Grackle Docs

We believe in providing access to ALL of our users/parents/community members. In working toward that goal, we are offering every staff member access to Grackle Docs.

Grackle Docs will help make your Google Docs ADA compliant. This will assist you in implementing the wonderful things that you learned in the MyPD ADA course.

Using Grackle Add-ons is easy-peasy!

  1. From the Add-ons menu, select Grackle Docs/Sheets/Slides. (The first time that you use it, you will have to grant it permission to your Docs/Sheets/Slides).
  2. A sidebar will open up that will identify errors and warnings.
  3. Click on each error and warning for guidance on how to resolve each issue.
  4. Clicking the “Here” button on any flagged item will take you to that item in your document to review.
  5. Address each issue one at a time throughout the document.
  6. Select the “Re-Check” button at the top of the window when you have completed each task to receive an updated report.
  7. Continue to revise until all checks have passed.

Bonus Points!

  • With the Docs Add-on you can also select to create accessible PDF from the Export to PDF function at the top right of the Add-on
  • With the Sheets Add-on you can also select to create accessible HTML from the Export to HTML function at the top right of the Add-on

Chrome Extensions vs Add-ons

Recently, we announced that we are limiting staff to approved Extensions (we have been limiting students to approved extensions for quite a while). Staff can request additional extensions. This may be a good time to explain the difference between an Extension and an Add-on. (As a bonus, Web Apps will also be discussed).

Extensions

Extensions allow you to customize the browser experience. Extensions can add functionality, tailor browser behavior to individual preferences, or integrate another application into the browsing experience. Extensions can be found in the browser just after the Omnibox (URL box). You can also find the extensions that you’ve installed by clicking on the triple buttons | More tools… | Extensions link.

Extension Examples:

Here are just a few popular examples:

  • One Tab – Condense all your open windows to one web page.
  • Hypothes.is – Annotate and Bookmark web pages. You can join or create Groups as well.
  • Monosnap – Take screenshots, record video, add arrows, boxes and more. Great for creating visual directions.

Add-ons

Add-ons are extra tools that extend the use of Docs, Sheets, Forms, and Slides. These “add on” functionality to those programs. Add-ons are installed within each application. You would visit the Add ons Menu.

Add-on Examples:

  • AutoCrat – Mail merge for Docs.
  • Grackle Docs – Make your Docs ADA compliant. (This is an exciting new feature that the district is rolling out to all users – look for more information soon).
  • QR Code generator – makes QR codes.

All users should be careful with Add-ons. Generally, you are granting these add-ons the ability to see and manipulate your data. Although we are not limiting Add-ons at this time, we are monitoring the landscape for these as well.

Web Apps

Web Apps are a third category of applications that use a browser. These are applications that run within a browser. These are “stand-alone” applications that will run within their own tab.

Final Thoughts

The world is definitely changing. Many things that we do are getting easier and easier. To quote the wonderful “Hamilton” broadway play, “how lucky we are to be alive right now”.  With all the great features and powerful opportunities, we need to change and adapt to the new landscape. Unfortunately, those with bad intent are changing as well. Thus, we have to constantly monitor our safety and security.

It can be challenging to understand the differences among an Extension, Add-on, and Web App. The important part is to understand what permissions you are giving. It is really important that you understand the end effect of these applications.

Dearborn Moodle Moot (iLearn) 2019

We are excited to bring our fantastic Dearborn Moodle Moot 2019. What is the Moodle Moot? Dearborn’s Moodle Moot will help teachers learn to leverage the awesome power of iLearn in their classroom.

Overview

The Dearborn Moodle Moot is an exciting and engaging conference for educators interested in e-learning.  Learn the skills necessary to turn YOUR classroom into a Blended Learning Classroom. We are focused on practical K-12 training that can be applied directly to your online classroom.  Develop materials for YOUR STUDENTS to use in your classroom. Collaborate with an expert.

Dearborn Moodle Moot flyer

Dearborn’s Moodle Moot 2019 is a two-day event focusing on student learning.

– Day 1 – iLearn. Learn how to effectively use iLearn.

– Day 2 – Create material for YOUR classroom. Four experts will help YOU help your students.

