Thursday, May 24, 2018

Graduating? Retiring? What it means to leave PPS and Google

It's the end of yet another school year...

So many happy moments! Our seniors are graduating. Our retirees, who have given us so much, are preparing to leave. Each person leaving Portage Public Schools is stepping into a new adventure.

For many of you who will depart from our ranks, it will be important that you are able to take with you some, or all, of the products you have created. Most of these items live in the Google-sphere and you need to know how to pack 'em up and ship 'em out.

So... today's post is about How to Take Your Files Stored in Google With You When You Leave.

Quickly, let's mention your U Drive files. Simply grab a flash drive or log into your favorite cloud storage service and drag-n-drop or upload those files. Done.

DISTRICT EMPLOYEES: Make sure you work with your supervisor to transfer ownership of any files critical to the success of your team. See how to transfer ownership in this article.

With Google, there are three ways to transfer content to another Google account.

  • Share and Copy (My Drive, a few files at a time)
  • Direct Transfer (Gmail and My Drive)
  • Download Your Data (take it all, recommended minimum)*

* Note you can only take files of which you are the owner.

Share and Copy

If you happen to be old enough to own (13+), 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

Note you may share an entire folder and make copies of multiple files with that folder at one time; however, you cannot make copies of folders.

Direct Transfer

An easier way to copy your files from your School Google account to another Google account is by using Google's Transfer Service. Google's Support Document details what you can copy and how to use the service. 

This service will transfer gmail (not contacts, chats, or tasks) and Google Drive files you own (not Google Photos stored in Drive). Files shared with you can be copied to your new account but must be added to your My Drive first and will not affect the owners of those files.
  1. Make sure you have created (or have access to) another Google account
  2. Go to Transfer your content
  3. Follow the instructions on the Transfer page
Gmail messages are added to a label in Gmail stating the account name and transfer date. Drive files are placed into a folder named similarly.

Note that in order to transfer selected files, you must have enough storage space available in your new account to store transferred files. A personal Gmail account only has 15GB of storage. This amount of space is sufficient for most users. However, you may need to be selective.

Download Your Data (Recommended Minimum)

Google offers a service for G Suite for Education users that allows users to download an archive of all owned files and data. This service, once called Google 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.).

Read the Google Support on how to Download Your Data.

A couple of helpful tips!

1) Services with an arrow next to the selection slider at the right, will allow you to choose how you would like your data downloaded. As with Contacts in the image below, you might wish to choose a CSV file, so that you could easily import your contacts into a spreadsheet.
2) Once you have selected your desired services and clicked next, one of the options available to you is the Delivery Method. The default is a link in your email, but since you are leaving a Google environment, maybe you might choose a direct download to Dropbox instead.

Note that depending on how much information you are exporting the zip file could be quite large and could be split into multiple zip files.) Additionally, all Google files are converted to their Microsoft Office equivalent (i.e. Docs = Word, Slides = PowerPoint, Sheets = Excel, etc.)

Thank you for your time with Portage Public Schools!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Adobe Spark for EDU is now available for Portage teachers and Students

Image result for adobe spark logoMany teachers over the last year have used Adobe Spark with their students to create great projects to demonstrate learning.  Now Spark has made it even easier for teachers and students to create amazing projects with Spark for EDU. Portage students and teachers now all have Spark for EDU accounts.  Help your students create professional looking graphics, web pages, and videos in minutes with this simple but powerful creativity, presentation, and storytelling tool!  If you’re looking to create narrated videos, printed materials, graphics, or writing assignments that students can quickly and easily turn in, you want Spark.

Learn how to get your students logged in and creating with this getting started guide.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Google: New look and features in Gmail and Google Drive

Google has been busy in the last month updating both Gmail and the look of Google Drive.  Many of you may have already noticed and explored the changes, but for those of you who would like the "cliff notes" on the updates, this tip is for you!


The most significant of the changes have been happening with Gmail as Google rolls out a new look, and updated features.  The "new Gmail" is not on by default.  To switch to the new Gmail, click the gear in top right hand side and select "Try the new Portage Public Schools Mail".  This will switch you over to the new mail.  No worries if you don't like it once you are there, for now you can switch back to the "classic" style without issue.

Now that you have switched over, you are probably wondering, what are some of the new features to check out?  Here is a rundown of some of my favorite new features that will help make your life a little bit easier.

Take action on an email by simply hovering over the message

In the classic version of Gmail, you need to select a message, then go to the top of the screen to delete or archive the message.  With the new Gmail, all you need to do is point to messages in your inbox, then quickly take action without opening them.

The new hover and take action works for the following actions:
  • Archive Archive
  • DeleteDelete
  • Mark as unreadUnread or read Read
  • SnoozeSnooze

One of the new things you can do with your emails is hit the "snooze" button.  What this allows you to do is postpone emails to a future date or time that's more convenient for you. No need to remember to go back to the email, simply have it reappear in your inbox when you are ready to take action on it. 

Open attachments right from the inbox

Now you can see and click attachments in your inbox before ever opening a thread. This is great when you the attachment is one you are expecting or have already reviewed the message and need to go back to the attachment at a later time.  NOTE: Never open an attachment that you are not expecting, or from someone you don't know.  

Suggested Replies

If you are using the Gmail app on your smartphone, then you have probably already seen, and maybe used, smart replies.  This feature suggests possible replies to emails.  Things like "Thank you!" or "Yes, that will work for me." are frequently suggested replies. I enjoy using this feature because it cuts down on the time it takes to type up those common phrases that I often use at the start of an email.

View Calendar, Tasks, and Keep from Gmail

No need to go to another tab when you need to check your Google Calendar, or make a note in Keep.  With the new Gmail, these tools are right there on the right hand side of your screen ready for you to use.  Simply click on the icon and your calendar or keep notes will pop out on the right. I LOVE THIS!!!!  This was the game changer for me.  
To check it out, on the right of your inbox, click these icons:
  • Calendar : View your daily schedule, click events to edit them, create new events, and jump to upcoming events.
  • Keep : Create checklists and take notes.
  • Tasks : Add to-do's and deadlines.

Google Drive

The changes in Google Drive are more cosmetic than functional.  Here is a list of the updates from Google:
  • The “New” button has been updated.  Instead of being a blue rectangle, it is a white rounded corner button.
  • The logo in the top left has been changed to the Google Drive logo.
  • The Settings icon has been moved in line with the search bar.
  • The Help Center icon has been moved in line with the search bar.
  • The page background is now white, not gray.
  • The font used for headers has been changed. 
Below is an animation from Google showing a comparison of the old drive and the new updates.