Thursday, July 14, 2022

New Certify'em Tutorial - Automatically Send Certificates from Google Forms

For the last five or so years I've used Certify'em to automatically send certificates to students when they successfully complete a quiz in Google Forms. I also use it to issue certificates to participants in my workshops, webinars, and self-paced courses. There have been some changes to Certify'em since the last time I published a tutorial on how to use it. That's why I recorded this new Certify'em tutorial

In this short video I demonstrate how to create a simple quiz in Google Forms and enable Certify'em to automatically generate and send certificates to students. In the video I point out how to avoid a common frustration when using Certify'em for the first time. 



Certify'em offers a library of free certificate templates that you can use. You also have the option to use certificates of your own design in Certify'em. To use your own certificate design you will need to have it stored in Google Slides. In the following video I demonstrate how to create a custom certificate in Google Slides.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

How to Restore the Windows 11 Taskbar

Last week I took some time off which included shutting down my primary work computer. When I restarted it, my Windows 11 taskbar was gone! I know I'm not the only one to experience this problem because I got an email from a reader who had the same problem. I sought a solution to this annoying problem and found it in this Guiding Tech article

Thanks to that article I was able to solve the problem of my missing Windows 11 toolbar. In my case, the problem was solved by restarting the Windows Explorer from the task manager. The solution for others may be as simple as checking a box in the Windows 11 personalization menu. Both options are demonstrated in this short video

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Five Google Forms Features Overlooked by New Users

Every year at about this time I start to get emails from people who are transitioning into using Google Workspace for Education for the first time. In fact, I got one of those emails last week from a tech coach who wanted to know if I had a list of helpful "hidden" Google Forms features for new teachers. I didn't have a readily available list so I made the following short video. 

In 5 Google Forms Features Overlooked by New Users I demonstrate the following Google Forms that are helpful, but not necessarily the first things that people are taught about Google Forms. In the video you will see me demonstrate the following:

  • How to quickly assign a form to a Google Drive folder. 
  • Advanced font styling options. 
  • How to include hyperlinks in question descriptions. 
  • Quiz default settings. 
  • Question shuffling options. 


Common Craft Explains Research Papers to Students

I often use Common Craft videos as an example of creating effective video lessons without having to spend a lot of money on special equipment or software. In fact, I did that in a webinar that I hosted yesterday. The video that I used as an example was Research Papers Explained by Common Craft

Research Papers Explained by Common Craft does an excellent job of explaining to students why the research papers they write in school are good practice for life in a working environment. The video does this through the example of trying to convince your boss to give you a raise. 



Common Craft videos can be previewed on their website. To use them in your school you do need a Common Craft membership.

Disclosure: I have a long-standing, in-kind relationship with Common Craft.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Reminder - Two-Factor Authentication Saves Frustration

I've noticed a pattern lately that whenever I don't check my Facebook account for more than a day, I get notifications that someone is trying to access my account via password reset. Fortunately, I use two-factor authentication on all of my accounts. (In the case of Facebook I'm forced to use two-factor because of the size of my following). While it can be annoying to have to use your phone or a second computer to verify your identity when signing into an account, it's a heck of a lot less annoying that dealing with all of the frustration and headaches that come when one of your online accounts is compromised. 

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication, sometimes called two-factor verification, is a system in which you have to enter a password and then receive an SMS (text) message or email through which you verify that you actually tried to sign into your account. I use this on every service that offers it including my Google account and all bank accounts. This is great because if someone does try to sign into one of my accounts from a computer or phone other than mine, I immediately get a text message. My friends Lee and Sachi LeFever at Common Craft have a great video that explains two-factor authentication. You can see that video here.



Your Password Isn't Strong Enough!
If you're thinking, "I don't need two-factor authentication, I use a strong password," you're wrong. In How Easy It Is To Crack Your Password Kevin Mitnick explains why your "clever" use of "@" in place of "a" in your password isn't fooling anyone. He demonstrates how quickly hackers can crack passwords and explains why you should use passphrases along with two-factor authentication. 



Beware of Social Engineering
Last year I showed this video, another one featuring Kevin Mitnick, to my networking students and they laughed the gullibility of the people who fell for his social engineering attack. Watch it and don't be the security manager from Motorola. 


Kevin Mitnick was one of the most wanted hackers in the world in the 1980's and 1990's. His autobiography, Ghost in the Wires, is a fascinating read for anyone who is interested in the world of hacking. He's now a security consultant for a firm called KnowBe4 and he published The Art of Invisibility which is about how to minimize and protect your digital footprints.

Common Craft videos can be reviewed online for evaluation purposes. To use embed them into a blog as I've done requires a membership (which are very reasonably priced).

Disclosure: I have an in-kind relationship with Common Craft.