Monday, February 29, 2016

CAASPP Chromebook Update!

The AIRSecureTest App, used for Interim and Summative CAASPP Assessments is now compatible with Version 48 of the Chrome Operating System that is on our newest Chromebooks. The AIRSecureTest App has been pushed out to all Chromebooks. However, a random sampling of recent deployed carts at different school sites revealed that while most devices have the app, there are some devices where you may see the following message.

Any device with this message needs to be reported to the tech team via helpdesk ticket so we can make some changes to ensure access to the AIRSecureTest App. Please include the cart number and device number in your ticket.  

Before you plan on administering interim assessments on these recently deployed Chromebook carts, I recommend teachers complete the following steps with their students.

1) Following a regularly planned lesson using the Chromebooks, have students completely sign off the device.

2) Direct Students to click on the Apps in the bottom left hand corner, next to Shut down.

3) If students see AIRSecureTest as shown in the picture above, the device will be ready to use for Interim testing. If they receive the message that the app can not be downloaded, please note the device number and complete a helpdesk ticket.

Now that you have verified that all your devices in your newly deployed carts are ready, be sure to follow the steps described in this previous blog post when you are ready to administer the Interim Assessments on the Chromebooks.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Voice Commands in Google Docs

The Voice Typing Tool received a major upgrade this week. It now allows the use of Voice Commands! With just your voice, you can now navigate your document by saying "Go to the end of the line" or "Go to previous paragraph."  Voice commands also supports formatting by saying things like "Increase font size" or "Create a bulleted list." You can even add and edit tables using just your voice.  For a full list of supported voice commands, see this document from Google Support. 

To access voice typing and commands, select the tools menu and choose voice typing.

Voice Typing functions as a toggle switch that turns red when recording.

You can reference onscreen help by clicking the question mark and have all the Voice commands at your fingertips.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Arriving 2/25/16. New Google Forms!

Starting Thursday, you'll begin seeing a brand new interface for Google Forms.  This is an updated version that I believe you and your students will love. The new graphical interface is easy to use and navigate and finally supports add-ons that can help automate both your forms and workflow.  With the new forms update, you can see both group and individual responses in real time without having to open up another file.

We are offering a Google Forms 101 session at Super Saturday on March 12.  Whether you are new to Google Forms or a frequent user comfortable with the old interface, you'll love this 2.5 hour session to play, explore, and create Google Forms to use in your classroom for assessment, surveys, choose your own adventures, and much more! Registration for Super Saturday is available here.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Using Chromebooks for Interim & Summative Assessments

Using your Chromebooks for CAASPP Interim & Summative Assessments requires a different procedure to access the AIRSecure App than what you may be used to using the Computer Lab.

Following these steps will ensure connectivity to our wireless network when using the AIRSecure App in the required kiosk mode. These steps are outlined in this screencast and are also available in written form.

All Chromebook carts deployed before 2/5/16, including School Site shared carts purchased with title monies, will work for CAASPP testing, both interim and summative testing.

Currently, all Chromebook carts deployed after 2/5/16 will not work for CAASPP testing. This is a known problem related to both the AIRSecure App and how Google provisions new Chromebooks. CAASPP is currently testing the AIRSecure App for compatibility with the newer Chrome OS and there are pending requests with Google to disable the auto-update feature during provisioning. Launching the AIRSecure App on these new Chromebooks will result in an compatibility error message. All districts will recently purchased Chromebooks are currently experiencing this issue and we are unable to provide a timeline for resolution at this time. We are actively monitoring this situation and will let you know of any updates.

If you have any questions about using Chromebooks for Interim & Summative Assessments, please let us know. The tech team is here to support you and your students.

Update (2/29/16): The AIRSecure App is now compatible with the new Chrome OS on the recently deployed Chromebook carts. This CAASPP Chromebook Update contains recommendations to check these devices in advance to ensure connectivity.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Coming Soon: Easier Chromebook Sign-in for Students

Starting next week, signing into Chromebooks will be even easier for students!!

This is the login screen you will start seeing next week on the Chromebooks. Notice the automatic addition of This means that students will only need to enter their username when they login to district Chromebooks. I think this change will make it easier for ALL of our students, especially our youngest.

Staff logging into Chromebooks will still need to type their complete email address, including

Please note: This change does not change how students login to Google at home or in our computer labs. Students logging in at home or in our labs will still need to type their complete email address.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Technology Update: Need Apps? (2/4/16)

Google Play for Education
As promised in the Technology Update: Got Apps? from 12/15/16, the Google Play for Education Store is open!  The store allows teachers to push apps out to their classes, small groups of students, or even specific students.  Please take a moment to read the excellent blog posts (Part 1and Part 2) from Melissa Oliver which describe the process of how to do this. In these two posts, Melissa details what the Google Play for Education Store is and reminds us that the privacy policies outlined in the Technology Update from 12/15/16 are still in play - please make sure that you are checking the Vetted Apps and Website list before you push out apps to students.


If you are using any apps with your students, please make sure you have permission (if necessary) and that you are linking to the privacy page for the app on your teacher website.  It is important that we inform our parents and families on the types of services we are using to support instruction and what information is being shared with these service providers.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

3 Easy Steps to Adding Animated Gifs to your Next Presentation

Image Source
In a recent training, I embedded an animated gif on a Google Slide to add a little humor and the question came up how to add those to my slides? It can be done in 3 easy steps!

1. Find your desired animated gif. There are numerous sites to search for animated gifs. I tend to use a lot or Google Search. Giphy allows you to search multiple categories and even provides the opportunity to create your own. (That's another post!) If you search using Google, refine your results to just images and further refine them by choosing selecting animated under type.

2. Save your animated gif. 
  • Now that you've found your desired animated gif, regardless of method, you need to save the image. 
  • Do this by right clicking on the image and selecting "Save Image As..."
  • You will have a chance to name your image and take note as to where your image is being saved. You'll need this information for the next step!

3. Insert your animated gif into Slides. 
  • Open up your Google Slides where you want to place the animated gif.
  • Choose Insert > Image
  • Select Choose an image to upload > Locate file you downloaded above > Select
  • Move your animated gif to desired location on the slide. 
  • If needed, resize your image using the corners to avoid distortion. 
That's it! Now your presentation has a little animation!