Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Holidays!



Thank you for your support in reading my blog throughout the year!  I wish everyone a happy, and healthy 2016!  



Google Apps Update Alert - Sort Smarter



Posted: 12 Nov 2015 01:38 PM PST
Google Drive lets people organize and access their content in a single, secure location. To make it easier for people to find and interact with that content on the web, today’s launch introduces a smarter sorting experience for the ‘Recent’ view in Drive.

drive-recent.png


The new sorting experience removes the existing sorting dropdown options (‘Last modified,’ ‘Last modified by me,’ and ‘Last opened by me’) and replaces them with a dynamically-generated view based on the actions of the person using Drive. Items will continue to be segmented into time-based sections (‘Today,’ ‘Earlier this week,’ etc), and will now indicate whether each item was opened, modified, or uploaded by the user directly in the UI. The smarter sorting ensures that items acted upon by the user are more likely to be shown than items acted upon by other collaborators.

Launch Details
Release track:  
Launching to Rapid release, with Scheduled release coming in two weeks

Rollout pace: 
Full rollout (1-3 days for feature visibility)

Impact: 
All end users

Action:
Change management suggested/FYI

More Information
Help Center

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

My Reflection of the 2015 Computer Science Education Week



Every year in December, there is a nationwide movement to introduce Computer Science Education to students in K-12 schools.  The purpose of this movement is to expose students to computer science concepts, which allows them to identify and solve problems.  At the +William Davies Middle School, this will be my third year implementing this concept with the students, and every year, the students adapt well and excel with the concepts.  

This year Computer Science Education week was December 7th - December 11th, and it was outstanding!  While implementing Computer Science Education in STEM class, I am fortunate to witness students progress throughout the school year.  Not only do the students feel a sense of accomplishment by completing the hands-on activities, but they build upon problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, collaboration and perseverance.  Why perseverance? Because it teaches students a critical part of coding, the troubleshooting and debugging stage.  By writing and testing a program to execute successfully, perseverance will prevail, which will test a student's patience and skills.

In the beginning of the week, we discussed many fundamental concepts of computer programming, such as, vocabulary, logical thinking, and the impact on humans and the environment.  Here is the presentation I displayed to the students, An Introduction to Computer Programming.  

This year +Beth steinen, the Literacy Media and Technology teacher, Malika Green, the STEM teacher, +Michele Petrucci, a 6th grade math teacher, and +Brian Beck, the health teacher, all introduced Computer Science to their students by using Ozobot, the Hour of Code, or CSFirst and Scratch.  It was a great team effort to expose as many students to Computer Science as possible.

I integrated CS First and Scratch with Malika Green in STEM class.  Each grade level used a different platform to code.  The 6th graders used Hour of Code, the 7th graders used the Sound and Music module in CS First, and the 8th graders used the Sports module in CS First.  The CS First platform integrated Scratch into the activities.

Students were required to watch videos in CS First, which introduced important skills, then follow the directions they needed to create a program using Scratch.  They were fully independent and were able to successfully create the programs that were required.  For example, they included conditional and looping commands, sound and visual effects, and narration using speech bubbles.  

The CS First application allowed me to monitor students progress by using the teacher dashboard. Students needed to save and share their program with me, so that I can review it in the dashboard.  Once it was completed, I rewarded them with a badge in their passport.



During the week, I witness students in STEM class complete many of the activities and most of them said they enjoyed coding.  They took ownership and pride in their coding, showed progress by not only completing the activities, but by collaborating with each other.  They demonstrated critical thinking and problem solving skills, and most of all, the confidence and perseverance to continue with the module.  They proved to themselves they were able to code, successfully!

In conclusion, I feel Computer Science Education is such an important skill to introduce or build upon to students for all ages.  It challenges them to overcome and conquer an unfamiliar concept and/or skill.  It allows students to find and solve problems and prepare them for the real world.  With computer science, students are better prepared to face the technological challenges that face them and our society.  They realize that technology is a critical component of our daily lives and more importantly, the component that influences their future.  

Here is a link and below is a slideshow during the week of Computer Science, Enjoy!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Update: New Features of Google Classroom




New Features of Google Classroom has been released this week.  Here is a summary of the updates available in Google Classroom.  If you would like to contribute to feedback to the Google Classroom team simply click on the ? at the bottom of the screen and leave a feedback or suggestion.  The team does read all of the feedback and prioritizes them accordingly.  Enjoy!

