features, Google Drawing tips, tech tools and more... in this edition.

Thursday, April 18, 2019



✔️Finally - they added it!  Enhance presentations in Slides with audio. 
Google is adding the ability for users to embed MP3 and WAV audio files from Drive into Slides. It will be rolling out soon.  More details here. 
Another Slides update Easily Customize Theme Colors in Slides

Gmail Smart Compose Subject Suggestions

Schedule your Gmail - It's here for Norris users already!
In the past few weeks, Google has been rolling out the capability to schedule when your email is sent.  (In the past, this required an extension like Boomerang for Gmail)  


Note: You must enable Gmail offline for this feature to be present on your Chromebook or desktop computer. (These settings are specific to each device you log into.) 



Take action faster with customizable swipe actions in Gmail on iOS
This feature was already in Android... but If you have an iPhone it's a nice addition!  Check out how to do it here.  (I loved this update for my iPhone! - Swipe one way I delete the message and swipe the other way and it' archived. Customizable!) 

Google Classroom update - NEW (Students/Staff will want to update their apps!)
Note - This will only affect new classes created after 4-17-19.
What do I need to know?
From April 17, 2019, any new classes created in Classroom will experience new ordering rules on the Classwork page. New topics or items posted to the Classwork page in these new classes will start to appear at the top of the page instead of the bottom. We have made this change to improve the user experience of Classroom based on teacher and professor feedback. This feature will not be supported by versions of the mobile app which are older than 2.2019.06301 on iOS and 5.2.102.04xx on Android.

What do I need to do?
To enable your users to view the new ordering on mobile, please update your devices (via the Play and App Stores) so that they are running the latest versions of the Android and iOS apps.

✍🏾 The Google Classroom iOS and Android apps have the ability to markup assignments. A teacher can use a finger or a stylus to add colorful annotations, handwriting, and highlighting.
Note: The K-2 Chromebooks and 9-12 Chromebooks are set to run the Android Google Classroom app- so this works great! Make an assignment and students can mark it up and turn it back in via the Android Classroom app! 


💰 Remember - It's easy to give a percent of your Amazon purchases to the Norris Foundation! At no cost to you! 
This document will get you started.  Only takes a couple of minutes - and at Norris, you are always taken to smile.amazon.com so once you set your charity, it will go to the foundation.

📌Great reminders from our Norris Staff - Limit the "reply all" emails.
  • If you want to avoid people doing a reply all to an email you send - send it out with the BCC instead fo using the C or CC. Great tip!
  • You can also change Gmails default reply behavior - I recommend doing this! Here is a how-to article, or here is a screenshot courtesy of Andrew Carlson:







Pretty cool: 
From Charlie Hutzler - @CAHutzler Mr. Applegate led his #NorrisTitans through a virtual tour of #Auschwitz utilizing #Chromebooks and http://panorama.auschwitz.org .

Misc. Tech:
Several from via Richard Byrne @rmbyrne 
31 of My Favorite Ed Tech Tools - video (54 Min. but great tools!)


The following resource is from Matt Millers DitchThatTextbook email.  Check out his great website for a ton of resources and subscribe to his email list for more goodies. 

More Google Drawings goodness



(PS: That Tony Vincent Ditch Summit video presentation is only available for a few more weeks, and then it'll go offline until the summit in December. Don't wait!)

Today, the #DitchBook Twitter community has shared in a big way! In addition to the resources listed above, they shared 35 MORE ideas for using Google Drawings in the classroom!  


🗓 NETA 2019 Session resources
Didn't make it to NETA - you can still view the session resources here. (Some great ideas and resources for K-12 classrooms.)

🔂Updates to Stream in Google Classroom
From Google - Thanks to your feedback, we brought back the ability to move posts to the top of the Stream, just like in classic Classroom. We also introduced a setting for controlling how notifications appear in the Stream.  To stay on top of what's new in classroom - Checkout out this site

✅IT IS BACK!! To-Do in Google Classroom 
To Do List in Google Classroom is Back - learn more here.

📧Write now, send later with Schedule send in Gmail!  
Yes, Boomerang has been a great extension that gave us this functionality in the past... But coming in the next few weeks... It will be built into Gmail! More info here. 



