Monday, August 25, 2014

Video: Baby Got Class (Welcome back to school!)

GTSD Google Apps: Account Verification

Login Challenge
This summer Google made account verification a default security feature for almost all Google Apps customers. To the right is a sample screen capture of the verification pop-up box.

This should NOT impact students and staff logging in to their GTSD accounts.
K-12 EDU users will be asked to enter their usual login location when a suspicious login is detected. We will not attempt to verify the account by phone, and these users will not see the interstitial page that asks to verify their phone number.

While it was promised that K-12 EDU accounts would not be effected by this change, there were some hiccups during the initial roll out. If you or your students experience a request to verify identify using SMS or phone, please contact a member of the district Tech Team with the effected usernames.

To read more about this security update visit the Google Help page titled "Login Challenge for suspicious sign-ins."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Google Apps: Homework Calendar

Google Calendar can be an excellent tool to help students keep track of class deadlines and homework assignments.

Tips for Teachers
  • Create a new calendar (do not use the default calendar provided by Google calendar). Give it a short, but appropriate name.
  • Adding events, reminders, deadlines:
    • Set the Event Date as the due date or event date. Avoid adding times unless necessary as they may clutter the view.
    • Enter basic information into the Description box.
    • Attach related documents to the event.
    • Embed the calendar to your class wiki or web page.
    • Invite students to subscribe to the calendar using their Google Apps account. (students may also incorporate the calendar on their personal device, see here for basic guidelines).

Tips for Students
  • Log in to their school Google Apps account.
  • Visit the class page, click +Google calendar image to subscribe.
  • Students will now have the homework calendar accessible through their Google calendar account.
  • Encourage students to set reminders for this calendar. The notification settings will only apply to the individual student, not anyone else who subscribes to the calendar.
  • Students who wish to receive reminders via SMS will need to register their phone with Google calendar (process takes less than one minute).
    • To set reminders for all calendar events, click the down arrow next to the calendar name.
    • Choose Reminders and Notifications
    • At the top of the page, select Add a Reminder, select Email, Popup, or SMS.
    • Reminders for full day events (how most deadline and homework events will appear) are sent at 5pm the day before the event. So a reminder set for 10 minutes before the event will be sent at 4:50pm the day before.

Suggested Lab to Enable
  • Use 'Event Flair' paired with 'Event Attachments' to let students know when there is attachment with an event.

Note regarding iCalendar
Subscribing to a Google calendar can be a bit tricky when using iCalendar. Visit this useful Google guide to find step by step instructions.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Books: New York State

What's Great about New York?
by Ann Malaspina
to be published September 1, 2014 by Lerner
Fantastic visuals, readers are made to feel as though they are truly visiting the state. Begins with several pages on New York City, then moving to Cooperstown, Erie Canal, and Niagara. Highlights the state as it is today, with some information about the history of notable locations. This is not a book for students interested in the history of New York, instead this is an excellent resource for students curious about the Big Apple. Includes glossary, map, fact list, additional resources (print and digital), index. Recommended for elementary libraries.

Advanced reader copy received through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Google Apps: Suggested Edits

Google recently announced a new feature for Google Docs that I believe teachers will find very helpful when providing feedback. In addition to offering suggestions through Comments in student documents, anyone with Comment access or greater can also add inline suggested edits.

To view the document without suggested edits, select Viewing. Suggestions are hidden from view allowing creators to view and publish a clean version of their work.

The option can be turned on by selected the new Editing button that appears on the far-right of the tool bar. Once enabled, anything typed will be considered a suggestion, and therefore made permanent or removed with one click by the document owner. Suggested changes are visually different: text color matches the user's cursor and color band below the avatar. A comment box appears at the right highlighting the edit location while also allowing a discussion.

This new feature has also solved one of my smaller gripes with the comment feature. While not something I require for all projects, occasionally I would like to permanently document the suggestions I offer students. When in Suggesting mode, the suggested edits do appear when the document is printed. Unfortunately the sidebar discussion is still not included.

Connect with a colleague to experiment with this new feature. Or, visit this document and try it out (no login required, Comment permissions set). GTSD staff are invited to contact Mrs. Bond to discuss how to use this and other Google Apps tools with students.