Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It's Computer Science Week - Let's Launch our Students into the Future!

As many of you know, this week is National Computer Science Week which aligns with the Hour of Code.  Students all over the country are joining together to learn, explore, and grow with code.  This is a fun opportunity to get our kids excited about a field that will have over 1 million job openings by 2022.  Some of our kiddos and teachers in PPS have already begun their hour of code experience!

You may be saying to yourself...I don't know anything about computer science, how can I teach my kids this?  Good news?  There are so many wonderful opportunities out there that are student directed, that you do not need to know ANYTHING about computer science in order to give your students this opportunity.  Below are some excellent resources for getting your kids excited about CS!

Code.org: Appropriate for Y5 through Middle School students.  Provides four self directed courses, along with many other outstanding activities including Play Lab and Project Studio.

CS First: Appropriate for 4th Grade through Middle School students. Start your own computer science club with the Computer Science First curriculum provided by Google.  Learn more about this awesome opportunity here: http://ppstechtraining.blogspot.com/2015/11/google-computer-science-first-program.html

Made with Code: Designed to inspire girls to code, but appropriate for both genders, this site offers fun coding activities as well as great "mentor" videos about girls who are using code to change their worlds and inspire others.

Khan Academy: Appropriate for our secondary students.  Learn how to program drawings, animations, and games using JavaScript & ProcessingJS, or learn how to create webpages with HTML & CSS. You can share whatever you create, explore what others have created and learn from each other!

Scratch: Developed by MIT, this blockly programming site allows students to create their own programs.  Scratch is a very popular programming site used both by CS First and Project Lead the Way.

Tynker:  Appropriate for K-8th grade students.  Explore the great Hour of Code activities on Tynker.

Do you have a favorite computer science tool to use with students?  Please share in the comment section!  

Happy Coding!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Hour of Code is Almost Here! Are you ready?

The Hour of Code 2015 is almost here! Last year several of our schools/classrooms participated...and I would love to see even more participate this year!

Computers are everywhere, but fewer schools teach computer science than 10 years ago. Good news is, we’re on our way to change this. If you've heard about the Hour of Code before, you might know it made history. More than 100 million students have tried an Hour of Code.

With the Hour of Code, computer science has been on homepages of Google, MSN, Yahoo! and Disney. Over 100 partners joined together to support this movement. Last year, every Apple Store in the world hosted an Hour of Code and even President Obama wrote his first line of code as part of the campaign.

This year, let's make it even bigger. I’m asking you to join in for the Hour of Code 2015. Please get involved with an Hour of Code event during Computer Science Education Week, December 7-13.

Get the word out. Host an event. Ask your school to sign up. You don't need to know ANYTHING about Computer Science to have your students participate. You can even try the Hour of Code yourself -- everyone can benefit from learning the basics.

Get started at http://hourofcode.com/us. Let's put PPS on the map!

Check out this great video on Hour of Code: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FC5FbmsH4fw

Friday, November 20, 2015

Google Computer Science First Program

Are you a Michigan educator looking for a way to engage your students with computer science, but not sure you have the computer know-how to lead a club?  Never fear...Google is here!

The Michigan Film and Digital Media Office is partnering with Google to facilitate the Google Computer Science First Program for 4th -8th graders.  Any interested parties can fill out an application to be involved in this free program.  The program is scripted and laid out in a way that ANYONE can facilitate.  Computer Science First provides all the materials (except the computers/chromebooks).

There are multiple paths/interest areas/clubs to choose from. According to the CS First Website, "Each CS First club is based on a real-world theme and offers about 10 hours worth of lessons and activities. The different club themes aim to attract and engage students of varying backgrounds and interests. All materials are targeted at students in 4th - 8th grades (or between the ages of 9 - 14) and are free and easy to use."

Current Clubs are:

This is a great opportunity for students as an after-school activity or as a recess club.

If you are interested and would like to learn more, check out the CS First Website.
Details about the program and the application are available here:  CS First Program (pdf)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Google Classroom Rosters in Google Sheets, Easy!

Are you a user of Google Classroom? Do you work with your students' data in Google Sheets? Have you ever thought "I wish there was a way to grab my roster from Classroom and put it into a Spreadsheet. Ugh."