📌Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego?
The world's greatest super thief has struck again! Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Google have created an interactive quiz that takes your students across the globe to find clues and solve the mystery of the Crown Jewels caper.

Build and share your own VR experience
You and your students can now view and guide your own VR tours in Google Expeditions on both iOS and Android! Start by visiting https://vr.google.com/tourcreator/ 

CHROME MUSIC LAB - Check it out!
Pretty cool site for teaching some music concepts - Rhythm, Chords, and more. You will love it... and kids will love it too!
Here is a NETA 2019 presentation and a few resources on the subject.  

Google Trends?
Want to see what's trending in search - https://trends.google.com/trends/ 
Here is a 5x5 grid of what's being searched - Pretty cool! 

 Hipster Google - Google Tools You Probably Never Heard Of
You will find some pretty cool ones in this slide deck by Eric Curtis of Control Alt Achieve. 

Some great resources from... Eric Curtis of Control Alt Achieve

Note- Tony presented at NETA 2019 - so the topics above were all presented live.  His tips and resources rock.  Special thanks to @tonyvincent for allowing me to use his graphics in my posts! 

How To Share Pictures of Student Work with Spark Page. If you are not using the Spark tools... you are missing out.  Check out our help article on how to log in and more about these great tools. 

Google help is great - and the help adapts to what Gsuite product you are in and what you are doing! 


If you want others to only view your Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, or Drawings document, you can cut the clutter by making a Preview link.




📆 How about adding visual cues to your digital calendar with emojis? Since emojis can be entered anywhere you can enter text, you can add emojis to calendars and lesson plans!





💥 Tech tools - Hyperdocs, free templates, free AR app, make Google rock, and more in this weeks tech tips

Friday, March 22, 2019



New feature in GoGuardian product- Quick Links.

I toss this out there, since our district uses GoGuardian. 

In a Teacher Session, teachers may create and apply a Scene to limit student browsing.

In a Scene, teachers may block or allow specific websites.  Many popular educational websites sometimes redirect to other websites in different domains -- Quick Lists accommodates this. Quick Lists are groups of URLs that can be quickly added or removed to a Scene's exceptions list. They can be added to block or allow mode scenes.  More info on quick links can be found here.

If you need help with GoGuardian or have never even started with this great tool - Give Jason a call. If you have not worked with Jason yet... you are in for a treat! HE ROCKS! 

Hyperdocs - Have you jumped on this tool yet?


Learn more about them in this Ditch that Textbook Digital Summit presentation. Hyperdocs are not just a doc with links.  Are students creating and not just consuming with your Hyperdoc? Video here.

Free web tools and sites:

PDF Candy - Awesome free/online FPD tool - Convert, save, rotate, cut, etc... the list goes on,  This is a great site!

Mozilla launches Firefox Send, a free self-destructing file-sharing service - Free, simple password-protect options, private file link, encrypted, ... and more!  





This free online tool uses AI to quickly remove the background from images- A handy utility if you don’t have access to Photoshop! (Works great!) 

Free AR app and tools!
My Very Hungry Caterpillar AR is free for a limited time(IOS app)   If you have not played around with AR - grab this app, your kids will love it too! 


Free Audible News:
Audible: News Digests from NYT, WSJ & The Washington Post are free for  Amazon Prime Members. Details here

Make Google Suite rock with these tools/tips:

25 Good G Suite Add-ons & Chrome Extensions  CHECK IT OUT! - Great list from one of my favorites -   


Google Slides interactive notebooks + 20 activities to fill them CHECK IT OUT! Think out of the box on how to use slides! 



Google Classroom:

 
Can AI help you make your quiz questions for you? 
Give it a try! Automate question creation with Quillionz.  Check out the 5-minute video to see how it works.  So if you’re excited about automating question creation, you’ll want to check out this AI-powered tool. Get started with Quillionz for free!   If you try this, let me know... it looks pretty cool! 

Some great tips from @tonyvincent: Follow him for more great stuff!

Create a QR code that links to a shared Google Drive folder with images you've selected. 


Set a Google Form to give instructions and a clickable link after the form is submitted using the Presentation setting. 


Did you know that you can change the background color of a Google Doc?