#FirstDayofClassroom

As the summer break comes to an end and educators begin preparations for the return of students (and with some already in session), now seems like a good time to chat about the benefits that Google Classroom can have on your class. Google has been hard at work during the summer hiatus listening to the feedback they’ve received from educators like you and have introduced significant improvements to the app. We will spend the next weeks going over these changes, some of which are very, very cool!

To begin, Google has announced a new resource for educators called #FirstDayofClassroom, which has a little something for everyone.

  • If you’re new to Classroom, then check out “The Basics” with YouTube videos that cover setting up your class, adding students, assigning work, and grading assignments inside of Classroom.
  • If you’ve tried Classroom before and are looking for the next steps, then check out the “Teacher’s Lounge” with videos on tips, tricks, and best practices from fellow educators.

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  • Do you prefer documents over videos that you can print out and have in-hand at a moment’s notice? Then scroll down to the “Handy Guides” section.

screenshot of 3 PDF guides available for download

If you or someone you know is new to Google Classroom then this site is definitely bookmark-worthy. If you are familiar with Classroom or perhaps even a veteran, then check back often for news and updates as additional resources and support materials are in the works.

 

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On The Chromebook: Security w/Updates

Device and account security are both critical components to anyone who uses technology. Starting last week, we will focus on this topic with tips that will cover how to keep your Chromebook secure and up-to-date as well as how to make sure your account and private information are safe.


Part 2: Chromebook Updates

Chromebook updates help protect your device from viruses and malware, and give you access to important updates and new features inside of the G Suite list of apps.

Automatic Updates

Your Chromebook is set to check for updates automatically and download them in the background. However, to install an update the Chromebook does require your help by rebooting the device.

  • Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 5.59.21 PM.pngWhen an update is ready to install, the Chromebook will notify you by displaying a vertical arrow in the bottom-right corner of the screen near the clock display.
  • Click the arrow to access the ‘Restart to update’ prompt. This will close all windows, tabs, and applications you have running.

Check for updates yourself

  • Open Chromebook Settings
  • At the top of the Settings window, click on the ‘About Chrome OS’ link

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  • From the ‘About’ window, your Chromebook will display the current version installed.
  • Click the “Check for and apply updates” to manually start the update process.
  • When the download is complete, a restart of the device will complete the update process.

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A couple of weeks ago I was setting up for a professional development session and for some reason I was unable to get my Chromebook to mirror its screen on the classroom display. Well, it sort of did in that I could see and control my cursor, but with pitch black being my only background color. I tried what felt like everything on both the Chromebook and the presentation equipment with no luck. Then, just for fun I did a manual check for updates on the Chromebook and lo and behold there was one. And you know what happened next, right? Yeah, the update fixed the mirroring problem…go figure.

On The Chromebook: Security w/the Lock Screen

Device and account security are both critical components to anyone who uses technology. The next few weeks will center around this topic with tips that will cover how to keep your Chromebook secure and up-to-date as well as how to make sure your account and private information are also safe.


Part 1: The Lock Screen

The lock screen will secure access to your device and the data within any of your open applications without having to shut your device down.

Option #1: Keyboard shortcut:

  • Lock the screen at a moment’s notice
  • Unlock your screen by entering your GSuite password

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Option #2: Require password to wake from sleep:

  • Lock the screen automatically when you close the Chromebook lid
  • When lid is opened, you will be prompted to enter your GSuite password to continue
  • To setup, go to Settings -> People -> Check of the box (see image below)

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This security works best when you use a password that is strong (i.e. a mixture of capitals, numbers, and symbols) and that you do not share it with anyone else.

Adding Shared Items to Google Classroom Error

ADD button in gClassroomOne of the many features found inside of Google Classroom is the ability for students to ‘ADD’ additional artifacts to an assignment. This is a valuable tool as it allows students to demonstrate their understanding and ability to meet the standard(s) using a wide variety of tools and then attach the artifacts to the assignment. This option is so important that the first assignment I give to my students is to practice using this tool by ADDING a screenshot of their favorite Chromebook app.

The effectiveness of this tool came into question recently when a student attempted to ADD a Google Doc that was shared with their partner. The student who created the gDoc, (i.e. the owner) was able to successfully ADD the shared file to the Classroom assignment. However, not only was their partner (i.e. with ‘Can edit’ access) unable to ADD the shared file but could not even find the gDoc, even though they confirmed that the file was in their Google Drive.

What the Google is going on?

Thanks to some ingenious troubleshooting by a pair of 6th grade students, we discovered that a student may only ADD a file to an assignment in Classroom if they are the owner of that file. So, this is what the girls did:

  1. Student A, who created the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.
  2. She then went to the gDoc in Drive and used the Share tool to transfer ownership of the file to her partner, student B.
  3. Student B, now the owner of the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.

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Now, some may say that this is only a minor inconvenient issue. However, not knowing why both project partners cannot attach a shared file to an assignment has caused frustration for several of my students. Plus, I can’t help but brag just a little bit for the two students whose independent troubleshooting solved this mystery for us.

Embed Videos w/Google Drawings

Embedding videos inside of Google products has sometimes been an absolute bear to achieve. For example, if you wanted to embed or ‘Insert’ a video into a Google Slides presentation then the video had to be accessible via YouTube. However, if you give Google some time and engage in that age-old practice of patience then things can change, like how now you can embed video files into a slide from Google Drive. Here’s the thing, if you can do this then you can embed a video into a Google Doc.

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I know, I know, there is not Insert -> Video… option inside of Google Docs. But, there is the option to insert a Google Drawing and this is your “IN”. Thanks to Joli Boucher over at Flipped Tech Coaching, here is a video that will walk you through the process.

This work around has great potential for those who are getting into creating HyperDocs and now HyperDrawings. It allows teachers and students to interact with different types of media without having to jump between tabs or windows. That is, until Google gets around to adding the Insert -> Video… option into Google Docs.

~”If you send them feedback, they might just make it happen.”