Well, now there is a way! Meet... rosterSync!

From the site...

rosterSync - Teacher Edition allows teachers to sync a Google Classroom course roster -- including student email addresses -- directly with Google Sheets for handy use with Add-ons like Doctopus, formMule, autoCrat, formRanger, and others.

Installing this Tool...

  • I installed the Sheets Add-on, which can be found here
  • I clicked the blue "FREE" button
  • An "Untitled Spreadsheet" opened up and the Add-on was installed
  • Easy! 

Using rosterSync...

  • After titling my Sheet (as any good Google Drive user does), I clicked "Add-ons" in the menu bar
  • I choose "rosterSync - Teacher Edition"
  • A few seconds later, I had this convenient sidebar at the right of my Sheet.
  • I selected the sheet a wanted to port my roster to,
  • Picked the Google Classroom course I wanted to pull my roster from,
  • Chose my "Sync direction" (from Classroom to Sheet, recommended),
  • And clicked the button "Run Sync", Done!
  • Seconds later I had my Classroom roster in Sheets.
  • Pure Sweetness!

As we use Google Forms more and more and; therefore, make more use of Google Sheets, I can see this as a valuable tool at the beginning of a course/class for any teacher. Using Google Classroom with rosterSync just make it that much more awesome!

Geek signing out!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day 2015

Today is Veteran's Day.  A day where we honor the great sacrifice and service of the members of the armed forces.  A day to help our students understand why we set aside a day on our calendar to thank and honor these great individuals.

Below are some resources that you can use to help as you explore Veteran's Day with your students.

I would also like to take this moment to reach out to all the Veteran's we have on staff at PPS.  Sincerest thanks from the bottom of my heart.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Skyward: Elementary Report Cards - Double Checking Your Grades

This (2015-16) school year, PPS has made a few adjustments to our elementary gradebook.

  1. We are using year long trending.  This means that the final Q4 grade will take into account all events from the first day of school until the end of the academic year.  Don't be surprised when you see suggested grades showing up in Q2, Q3, and Q4 as soon as the Q1 suggestion appears.
  2. Skyward will not begin to suggest a trend grade until three or more event scores are entered for a particular skill.  
These changes will help improve the overall suggested grade because it will take into account growth from the entire school year and it will provide more data points in order to make the suggestion.  That being said, it is still the professional responsibility of the teacher to double check the scores each quarter to make sure what the gradebook is suggesting aligns with how the child is performing on that particular skill.  

Skyward makes this a fairly painless process.  
First, click on the Standard Code in the Skill header (the striped heading box).

Second, double check the grades by looking at the Mean and Median scores, as well as the overall progression of the grades.  If you see something, like in the example below, that does not "look right", you can usually figure out why from the event scores.

Third, if you decide the grade needs to be adjusted, you can do so by typing the correct grade in the white box.  Once you are finished adjusting any scores, make sure you click Save.

NOTE: Even if you do not have three event scores, you can always manually enter in a score for that skill by following the manual entry directions.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015



It's time again for the Doodle4Google competition.  Break out the art supplies, technology, and get the creative juices going!

According to Doodle4Google Website:

For this year’s contest, students can create a doodle that tells the world “What makes me…me.” Kids have all kinds of things that make them unique, so they can use all kinds of materials to create their doodles, from crayons, to clay, to graphic design, even food and video games. 
Students in grades K-12 are invited to take part in the 2015 Doodle 4 Google contest. Like all Google Doodles, each doodle must incorporate the letters G-o-o-g-l-e. One national winner will also receive a $30,000 college scholarship. The contest is open for entries from October 19, 2015 to December 7, 2015.

Head on over to https://www.google.com/doodle4google/ to learn more about the contest and check out the  classroom activities.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Google Classroom: Attach Google Forms

It is no surprise that I love Google Classroom and Google Forms.  These are two of my favorite tools thanks to all they wonderful educational uses.

