Laptop users using the Google Drive app to sync

The end of the Google Drive app used to sync your Google Drive folder on your laptop to the cloud is near. It will stop working on Saturday, May 12th. Google has a replacement, Google Drive File Stream, which I’ve already written about.

We will be sending out directions this week on moving to Google Drive File Stream. It is a three part process, one is to upgrade macOS on your laptop to 10.12, second is running the Google Drive File Stream app, and the third is logging out of the current Google Drive app. More directions will be posted this week. If you have any questions, feel free to email or send a help desk to helpdesk@kentoncityschools.org.

New look for Gmail is now available

Google is rolling out a new look for Gmail, with new features.

Besides the new look, there are a few new features that make working in Gmail pretty awesome.

Email snoozing

Emails may now be snoozed until a later time. This will remove the email from your inbox and make it pop back up at a later time.

When a message is open, click on the clock icon to snooze the email.

Show your calendar

Click on the calendar icon on the right to show your calendar.

Access to Google Keep notes

Search your notes or create new notes by clicking on the Google Keep icon on the right. When you create a note with an email open a link to the email is included in the note.

Better offline access

Gmail works better without an internet connection.

Getting started

From the gear menu in Gmail, click on Try the new Kenton City Schools Mail.

Let me know if you have any questions!

The Google Drive app is going away, Google Drive File Stream is the replacement

On May 12th, the Google Drive app on the laptops and desktops will stop working. Before that happens, we will have moved you to Google Drive File Stream.

Definitions

Google Drive: Google’s cloud storage service. Files stored in the cloud and made accessible at https://drive.google.com.

Google Drive App: This is an application that syncs the Google Drive cloud storage with a folder on your local machine. Anything saved in the folder is automatically uploaded to Google for safe keeping. This allows you to have back up copies made of your files for you automatically. You also have access to your files from any machine that has an internet connection. The Google Drive App is going away.

Google Drive File Stream: Google’s replacement for the Google Drive App. The main difference is that Google Drive File Stream does not keep copies of everything on the local machine. It syncs the files that you are working with, and not everything. Also, Google Drive File Stream is a separate drive on your local machine, not a folder.

The other difference is that Google Drive File Stream gives you access to Team Drives.

What’s the difference?

Google Drive App is currently being used to sync your Google Drive to your local machine. It stores your files in the cloud and also stores copies on your local hard drive. This arrangement has a few issues:

  • By default, all of your files are synced to your local drive. This can be an issue if you are taking advantage of the unlimited space Google gives us in Google Drive.
  • There is no access to files stored in Team Drives.
  • With the Google Drive App, you interact with a folder. Google Drive File Stream uses a drive and on the Macs show an icon on the desktop.

For Chromebook users, nothing changes.

The upcoming switch

The technology department is currently working on procedures to help you switch to Google Drive File Stream. There will be an announcement when we’re ready for you to upgrade and switch to Google Drive File Stream.

New Google Calendar coming soon

Google is rolling out a new interface for Google Calendar.

Google Calendar is currently set to default to the classic calendar, with the new calendar an option. If you would like to check out the new calendar, there is a blue button rolling out to users that will allow you to Use new Calendar.

Clicking on the Use new Calendar button will give you the new Google Calendar interface. To revert back to the old interface, click the gear icon in the upper right and select Back to classic Calendar.

The classic calendar will be available until February, at which time the new Google Calendar interface will become the default and the classic calendar will no longer be available.

For more help with the new Google Calendar, check out the help page from Google.

Sharing your class roster in MobyMax

Anyway, I’ve had several questions about student management, especially with shared students. If you can’t add a student, that student may be already be registered in another class.

Under classroom tools, click Roster:
On the right side, click on Share students.

There are two tabs:
You can share your students with another teacher under From your roster to another teacher.

Under To your roster from another teacher you can see the students registered with another teacher, and add them to your roster.

How to fix issues with SMI pausing or freezing

Math Inventory has been having some issues with students not being able to complete tests, so I dug into it to see what the problem was. Apparently, SMI requires Flash to be unblocked. What is happening is that after approximately 5 questions, SMI provides audio feedback to the student. This audio is delivered with Flash, but if Flash is blocked, the window just sits there. To fix the issue, the student has to unblock flash.

How to know Flash is unblocked

Once the student logs into SMI, they are greeted with a welcome screen.

If the student doesn’t hear a woman’s voice welcoming them back, then Flash is blocked and SMI will freeze on the student.

Unblocking Flash

To unblock Flash, click on the puzzle piece in the toolbar in the upper right corner:

Click on Run all plugins this time, and the student will now hear the woman’s voice. From this point forward, the student won’t have any problems with SMI pausing or freezing.

RAZ Kids, no sound on Chromebook.

To fix the issue of  Reading A-Z kids having no sound is coming out of the computer when it should be reading the book to the student follow these steps.

  1. From the Chrome window click on the 3 dot menu as shown below and select settings.
  2. Next Click on the install buttons for “Proprietary Codecs” and “Widevine Content Decryption Module”
  3. Log out and RESTART.

Mark up and complete forms in PDF with Xodo

A new extension has been pushed out to Chrome and the Chromebooks, the XODO PDF Reader & Annotator.

Here is a list of what XODO PDF Reader & Annotator can do:

  1. Annotation options
  2. Merge PDFs
  3. Organize pages: insert, delete, reorder, and rotate pages
  4. Access PDFs on Google Drive
  5. Online collaboration
  6. Multiple view modes and flexible zoom

When a PDF is opened in XODO, there is a toolbar that runs across the top of the page and a list of thumbnails running down the left side showing every page in the document.

The tools allow you to highlight text, cross out text, draw a squiggly line under the text, free hand draw, insert shapes, add comments and more. PDFs in XODO can also be shared so multiple students can collaborate on the same document.

If you are signed into Chrome or are using a Chromebook, the extension is automatically loaded and will run when you open a PDF with Chrome.

Using it in your class

You can now email or share PDFs with your students, and your students will be able to annotate and write on the PDFs. Pretty much like a high tech worksheet.

Using the SAMR model, this usage is at the Enhancement/Substitution level. At this level, tech is being used as a direct replacement for work in the classroom. But in this case, using the Chromebooks for completing worksheets allows the students practice with the trackpad and keyboard.