Blended Learning

  • Engage YOUR students in 21st-century learning.
  • REAL world examples of student assignments.
  • Create YOUR own materials.
  • Implement successful resources.
  • Install excellent teacher created resources into your course.

Learn to use:

  • Assignments
  • Workshop
  • Forums
  • Book Module
  • Glossary
  • Page
  • Lesson
  • File
  • Database
  • Labels
  • Quizzes
  • Interactive activities

Create powerful quizzes with automatic feedback (and grading). Add video and audio (students can too). Add interactive elements to your online support materials.

Discounts

We all love a discount. So, we made some available. If you are in the district, we will email a discount code for you. If you are a Wayne County teacher, email us to get a code.

April is School Library Month

Libraries (Media Centers) play an integral role in education. Dearborn is proud of the great work that our Media Specialists do every day.

SCHOOL LIBRARY MONTH

WHEREAS, effective school library programs staffed by certified school librarians/library media specialists are integral to a quality educational program and have a high impact on increasing student achievement; and,

WHEREAS, effective school library programs contribute to a well-rounded education and positively affect the climate and culture of schools; and,

WHEREAS, effective school library programs equalize access to print and digital resources for all students; and,

WHEREAS, school librarians/library media specialists teach students the skills they need to access, evaluate, and use information throughout their lives; and,

WHEREAS, school librarians/library media specialists are leaders in technology integration and digital learning in their schools; and,

WHEREASschool libraries not only are places where information can be found, but also are places that can bring pleasure and recreation to students for many years to come; and,

WHEREAS, effective school library programs contribute to an interest in lifelong learning and enhance the learner’s quality of life;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of the State of Michigan, do hereby proclaim the month of April 2019 as School Library Month in all public schools in the State of Michigan, and I urge all school boards, superintendents, school administrators, teachers, students, and citizens to join me in recognizing school libraries for the outstanding services they provide.

Gov. Whitmer’s Proclamation

Upcoming Google Changes

The web is an ever-changing landscape. Here are some upcoming changes in Google Applications:

Calendar Event Creators

You will soon be able to tell who booked a room on the Room Resource. In Find a Time, simply hover over the event and you will see who Created (thus booked the room) the event. This can be extremely useful when you need to see if someone can “swap” a room with you.

Available: Now

Priority page in Drive

You can access the Priority page from the left-hand navigation panel in Drive. Some features you’ll see on the Priority page include:

  • Priority:
    • Here you’ll see the documents we think are most relevant to you right now. These machine-learning-powered suggestions are based on various signals from your activity. On each suggested document, you can also take actions in line, without navigating to the doc in question, like replying to a comment or reviewing recent edits.
  • Workspaces:
    • In Workspaces, you’ll be able to see intelligent suggestions of related content to group together for easier access— like multiple files related to the same project.
    • You can also create your own personalized Workspaces collecting any files you have access to, including content stored in your My Drive and various Team Drives.
      • Right-click on any file and select Add to Workspace to dynamically group files as you work.

Availability: Rolling out throughout April

Tasks – Start Times, Repeating Tasks & Import Reminders

Google is adding three highly-requested features to Tasks. You can now:

  • Set a date and time for your tasks and receive notifications
  • Create repeating tasks
  • Import reminders into Tasks

Availability: Now

Images in Google Sheets

Google has made it simpler to add images inside of cells in Google Sheets.

On Desktop:

  • Via the menu bar at the top of a Sheet: Insert > Image > Image in cell

On Mobile:

  • Tap once on a cell to select
  • Tap again to bring up menu: Insert > Tap the “+” at the top of the screen > Image > Image in cell 
You can have multiple cells containing an image in a Sheet, but note that only one image per cell is possible at the moment.
Images inside cells will be associated with a row and move along with the data—so, if you move rows, filter or sort them, the images will move with the content in the row, unlike previously when images would sit on top of the grid.
Using the formatting and alignment tools, you can pin the image to a specific corner of the cell or set the alignment how you’d like. By default, images will align to the bottom left corner of the cell.

Availability: Rolling by April 15th

FREE PD

REMC Virtual Courses 2019

The REMC Virtual Courses are free and open to Michigan school personnel. You can take courses “just to learn” or complete the course and assignments and earn SCECH credits.

All the courses are facilitated by Michigan educators.  The courses last three weeks and consists of two one-hour webinars and four to eight hours of resource review, assessment development, discussion boards, and written reflection.  SCECHs range from 6 – 10 depending on the course.

New Courses start on April 8th.

  • Literacy Instruction and Technology: Foundational Elements, Level 1
  • Inquiry and Questioning: Igniting Student Curiosity with Technology, Level 1
  • Media Literacy: Fake or Real
  • Authentic Student Learning & Gamification
  • The What, Why, and How of Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • Social Media: Professional Development through Social Media, Level 1
  • Dynamic Presentations

Registration

Chrome Extensions

Chrome extensions can be wonderful. These can add great functionality to the Chrome browser. Unfortunately, Chrome extensions can also be used by those with ill intent. Recently, we have seen a rash of employees having trouble with their browsers due to installing a Chrome extension. Many of these users didn’t even realize that they installed the extensions. For instance, I received this email just the other day:

FYI

When I posted my blog today, three advertisement links popped up😱
The teacher who sent this had installed several extensions that “helpfully” added advertisements. (This was not helpful at all.)
I also received this one:
For some reason my browser has been acting up and will not let me go to google images.  Can I please get this fixed?  It says “web page blocked” when I try to open a new tab in chrome.
This employee had installed several extensions as well. One of those extensions redirected his searches to a site that purely provides advertisements.
Currently, we don’t restrict employees from the extensions that they can add. Students are restricted. Extensions must be approved by the district before a student can install an extension.

Installed extensions (Ads)

Here is a list of some extensions that employees have installed:

  • Ad Offers by GameDaddio
  • Ad Offers by GamesChill
  • Ad Offers by MapsScout
  • Advertising by Entrality
  • Advertising Offers by PlayZiz
  • ArcadeFiesta Advertising
  • ArcadeFrontier Ads
  • ArcadeStar Advertising
  • Ball Pin Pal Ad
  • Battle Terrain Advertising
  • BoredPlay Advertising
  • BrainyZanyGames ads

You can see a general trend here (and we didn’t even make it out of the B’s).

Why is this a problem?

Ad sites frequently send the user to a different place. As you can see from the emails above, this can lead to frustration. This is also a potential security risk. As the bad actors get more sophisticated, the potential for harm increases.

Approved Extensions – Students

Currently, extensions must be approved prior to students installing them. We publish a list of the approved extensions for students on the Technology Blog.

Checking for Extensions:

You can easily check to see which extensions you have installed.

  • Click on the three buttons in the top right-hand corner of the Chrome browser (to the right of your picture/avatar)
  • Select “More tools…”
  • Select “Extensions” from the pop out

Click pattern to open extensions

This will open a new page. This page will list all of the extensions that you have installed. The page of extensions will also allow you to remove any extensions that you don’t want (unless the extension is District installed).  The example below is an example of 1Password as an extension (note the “Remove” button).

1Password extension

*1Password is a “paid for” extension that I purchased. 

District Installed Extensions

The District can “force” install extensions. The only one that we are currently installing is Clever.

District Approved Extensions

In addition to the Student Approved Extensions, we are currently comfortable with the following:

  • Google Cast for Education – allows teachers to have students screen share to a projector (via desktop)
  • WAVE – review ADA compliance of a website
  • Hypothes.is – annotation for the web

We will be reviewing Extensions over the next few months.

Apps vs Extensions

Just to confuse things more, individuals can also install Chrome Apps. Although these will appear similar, extensions enhance the Chrome browser. Apps run within the browser. For your purposes, you can consider them the same.

Changes this Summer

Starting this summer, all extensions will need to be whitelisted in order to be installed. This will include staff as well as students. Starting this summer, any Chrome extension (or App) not approved will be removed. Currently, we are reviewing the extensions and Apps installed by all users.

Action for YOU to Take

  • Review the extensions that you have installed.
  • Remove extensions that you don’t need or want.

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