Using Google Keep to raise questions to teachers (instead of hands), Google Classroom API Update, and More

Great resource links, tips, news, and updates shared by our Google+ community members from July 20 - 26, 2015.

Using Google Keep to raise questions to teachers (instead of hands) -

+Melissa Valence shared: Google Keep is one of my favorite tools.  In my classroom (no access to hangouts with kids) we use it as an alert to the teacher.  The student makes a 'post it' with a question or need and shares with me.  It pops up on my screen and I know they're looking for help or reassurance on something.  Great way to connect with students without having them wave their hand in the air!!

Getting tech-resistant educators to embrace change -

Spot-on article about the difficulty of professional development for school-wide technology change (going 1:1,  for example) shared by +Bram Moreinis

Automatically update a cell with the current date and time -

The =NOW() function is a quick shortcut to enter the current date & time to your Sheet. It's dynamic and will update every time you open your Sheet. If you'd like to make the date & time 'stick' after using this formula, select the cell and use Edit->Copy followed by Edit->Paste Special > Paste value only.

More about =NOW() here:

Goodbye Google+ Photos, hello +Google Photos! -

In an effort to ensure everyone has the best photos experience we can deliver, on August 1st Google will start to shut down Google+ Photos -- initially on Android, and soon thereafter on the Web and iOS.

Google Classroom API Update -

Admins: the new Classroom APIs are here to make your job even easier:

Introducing the Google Drive plug-in for Microsoft Office -

Using the new Google Drive plug-in, people using Office for Windows can now open their Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents stored in Drive, then save any changes back to Drive once they’re done.

11 Quick Tricks To Become A Chrome Omnibox Power User -

The Omnibox in Google Chrome is useful for more than just searching with Google or visiting a link quickly. Omni literally means ‘universal’ and the Omnibox can be used for almost every task on the Web or otherwise, be it searching a site, setting a timer or sending a tweet.

h/t +Brenda Dzwil

Google Photos for Android - now with improved album management -

Google is releasing an update to Google Photos for Android (v1.2) with more control over album content and photo descriptions. Here’s what’s new:

- Change cover photos on your albums
- Add and remove photos from an album from the same screen
- Add, edit, and view descriptions for individual photos
- Tap-and-hold a date header to select all photos from that day
- Pull down anytime to exit search
- Bug fixes and performance improvements

These updates are rolling out to the Play Store:

Customize the App Launcher to make frequently used apps more accessible -

As previously announced, it is now possible to customize the App Launcher by moving app icons between rows and screens. While Google Apps admins will not be able to customize the App Launcher for their employees, individuals will be able to configure the App Launcher on their own—making it easier for them to access the apps they use most.
Read more ...

Google Now Reminders Right from Search, Google Story, and more

Google begins allowing you to create Google Now reminders right from its search engine -

One favorite feature of Google is getting instant responses from search results — it massively simplifies currency conversion, for one thing. So it’s interesting to see that the company now lets you create Google Now reminders right from its search box. Shared by +Allison Mollica

Deep inside Google, a small team has been trying to solve a problem that's easy for any schmuck around the watercooler but frighteningly difficult for the world's most data-rich company: telling a story. h/t +Peter Vogel 

In the past, delegated admins with any existing role with the ‘Users’ privilege were already able to disable 2-step verification for individual users. With this launch, these delegated admins will automatically get ‘User Security Management’ privileges to ensure they continue to have access to disable 2-step verification. Shared via +AppsCare 

It is now possible to display the full name of each group members along with their email address and you can easily copy-past those info to a Sheet. Shared by +Kim Nilsson 

School education has grown by leaps and bounds, but the classroom saga remains the same. There are students who don’t understand a word of what the teacher tries to convey. They are scared of asking the wrong question, and suffer in long silence. This video focuses on such children who don’t dare to ask a question, and finally don’t learn anything. Posted by +Alia Khan 

You want to digitize a print document? You have Google Drive and an Android device? You are all set! h/t +Nitz Geraldez 

Read more ...

