Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Google Meet for Video Conferencing

COVID-19 has certainly thrown us all a curve ball when it comes to keeping in touch with each other. For teachers being able to have valuable face to face time with their students, Google Meet is the best option.

Why is Google Meet the best option for AAPS teachers and students?

  • The Google Apps for Education already complies with legislation (CIPA, COPPA, FERPA, HIPAA) to keep students and their data safe while in a virtual environment.
  • The AAPS Google suite of applications offers tools that work hand in hand to create a more fluid environment when navigating between multiple interfaces.

Best Practices for Google Meet

  • Look at this Video Conferencing Do’s sheet for instructions and tips
  • Create a Meet session using a Nickname. Watch this video about Google Meet with a Nickname. A Meet session with a nickname offers the safest option. It allows the session to only be active when the teacher has entered the session.
    • Students can’t enter prior to the teacher entering the session
    • Students can’t come back to the session after the teacher has left. The teacher must be the last person to leave the Nicknamed session.

Extensions to make Google Meet more Zoom-like

Many staff members like Zoom. However it doesn't meet requirements mandated by legislation to keep students safe. (CIPA, COPPA, FERPA, HIPAA) To transform your Meet session to be more like Zoom download the following approved Chrome extensions.

Google Meet Grid View - to see all participants are one time
Nod - Reactions for Google Meet - allows students to raise their hands and give a thumbs up.
Meet Attendance - helps to capture all attendees, great for PD trainings
Google Meet Push to Talk - Uses the spacebar to unmute to talk

Image credit:  @michGoogle Apr 20, 2020

By: James Marcum

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

MediaCast is Back


We are pleased to announce that MediaCast is back up and running!   After a major hardware failure, most of the data has been recovered and is back in place and ready to access!

There are a few files that were not fully recovered, so you may find an occasional resource that you want to use is not playing correctly.  You can report that title to us at and we will work on recreating that resource.

MediaCast is accessed through any browser using an AAPS Active Directory login.  The address is

Titles that were purchased by AAPS libraries are also linked in the Destiny catalog.  Simply click the direct link in the Destiny record.

Clearing your Cache:

It may be a good idea to clear your browser cache before you access MediaCast to make sure you are getting the most current information from the site. Here are instructions on how to do this for all 3 browsers on a Mac:


  • Go to Safari > Preferences
  • Click Privacy
  • Select Manage Website Data
  • Click Remove All
  • Confirm by clicking Remove Now


  • Click the Google Chrome settings icon in the top right browser window
  • Choose Settings
  • Select Advanced at the bottom
  • Under Privacy and Security click Clear browsing data
  • On the Basic tab make sure all 3 boxes are checked and range is set to All Time
  • Click Clear data button to finish


  • Navigate to History > Clear Recent History from the Firefox menu bar
  • Select Everything from the time range menu
  • Make sure all the items under History are select
  • Click Clear Now

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Using Printer Presets to Save Time

When you print from your Macintosh computer, you have options to set printer options and then save them to a preset that allows you to choose the same options quickly.
These directions show the process starting with Microsoft Word, but once the presets are built, they work from any application.

Open any Microsoft Word document and start to print to your printer. In this example, we are using the CANON_BW_PAPERCUT.

Click on the options bar--that line in the middle that says “Copies and Pages” to access your options… in this case, Finishing.

Choose the settings you want to save--2-sided and/or stapling:

Look at the top for the “Presets”, and select “Save Current Settings as Presets

Give your shortcut a descriptive name.  Leave it set for “Only this printer”

★ First time only – go back up to Presets and choose Show Presets...

Check the box for Reset Presets Menu to “Default Settings” After Printing

You can skip this step if you are sure that you always want to use this preset.

To print using presets,

- first choose your printer queue,
- then choose a preset if needed,
- then change the number of copies
- or make any other adjustments…
- then click Print.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

New Tech Tools to End the Year With

I know this time of the year is crazy busy but hopefully not be too busy to try and learn new things.  Here are a few new tools you should try before the end of the year. The first four were taken from a nice tech blog I follow: Cult of Pedagogy.


If you are familiar with Google Expeditions, Tour Creator is a tool you should look into.  This tool helps you create your own VR tours. Google cardboards are a very affordable way to use VR in the classroom once you have created a tour.  


A very fun geography game that uses Google Street View to drop you somewhere in the world.  The challenge is to figure out where you are. You can drive down the road to check out the scenery and signs but can not zoom out.  Once you think you know where you are drop a pin on a world map and it gives you a score.


Webjets is a great tool for group projects.  It is an easy way to get all ideas and digital materials all in one place no matter what they are.  This is very much like Padlet but free for educators.


A very nice writing tool that has a free version that if you are an english teacher you should check out.  To be honest I should probably start using this on these emails I send out :)

Open Education Resources
Open Education Resources (OER) are materials for teaching and learning that are either in the public domain or have been released under a license that allows them to be freely used, changed and shared with others. Checkout the #GoOpenMichigan Initiative.

Tynker Jr.
If you teacher early elementary (ages 4-7) and would like to integrate more coding into your class Tynker Jr is free until August.  Let me know and we can push the app out to any school iPad.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Introducing 2-Step Verification

Starting today, ITD has activated the ability to turn on 2-step verification to your AAPS gmail account.  2-Step verification will protect your email account from someone else signing in as you from a different location. All you need to do is associate a cell phone number with your account and when you sign in, it will send you a code.  You probably already have this set up with other internet accounts such as banking or credit card sites. Google only runs the verification once a month when you are using the same device. If you log into Google from a new computer or device it will activate the 2-step verification. Once you set it up, you will forget you even have it activated.   This is not required but is highly encouraged.  If you are interested, here are instructions on how to set it up.  It only takes a minute or two to set up:

1. Open your Google Account here or with your Gmail open, click on your profile in the upper right head corner and select Google Account. You may need to sign in.

2. Click Security on the left hand side
3. Under Signing into Google select 2-Step Verification and click the > arrow.
4. Click Get Started

5. It will most likely ask you to sign into Google again.

6. If you have never associated a cell phone number with your Google account enter your cell phone number and select Next. If you already have a phone associated with your account click the Try It Now button. This will either send you a verification code or link on your phone.

7. After completing that step you should see this screen. It gives you the option to enter an addition phone number as a backup. Click Send. This will send you another verification code. Enter the code on the next screen and hit Next.

8. Click Turn On