Google forms are a great way to collect information from students.  Whether I need them to respond to a survey, take a quiz, or collect data, this is usually my go-to tool.  Traditionally if I needed my students to use a form I would share it with them via an email to their school account, or I would give them a shortened URL to type into their address bar.  Last year, when I began to use Google Classroom, it became even easier to have my students use google forms for quick formative assessments or to collect responses about their learning.  I could insert the link to the form right in an assignment in Google Classroom.  Once they took the survey/quiz, I would then have them go back into classroom and mark it as "done."  This was a bit cumbersome,  but it helped me to quickly see who was done and who was still working.

This whole process just got even easier!!!  Now when you attach a Google Form to a Google Classroom assignment using the Google Drive link, it will automatically mark the assignment as "done" when the student clicks the submit button on the form.  It is a beautiful thing!  Check it out...

Step 1: Create your assignment
Step 2: Attach the form you wish your students to complete
Step 3: Click Assign (or Save as draft if you want to assign it at a later time)

Step 4: Have students fill in the form by clicking on the link in the assignment in Google Classroom.
Step 5: As soon as students hit the "Submit" button on the form, it marks the assignment for that student as "done".
Step 6: Click the "View responses in Sheets" link on your Google Classroom assignment to see the students responses.

LOVE IT!  This was so easy, my third graders had no problem at all completing their forms and turning in their assignments.

Skyward: Creating a Seating Chart

Sometimes it is really helpful to have a seating chart with your students' names and seat locations.  Perhaps you have a sub or classroom volunteer who needs to know where the students sit, or who simply needs to be able to learn the students' names and faces.

You can create these lists/charts in Skyward.

Step 1: Go to the class in your gradebook for which you wish to create a seating chart.
Step 2: Hover your mouse over the Attendance menu and select "Assign Seats for Seating Chart"

Step 3: Now you have the seating chart window open.  If all you want to do is print this screen, then simply right click and select Print.  If you want to rearrange the order of the students you will have to do a few more steps.

Step 4: Select the number of rows and seats per row at the top.  Click Refresh.

Step 5: Click Select under the name of the student you wish to move.  Click Swap or Fill Seat to move the child to the new seat. Repeat until you have everyone where you want them.  Then print if desired (see step 3).  If you want to save the seating chart, make sure you click Save.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Google: Google Forms Update

Over the last month, Google made some major updates to the look and feel of Google Forms.  Here is a great "how to" from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning on how to navigate through the new features.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Skyward - Secondary: Clone from Existing Gradebook

Clone From Existing Gradebook: 

Allows you to copy one or more assignment from a current year or historical Gradebook of your own or copy an assignment from another teacher’s Gradebook. When selecting this option, you must be in the Gradebook where you want the assignment created.
Click Clone from Existing Gradebook

Step 1 

Select the Gradebook with the assignment you want to clone. You can select from a prior year Gradebook (ex: 2015), current year Gradebook (ex: 2016) or another teacher’s Gradebook (You would need to click the Select Different Teacher button).  After selecting the Gradebook, click the Next button.
Select the class you want to clone from

Step 2

Select the assignment(s) you want to clone; all assignments are defaulted to selected. You can click the "Uncheck All" button to select individual assignments. You are able to clone an assignment only when you have the identical category assigned to your class. After selecting the assignment, click the Next button.
Select the assignments you wish to clone.

Step 3

Select the class(es)to which you want the assignment cloned. After selecting the class(es), click the Next button.
Select which class you wish to clone the assignment to.

Step 4

You see the assignment(s) you selected in the previous step. This screen allows you to change the due date of the assignment(s). After verify the due dates of the assignment(s), click the Finish button. The assignment has now been cloned into the Gradebook.
Change the due date for the assignment and select finish

Skyward - Elementary: Clone events from last years gradebook

Clone From Existing Gradebook: 

Allows you to copy one or more events from a current year or historical Gradebook of your own or copy an event from another teacher’s Gradebook. When selecting this option, you must be in the Gradebook where you want the event created.
Click Clone from Existing Gradebook

Step 1 

Select the Gradebook with the events you want to clone. You can select from a prior year Gradebook (ex: 2015), current year Gradebook (ex: 2016) or another teacher’s Gradebook (You would need to click the Select Different Teacher button).  After selecting the Gradebook, click the Next button.
Select Course to clone assignment from

Step 2

Select the event(s) you want to clone; all events are defaulted to selected. You can click the Uncheck All button to select individual events. You are able to clone an event only when you have the identical category assigned to your class. After selecting the events, click the Next button.
Select assignments to clone

Step 3

You see the event(s) you selected in the previous step. This screen allows you to change the Due date of the event(s). After verifying the due dates of the event(s), click the Finish button.  The event has now been cloned into the selected Gradebook.
Change the due date and click finish

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Google Classroom: New features for a new year!

