Friday, September 15, 2017

Using the "Share" button icons to quickly check Doc sharing levels

If you use Google Docs (and Sheets and Slides), you've most likely used the ever present blue "Share" button quite a bit. Sharing a Doc, Sheet, or Slide allows you to easily collaborate with others or simply share information. However, it's important for ALL staff to be careful and mindful not to share confidential or sensitive information with anyone that does not have a legitimate need (and legal right) to have access to it.

Did you know that the icon that is displayed on the blue "Share" button actually can give you a good overview of if and how widely a Doc, Sheet, or Slide is shared?

Below is a simple guide to what those icons mean:

Private

If a "padlock" icon is displayed on the "Share" button, the Doc, Sheet, or Slide is not currently shared with anyone. This is the default for all newly created Docs, Sheets, and Slides and is the most private and secure option.

This is how it looks in the "Sharing settings"


Shared with specific people

If a "people" icon (two heads) is displayed on the "Share" button, the Doc, Sheet, or Slide is currently shared with specific people (or a specific person). The creator of the document must make a purposeful decision to share it with specific people by clicking the "Share" button and entering their email addresses. The specific people have either "View", "Comment", or "Edit" access, depending upon the level given by the document creator. This is the ONLY secure way to share confidential or sensitive information!

This is how it looks in the "Sharing settings"


Smithfield Public School can find and access

If a "building" icon is displayed on the "Share" button, the Doc, Sheet, or Slide is currently shared with all users within Smithfield Public Schools. This includes Smithfield STUDENTS. Be careful when using this option and it should NEVER be used with confidential or sensitive information! This is a good option for documents that should be accessible for all Smithfield staff and students, but don't necessarily need to be public.
This is how it looks in the "Sharing settings"


Anyone with the link

If a "person with a link" icon is displayed on the "Share" button, the Doc, Sheet, or Slide is currently shared and accessible publicly on the internet. This means that ANYONE who clicks the link can access the document. This option should NEVER be used with confidential or sensitive information! This is a good option for documents that should be publicly available, but there really isn't a reason to make the documents findable using any internet search engine (e.g. Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.)
This is how it looks in the "Sharing settings"


Public on the web

If a "globe" icon is displayed on the "Share" button, the Doc, Sheet, or Slide is currently shared and accessible publicly on the internet. These documents also can be found by using any internet search engine (e.g. Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.) This option should NEVER be used with confidential or sensitive information! This is a good option for documents that should be publicly available (e.g. open meeting minutes).
This is how it looks in the "Sharing settings"


Hopefully, this helps you more quickly identify the sharing level of your Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Coming next, a deeper dive into the "Sharing settings" themselves and how you can utilize them.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Starting off the new school year with Google Classroom

As we start the 2017-18 school year, it's a great time to start fresh with Google Classroom, even if you haven't used it in the past. If you have students with Chromebooks, Classroom is an efficient way to organize and facilitate how you and your students work and collaborate together. Here are just a few ways you can use Classroom to integrate and utilize technology with your students:
  1. Organize important information and resources where all students can easily access them
  2. Quickly share links to websites for your students
  3. Post questions for whole class or small group discussion
  4. Integrate quick formative assessments into lessons and get instant access to student responses
  5. Electronically distribute and collect assignments
  6. Provide meaningful feedback on student work more quickly
  7. Differentiate tasks, questions, and assignments to flexible groups of students
  8. Keep parents and guardians involved with what is happening in class
Google has created a new Training and Resource site specifically to help teachers get up and running with Classroom. Check out some of the tutorials and we will be sending out lots of additional tips and tricks during the first few weeks of school!





Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Accessing the PARCC Practice Tests

If you would like to use the PARCC Practice Tests and Tutorials with your students, here are instructions on how to use the TestNav app on a Chromebook to access the PARCC Practice Tests. You can also share the Practice Tests with parents by sending them a link to http://parcc.pearson.com/practice-tests/
  1. IMPORTANT: Students should NOT login to the Chromebook using their Smithfield Google account. Instead, students need to click the “Apps” button at the bottom of the screen and click “TestNav”
  2. If the Chromebook has NEVER been used for PARCC testing or the PARCC Practice Tests, the students will see a screen asking them to select their assigned test. The students need to choose “PARCC Training”. IF the students do NOT see a screen asking them to select their assigned test, skip to Step 4
  3. A “Sign In” screen will appear. Students need to verify that “PARCC Training” appears at the top. If it doesn’t, they will need to re-select the assigned test in the next step
  4. IF the students do NOT see “PARCC Training” displayed at the top of the “Sign In” screen, they will need to click on the “Person” icon at the top of the screen and click “Choose a different customer”. The students will then need to select “PARCC Training” (STEP 2)
  5. At the PARCC Training Sign In screen, click the "Practice Tests" link
  6. Select a Content Area, select a grade level, and select a test unit
  7. Click "Start Test Now" (no need to enter a name)
  8. Click "Start Section"
  9. Once students are done with the Practice Test, they should click on the User Dropdown Menu (the person icon) and click "Sign out of TestNav"
  10. To exit the TestNav app, students should hold down the power button on the Chromebook until the screen goes black

Monday, March 27, 2017

3 Steps to Make Sure Chromebooks are Ready for Testing

In order to reduce possible technology issues during testing, it's important to check a few things on the students' Chromebooks to make sure that they are ready to go. There are three things to check; making sure that the Chromebooks are up to date, making sure the Pearson TestNav app is working, and making sure that the Chromebooks' headphone jacks are working. The steps are easy to follow, so you can absolutely work with your students and have them check their own Chromebooks. Here's how:

#1, Make sure that Chromebooks are up to date

Chromebooks typically update themselves automatically, however we have noticed that students (and staff) do not restart their Chromebooks very often which can delay the installation of an update. Here's how to manually check for updates:
  1. Login to the Chromebook
  2. Click the status area, where the clock and your user account picture appears
  3. Click the "Settings" option (the gear icon)
  4. Click on "About Chrome OS" at the top of the window
  5. Click "Check for and apply updates"
  6. If an update is available, it will begin downloading. When the update is downloading, you can let it continue in the background while you use the Chromebook (Drive, Classroom, Mail, etc.)
  7. When the update has finished downloading and is ready to install, an "Arrow" icon will appear in the status area next to the clock. Click the "Arrow"
  8. Click the "Restart to update" to install the update. The process will take 10-15 seconds and then you will be able to log back into the Chromebook
  9. Repeat this process until there aren't any more updates to install

#2, Make sure the Pearson TestNav app is working properly on each Chromebook

The Pearson TestNav should be automatically installed on each district Chromebook (it is not installed on a student's or staff member's personally owned Chromebook or device). However, it's important for each student to check to make sure that the app is working properly WELL BEFORE testing is scheduled to begin. Here's to how to check the Pearson TestNav app:
  1. Make sure that the Chromebook is at the login screen. If a student is logged in, they will need to sign out
  2. Click the “Apps” button at the very bottom of the screen and click “TestNav”
  3. If the Chromebook has NEVER been used for PARCC testing in the past or for the PARCC Practice Tests, the students will see a screen asking them to select their state. Students should click "Rhode Island"
  4. A “Sign In” screen will appear with "Rhode Island" at the top. The Chromebook is all set to use the Pearson TestNav app for PARCC testing. Skip to Section #3
  5. If the Chromebook has been used for PARCC testing in the past, the TestNav app MAY open directly to the "Rhode Island" Sign In screen. If the TestNav app opens directly to the "Rhode Island" Sign In screen, Chromebook is all set to use the Pearson TestNav app for PARCC testing. Skip to Section #3
  6. If the TestNav app opens to the "PARCC Training" Sign In screen OR opens to another state's Sign In screen, click on the “Person” icon at the top of the screen and select "Choose a different customer"
  7. Click on "Rhode Island"
  8. A “Sign In” screen will appear with "Rhode Island" at the top. The Chromebook is all set to use the Pearson TestNav app for PARCC testing

