Highlights from the March Google for Education newsletter

Google March Edu newsletter

Check out Google for Edu’s latest monthly newsletter HERE. Some highlights are noted below.

Celebrate Women’s History Month with Applied Digital Skills
Looking for lessons to celebrate Women’s History Month with your students? Our Celebrate Women’s History Collection helps students learn about the contributions of women to the world while building new digital skills.

Celebrate Women’s History Month with Google Arts & Culture
From the forgotten pioneers to the iconic trailblazers, celebrate women in arts and culture with the newly updated Women in Culture hub on Google Arts & Culture.

Explore AI on Digital Learning Day with Applied Digital Skills
Celebrate Digital Learning Day with our Discover AI in Daily Life lesson. Students can learn about artificial intelligence concepts using Quick, Draw!, AutoDraw, Google Translate (while you cannot use translate.google.com as the lessons show, you can use the embedded Google translate access within the search engine and forvo for pronunciation), and Google Slides.

Learn about the Maasai people from Tanzania and Kenya
Get a glimpse into the traditions and culture of the Maasai community in East Africa, from their livelihoods to architecture, craftsmanship and language, in the new dedicated hub on Google Arts & Culture.

Explore Korea’s Demilitarized Zone through its History, Nature, and Art
Learn about the history of Korea’s Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a strip of land running across the Korean peninsula. Explore the natural beauties of the DMZ border and contemporary art inspired by the area.

Arts & Culture: Hot Spot Climate Change
27 international artists share their views on climate change in the exhibition Hot Spot, hosted by the National Gallery in Rome. Showcasing big ideas and questions on the future of the planet’s climate, you can explore and be inspired.


PAST ISSUES of the EDU Newsletter – click HERE

REMC April free PD opportunities and More

April REMC

Spring into action and take a REMC course to energize you and your classroom

You’ve made it through the cold, dark winter and soon the days will be longer and brighter! Why not give yourself some extra spring in your step by learning new skills to enhance your classroom and increase student engagement. REMC courses offer 10 FREE SCECHs and can be taken from the convenience of your home and when the time is right for you.

Registration deadline is Thursday, April 6th, each course begins on Monday, April 10th. Through the support of REMC SAVE’s vendor partners, all courses are FREE and there are no SCECH fees. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn, connect, collaborate and grow with REMC courses.

Check out April 2023 courses here:

Register by Thursday, April 6th. You will receive a welcome email with the course information prior to the course start date. If you have questions or need further assistance with your course registration, please click here.

REMC PD offerings

REMC offers a look ahead at course offerings to help you plan your professional learning

If you are looking to enhance your technology integration skills, explore new instructional delivery methods or learn tips and tricks from Michigan educational practitioners – the REMC Association has something for you!  To help with your professional learning planning, we are excited to share our REMC Course schedule through August 2023.

Take a look at all course offerings and register today! Earn 10 FREE SCECHs upon completion. Simply visit www.remc.org/remc-all-events/.

BrainPOP: April Teachers’ Lounge

With Earth Month upon us, April’s newsletter features topics ranging from Humans and the Environment to Wangari Maathai, environmental activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Use these movies and more as a launching pad for discussion with your students about caring for our planet.

April is also Poetry Month and Financial Literacy Month, so enjoy their collections of related topics in this edition of the Teachers’ Lounge.

Also in this month’s newsletter:

  • Enter the BrainPOP Science Earth Month Giveaway to win a $100 gift card for supplies and swag just for you.
  • Immersive Reader on BrainPOP Jr. Quizzes

Click HERE to get to the full BrainPop teacher lounge!

April Teachers Lounge

Canva Create- Highlights of New Features Coming to Canva

On March 23, Canva held an event called Canva Create. The purpose of the event was to showcase some of the newest features and announcements coming to Canva. Please note that some of the features announced are still in BETA mode. This means that the public can provide feedback to Canva if there are inconsistencies or stability issues with the newest features. Below are just some examples of what was provided at Canva Create. To learn about these tools and MUCH more, click here.

Magic Design– Upload an image into Canva, and Canva will preview different mediums and ideas for you.

Magic Edit– Use AI to replace part of an image inside of a design with a virtual brush.