This summer the big buzz at Tech Camp wasn't the Skyward gradebook or online assessments...it was GOOGLE CLASSROOM!  Google Classroom is a document management system from Google that really helps teachers organize and manage their classes.  It allows you to easily handout and have students turn back in assignments in a logical and organized manner.  This product launched just over a year ago and since that time it has taken the classrooms around the country by storm.  Learn more about Google Classroom in this blog post.

Now since Google never leaves well enough alone when it comes to any of their products, it is no surprise that they have recently made some substantial feature adds to Google Classroom just in time for the start of a new school year.  These new features include some of the most requested items we heard from our PPS teachers who were piloting Google Classroom last year.  Here is what Google had to say about the new features they have added in their most recent Google Apps Newsletter.

Head back to school with new features in Google Classroom

What’s new: As teachers gear up for the new school year, we’re adding a number of new features in Google Classroom to help them save time, engage with students, and keep everyone organized.

Keep students engaged with question-driven discussions

Since Classroom launched last year, teachers have been using their class stream to host student debates, Q&A, and discussions. With this launch, they’ll be able to do this in a more collaborative way. They can post questions to their class and allow students to have discussions by responding to each other’s answers (or not, depending on the setting chosen). For example, teachers could post a video and ask students to answer a question about it, or post an article and ask them to write a paragraph in response.

Question-driven discussion in Google Classroom (animated gif)

Reuse posts

Teachers can now reuse assignments, announcements or questions from any one of their classes — or any class they co-teach, whether it’s from last year or last week. Once they choose what to copy, they’ll also be able to make changes before posting or assigning it.

Reuse posts in Google Classroom (animated gif)

And a couple more improvements based on teacher feedback:

  • Bump a post: When teachers want to make sure an older item is easy for students to find, they can now move any post to the top of the stream.

  • Due dates optional: For long-term projects or student-driven assignments, teachers now have the option to create assignments that don’t have due dates.

For more information:

Copiers: Locked Print Jobs

There are many reasons why it is important to use locked print jobs.  Maybe you are printing something that has confidential student information on it, or perhaps you don't want your copies getting mixed in with someone else's, or perhaps you have trouble with the copy fairy walking away with your copies before you get a chance to get them from the copier.  Whether it is for these reasons, or many others you are probably wondering, "How do I do a locked print job on the new copiers?"

Locking a print job is very easy with the new copiers.  You just have to make sure you are printing to the "correct" printer.  Let me explain...

The way to do lock jobs now is to print to the FindMe printer for your building.  This will allow you to walk up any of the copiers, put in your code and print your job.  Here is how to set it up.

Add the Find Me Printer

Step 1: Open Internet Explorer
Step 2: Type \\ppspc in the address bar
Step 3: Scroll down until you see the three letter code for your building (ex: AMB, CMS, NHS, etc)
Step 4: Right click BLDFindMe where BLD is your building code.  Choose connect.

Printing a Locked Job

Step 1: Click Print for your document.
Step 2: Choose the Find Me Printer.
Step 3: When the Papercut window pops up, select Print.
Step 4: Walk to one of the copiers and put in your copier code.
Step 5: Choose Select Job
Step 6: Choose the job(s) you want to print.  Click Print or Print All.

Grab your copies and go!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Copiers: Adding New Copiers to your Computer

As you start making your way back into the building, you will be greeting with the wonderful sight of new copiers and printers.  Along with these new copiers and printers we also have a new software called PaperCut that handles the accounting end for the copies.  Over the next couple weeks, we will be sharing tips and tricks for the new copiers.  To get you all started, here is how to add the new printers to your computers in your classroom so you can print the materials needed for the first week of class, as well as delete out the old print drivers you no longer need (anything with \\ppsprint.)

