digital tools

Great updates to Google Classroom

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Love that assigning different content to individual students now is an option.

Updates to Google Classroom

RT @csheil Missed #NHGEG

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RT @csheil Missed #NHGEG hangout on new #GoogleSites? Check it out @TeachingForward @jllowton @mmarotta #gsuiteedu

How to Backup your Google Drive with Google Takeout

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How to Backup your Google Drive with Google Takeout

  1. Select the items you would like included in your backup.Takout to Download your data.png
  2. Click Next at the bottom
  3. Choose how you would like your .zip backup file sent: Via email (could be huge and fill your inbox) or in your Google Drive (preferred method).takeout2  Download your data.png
  4. go back to Google Drive after while and type *.zip in the search box.

Right-click on the file and choose Download to load on to a USB Drive, Computer other Drive  to save your backup.
Screenshot 2015-01-23 at 10.44.12 AM.png

How to Set a Google Document Link That Forces Each User to Make a Copy

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How to Set a Google Document Link That Forces Each User to Make a Copy

  1. When finishing a Google Document, go to the blue share square
  2. Change the link permission to Anyone with the link can View
  3. Do not copy this link. It’s not the one you want
  4. Go to the link at the top of your document and find the word “edit” in the link
  5. Erase the word “edit” and change it to say “copy”
  6. Copy the entire new link
  7. Paste it in a new window or tab to test it.
    Here is an example:
  8. When another person/student uses the link and clicks the blue Make a Copy button, it will automatically save their copy into their Drive.

How to Share Access to a Google Document with Others

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How to Share Access to a Google Document with Others

Step-by-step instructions on how to share something from your Google Drive with another person.

You can share out access to a Google file or folder either with a web link or by using the Gmail/Google Docs email address of the person you wish to share access with.

Sharing a file with an email address or mailing list from your Google Docs/ Drive list

  1. Go to and log in. (Same as going to the old Google Docs, just a new name)
  2. Check the box next to the file or folder you’d like to share by clicking on the icon to the left of each..
  3. Click the Share icon .         OR…… Right click on the file(s)  OR…
  4. Click the More menu and select “Share…”
  5. Click Advanced at the bottom right of the window that pops up.
  6. Under “Who Has Access” find and click the word “CHANGE” next to the option: “Private only the people listed below have access” and a 2nd pop up will appear.
  7. Now choose a visibility option  “Anyone with the link” or “Public on the web.” to share with everyone in the world or “Private,” to remove the link sharing option.
  8. Next choose what rights to give such as “Can Edit” so they can make changes, “Can Comment” to suggest changes, or “Can View” to only read and the FILE and MAKE a COPY to use their own copy.
  9. Click save and it will go back to the prior screen with a weblink at the top. This is the link you will need to copy to use in an email or website to provide access via a weblink for those who do NOT have a Google Docs accounts
  10. If the person(s) does have a Google Docs account, then just type the email addresses of the people you want to share with in the text box below “Add people.” You can add a single person, a mailing list, or choose from your contacts.
  11. Choose the access level from the drop-down menu next to each collaborator: “Can view,” “Can comment” (Google documents and presentations only), or “Can edit.”
  12. Click Share & save.

Explore: Quickly and easily cite your sources & images with Explore in Google Docs, Slides & Sheets

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Explore: Quickly and easily cite your sources & images with Explore in Google Docs, Slides & Sheets

If you had ever used or never used the Research tool in Documents and slides, you will appreciate the update to this removed tool now called Explore. Explore does so many different things depending on if you use it in a Document, Slides presentation or in Sheets.
An update from the older Research tool; students, teachers and others can now pull in images and content that will automatically create citations in Google Documents as a footnote or attach the source link in Slides.  Learn more here….
(image from Google Docs Blog, accessed Jan 2017)

In Spreadsheets, you can now look up data and chart info using Explore by typing in a question instead of having to do complex formulas. Type in “what is the average amount of hours reading…” and it will calculate and form charts of the data for you. Learn more here….