Google Docs Text Highlighter, Find Recently Opened Files in Chromebook and more

Texthelp’s Highlighting Tools add-on in Google Docs -

Texthelp’s Highlighting Tools add-on in Google Docs lets you highlight key areas of your document to collect, group and learn from later. By “collecting highlights” you can extract them into a new document for students or educators to review. h/t +Bjorn Behrendt

Learn the Latest Classroom Writing Tips with Google Docs -

Here are a few tips to store away for the beginning of the school year. These will help you use the full feature set of Google Docs in your classroom. Shared by +Katherine Davis

Google Drive and Office compatibility - The Apps Show Episode 4 -

Google+ Removes Real Name Policy -

"Over the years, as Google+ grew and its community became established, we steadily opened up this policy, from allowing +Page owners to use any name of their choosing to letting YouTube users bring their usernames into Google+. Today, we are taking the last step: there are no more restrictions on what name you can use."

h/t +Moritz Tolxdorff

Find Recently Opened Files in Chromebook -

If you didn't know, all Google Drive files that you have open in any window on a Chromebook can be found in the Shelf in your Drive icon.

Spotted by +Chris McCaffrey 

Read more ...

New Content Notifications in the Classroom App, Whitelist Domains for Classroom, and More

Great resource links, tips, news, and updates shared by our Google+ community members from July 13 - 19, 2015.

Emily Stiebel, product marketing manager for Camp Google, told VentureBeat in an email interview that Google always aimed to create a free summer camp that gets kids learning through fun, interactive science activities and adventures. 

Shared via +Jennifer Lowton 

Whitelist domains for Classroom -

It's here! You can now whitelist domains so that they can work seamlessly in Google Classroom and Google Apps for Education.

New content notifications in the Classroom app -

Over the next few days, students will begin receiving mobile notifications via the Classroom app for Android and iOS when new content is added to their classes. For instance, students will be alerted immediately when they receive new assignments or grades, notes from teachers, comments from fellow classmates, and more—allowing them to stay on top of their schoolwork even more easily.

Shared by +James Sayer 

New in Drive — Prevent people you share files with from downloading, printing and copying them. Learn more about how this works in the Help Center:

Read more ...

Launch Hangouts in Chrome without a plugin, Google Drive updates, and more

Launch Hangouts in Chrome without a plugin -

Over the next week, users will be able to launch Hangouts in Chrome without having to download and install a plugin. This will simplify initial setup and maintenance. Users of other browsers will still need to use the plugin. h/t +Allison Mollica 

Google Drive Updates -

Working with images in Google Docs, Slides and Drawings just got easier with two new features: (1) Reset an image, and (2) Replace an image. h/t +AppsCare

New Calendar update! -

Appointment slots on a new calendar event. h/t +Dan Leighton 

Select a block of text and Google Doc will speak it back. Awesome! h/t +Dan Taylor

Applications for Google Teacher Academy Sydney are now open through July 31, 2014!  Thank you +Allison Mollica for sharing this important update.

Infographic spotted via +Dan Leighton.

Super Quiz Chrome Add-on -

The Super Quiz Google Chrome add-on adds brilliant functionality and assessment tools to a quiz made with Google Forms. h/t +Chad Kafka 
Read more ...

Emojis Now Available in Gmail, Computational Thinking for Educators, and More

Great resource links, tips, news, and updates shared by our Google+ community members from July 6 - 12, 2015.

Because earth-shattering innovation happens all the time at Google, emojis are now built-in in Gmail for web!

Replace files in Google Drive without changing the link to the file -

One of biggest advantage of using Google Drive when sending files via email (instead of attachments) is, if you sent the wrong file, you can replace it without changing the shared URL. In this tutorial, you will learn how to replace files in Google Drive without changing the link to the file.

Computational Thinking for Educators -

Google's new online course, Computational Thinking for Educators, is free and is intended for educators working with students between the ages of 13 and 18 who are interested in enhancing their teaching with creative thinking and problem solving.

Inserting Special Characters -

Looking for an accent mark or unique character in your Doc? Go to Insert > Special Characters. You can also hold down the letter on your keyboard for a special box to pop up with accent mark choices.

Read more ...

AppsEvents Announce ‘Google Apps Admin’ Newsletter

Bringing together the latests news and updates for Google Apps, The Google Apps Admin Newsletter will keep schools up to date with all the latest changes by Google and related third parties. Inside admins, management and key users will find concise information on what action needs to be taken in response to Google Apps updates.

The structure of the newsletter presents changes for admins, high level changes for management to be aware of in planning and changes to Google suite (Drive, Sites and more) that will affect key users.

There are numerous Google Apps announcements made every month, this newsletter aims to simplify the way in which admins are able to access this information. For each change or update, concise advice is provided to quickly direct admins to the appropriate action.

This month we look at the exciting new tool Google Apps School Directory Sync and it’s time-saving features for admins. Google+ Premium Features are being rolled out to all users and the new Reports abilities will help admins to discover the level of collaboration within their domain.

For users there are plenty of updates including The New Google Drive being rolled out to users shortly, along with ability to edit Microsoft Office files from within Chrome and Chrome OS.

We are offering our first few issues for FREE so subscribe now!

Important Note: This monthly Google Apps Admin newsletter is different from the regular AppsEvents Google for Education newsletter.

Subscribe to AppsEvents Google Apps Admin newsletter

* indicates required

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Google Apps Admin Corner: June 2015

Google has released a few important updates for Google Apps for June. Below is a digest of some key updates and information to efficiently and effectively manage your GAFE domain.

Easily migrate employee contacts from Microsoft Exchange and Office 365 to Google Apps

Admins can migrate their employees’ contacts from Microsoft Exchange (2007 and above) and Microsoft Office 365 to Google Apps directly from the Admin console, without needing to install and configure any client tools.

What admins should do Now:
Check out the Help Center for more information on getting started.

New controls for Security Key administrators

For Google Apps admins who manage Security Keys for their domains, new controls to easily deploy, monitor and manage these keys are now available on the Admin console.

What admins should do Now:
Security keys offer an easy way to manage 2-factor authentication and all admins are recommended to investigate their use.  To learn more about Security Keys, please refer to the following Google support links:

Option to revert to the old Google Drive UI no longer available

The option to revert to the old Drive UI via the Settings drop down will no longer be available for all Google Apps users with the full launch of the new Google Drive web UI this July 7, 2015.

What admins should do now:
The new Drive UI does not work with older unsupported browsers, so it’s important to upgrade to a supported browser to ensure continued access to Drive.

For users who are still not familiar with the new Drive web interface, training may be necessary.

Latest version of Google Drive app for Android and iOS

A new mobile app version for Google Drive is available for both Android and iOS devices. The latest version of Google Drive app for IOS features a new material design, faster syncing with Google Drive for web, improved image viewing and scrolling as well as a swipe gesture to go back while the latest Android release will include the following features:

  • View file thumbnails in the details pane for folders
  • Ability to report abuse cases in Settings
  • Download multiple files in the background at the same time
  • Use the “Send File” feature on more than one file at a time

  • Improved sharing UI when adding people to a file and when reviewing who has access


What admins should do now:
Make sure to relay changes to users. Explain the new features when necessary and feel free to use the screenshots above.

Customization coming to the App Launcher

Google has removed the Google+ profile link from many of its web properties and has introduced a new version of the Google App launcher. A fourth row of icons will be added to the app launcher window to enable users to quickly launch more apps. Note however that the combination of apps featured may vary depending on product availability in a person’s country.

New Apps launcher UI

In the coming weeks, Google Apps customers will be able  to customize the App Launcher by moving icons between rows and screens making it easier to access frequently used apps. More information to be released soon.

What admins should do now:
No admin configuration changes required. Make sure to relay information to concerned users.

More Image Types and non-latin texts supported

Converting a file to Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides allows a person to edit, collaborate on, and share the file online. When converting Microsoft® Office files, the following common image types remain readable: JPEG, PNG, EMF, and WMF.

Now, Google has enabled larger images, images in less common formats (TIFF) and/or (CMYK),  be imported to and exported to from the Google Docs editors on the web successfully. Compatible image types here.

Additionally, when converting documents written in the non-Latin scripts such as Armenian, Bengali and Syriac, from Google Docs to Microsoft Word, these texts will now remain readable. Previously, when a document was created in Google Docs and included non-Latin text, it could not be exported to Microsoft Word properly. See complete list of supported non-Latin texts here.

What admins should do now:
No admin configuration changes required. Make sure to relay information to concerned users.

Improvements to Google Sheets

June saw a lot of changes for Google’s spreadsheet service. First, working on the go is made easier as users can now insert images into Sheets even when they’re working offline (working in Chrome and turned on offline access). Images will then be synced once the person gets back online.

Google Sheet users can now also publish spreadsheets in five additional formats:

  • Tab-separated values (.tsv)
  • PDF document (.pdf)
  • Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet (.xlsx)
  • OpenDocument spreadsheet (.ods)
  • Comma-separated values (.csv)

The generated URL for the published spreadsheet, when opened in a browser, will  automatically download the spreadsheet in the chosen format.