Adding new printers
Deleting old printers

Skyward: Adding Classes to Teacher Quick Access on the Teacher Dashboard

Welcome back!  It is time to get another school year underway.  

As you login to Skyward for the first time this school year, you will probably notice that you need to once again set up your teacher quick access so that you can view the blue gradebooks and yellow attendance bells on your dashboard main screen.  Here is how you accomplish that task.

Teacher Quick Access Box

You will also see a box labeled “Teacher Quick Access”. In this box, click on the line that says “Click here to select classes to display for quick access”.

From the window that opens, you can select to take your attendance by name or by seating chart. You will also want to select the “Let me select from all my classes” button. Put check marks in front of all the classes you wish to display. Click Save when finished.

NOTE: Elementary teachers will want to select all. Secondary teachers - If you have semester classes, you can choose to only show the semester you want to see.

You will now see, in your Teacher Quick Access window your classes you selected. You will also notice blue books and yellow bells. The bells are for attendance. The books are for the gradebook for that course.
NOTE: Elementary will only have two bells for AM (Prd 1) and PM (Prd 2) Homeroom. Secondary teachers will have books and bells for each class.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Students Presenting on the TEC? Use the Incognito Window!

We love student created content! Creating materials to teach others can, when done well, really impact a student's learning. However, no matter the positive outcomes of students teaching students, when it comes to presentation day, getting students logged into and out of Google Chrome can be tedious and time consuming. Ugh.

Well, here's a tech tip that might just speed up students getting access to their Google Drive presentations (or any other files associated to their Portage accounts).

Google Chrome's Incognito Window

Chrome's Incognito Window allows another user to quickly login to and out of Google Services without disrupting your profile on Chrome.

Either use the shortcut keys Ctrl+Shift+N from Chrome or click on the Chrome menu button and choose "New Incognito Window"

Then type in or go to "gmail.com", "drive.google.com", or whichever Google Service you wish and login to that service.

When students are done presenting, simply close all the Incognito Windows and their login and browsing information are gone from that computer. Yay! No more student profiles clogging up your teaching computers!

Now, just in case someone asks, it's good to know...

...when we hear "Incognito" we may think "secret" or that we might be getting away with something. However, as we can see in this note from Google...
Important: Neither Incognito mode nor Guest mode makes you invisible on the web. Websites you visit, your employer, or your service provider can still see your browsing activity.
...you and your students are still responsible for the good, responsible choices that should be made when browsing the web.

Happy Safe Browsing!

Friday, May 22, 2015

PD: Blended Learning in the Classroom Course being offered this Summer/Fall

Blended Learning in the Classroom Course Flyer
This spring, our PPS tech director, our tech integration specialists, four of our middle school teachers, and one elementary teacher completed the REMC Blended Learning in the Classroom (BLiC) course. This 62 SCECHs course was really beneficial in moving many of us forward in our learning and understanding of Blended Learning. It offered background on what blended learning was (hint: it isn't just flipping your classroom!) and how to organize your classroom to get the most out of the time you have with your students. Although the course was amazing, it was a significant amount of work that would be challenging to complete during the school year without release time. Thankfully, the course organizers have heard our concerns and have decided to offer a "split" course that would cover the first three modules during the summer when we all have more time to think and process, then finish up the rest of the hands-on modules in the fall when we have our kiddos. AWESOME!!!

Here's the updated flyer for the Summer/Fall session of BLiC if you are interested in participating​.  We HIGHLY recommend this course! It is definitely worth it.​ 

Please share with any of your colleagues who you feel may be interested in learning more about Blended Learning.​

Happy Blending!

Quick Info

Description: Are you looking to increase student engagement in your classroom? Do you want to effectively blend within your classroom to incorporate online elements? This free Blended Learning in the Classroom course is for all types of educators - administrators, teachers of all subjects, teachers of all levels!

Participate in this FREE opportunity to begin transforming your classroom.
Optional: 62 SCECHs - $10 processing fee

Course Dates
  • Part 1: July 20 - August 24 (orientation & modules 1 - 3)
  • Part 2: September 21 - November 30 (modules 4 - 8)
  • Face-to-face session: July 21st from 9:00-11:30AM Kalamazoo RESA Service Center 

Instructor:Keith Tramper, Kalamazoo RESA

Registration Click here.

