Sunday, August 23, 2015

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining



Two cloud-based resources full of valuable tools for teachers are freely available to ESSD40 staff and students:  Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and Microsoft Office365.  For more information about each, click on the hyperlinks on each name.  Since both of these are free to the district under the respective educational licensing, both are being offered to staff and students.

What and How

Access to each cloud service is through separate websites and somewhat different usernames.



(aka GAFE)

What You Get
  • Google Classroom
  • Gmail
  • Drive
  • Calendar
  • Vault
  • Docs
  • Sheets
  • Slides
  • Sites
The following apps are not specifically touted as GAFE apps, you have the use of them through your GAFE account:
  • Blogger
  • Youtube
  • Google+
  • Picassa
How to access  With a Chrome browser go to any Google site and you'll be prompted to login.  In other browsers go to:



Username
NetworkUsername@ga.essd40.com

Staff example:  Staff member Jonathan Kent with username jkent would use jkent@ga.essd40.com

Student example:  Student Clark J. Kent with username cjkent18 would use cjkent18@ga.essd40.com

Password Current network password.

How to change password Your GAFE password is synchronized with your network password.  To reset the GAFE password, you will reset your network password.  On a district computer, press Ctrl + Alt + Del, follow prompts to change network password.  Your GAFE password will automatically be changed to your new network password.




What You Get

How to access https://portal.office.com through any browser

Username
NetworkUsername@essd40.onmicrosoft.com

Staff example:  Staff member Jonathan Kent with username jkent would use jkent@essd40.onmicrosoft.com

Student example:  Student Clark J. Kent with username cjkent18 would use cjkent18@essd40.onmicrosoft.com

Password Current network password.

How to change password Your Office365 password is synchronized with your network password.  To reset the Office365 password, you will reset your network password.  On a district computer, press Ctrl + Alt + Del, follow prompts to change network password.  Your Office365 password will automatically be changed to your new network password.


Cloud Storage




Both GAFE and Office365 offer cloud-based file storage called Google Drive and OneDrive, respectively.  Due to the educational licensing offered by Google and Microsoft, eligible staff and students have unlimited storage in each. (Yeah!!!)  Files are accessible from any Internet-capable computer or mobile device. through a web browser.

A Note About Microsoft OneDrive:  Technically, the educational licensing for OneDrive is the OneDrive for Business offering.  The OneDrive for consumers was formerly called SkyDrive.  You can have both a personal OneDrive (aka SkyDrive) and a district OneDrive for Business app.  Confused yet?

Google Drive and Office365 OneDrive cloud storage services both have apps that can be downloaded to your computer and mobile devices.  These apps provide direct access to your file stored in the cloud without the use of a browser.  Once you access the cloud services via a browser, you can download software to your computer.  Check the Google Play store for Android devices and the iTunes store for iOS devices to find the apps for mobile devices.

On a computer, the Google Drive and OneDrive software install as a folder on your computer and allow drag-and-drop functionality.  On a PC or Mac the default installation settings creates a folder on the actual hard drive of the computer.  District staff and students on a district PC should be happy to note that this folder is not in the Libraries directory of the  Windows 7 district computer which is redirected to district servers.  Therefore, content in the Google Drive and OneDrive for Business folders installed on your district computer do not count towards your 4GB network storage quota.  Yeah!!!

And, anything stored in OneDrive or Google Drive is automatically synced to the cloud (as long as the computer has Internet connectivity) and accessible by any device with internet access.  Start work on a document stored in the Google Drive or OneDrive for Business folder on you computer at school and you can continue working on it from home or, in many cases, on your mobile device as long as the device can connect to the Internet. 

The tech department is researching how to push out Google Drive to computers automagically so that all staff and students have the folder at login.    OneDrive for Business is included in the Microsoft Office 2013 installations and is already available on many district computers.  Staff still on Office 2010 can download and install the OneDrive for Business app directly from the Office365 portal (https://portal.office.com).

I encourage everyone to migrate towards storing most or all of your district files to one or both of the district-licensed cloud-based storage services.  Remember, even if Google Drive or OneDrive is not yet installed on a district computer, you can access these through a browser. 

Learn more about Google drive here.  Start here for more information about OneDrive.


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