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.
- 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.
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.
Device and account security are both critical components to anyone who uses technology. The past few weeks have centered around this topic with tips that covered how to keep your Chromebook secure and up-to-date. For my final post in this series, we will examine how to access and review the activity on our mail account.
Part 4: Gmail Activity Information
Many of us login to our Gmail account from multiple devices, sometimes even from “shared” devices like a computer lab terminal or shared workstation. When this does happen, do you make sure that you sign-out of your account each time? Google provides a way to examine your Gmail account activity and, more importantly, force logout of all Gmail sessions that may still be active.
- Open the Gmail app
- Scroll to the bottom of your window and in the bottom-right corner locate the heading “Last account activity” and click on the Details link.
- Here you can review the activity displayed. If anything looks suspicious, then you can click the ‘Sign out all other web sessions’ to force sign-out of your Google account on all devices that have been used to access your mail account.
- It is highly recommended that at this point you consider changing your account password to prevent any future unauthorized access.
- Before closing the window, scroll down to the bottom and locate the “Alert preference” heading. By clicking the ‘change’ link, you can configure this setting to notify you if any unusual activity is detected in the future.
Device and account security are both critical components to anyone who uses technology. The past few weeks have centered around this topic with tips that 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 3: Account Checkup
Conducting a periodic security checkup of your Google account allows you to review devices that have connected to your account, disable account access for apps whose sign-in protocols may not be up-to-date, and check that only the apps and websites that you have authorized have access to your account.
- From any Google App, go to the top-right corner of the window and click on your account avatar.
- From the pop-up window, click on the ‘My Account’ button.
- Under Sign-in & security, look for the Security Checkup tool and click the GET STARTED link to begin.
Once inside of the Security Checkup, you will be asked to review three important account settings:
- Check your connected devices – View a list of all of the devices that have accessed your Google account. If you recognize all of the devices on the list, then everything “Looks good.” If you see a device that you do not recognize, then click the “Something looks wrong” button and you will be prompted to change your account password.
- Disable access for less secure apps – One of the features your Google account has is its ability to interface with different apps and services. However, not all of these use secure sign-in technology. This setting allows you to deny these less secure apps and services access to your account.
- Check your account permissions – This setting asks you to review ALL apps, websites, and services that have access to your account. For each item listed you can examine what account information it has access to, when authorization was granted, and the option to remove it from the approval list. If you need to access one of these services later on, then you can grant them access to your account again.
Performing a security checkup on your Google account on a regular basis, perhaps once a month, is a good way to stay informed with where your account is being used and who it is interacting with.
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.
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.
- When 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
- 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.
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.
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
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)
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.
One 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:
- Student A, who created the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.
- She then went to the gDoc in Drive and used the Share tool to transfer ownership of the file to her partner, student B.
- Student B, now the owner of the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.
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.
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.
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.”