PD: Going Google Training at Mattawan Middle School on June 15

Kalamazoo RESA, Berrien RESA and the Southwest Michigan TRIG Consortium would like to invite you to Going Google, a Google training, on June 15th at Mattawan Middle School.

Click Here to Register

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Keith at ktramper@kresa.net.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Grants: Looking for funding? Check out these grants.

Looking for some grant opportunities?  Check out these three grants.  Also, if you are looking for a more specific grant, GetEdFunding by CW-G is a great resource.  Do you know of some great grant opportunities?  Please share in the comments section!

$2,500 Grant Program from Thank America’s Teachers

Sponsored by Farmers Group, Inc., Thank America’s Teachers
Website: https://www.thankamericasteachers.com/submit-a-proposal/
Contact: Farmers Group, Inc.
4680 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Email: usw_farmersgivesback@farmers.com

Description: Through the Thank America’s Teachers, Farmers Group, Inc. is awarding grants up to $2,500 each to teachers across America that can be put towards classroom supplies through AdoptAClassroom.org. The contest is open to full-time teachers in kindergarten through grade 12 schools.

The contest consists of three contest periods and voting periods. Entries are limited to one per contestant per contest period. At the end of each period, Farmers Group, Inc. reviews and judges proposals, and selects finalist entries to be posted online and voted on by the general public during the corresponding voting period. For official contest rules and specific contest and voting periods, please visit the website.

Good proposals are concise, effectively describe why the funds are important, get personal, grab the reader, and are thorough.

Award(s): Grants of $2,500 are awarded.
Deadline(s): Proposals are accepted February 3 through September 30, 2015.

MACUL Grant Program

Sponsored by Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning
Website: http://www.macul.org/grantsawards/2015-16-macul-grants/
Contact: MACUL
3410 Belle Chase Way Ste. 100
Lansing, MI 48911
Phone: 517.882.1403
Email: macul@macul.org

Description: The Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) Grant Program is intended to encourage and support MACUL members in promoting effective instructional uses of computers or related equipment. Each project should have the potential of being replicated in other educational settings.

To meet the requirements for acceptance of grant funds, applicants must complete a MACUL-Grant Project Summary Form and Budget Report, carry out a plan for sharing the project with other educators and MACUL members, and either present a one-hour session at the MACUL Conference or submit a resource to MI Learning on iTunesU following the established submission process. The recommended overall length of a MACUL Grant is 2000-2500 words. The program’s website provides grant writing tips, including tips for writing the Project Budget, Project Narrative, and Project Need.

Eligible applicants are MACUL members who are classroom teachers, coordinators, administrators, media specialists, or higher education faculty or staff. MACUL grant recipients from the last two years are ineligible to apply.

Award(s): Grants up to $1,500 are awarded.
Deadline(s): Applications are anticipated to be available in March and due in May 22, 2015.

MEEMIC Foundation Grants 

Sponsored by The Meemic Foundation   
1685 N. Opdyke Rd.
Auburn Hills, MI 48326

Description: Since 1992, The Meemic Foundation for the Future of Education has been supporting education excellence through funding programs and other partnership initiatives. Created by Meemic Insurance Company and founded as a nonprofit organization, The Meemic Foundation is dedicated to advancing the future of education by offering financial assistance to public, private, parochial and charter schools, and colleges and universities. 

MEEMIC is currently offering two types of grants for teachers:
Each grant proposal is evaluated based on the following criteria:
  • Demonstrated need
  • Project potential for having a lasting impact on students
  • How the program relates to classroom instruction or a school or school district improvement goal
  • Ability to replicate the project for future use
  • Cost effectiveness
You will be notified by email, letter or telephone of The Foundation’s decision regarding your grant application. Grants with significant conceptual, legibility or clarity problems will not be considered. Grant recipients are required to submit a final report (with copy of receipts) after the completion of the project. All unused funds must be returned at that time. Grant funding checks will be made payable to the school listed on the grant application.
Fill out our online grant application to get started.

