Showing posts from June, 2018

Google App Maker

Andrew Stillman of AmplifiedIT took some time to run through an overview of Google's App Maker. If your are looking to dig in Developer documentation can be found here.

First lets go over what it's not: A replacement for the Forms to Sheets workflow. App Maker works with a login on the domain. So a public facing App is not a thing here. A Form would be a better choice to collect things like Parent Emails. A Mobile App maker. My instinct when I hear App is a mobile solution. This is geared to Web app workflows. A no code solution. As slick as it is with drag and drop, autocomplete and GUI it does require knowledge of coding. Specifically HTML, CSS, Javascript and by extension Google Apps Script. 
But what it is an can be makes it powerful for any environment with a lot of data flow and systems management. App Maker is similar in ways to Access, or FileMaker Pro. You can work with related data tables and events. The data can be organized and displayed by user type in some really s…

GSuite Security Best Practices

Lance Lennon GSuite Security 
Lance Lennon - Director of Technology in Iowa with a school of 1000 students. 
Separate your GAFE super admin account. Turn off Email and Chat. Set with 2 factor authentication. Make a complex password. Stay logged out. Only log in when you need to. I think this is one of the most important pieces of advice. An entire district can be compromised. Not following this has pushed the NYCDOE, Google, and AmplifiedIT to develop a district parachute to save GAFE domains.

Create custom admin roles. Why needs access and what access do they need? Use admin roles. The More controls can be access to do this.  Some admin accounts are pre-made,  Help Desk Admin - Changes passwords. You can customize further for specific OUs. Services Admin - Turn services on and off. Give read access to OUs. 
Security - Password Requirements and Recovery. Understand what your requirements are. Set minimum based on this.  Allow users to turn on for 2-step verificatio…

Scratch 3.0 ISTE 2018

ISTE 2018 is off to a pre-conference start. I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Resnick of MIT speak on Scratch 3.0 and the new features we are about to see. I’m on board with it, and excited for what’s coming. My only reservations are the provided materials may be blocked (YouTube), no collaboration features, and a lack of ability to see the code as a syntactical language.
Beta Launch 3.0 August 1st, 2018Full Launch 3.0 January 2nd, 2019
Dr. Resnick asserts Scratch 3.0 provides more ways to create and more ways to get started. The editor has a new look which provides a better user experience.It even works well with iPad. I checked.

It has a nice new add sprite function with a library of sprites showing costumes like gifs as you mouse over.
Block pallet is fully scrollable. No longer do we need to remember the category for the block. We can scroll through them all or jump to a category. Blocks are bigger for touch screen ability. Pallet of blocks is on…

Will you remember what’s on your hard drive in September?

We are at that time of year when many schools are already off and New York is just finishing. I’ve spent time between exams taking down the classroom decorations, removing bulletin board backing, saving borders, and filing things away for next year. It dawned on me that we are coached and encouraged to “summerize” our classrooms but not our hard drives. I mean, all that data isn’t going to get dusty. If you’re like me however your brain gets dusty over the summer and that file labeled “meeting.doc” that you were sure you would remember gets forgotten. Yes, we could just open it up but to do that we have to mouse over to it, click rapidly twice and wait. Too many steps just to discover it may not be important at all and in the new school year you have many other important things to put energy into.

Tips for organizing your files for the next year:
Make the time to do it. Give yourself the time you need to do this work. We are use to moving around a classroom. Take the time to sit and wo…

Applying Digital Skills in the everyday classroom

Our students come to us with interests, some with passions. How can we harness that interest/passion and teach them the digital skills they need for success in the workplace? 

Google has begun supporting the digital learner with a framework of video centered activities to teach the digital skills of GSuite while engaging with curriculum content. Applied Digital Skills has been released for the CSFirst team to teach the GSuite along side some virtually authentic tasks. Students have the opportunity to explore data analysis while creating a concept for the next big blockbuster movie, make a map of some favorite places from a sheet, or do some organized college research.
What Google Provides: 20 units of authentic tasks which can be tailored to the student. Lesson plans for the teacher with actionable tips on teaching each one. Rubrics: Customizable with created project samples. Tracking of student activity. Extension tasks. Videos with transcripts (transcripts only can be translated) of de…

Supporting Our Itinerant Population One Classroom at a Time

How can we better support an itinerant population? I recently had the pleasure of working with members of District 75 training them in how to use the G-Suite. I knew D75 as supporting those students who may be caught up in the court system. I hadn’t considered how our students personal issues can make a tough teaching situation even tougher.

Here’s the bullet pointed list of what I recommend to support an itinerant population: Use classrooms as units rather than full classes. Small chunks of assignments to complete are more reasonable to a population dealing with so much personally.Pre-Assign all work in classroom before students. They can enter the digital class and see what is expected. So much else of their lives are unknown factor. Give them expectations they can know and meet. Give an index for students to refer to. A Google Keep they can copy or Doc/Sheet with check offs could help them keep on task. Naming conventions are needed for every post. Don’t just identify what it is bu…


In September I accepted an informal challenge to build an automatic Google Form to Calendar invite Add-on. I've had some experience with coding. (More like just fun trial and error with computers.) I read the article and dug into the concept.
I was surprised at how easy Google Scripts was to use. Once I understood the concept of a line of code the door to explore opened. It wasn't just easy it was also pretty fun to code. Google scripts is extremely powerful and can give some major returns pretty quickly. The process of developing a full add-on had it's own hurdles but was ultimately rewarding not only in the success and ideas for further development but for the personal connections and doors it opened. Check out AutoInvite here.

Exam Timer

With the Exams looming I prepped code to do the ever so difficult Exam time math. This can be embedded in the new google sites allowing for a custom build. Demo