Other improvements Google made to help people work with raw data better includes the below capabilities:

  • Use data labels to display the exact values of bars and points in charts.
  • Choose different shapes and symbols for data points in both line and scatter charts.
  • Move and resize charts more easily.
  • Preview the results of a formula, including any formula errors, instantly as they type.
  • Filter rows and columns by conditions, including “less than,” “greater than,” “text contains,” “date after,” and more.
  • Add calculated fields to pivot tables in order to apply formulas to pivot table data.
  • Use the GETPIVOTDATA function to retrieve data from a pivot table.
  • Warn individuals who attempt to edit certain cells.

Learn more about these changes.

What admins should do Now:
No admin configuration changes required. Make sure to relay information to concerned users.

Google Slides now supports Chromecast and AirPlay

Your phone or tablet can now share presentations on any screen with Chromecast or AirPlay. While presenting on a big screen, you can use your smaller screen to advance slides, view speaker notes and stay on track with a timer.

What admins should do Now:
Learn about viewing, creating, and casting presentations on Android or iPhone/iPad here.

Attachments in Google Calendar, now a full feature plus improvements to iOS app

Formerly a labs feature, event attachments are now a full feature in Google Calendar web. Attach meeting notes, presentations, or any other relevant files from Google Drive to events and make them available for all event attendees.

Moving forward, the ‘Add attachment’ link will appear in all Calendar events except for those domains whose admins have disabled Google Drive.

For the Google Calendar iOS app, new improvements such as 7-day week view, add attachments to events, ability to directly email guests or open a map from an event notification, and option to show week numbers in “Settings” have been added.

You’ll also notice, in Calendar app for iPhone, that access to all available views (Schedule, Day, 3 Day, Week) has been moved from the overflow menu into the navigation drawer.

What admins should do Now:
See basic Google Calendar troubleshooting through this link.

Full View Screen Sharing Now Available in Google Hangouts

Screen sharing with Google Hangouts is now even better with the launch of “full view” screen sharing option. The shared screen area will use as much visible area of the screen as possible by overlaying the thumbnail photos of hangout participants at the bottom of the screen by default. A new button will be added to Hangouts control bar so participants can easily hide these thumbnail photos as desired.

What admins should do Now:
No admin configuration changes required. Make sure to relay information to concerned users. Check out Google Help Center for more information.

Undo Send for Gmail on the web graduates from labs

‘Undo Send' has been added as a formal setting in Gmail on the web. This allows people using Gmail to cancel a sent mail if they have second thoughts immediately after sending. The feature is turned off by default for those not currently using the Labs version, and can be enabled from the General tab in Gmail settings.

What admins should do Now:
No admin configuration changes required. Make sure to relay information to all users.

Enhanced inbound mail gateway functionality

Google adds more flexibility for Apps admins when using inbound mail gateway servers. To accommodate more complex network architectures, customers can now have multiple server systems upstream from Gmail and an upstream system can now tag messages as spam in the header, which Gmail will honor, allowing for full delegation of spam filtering to a third party solution if desired.
What admins should do Now:
Check out the Help Center for more information on these new features.

Download event support in Google Drive audit logs

Drive for Work and Google Apps for Education admins are able to p analyze and monitor the use of Google Drive content in their organizations with the release of download event support in Google Drive audit logs. Download events will cover file downloads for Google and non-Google file formats. Admins will be able to filter on download events and combine that with other filtering criteria like document name, user name and timestamp

What admins should do Now:
Check out the Help Center for more information and notes on download event support.

Other Security Improvements or Updates for Google Accounts

Both Gmail and Google Apps users can easily control their digital privacy and security through My Account. My Account replaces the previous Google Account settings page and features sections dedicated to managing one’s sign-in and security settings, personal info and privacy settings, and account preferences. Learn more.

Google is also introducing iOS Account Wipe (i.e. Selective Wipe), which allows Google Apps admins to safely delete an employee’s corporate account and data from their iPhone or iPad without impacting that employee’s personal space (e.g. their personal photos). Learn more.

The latest update of the Google Apps Password Sync 1.4 is released to fixed an issue where, after failing to retrieve the email address attribute for an account from Active Directory, GAPS silently crashes. Learn more.

For those who use the Gmail Android app to access non-Google accounts such as Yahoo and Microsoft emails, you can now enable Google security features such as two-step verification and account recovery. Make sure to get the latest version of the Gmail app on Google Play to take advantage of these features. Learn more.

What admins should do Now:
Refer to the corresponding update announcement links to learn more about these security changes.
Read more ...

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