Increased security of school data on your smartphone

You may have noticed some additional restrictions on your smartphone regarding using your school Google account on your phone. A side effect of setting up Android apps on Chromebooks was the implementation of restrictions before you can use your school Google account on the phone.

iPhone users

The Google apps (Gmail, Google Calendar, Drive, etc.) now require you to have a passcode on your device. This is good advice in general. Go to Settings to set your passcode. If your phone is an iPhone 5S or new, you can also set up Touch ID.

Android users

Google will push a Device Policy app to your phone. You will need to install the app to use your school Google account on your phone. This application verifies that certain security precautions are taken on your phone (such as the use of a passcode) and also gives you the ability to locate and/or wipe the device if it is lost or stolen.


These are security precautions to guard against unauthorized use of school data and to protect against data loss.

Google’s phishing warnings in Gmail

I’ve been asked about a warning showing up in Gmail that looks like this:

It is part of Google’s anti-phishing campaign to warn Gmail users when an email may not be what it claims. In this case, Public Schoolworks sends out informational emails with Mrs. Penczarski’s name attached to it. Since Gmail hasn’t seen an email from Mrs. Penczarski with the Public Schoolworks email address, Gmail warns you to be careful.

In this particular instance, it is a valid email. Others may not be, so you will need to scrutinize emails when the phishing warning is displayed. Also, be especially wary of clicking on any links or sending a reply. When in doubt, forward me the email and I’ll check it out.

Poster printing for the classroom

Guarded by the sacred Yoda statue is the HP Design Jet T520 24in wide format printer. With it, we can print documents up to 24″ wide by 36″ long.

To have a document turned into a poster send an email to and attach the document you would like to be printed (PDF”s preferred), number of copies, and size. Also if its time sensitive.

The siizes available are:

  • Medium 13.5″ x 18″
  • Large 18″ x 24″
  • Extra Large 24″ x 36″





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.

Google Groups for staff classes have been created

Each staff member at Kenton City Schools will have a Google Group created for each of their classes.

To see your groups and check who is in the group, you can visit Google Groups. The class Google Groups have a description that start with Class Google Groups – and then your StudentInformation teacher code followed by a number.

Your StudentInformation teacher code is a four or five letter code that usually starts with the first two or three letters of your last name. You will have several Google Groups for your classes.

Here are my Class Google Groups:

The first one, cory, is a group for all of my students. Then I have cory-02 and cory-03, which corresponds with my second and third period class.

To use the group, you can email or share from Google drive with your group by appending to the end of the short name. So if I want to send an email to all of my students, I would send it to cory @ If I want to share a document with my third period class, I would share it with cory-03 @

Check your groups out, and if you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask! Oh, and if there are any changes to your groups, let me know and I’ll sync the group. If you had or remove someone, they may return the next time I sync!