  • Export Grades to Google Sheets: In addition to .csv files, you can now export your grades directly to Google Sheets. The Sheets template includes a class average and an average per student. If you have ideas about how we can make this export to Sheets even more useful, please leave us feedback by clicking the question mark at the bottom left of the Classroom page, then choosing “send feedback.” 
  • Easier to update grade point scale: We know not all assignments are out of 100 points. You've always been able to change the point value, but a lot of teachers had trouble finding this feature. So we’ve made it easier to change the grading scale to any number you need it to be. 
  • Keyboard navigation for entering grades: When you’re entering lots of grades, you need a fast way to navigate from student to student. We’ve added the ability to use the up and down arrows to move directly from the grade entry area for one student to another. 
  • Sort by name on grading page: In addition to sorting students by completion status (done, not done), you can now sort by first or last name. 
  • And in case you missed it last month, you can now add a private comment for a student when you’re returning their work. 

Google Apps Update Alert - Gmail Routing




Simplified email routing settings in the Google Apps Admin console
Posted: 15 Dec 2015 12:40 PM PST
The email routing settings in the Admin console allow Google Apps admins to set up default mail routing options across their domain, or for specific organizational units. For example, you may want to route certain incoming mail to different server locations or recipients based on the nature of its content, or require that outbound mail pass through a gateway before being sent for greater security.

These settings provide admins with a high level of granular control, but we realized that they can be complicated to find and use in their current structure in the Admin console. That’s why with today’s launch, we’re taking the first step towards significantly simplifying the experience for email routing settings by adding a new section called Routing under Gmail >Advanced settings > General settings


This new Routing section will consolidate the following existing settings into one location, making them easier to manage: Sending routing, Receiving routing, Outbound gateway, Default routing, and Email routing. The new Routing settings will coexist with your existing routing settings for the short term, and any routing policies previously set will not be impacted.

In the future, we’ll further improve the email routing experience by migrating and consolidating additional existing settings into the new centralized location. Stay tuned for more information on these plans.

Admins creating new email routing policies are encouraged to use the new Routing settings for enhanced functionality. In addition to being easier to use, the new Routing settings will apply to SMTP-relayed messages as well as messages sent to email groups. These features are not available using the previous settings.

Check out the Help Center for more details on the new Routing settings.

Launch Details
Release track:
Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release

Rollout pace: 
Full rollout (1-3 days for feature visibility)

Impact:
Admins only

Action:
Admin action suggested/FYI

More Information
Help Center


Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Google Apps Update Alert - Google Calendar app




Google Apps update alerts

Link to Google Apps update alerts

Posted: 10 Dec 2015 09:01 AM PST
When you’re on the go, you need your calendar events to be up to date. Now, the latest version of the Google Calendar app for Android makes it easy for you to see whether your accounts are properly syncing, and quickly fix them if they aren't.


calendar-account-sync.gif


If sync is turned off for any of your accounts, you'll see the message “Enable sync” in the left side Menu. When you see this message, click on your account's email address to turn sync back on. 

If you're still having problems syncing your events, check out the sync troubleshooting help page

Launch Details
Release track:  
Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release

Rollout pace: 
Full rollout (1-3 days for feature visibility)

Impact: 
All end users

Action:
Change management suggested/FYI

More Information
Help Center
Get the Google Calendar Android app on Google Play

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Google Apps Update: Google Calendar Reminders


Google Apps update alerts

Link to Google Apps update alerts

Posted: 07 Dec 2015 09:13 AM PST
Calendars are great for keeping track of what's next and to-dos are great for keeping track of what needs to get done. But we often manage them separately, so it's hard to see everything that’s going on and prioritize what's important.

Starting today, people using the Google Calendar Android and iOS apps can now create Reminders to keep track of their to-dos alongside their events. Here’s how it works:

Reminders help with the details
Reminders can be created the same way as an event„Ö°by tapping the red Create icon (“+”) in the bottom right corner of the screen. Calendar can then add things like phone numbers and addresses automatically„Ö°using information from your contacts, as well as Google's knowledge graph, to provide a bit of extra help.



Reminders stick around
While events come and go, Reminders stick with you over time so you can track them until they are actually done. If a Reminder isn't completed, it will appear at the top of your Calendar the next day. And all it takes is a quick swipe when you're done.

13_Swipe.gif


Reminders work across Google
In addition to Calendar, you can add and view Reminders from a variety of Google apps: Inbox by Gmail (for any Apps customers in the early adopter program), Google Keep and Google Now. This makes it easy to add a Reminder to your Calendar when you're checking your email or only have time to create a quick note.



