Monday, December 29, 2014

Printing Images From Your iPad

Recently, several teachers asked how to print images to EWG printers from an iPad. The video below should help you get started -- and finished.

If you discover an easier way to print to an EWG printer from your iPad, please tell us about it in the comments.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Comments in Google Classroom - Google Docs

A number of teachers using Google Classroom have observed that students cannot see the comments left in their Google Docs by their teachers. Here is why, and here is what to do about it.

It is important to understand that when a student submits an assignment via Google Classroom, you (the teacher) become the owner of the document, and the student is demoted to a viewer of the document. Document viewers cannot see comments, and can only see the finished, printable document. In order for students to see comments you leave in the document, you must elevate their privileges above viewer. There are two easy ways to elevate their privileges.

When you are leaving comments, simply click the blue share button, click advanced, and change the student's rights from view to comment, or edit. Or, from within Google Classroom, you can accomplish the same thing for the entire class with just a couple of clicks. From the assignment select the students you want to see your comments. The check box at the top of the page will select all students. Then, click the return button. All students will become owners of the document, and will be able to see your comments and make improvements to the document.

The video below demonstrates how to make this happen.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Macbook Wireless Issue

Some Macbook Air laptops are failing miserably trying to connect to EWG_Staff. The connectivity issues are hitting users who upgraded their Macbooks to OSX Yosemite. Colleague Marc Hamlin researched a fix that improves WiFi connection issues for all the users who have tried it. The fix, which brought my own Macbook back from brick land, is easy to implement, takes just 60 seconds to apply, and will help affected Macbooks connect more quickly and reliably. Note well: This fix is for Macbooks having WiFi connectivity issues and running Yosemite. If your Macbook is working well or not running the latest OSX updates (Yosemite), stop here.

Here are the steps to implement 'the fix'.
  • Open terminal (Terminal can be opened by clicking the search icon called spotlight in the top right menu of your mac and typing terminal, or by using finder to locate Applications / Utilities / Terminal.
  • Enter the following command into the terminal:  sudo ifconfig awdl0 down (that is sudo ifconfig awd ell zero down) and press enter.
  • Enter your Macbook user password and press enter. No characters will display when you type in your password.
  • Press the up arrow on the keyboard to reenter the command (just to make sure it sticks...).
  • No message should display. If the command is successful, no error message (or any message at all) will display.
  • Close the terminal.
  • Done!
The video below demonstrates the steps to implement the fix.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

9282+ Google Documents In One Week

Recently, I was able to view a couple of statistics from EWG's Google Apps management console. I was surprised by the statistic showing the number of Google Documents created by EWG users in the last seven days; well over 9,000. Apparently, the system works and a lot of users are creating content.

How students can view comments in documents submitted through Google Classroom

A sizable number of Google Classroom teachers have mentioned that students can not see comments they added to a Google document, spreadsheet, or presentation. It is important to remember that when a student submits a document through Google Classroom, that they are demoted to viewer status. As a viewer of a document, a user can not edit, suggest, or (drum roll), view comments. If you want students to see comments you add, you must elevate their privileges to at least Can Comment. There are two easy, quick ways to accomplish this.

While commenting on a student's document, click share, advanced, and elevate the student from Can View to Can Comment. You'll have to do this for each document.

Or, to enable viewing comments for an entire class with a couple of clicks, go to the assignment in Google Classroom. Select the assignment, click the students for whom you want to enable comment viewing, then click return. All selected user privileges will automatically update.

The included video demonstrates both methods to enable viewing of comments.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Better conversions to Google Docs

Converting word documents to Google documents has been a horror show for a long, long time. Recently, Google announced some improvements to the conversion process, so I decided to put the new converter to the test. While not perfect, the new process is light years ahead of the dreadful conversions of last week that mangled every document containing a complex table, text box, or word art. Here are some conversion samples.

Converted Google Document
Original Word Document Version

Engage NY Math worksheet converted to a Google Document with excellent fidelity.

You might be wondering why Google's conversion update is important. First, it alleviates a lot of misery and agony. For the most part, conversions work a whole lot better with only occasional, minor tweaks necessary. But a bigger picture benefit is that now teachers can share math worksheets (and others; let your imagination run) directly using Google Docs, Google Classroom, Edmodo, or the LMS of their choice without having to resort to PDFs and their notoriously arduous editing hacks. Having good conversion fidelity means teachers can share, distribute and collect with greater ease than ever before. Students are no longer burdened with uploading to tools like PDF escape. Even sixth graders are finding it easy to work with the equation editors, drawing tools, and text tools built right into Google Docs. Could Metcalf's sixth graders be pioneering EWG's paperless math classroom?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Audio Out To An HDMI Projector

Metcalf School has some awesome projectors that work well through HDMI connections. In addition to video capability, HDMI is nice because it can also carry audio to the projector's speakers. Recently, teachers have asked how to get the audio playing from their Macbook's somewhat diminutive speakers to play on the projector speakers. Macbooks are not smart enough to know that you automatically want to play through the projector's speakers, so you have to tell your Macbook to play the audio through the projector. The video below shows how to make a sound choice.  ;-)