Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Welcome Back to School!

We're officially 15 full days into the 2017-18 school year. Hopefully, students and teachers alike have had a chance to settle in. Over the summer, Google was busy making significant improvements to Classroom. You can see the full blog page here, but I'll give you some of the highlights.

First, getting students into Classroom has become easier. Teachers can display the class code in full screen right from the class window.

Classroom used to organize classes by the order in which they were created. No more! Teachers can now reorder their classes by dragging and dropping them where they need them.

Another great change is that teachers can now see all work assigned to a particular student. While in Classroom, simply click Students at the top then click a student's name. All of the current statuses of all of the student's assignments will be listed.

Google is making student assessment easier, too, by improving the integration of Forms into Classroom. Now, you can create a quiz in Forms, assign each question a point value (including decimals!), grade each question, and even add question-by-question feedback. Soon, you will be able to import the quiz grades right into Classroom. Click here for more information about creating quizzes with Google Forms.

Stay tuned to this blog for monthly updates on helpful tech tools and resources. You can even receive an email update when a new blog is posted by submitting your address on the top right of this page.

Monday, March 6, 2017

G Suite Training and Update on 2-Step Verification

G Suite Training

Have you ever wanted to be able to do "that one little thing" in an app but couldn't figure out quite how to do it? Would you like to have a Google Apps expert at your beck and call? The G Suite Training Extension is the perfect answer.

This free extension sits in the top right-hand corner of every G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Education) app ready to be called upon. It offers interactive training and walkthroughs without ever leaving your app screen...and it's searchable! Once it's installed, simply click the icon to open a menu of relevant, quick, and easy-to-follow lessons or enter keywords in the search bar to find exactly what you're looking for. Click here to download it now.

Update: 2-Step Verification 

Image result for Google authenticatorI've heard a lot of positive feedback from teachers and staff about securing their Google accounts using 2-Step Verification. (Don't Get Scammed! 1/26/17) However, though they understand the need for adding the extra step, many still have concerns about not being able to receive a text message with the login code in a timely manner or carrying their codes around on a tiny piece of paper that could easily be lost. 

Shortly after posting that article, a colleague suggested that I try the Google Authenticator app. I've used it for a little over a month now and it really works quite well. In a nutshell, you set up 2-Step Verification on your computer, download the free app to your smartphone or tablet, and follow the directions to link it to your Google account. Then, when you log in to a new computer just open the app and type in the code. The unique code resets itself every 30 seconds and it works regardless of your ability to connect to the internet or find a cell signal.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Don't Get Scammed! Enable 2-Step Verification for Your Google Account

You may have heard about a new phishing scam that targets Gmail users. It is particularly insidious and has fooled even experienced users. For more info, see this Forbes article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/leemathews/2017/01/16/gmail-phishing-attack-targets-your-contacts/#45175ce51f9d  

One of the best ways to secure your Google account is to enable 2-Step Verification because it offers you another layer of protection. This means that the first security step is your strong password. The second security step uses a verification code. Before you log in to your account from a new/different computer you must type in a code that Google sends you. So even if a scammer has gotten hold of your username and password information, without the code their access is denied. You have many options for receiving the code. Some include printing them out to keep in a secure place, allowing Google to text or call you with the code, or using a USB security key (available on Amazon and elsewhere).

To enable 2-Step Verification:
  1. Click on your email address on the top right of your Google screen. Then click My Account.
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  1. Click Sign-in & Security.
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  1. Scroll down to Signing in to Google and click 2-Step Verification.
  1. Click Get Started.
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  1. Re-enter your password.
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  1. Type in your phone number and click either Text message or Phone call. Click Try It.

  1. Confirm that the number is correct by typing in the code you receive either by text message or phone call and click Next. If you don’t receive the code within a few seconds, click Resend.
  1. Click Turn On.
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  1. You’ll see a screen that confirms 2-Step Verification is ON and identifies your “second step”. (The first step is your regular password. The second is either a text message or a phone call.)
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  1. Set up at least one Backup method in case you can’t get a signal on your phone or you don’t have it with you.
  1. IT recommends setting up Backup Codes. These are unique codes that can each be used once. Print them and keep them in a safe place like your wallet so you’ll always have them with you. Once you have used a code, check the box next to it so you won’t use it again. You can always get new codes if you run out.
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  1. When you log in from a new device/computer, enter your username and password as usual. The next screen will ask for your verification code. Type it in and click Next to complete your login. Some computers give you the option of remembering your code for 30 days. This is much less secure, but is more convenient.
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