People can start creating Reminders today with the latest versions of Calendar on Google Play and the App Store. And don't worry, we're working on bringing Reminders to the web too.

Check out the Help Center for more information.

Launch Details
Release track:  
Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release

Rollout pace: 
Full rollout (1-3 days for feature visibility)

Impact: 
All end users

Action:
Change management suggested/FYI

More Information
Help Center


Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tech Tip Tuesday: Google Drive and MS Office Can Play Nice!



I recently attended a webinar on Office Editing and Google Drive given by +Eric Curts.  I would highly recommend that you sign up for his webinars, by visiting the SPARCC home page.  They are FREE, valuable, and I always learn something new from him. 

Anyway, here is a presentation on my version of his webinar:  Google Drive and Microsoft Office Can Play Nice!  If you have any questions, please comment in my blog and I will do my best to help you.  Thank you!

Enjoy!


Friday, November 20, 2015

Google Apps Update Alert - Google Hangouts



Posted: 19 Nov 2015 09:07 AM PST
Last year, we introduced a new feature for Hangouts on the web allowing Google Apps customers to share links to Hangouts video calls so that external meeting guests may request to join if not explicitly invited. We completed the rollout of this feature across all platforms earlier this year.

Starting today, we’re making this feature even more useful by removing the requirement that guests have a Google account in order to join a Hangouts video call. Here’s how it works: guests without a Google account who have been provided with the video call link by the organizer will be asked to provide their name and then request to join the call.

request-join-guest-hangouts.png

Any attendee from the domain organizing the video call can then allow the guest into the meeting.

hangouts-guest-accept-reject.png

We’re also making this easier for guests who do not use Google Calendar by ensuring a link to the video call is visible in the description of the event.

This new feature is available now for guests joining with a web browser, making it easy for Apps customers using Hangouts to meet with anyone - inside or outside their organization, with or without a Google account. Customers with Chromebox for meetings will also have an even easier method for guests to present content in meeting rooms. Check out the Help Center for more information: 
Hangouts | Chromebox for meetings

Launch Details 
Release track:  
Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release

Rollout pace: 
Full rollout (1-3 days for feature visibility)

Impact: 
All end users

Action:
Change management suggested/FYI

More Information
Help Center: Hangouts | Chromebox for meetings
Google for Work blog post


Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Google Apps Update Alert - A Better Google Plus



Google Apps update alerts

Link to Google Apps update alerts

Posted: 17 Nov 2015 02:05 PM PST
Today we’re rolling out a few updates to Google+ that make it easier to focus on the features our Apps customers tell us they find the most useful. There’s a new homestream to quickly browse through content, Communities that make it easy to safely share ideas and Collections that enable organizations to curate their work and keep it in one easy-to-find place. 

The fully redesigned homestream is built to be fast and simple. The new design makes it easier to use whether you’re at your desk browsing through posts or sharing an update on the go from a smaller mobile device screen. 

Domain-restricted Communities are a popular way for organizations to share content and ideas amongst teammates, with the peace of mind that they’ll stay private. We’ve already seen how a global fashion brand uses Communities to inspire conversation about products and branding among employees across the world and how a Japanese startup is keeping their staff up-to-date as they build a vaccine.

Collections let you keep all your related content in one spot and make it easier to discover and browse. For example, earlier this year we dedicated a week on the Google for Work G+ page to our awesome System Admins. In order to keep all that content together, we put it into a Collection. 

G+_Final_Animation.gif


For more information on the launch check out the Official Google Blog. The new-look Google+ is available on the web today and is coming to iOS and Android later this week.

Launch Details
Release track:  
Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release today on the web and on iOS and Android later this week

Rollout pace: 
Full rollout (1-3 days for feature visibility)

Impact:
All end users

Action:
Change management suggested/FYI

More Information
Help Center
Official Google blog post


Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tech Tip Tuesday: 3 Helpful Extensions, part 6




Have you discovered extensions yet?  The purpose of an extension is that it will extend the functionality of a web page.  They are available in the Chrome web store, and most of them are FREE.  Once you install an extension, it will appear at the top right corner of the Chrome browser.  Each Tuesday, I will introduce three new extensions that I find helpful and I hope you do too.  







Boomerang for Gmail

This FREE extension will give you the capability to schedule emails, and reminders, from your gmail account.  








Boomerang Calendar

This FREE extension  identifies event information as you read your email. It automatically highlights dates and times in the message with information about whether or not you can attend. If the event text is green, you're all clear. Yellow, you have an adjacent event. Red means you have a conflict. No need to switch over to your calendar to check.








