Welcome to The Pirate D.L. Blog! We hope you find a lot of great resources for digital learning that you can use in your classroom.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cleaning up for EOY

The end of the school year is here and it is a great time for students and staff to cleanup your email and drives before you leave for the summer.  Here are a few best practices and tools to help you.

Student/Staff Drives:

It is a good idea to backup all files on your school based drives before you leave for the summer. Refer to your EOY checkout sheets for your school process. Remember that the student share drive will be deleted this summer so remove any files you wish to keep.

Google Takeout:

To create an archive of all files on up to 16 different Google products including Drive and Gmail. This process is free and very simple, just follow the onscreen directions as shown below.

1. Create an archive by selecting the services you wish to archive:

2. Select your file download type and delivery method (by default all files will download as a zip file):

3. Click Create Archive, you will then see a status page with the progress of your archive:

4. Download your archive file, this will depend on the delivery method you chose. The default delivery method is via a link sent to your email. Note: You must have access to the hard drive or a large flash drive/portable hard drive to download your files as these are large files.

Here is the email I received when my archive was ready:

Your archive file will take some time to prepare depending on the amount of files in your Drive and Gmail; you will receive an email when the file is ready. Your archive file will be available for seven days.

Changing Roles?

Remember to check your Google Drive for folders or documents you own that you may no longer need and transfer them to someone who will be in your role. For example, if you are the owner of the 5th grade math folder for your PLC, open the folder in Google Drive and click on the person with a + sign icon and click "advanced" and then make someone else the owner of the folder. You will still be able to access the folder but it will no longer be owned by your Google account.

Here is a short video on how to transfer ownership of files and folders on Google Drive.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Get Immediate Response Back from Your Students!

Check out this video of Google Slides Q&A in Action:

The Slides Q&A feature works on desktop computers, chromebooks, and Apple/Android mobile devices.

To launch the Q&A feature, open any Google Slide presentation and click the down arrow next to the present button:

The presenter view box will open, this is where you can start the Q&A session and see questions as they pop-up:

This is a wonderful new feature to make your presentations interactive!

Friday, May 6, 2016


Google Classroom released a new feature that allows you to schedule posts in advance for your classroom. This is an excellent feature that allows you to work ahead of your students and schedule posts to appear when you want students to see them.

To use the new feature, open Google Classroom and create a new post:

Click on the blue down arrow button to see the post options.

Click on "Schedule" and choose the date and time you want the post to appear.

Your scheduled posts will be saved at the top of your classroom stream.

Here is a recap of what this looks like in action:

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Interactive Slides using Google

Any skilled presenter knows that an interactive presentation is often an effective presentation. Starting today, you can better engage your audience by allowing them to submit questions and vote on them during Google Slides presentations with a thumbs up or down.

Check out these screenshots of the new Q & A feature that GOOGLE Slides has to offer! As always, please come by and see me if you need any help getting this set-up.

Step 1: Click on PRESENT

Step 2: Click on Presenter View

Step 3: Click on Start New or Continue Recent 

Step 4: Students can now use the Q &A feature by visiting the link that appears at the top of the screen. Teachers can decide to display the question on the screen or not by selecting "Present" under the question.

Step 5: Teachers can go back to view the Q&A History by clicking on Tools > Q&A History 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Canvas Professional Development

Schoolnet Sync

On Friday there was a scheduling issue in PowerSchool that required a restore to fix and we believe that restore has caused issues today with missing student information and students being unable to test in Schoolnet. We have been in contact with DPI to correct the missing information and we believe the nightly sync (Friday) between PowerSchool and Schoolnet will resolve the issues.

If you are missing information or functions in Schoolnet on Monday morning, please send a screenshot or two with a short description of your issues to pamelabatchelor@johnston.k12.nc.us

YouTube Update

This week, Google updated our YouTube approval tool to now allow JCS Staff to approve YouTube Channels as well as individual videos. A channel is a collection of videos organized by a user. It is important to understand that approving a channel allows all students in JCS to view all videos currently on the channel as well as any videos added to the channel in the future by the user.

It is critical to understand this implication when approving a YouTube channel as you are approving videos for ALL students in JCS, not just your current students. It is our recommendation at this time to NOT approve any channels except for channels you create and manage. This ensures the safety of all students in JCS.

If you would like to review the YouTube approval process, please click here to view the policy and instructions.