Online Learning and Teaching Information

Helpful Online Learning Videos for Parents / Guardians and Students


Helpful Online Teaching Videos for Teachers and Administrators

(Note: Just a reminder that in order for you as a teacher to see the + (plus) symbol to "Create a Classroom," you need to request to join the "Classroom Teachers Group." To do that, go to your "Launcher" (the nine dots) in the upper right of the Chrome browser page and select the Groups icon. Then click All Groups, search for the "Classroom Teachers" group, and then ask to join the group.)


Helps and Hints for Everybody

Google Meet Grid View Extension

We are receiving a number of issues with folks who are being booted from Meets. In most all cases this is caused by people still using that old Grid Extension that may have been installed last Spring.

Although it may have provided a Grid view back then, that function is now built right into Meet, so there is no need for that extension and it will in fact now break Meet and could cause you to get booted from the video meeting.

How do I check if I have this installed?

  1. Click on the three dots in the upper right of the Chrome browser. Then click "More Tools," then click "Extensions."
     
  2. Look around for the Grid View extension and remove it. While in there, you should remove any extensions that may have been snuck into your browser. If you do not recognize an extension, remove it. This cleans up your profile and helps you avoid those odd, unexplainable issues and future problems.
     

Q and A about the Google Meet Grid View Extension

 

Q:  I'm only seeing 16 people (4x4 grid). 

A:  Yup.  That's what Google has working right now.

 

Q:  Didn't you say it would be more than that.

A  Yup, and it will be.  Soon.

 

Q:  When is "soon"?

A:  "Soon" is all Google will say.  They used a lot of words, many of them weasel words like "hope" and "expect" and "plan, "but when you distill it all down you get "we're still working on it, you'll have it soon."
 

Q:  When I use grid view things get choppy / slow / I get dropped.

A:  Grid view can be a bandwidth hog.  You're basically streaming 16 camera feeds in and one (yourself) out. When it expands you'll be streaming even more camera feeds in.  If you're having trouble with bandwidth - or your students are - suggest dropping out of grid view to "spotlight" mode which focuses on the current dominant speaker (probably you most of the time).

 

Q:  Well, I found this great extension that...

A:  Extensions can be problematic.  (Not just grid view ones, but that's what people are noticing today)  Since Google doesn't own them, Google doesn't test them when they change things.  Google has probably changed a dozen things while I wrote this email and they're not even really started their day yet.  When those things break extensions, the extension maker finds out no sooner than you do.  They then have to figure out what changed, how to accommodate that, and how to fix their code to accomplish that.  These things are free, so if the coder doesn't actually need the extension they wrote anymore - if 4x4 is fine for their needs, for example - they'll just abandon it and move on.  And you're stuck with something broken in your way...

 

Q:  So should we never use extensions?

A:  Well, I'd suggest not relying on them.  Mostly, understand the limitations and pitfalls.  Just know that Murphy's Law will eventually apply to the ones you come to rely on.

 


Other Topics
 

Q:  I emailed my son/daughter from my own email account and they didn't receive the email.  Why not?

A:  The School Committee set a policy that students may not receive email from outside of @belchertownps.org - and while we have added exceptions to that policy for things like CommonApp and Naviance, parents who are not staff are not able to email students.  This is expected behavior.

 

Q:  How can a student take a photo of him/herself and send it to their teacher?

A:  The person who wants to send a picture click on the search button on the bottom left of the Chromebook screen.  Into the search bar that pops up, type in 'camera'.  It will pull up the camera app and you can click on it.  Any photos taken land in the Gallery/Images area and you can then upload or email them.

Here is a two-minute video showing exactly how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siOo-1lOh-Y

 

Q:  I have been unsuccessfully trying to get parents access to Google Classroom so they can monitor their student's assignments.   Any advice?

A:  Parents cannot join a Google Classroom. The best you can do is list them as Guardians under the student name/account that can allow them to see when assignments are due and other things. 

This video may explain further:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl9ofDHkIpE.