Award(s): Grants up to $1,000 are awarded.
Jan 1 - March 31: $1,000 - Notified by May 15, Funds available May/June
April 1-June 30: $1,000 - Notified by Aug 15, Funds available Aug/Sept
July 1-Sept 30: $500 - Notified by Nov 15, Funds available Nov/Dec
Oct 1-Dec 31: $500 - Notified by Feb 15, Funds available Feb/March

Year End, Purging Student U Drives

As we approach the end of another school year, it is important for all students to know that ALL files and folders in their network storage drive, otherwise know as the U Drive, will be purged or deleted during summer maintenance.

What does this specifically mean for students? If you need to keep any of your files from this school year, you will need to move them into your Google Drive or another service of your choosing.

Any students leaving the district (Congratulations, Seniors!) will have to move their files into another storage location outside of the Portage Public Schools Network and their @portageps.org Google Account. There are several methods for making this move; however, we recommend either of the following methods below.

Moving U Drive Files to your PPS Google Drive Account

If you will be at PPS next year, this is the one for you!

  1. Login to a student computer with your Portage username and password
  2. Open Windows Explorer or My Computer to go to your U Drive
  3. Create a new folder, name it “BackUp”
  4. Move all folders and files you wish to save into your new “BackUp” folder

  1. Open the Chrome browser and go to Google Drive, drive.google.com
  2. Create a new folder, name it something similar to “U Drive Backup 2015” (adjust to current year)
  1. Open your newly created folder

  1. For uploading Folders, Click the “New” button, “Folder Upload”

  1. Select the BackUp folder you created in your U Drive, Click “OK”
  1. Wait for your files to finish uploading (plan for at least 30 minutes for the upload to complete)
  2. Once complete, you may shut down or log off of your student machine

Taking your Google Files with you, when you leave Portage Public Schools

There are two recommended methods to use when taking your Google Drive files with you as you depart from Portage Public Schools. (Note: Do not forget your U Drive. Any files you wish to keep from there should be transferred to a mass storage device such as a USB stick or uploaded to a cloud storage service such as a personal Google account or Dropbox.)

Personal Gmail Account
If you happen to be old enough to have and have created a personal gmail account, you may share those files you wish to keep with that account and make copies of those files from within the personal account. By making a copy of those files in Google Drive, your personal account will then become the owner of those copies. The instructions below will tell you how to share and make copies of your files.
  • How to Share (with another account)
  • How to copy a file
    • Locate the file in Google Drive
    • Select the file
    • Right-click and “Make a copy” →
    • You now own the copy

Google Takeout
Google offers a service for Google Apps for Education users called, Google Takeout. Takeout allows you to export all or any portion of your Google Apps Services (files, emails, videos, etc.) to a compressed file. This compressed file, typically a .Zip file, can then be uploaded to another online cloud storage service or saved onto a USB flash storage device (flash drive, usb stick, etc.). See the video linked below that details the process on how to export your Google Apps information. (Note: Depending on how much information you are exporting the zip file could be quite large and could be split into multiple zip files.)

(NOTE: The following link takes you to Takeout, https://www.google.com/settings/takeout.)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Chromebook Tech Tip: Help! My Chromebook has a Keyboard on the Screen!


The Problem:

You or your students have a keyboard showing up on your screen, even though you are not using a touchscreen and have no desire to use your mouse to type.

What’s Happening?

Chrome OS has numerous accessibility features built into the operating system.  One of those features is an on-screen keyboard.

You will see a hand next to the time in the lower right corner if accessibility features - like ChromeVox, on-screen keyboard, high contrast mode, or screen magnifier - are turned on.  If the on-screen keyboard is also enabled, they you will see an icon of a keyboard there as well.

How do I fix it?

To turn off the on-screen keyboard, click on the area in the bottom right corner where the clock is located.
 Select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom and select “Show advanced settings…”.
Scroll down until you see the “Accessibility” section.
Uncheck “Enable On-screen keyboard”
Close the Settings window.

You can also turn it off by clicking on the hand, clicking on “Accessibility”, and clicking on “On-screen keyboard” to uncheck it.

If you still want the on-screen keyboard turned on, but just want to hide it, then you can click on the button in the bottom right corner of the on-screen keyboard.

Still not exactly sure what to do? Prefer to see it done on video?

No problem, simply follow the few short clicks in this video: