February 2020 Technology Newsletter

By: Michael Kealy

Computer Updates

Did you know the district schedules most computer software updates to occur outside of normal working hours to reduce disruption during the work day? With that being said, please make sure you leave your computer on overnight at school at least 1 day a month so that critical updates can be applied. The computer must be on the district network to download and install the updates.

Planned Brief Network Outage Thursday, March 5th 4:30pm

Please be advised the Technology Department is planning a brief network outage for Thursday, March 5th at 4:30pm as we perform maintenance on our core network switch.

Remote Access Portal Shut Down Friday, March 6th

As a result of the emerging cyber security threats targeting K-12 schools across the nation, and especially within New York State, the district has determined that the BCSD remote access portal poses a security risk to the BCSD network. This determination was made based off of a few factors including intelligence shared by the MS-ISAC Center for Internet Security a government agency that shares confidential cybersecurity threats found by the FBI and Homeland Security with government agencies including schools.

Remote access was a tool used for convenience to access files remotely in a time before cloud-based computer solutions like Google Drive, and especially before the advanced cyber security threats we are seeing today.

As a result the Technology Department will be shutting down the remote access portal on Friday, March 6th. This date will give district users a couple of weeks to prepare for the change. The district urges all users to migrate documents to Google Drive before the shutdown so files can still be accessed from anywhere at any time. District hosted home-drives will still be accessible, just not remotely.

If you need assistance moving your files to Google Drive please submit a technology help ticket and a member of the technology team will schedule an appointment to assist you.

Thank you for your understanding as we try to maintain a safe and secure network.

Digital Learning Day 2020 is February 27!

Join the thousands of educators and students to celebrate

On Digital Learning Day (DLDay), coming up on February 27, you will see how innovative teachers inspire incredible creativity in their students. Whether students are exploring 3d modeling, mastering coding, or leveraging digital tools to deepen their learning; innovation shines on DLDay.

But teachers and students should be innovating in every classroom, every day.

That’s why for DLDay 2020 we’re highlighting school districts across the United States that are transforming teaching and learning by incorporating digital learning in every classroom, every day.

If your classroom is a place of innovation all year long, share your story using #DLDay for a chance to be featured!

Google Originality reports and rubrics now generally available for Google Classroom users

What’s changing

Last year, we announced betas for originality reports and rubrics, two new tools for Google Classroom. Beginning today, these features are generally available for G Suite for Education and G Suite Enterprise for Education Classroom users.

Who’s impacted

End users

Why you’d use them

Help students turn in their best work
Originality reports check a student's work for matches across billions of web pages and books. This can make it easier for instructors to evaluate the academic integrity of the student’s work and provide them constructive feedback.

Students can also use originality reports to check for missed citations or poor paraphrasing before they turn in a document. This gives them the opportunity to improve their work and learn from their mistakes before final submissions.

Enhance feedback to students with rubrics
A rubric is a scoring framework that makes it easier for educators to evaluate student assignments, set clear expectations, and provide actionable feedback.

With the new rubrics feature, educators can now:

  • Create a rubric as they create an assignment.
  • Reuse rubrics from previous assignments rather than creating them from scratch.
  • Export and import Classroom rubrics to share with other instructors.
  • Grade students work with a rubric from both the “student listing page” and Classroom’s grading view, where instructors can select rating levels as they review the assignment.

Additionally, rubrics can be helpful for business users. For example, you can create a rubric to assess marketing plans or performance in key business areas.

Additional details

Language availability for originality reports:
Note that originality reports are only available in English and for Google Docs at the moment. See below for details on expanded language options available in beta.

Number of originality reports available per assignment:
Classroom instructors can enable originality reports on three assignments per class for free. Instructors who use G Suite Enterprise for Education can turn on originality reports for unlimited assignments per class.

Regardless of what G Suite for Education edition their instructor uses, students can run originality reports on a document three times per assignment before submitting. When students submit their work, a new originality report is created for the instructor.

More options for originality reports available in beta:

  • International language options: Originality reports are launching in beta for the following languages: French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.

  • Student-to-student comparison: Originality reports will also compare student work against past student submissions within a school's domain. This feature is only available to G Suite Enterprise for Education customers.

You can learn more and sign up for these betas using this form.

Getting started

End users:
Originality reports: Once originality reports are available in your domain, instructors can turn them on per assignment by checking the originality reports checkbox within the assignment creation process. Visit the Help Center to learn more about using originality reports.

Rubrics: Visit the Help Center to learn more about creating a rubric in Classroom.

Do You Know What Information Your Sharing With 3rd Party Apps?

With Part 121 of NYSED Law 2d recently approved this is a reminder to use caution when you or your students share your Google account information with 3d party apps. For example the picture below from Zoom (a popular web conference tool) asks you to allow the app to "view and edit events on your calendar". You may not want an app to view your calendar if it has confidential/sensitive information like doctor appointments.
Big picture
Big picture

G-Suite Updates

Changes to multiple inboxes in Gmail starting February 20, 2020

What’s changing

We’re updating the way multiple inboxes work in Gmail. Specifically, starting February 20, 2020, for Rapid release domains and March 5, 2020, for Scheduled release domains, we’ll enhance multiple inboxes to support independent scrolling, a unified toolbar, and adjustable width in right-side configurations.

In addition, starting on those dates, multiple inboxes will no longer support three-pane layouts with the preview pane (renamed “reading pane”) view.

See the “Additional details” section below for more information on these changes.

Who’s impacted

End users

Why it’s important

Multiple inboxes help you break out key emails, like important tasks or those from specific people, and make them visible alongside your main inbox in Gmail, in a completely customizable way.

Additional details

Split pane configurations no longer supported
Beginning February 20, 2020, for Rapid release domains and March 5, 2020, for Scheduled release domains, multiple inboxes with preview pane (to be renamed “reading pane”) configurations will no longer be supported.

If you currently have multiple inboxes in an unsupported configuration, you will see a notification in Gmail informing you of this upcoming change. Once this change takes effect, the preview pane will turn off if you use multiple inboxes. If you want to continue using preview pane (i.e. reading pane), you’ll need to use an inbox type other than multiple inboxes. You can do this by going to Settings > Inbox > Inbox type.

Configure multiple inboxes and reading pane more easily

On these dates, we’ll also relocate the settings for multiple inboxes out of the “Advanced” tab and into the “Inbox” tab along with other inbox configurations to better align with user expectations.

Once these changes go into effect, you’ll be able to enable or disable the reading pane by clicking the gear icon and selecting Settings > Inbox > Reading pane. With reading pane view, you can open mail next to your list of conversations, making mail reading and writing faster while also providing more context.

Individual scroll bars for multiple inboxes, adjustable panels, and collapsible sections

Starting on these dates, when the right side configuration of multiple inboxes is enabled, each inbox will have an individual scroll bar. This will allow you to scroll in either inbox separately as needed so you can more flexibly navigate your email. Previously, you could only scroll both inboxes at once.

The divider at the right side between the inbox and the multiple inbox sections will become adjustable, allowing you to minimize or maximize each panel as needed.

Also with this update, additional sections in multiple inboxes are now collapsible.

A single action toolbar for multiple inboxes

There will also be one action toolbar across multiple inboxes. This will allow users to take actions across multiple sections and ensure that triage functionality and keyboard shortcuts work consistently. Currently, at the top of each inbox, there is a separate toolbar for each section in the bottom and top configurations, but no toolbar for any of the additional sections for the right-side configuration. Now, there will be one unified toolbar for the whole inbox in all configurations.

Edit your new Google Sites faster with a revamped Settings menu

Quick launch summary

We’ve made some improvements to the “Settings” menu in new Google Sites. Specifically, we’ve consolidated the location of several settings into one place, making it easier for site editors to access and configure different options for their sites.

For example, you can now now add a favicon to your site by going to Settings > Brand images. Or, to add Google Analytics tracking to your site, go to Settings > Analytics.

We’ve also given site editors the new option to hide anchor links from site viewers on a published site. Currently, anchor links appear by default when site viewers hover over headings on a page. With this new setting, found in Settings > Viewer tools, site editors now have even more control over how a published site looks. Visit the Help Center to learn more about using anchor links in new Google Sites.

Getting started

End users:

  • Settings menu: The new Settings menu will be available by default. In the “Resources” section below, you’ll find a list of features that can now be accessed in the Settings menu.
  • Anchor links: Use our Help Center to learn more about adding or disabling anchor links in new Google Sites.

Gmail for iOS now allows you to add attachments from the Files app

Quick launch summary

In the Gmail iOS app, when composing or replying to an email, you can now upload attachments from the Files app on your iPhone or iPad.

Getting started

  • End users: This feature will be available by default. In the Gmail iOS app, when composing or replying to an email, click the attachment icon and scroll to the “Attachments” section. Then select the folder icon to select an attachment from the Files app.

Autocorrect now available for Google Docs on web

Quick launch summary

Last year, Google announced improved as-you-type spelling and grammar corrections in Gmail. Now, we’re bringing that functionality to Google Docs on the web.

Autocorrect helps you compose documents quickly and with confidence. Misspelled words will automatically be corrected while typing and denoted with a grey dashed underline. As you continue typing, this dashed line will disappear.

If you need to undo a correction, you can simply hit backspace, select “Undo” while hovering over the autocorrected word, or use keyboard shortcuts like Command+Z.

Smart Compose in Google Docs now generally available

Quick launch summary

Last year, Google announced a beta for Smart Compose in Google Docs, a feature that helps you compose high-quality content in Google Docs faster and more easily. Smart Compose saves you time by cutting back on repetitive writing, helps reduce the chance of spelling and grammatical errors, and can suggest relevant contextual phrases.

This feature is now generally available and has started rolling out to all G Suite customers. Note that Smart Compose is only available in English at the moment.

Refine search results in Gmail faster with search chips

What’s changing

We’re introducing search chips in Gmail, an easier way to sort and filter search results to find exactly what you’re looking for faster.

For example, you can search a colleague’s name and further narrow your results by selecting search chips like attachment type (Text document, Spreadsheet, PDF) or a specific timeframe. You can also filter out certain results, like calendar invites.

Who’s impacted

End users

Why you’d use them

We’ve heard from our users that searching in Gmail could be faster and more intuitive.

With search chips, you can easily refine your search results and find what you’re looking for faster, without needing to sort through irrelevant returns or use search operators (like from: marketing@company.com).

View out of office information in more places on Gmail for web

Quick launch summary

Last year, Google announced the ability to see when someone is out of office in Gmail, specifically when composing a new email or Hangouts Chat. Now, we’re expanding that functionality to more places in Gmail on web, like when you’re hovering over someone’s name in your inbox or in the “To” or “From” line in an email.

This feature gives visibility to your time out of office in more places across G Suite, making it clear to senders the appropriate time to message you.

Getting started

End users: These notices will automatically appear when anyone whose calendar you have access to has an out of office event scheduled. Use our Help Center to learn more about disabling the sharing of availability information to other G Suite apps.

The District Has A Movie Licensing Agreement

It's always best to check first!

The district has a movie licensing agreement that covers films from most major motion picture studios. Submit a ticket in advance of showing the film and the Technology Department can confirm the movie is covered by the license.

Walt Disney Pictures

Disney Pixar

Warner Brothers


Sony Pictures

NBC Universal


Screen Gems

Summit Entertainment



Fine Line Features


Touchstone Pictures

Hollywood Pictures

United Artists

New Line Cinema

Columbia Pictures

Tristar Pictures

Focus Theaters


If you want to learn something new don't forget to check out the TEQ Online PD Portal (recently rebranded as OTIS).

Course Offerings:


Digital Storytelling




Digital Citizenship



Early Childhood



Blended Learning

Educational Frameworks


Social Studies




Special Ed




Computer Science

General Interest

Project Based Learning

and more!

Teq is an approved NYS CTLE PD Provider, so any qualified courses that you complete can be used towards your state-mandated professional learning hours. Just be sure to take the quiz after completing a course to receive your certificate of completion!

REMINDER: Discovery Education Streaming Plus

Go to: google.discoveryeducation.com

A few reminders about Discovery Education Streaming Plus:

Did you know...

  • Discovery Ed has a built in professional development tool for teachers

  • Discovery Ed is more than just a video streaming service

  • Discovery Ed has a library of still images to use in lessons

  • Discovery Ed has lesson plans and activities

  • Teachers can search lesson plans, activites, and videos by topics or standards

To learn more contact you library media specialist or submit a Technology Help ticket.