Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Cautionary Note About Using Public Cloud Printers

A couple of weeks ago I went to a national office supply store to print sixty documents in color in high resolution. I only need to do this about once a year so it's cheaper to pay the office supply store to do it than it is to own and maintain a color printer. In years past I've brought in a USB drive and printed directly from it. This time I decided that I'd just use my Google Drive credentials to print from the store's networked printer.

I logged into the store's network printer using my Google Drive credentials and attempted to open the file that I needed to print. I wasn't logged in for more than ten seconds before I got kicked out and had to sign-in again. That should have been my first clue that something was wrong. I logged-in again and this time I didn't get kicked off, but I couldn't preview my file. At this point I was frustrated and logged-out of my Google Drive completely and left the store to go home and get a USB drive. Not more than five minutes after I left the store my phone blew-up with alerts from Google asking me to confirm or deny log-in activities. It appears that my Google Account was compromised by using that store's networked printer as there were multiple log-in attempts on my account from multiple locations around the globe. Fortunately, I caught it and responded to it quickly enough that nothing seems to have been compromised in my account other than my passwords which I reset.

The morale of the story is if you use a public networked printer and something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. And always pay attention to alerts from Google about suspicious log-in activity.

A Simple Way to Make Your Own Google Maps Street View Game

Earlier this week I stumbled upon a local radio station's blog in which they had posted a little game called How Well Do You Know Maine Roads? That game was nothing more than ten Google Maps Street View images that you had to try to identify. The answers to the game prompts were posted at the bottom of the blog post.

As I looked at the game I thought that it was an instructive model for creating games to use with students. You could embed a series of Street View images into a post on your classroom blog and then have students submit their answers into a Google Form that provides them with instant feedback. Your Street View images could be of local places to test your students' knowledge of local geography. Alternatively, you could test your students' knowledge of world geography by embedding Street View imagery of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to embed Street View imagery into your blog posts.

If you want to use Google Forms to collect responses from students and give them instant feedback, watch the following video to learn how to do that.

11 Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed This Summer - PDF

Over the summer Google released a bunch of updates to teachers' and students' favorite Google Apps. If you took a little break from your school Google Account over the summer and have just started to look at it again, you might notice that there are some new features available to you. I put together a summary of those new features, including some tutorial videos, in document that is embedded below. If you're the person who will be leading Google Apps PD at your school this fall, feel free to print this document and circulate amongst your staff. A Google Docs copy is also available to view here.