iOS 7 Brings Changes to Configurator, the VPP & MDMs Managing iPads

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The release of  iOS 7 and Mavericks brings some welcomed and unexpected changes to managing ipads with Configurator, the Volume Purchasing Program and Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems  like Meraki. After attending a session at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference (, I gained some more insight as to how the changes will work directly from the Apple team. To recap the original process, a school district setups an online account with the VPP to purchase redemption codes for paid apps. This is not an iTunes account, just a code purchasing account. (More info on VPP found at the St. Vrain Schools site.) The codes are then sent to individual iTunes accounts manually or through wireless MDMs, like Meraki. This wireless process provides your users with paid apps on their devices or it can be done manually via a spreadsheet that is later imported into Apple Configurator and then pushed locally to ipads in a set sharing the same account. Configurator is used to put the devices under something called Supervision that allows for device code licenses to be both distributed and pulled back for redistribution to different devices as well as apply policies for security, wifi and other settings. More info on working with Configurator and Meraki can be found at my site at

Configurator takes a bit of patience, however, as it has been a bit clunky at times in the process of supervising, iOS updating and app distributing. Especially time-consuming was the constant distribution and updating of apps as Configurator requires iPads to be physically connected to a specific Mac via USB. This means collecting iPads constantly from the users. A preferable option would be just to supervise in Configurator and then do all policy and app maintenance work wirelessly from an MDM without having to collect the ipads several times throughout the year… again and again and again. There is an issue of bandwidth, however, in wirelessly pushing apps and iOS updates from your server. Mavericks for servers features a caching server that will cache a local copy of the latest App or iOS update data ready for the next device requesting it on your network reducing the “bogdown” on your network device and app updates. Originally, when updating to iOS 7, I had to go through a ton of the white “welcome” screens on every ipad that I was just updating or restoring from a backup and in several carts of 30 devices, that is cumbersome. There is now a third tab in Configurator beyond Settings and Apps. This one lets you skip some of these welcome screens and come back to them later like password, notifications, etc. You can also lock a device to one app such as an app needed during standardized testing that you don’t want users tapping out of. This can now be done with the MDM as well making it easier to remove this setting when no longer needed.

VPP now has a new program as well. Instead of sending out codes to everyone, an invite is now sent out to individual user accounts to join what might be called your “VPP family” so you can distribute apps wirelessly from your MDM to them without codes. For carts of iPads using the same iTunes account, this won’t quite work. For cart situations, the codes will still be necessary for use through MDMs like Meraki or through Configurator to distribute the paid apps. In the VPP site, you will now see the following options related this change:

The above picture shows where you download your 1-year token needed for this process.
The second picture in VPP illustrates the difference between buying licenses for users in your “VPP Family” versus buying codes for devices using the same account like those in a cart of iPads. The top option is for carts or anyone you prefer to just give a code to. The second option is to send paid apps to those iTunes accounts with individual devices in your VPP family.
In your MDM, you should also see a change. Being most familiar with Meraki because its free to school districts to use even without Meraki network solutions, I’ll use that in my examples. There will still be the option to paste in redemption codes, one per line, to send to devices (such as those in a cart) that can not really be part of the VPP family. You will also see options like in the picture below requesting you to get the token from your VPP and add your VPP account so you can send apps to users in your VPP family without the codes.
Do you still need those VPP codes? Well if you have carts or sets of devices using the same iTunes account or situations where a account is not joining the VPP family, or wireless and bandwidth issues, then Yes. If you are in a 1:1 or have more iPads associated with individual accounts, you do not need codes for them.
Depending on your comfort level with Configurator, you can decide which option works better for your situation. From my work managing iPads, I find it preferable to use Configurator for just supervising devices and then sending out apps through an MDM so they do not have to be collected from users constantly. For carts, Configurator is still preferable for app distribution. You can send apps and policies to carts or sets of devices still with the MDM but using codes and someone has to be there to put in the iTunes password and accept the app installation. Many of the changes I have found helpful in the management of iOS devices now that I understand them better and hope this article clears up some of it for others.