Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

Welcome to my technology blog.
Follow me on Twitter, @noelerskine
Noel's Home Page

💥 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:

💥 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:

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:

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:

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 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 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 .

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 

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 - 
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!