Save to Drive

This FREE extension will allow you to save any webpage to your Google Drive.  Simply click on the Drive icon extension, and you can save the image of the entire page, an image of the visible page, the HTML source code, or a web archive.  You can also, right click on links or images, and select save to Drive.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Google Apps Update Alert - Enhancing Functionality for Docs/Sheets for Android





Google Apps update alerts

Link to Google Apps update alerts

Posted: 12 Nov 2015 02:31 PM PST
Commenting is crucial to collaboration amongst your employees. This launch makes it easier for them to work together—even from their mobile devices. In the latest version of the Google Sheets app for Android, users can now add new and reply to existing comments. In the newest Google Docs app for Android, they can now see comments and suggestions in Print Layout view—and then resolve, close, accept, or reject those comments and suggestions—making it simpler to move between their desktop and mobile devices.

android-screenshot-20150928-151019.png

This launch also helps users better create and edit charts in the Sheets app for Android. For instance, if a user a selects a single cell and inserts a chart, we’ll automatically expand that data selection to include the immediately surrounding cells. This will make it easier for users to create robust charts with relevant information. In addition, when an employee creates a new chart, they’ll now see three recommended chart types, which we’ll suggest based on the data they’ve selected.

          


As a bonus, when your employees download the latest version of the Sheets app for Android, they’ll be able to view the more than 400 new fonts added to Sheets on the web earlier this week.

For more information on these new features, check out the Help Center articles below.

Launch Details
Release track: 
Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release

Rollout pace:
Gradual rollout (potentially longer than 3 days for feature visibility)

Impact:
All end users

Action:
Change management suggested/FYI

More Information



















Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Google Apps Update Alert - Restore Calendar Feature




Posted: 05 Nov 2015 09:15 AM PST

Ever deleted a calendar event by mistake and wanted to get it back - just like you can in Gmail and Drive? Now you can: today we’re adding Trash functionality to Google Calendar on the web, providing an easy way for users to view, permanently delete, or restore individual and recurring deleted calendar events. Trash puts calendar users in control by letting them quickly reverse any event mishaps, and limits escalations to Google Apps admins.

trash_gif.gif

Trash is accessible from the calendar's dropdown menu in the "My calendars" section as well as from Calendar Settings. This functionality is available for both primary calendars and secondary calendars for which people have edit rights.

Admins can track events restored or removed from Trash within their domain using Calendar Audit logs in the Admin console.

Check out the Help Center for more information.

Note: The first time a user deletes an event from a shared calendar after the launch, a one-time email notification will be sent to them from Google Calendar, explaining the Trash options and details around sharing settings.

Launch Details
Release track:  
Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release

Rollout pace: 
Full rollout (1-3 days for feature visibility)

Impact: 
All end users

Action:
Change management suggested/FYI

More Information
Help Center


Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

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Launch detail categories
Get these product update alerts by email
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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tech Tip Tuesday - 3 Helpful Extensions, Part 5



Have you discovered extensions yet?  The purpose of an extension is that it will extend the functionality of a web page.  They are available in the Chrome web store, and most of them are FREE.  Once you install an extension, it will appear at the top right corner of the Chrome browser.  Each Tuesday, I will introduce three new extensions that I find helpful and I hope you do too.  




It will allow you to display two or more websites in one tab.  This will allow you to watch a video in one window and take notes in the other window.  I use this extension often and I find it very helpful.





This extension is awesome!  It allows you to push any website to your students who are in your Google Classroom class.  This extension saves times and directs students to the website easy!



This extension will allow you to perform a one to one conversation or a group conversation through instant message, or video call.  


Google Apps Update Alert - Gmail Search is Improved




Posted: 09 Nov 2015 11:44 AM PST
Sometimes emails are mistakenly marked as spam or put into Trash, and they can be difficult to discover via search. To help address this issue, Gmail will now search in both the Trash and Spam folders (only Trash was indexed previously). If a match is found, a footer at the bottom of search results will indicate the match and direct the user to view the messages.

trash-spam-footer.png



In addition, if a search query is too general to return useful search results, a different footer will now be shown guiding the user to try refining their query using Gmail advanced search.

advanced-search-footer.png



Launch Details

Release track:Launching to Rapid release, with Scheduled release coming in two weeks
Rollout pace: Full rollout (1-3 days for feature visibility)
Impact: All end users Action: Change management suggested/FYI

More Information

Help Center