#3, Make sure that each Chromebook's headphone jack is working properly

Students will be required to use earbuds or headphones for portions of the PARCC test in order to hear audio and video passages. It's important for each student to check to make sure that the headphone jack of their Chromebook is working properly WELL BEFORE testing is scheduled to begin. Here's how each student can check the headphone jack of their Chromebook:
  1. Make sure that the Chromebook is at the login screen. If a student is logged in, they will need to sign out
  2. Click the “Apps” button at the very bottom of the screen and click “TestNav”
  3. The TestNav app should open to the Rhode Island Sign In screen
  4. Plug-in a pair of headphones or earbuds into the Chromebook headphone jack
  5. Click the "Test audio" link on the TestNav "Sign In" screen and listen in the headphones/earbuds for the test sound
  6. If the student is able to hear the test sound through the headphones/earbuds, the Chromebook's headphone jack is ready for PARCC testing
  7. If the student CANNOT hear the test sound, hold down the "Volume up" key on the keyboard to increase the volume and then click the "Test audio" link again
  8. If the student still CANNOT hear the test sound, try trying a set of headphones/earbuds that are known to be working with another Chromebook
  9. If the student still CANNOT hear the test sound with the second set of headphones/earbuds, please let the technology department know so we can address the issue

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Transfer Pictures and Videos from a GoPro Camera to Google Drive

One of the nice things about using a GoPro camera with your Chromebook is that it is very easy to transfer pictures and videos from the camera to your Google Drive. You don't need to install any special software. All you need is the GoPro camera, the USB cable that came with the camera, and a Chromebook.

Here are two methods on how to transfer pictures and videos. Choose whichever method works best for you and your students.

Using the Chromebook "Files" App

  1. Power on the GoPro camera
  2. Connect the GoPro camera to the Chromebook using the included USB cable
  3. The "Files" app on the Chromebook should open automatically and the GoPro camera will appear on the left side of the window. All of the pictures and videos are stored within the "100GOPRO" folder which is within the "DCIM" folder
  4. Highlight the pictures (JPG files) and the videos (MP4 files) that you would like to transfer to your Google Drive. If you hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard while you click, you can select multiple pictures and videos. Drag the highlighted pictures and videos to "My Drive" on the left side of the window
  5. On the left you will see the progress of the transfer of the files. Keep in mind that videos can be VERY large, so the transfer can take a while!
  6. Once the transfer is complete, you can open your Google Drive and see the pictures and videos that were transferred. You MAY want to consider creating a "GoPro" folder within your Google Drive to organize the pictures and videos


Uploading Pictures and Videos Directly into Google Drive

  1. Power on the GoPro camera
  2. Connect the GoPro camera to the Chromebook using the included USB cable
  3. The "Files" app on the Chromebook should open automatically and the GoPro camera will appear on the left side of the window. All of the pictures and videos are stored within the "100GOPRO" folder which is within the "DCIM" folder. You can safely close the Files app
  4. Open your Google Drive

    OR
  5. Click "New" and select "File upload"
  6. Select the GoPro camera on the left. Open the "DCIM" folder and open the "100GOPRO" folder to view the pictures and videos

  7. Highlight the pictures (JPG files) and the videos (MP4 files) that you would like to transfer to your Google Drive. If you hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard while you click, you can select multiple pictures and videos. Click "Open"
  8. On the lower right of the screem, you will see the progress of the transfer of the files. Keep in mind that videos can be VERY large, so the transfer can take a while!
  9. Once the transfer is complete, you should see the pictures and videos that were transferred. You MAY want to consider creating a "GoPro" folder within your Google Drive to organize the pictures and videos