Translate– You or your students can now translate over 100 languages into Canva Designs

Technology housekeeping before break, please and thanks!

Tech break checklist

Happy Spring Break all!

For those of you about to begin a well deserved spring break, which we hope will be all you hope for and a bit more, before you leave Friday afternoon…

WOULD YOU PLEASE SECURE ALL VALUABLES in the classrooms and office spaces you inhabit. This includes laptops, document cameras, Apple TVs, remotes, and interactive pens.

Further, would you please make sure all iPads and Chromebooks are in their carts and those CARTS ARE LOCKED and plugged in before leaving.

Finally, would you please also POWER OFF any of the following equipment, if it is equipment you handle:

  • projectors
  • sound amps
  • SmartBoards
  • desktop computers
  • monitors
  • printers

THANK YOU for your cooperation.

Illuminate DNA Updates – Item Banks

Illuminate DnA has recently made some updates making item banks even more useful to you! Explore this slidedeck to see the updates:

If you’re unfamiliar – Illuminate DnA is an Online Achievement System built on Assessments, Data and Learning Tools, as well as Special Education Systems. Staff access illuminate by logging into MistarQ and clicking on Menu >Analysis >Mistar-DnA. Through Illuminate DnA staff can enter test scores, pull questions from item banks to create assessments, and use the data inside Illuminate to monitor student progress. Need more help with Illuminate DnA? Check out these resources from Jonathan Flukes, Dir. Of Data, Assess. Research & Evals.

Staying Safe in the Digital Age: How to Spot and Avoid Spear Phishing Attacks

spear phishing

Recently, we have noticed a surge in spear phishing campaigns targeting our staff members. These malicious attempts have originated from both external sources and compromised accounts within neighboring school districts. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of vigilance when it comes to email communication and provide tips on how to spot and avoid these types of phishing attacks.


Understanding Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is a highly targeted form of phishing attack in which cybercriminals use email or other electronic communications to deceive individuals into providing sensitive information or downloading malware. These attacks often appear to be from a trusted source, such as a colleague or a known organization. In our recent incidents, the attackers have been sharing documents, typically PDFs, that redirect users to malicious code when opened. Other recent spear phishing attempts have been from those claiming to be our superintendent, various principals or board members with an urgent request for select staffers to assist them with purchases or information.

Check the Sender’s Email Address

Always examine the sender’s email address, even if the email appears to come from a trusted source. Cybercriminals often create email addresses that look similar to legitimate ones but may have slight differences, such as extra characters or misspellings. If you notice anything unusual about the sender’s email address, do not open any attachments or click on any links.

Scrutinize Email Content

Phishing emails often contain subtle clues that something is not quite right. Look for unusual language, grammatical errors, or a sense of urgency that does not seem genuine. Be cautious of emails that request sensitive information or urge you to take immediate action.

Beware of Unexpected Attachments and Links

Be cautious when opening attachments or clicking on links in emails, especially if they are unexpected. Spear phishing campaigns often use malicious attachments or links to compromise your computer or steal your information. Instead of clicking on a link, manually type the website address into your browser to ensure you are visiting a legitimate site.

Verify Requests for Sensitive Information

If an email requests sensitive information or asks you to take an unusual action, always verify the request with the sender through a different communication channel. For example, if you receive an email from a colleague asking for your login credentials, call them to confirm the request is legitimate and if so, kindly remind them that login credentials should never be shared.

Keep Your Software Updated

While devices maintained by the district are automatically updated, it is important to note that your personal devices are just as important to protect. Regularly update your operating system, antivirus software, and other applications to ensure that you have the latest security patches. This can help protect your computer from malware that may be delivered through spear phishing attacks.

Report Suspicious Emails

If you suspect that an email is a phishing attempt, report it via gmail. If you have accidently clicked on a potentially malicious link or downloaded a potentially malicious file, please submit a service request.


Spear phishing attacks can have serious consequences, including the loss of sensitive information and compromised computer systems. By staying vigilant and following the tips outlined above, you can help protect yourself and our school district from these threats. Remember, when it comes to cybersecurity, we’re all in this together!

Highlights from the February Google for Education newsletter

Google Edu Feb 2023
Check out Google for Edu’s latest monthly newsletter HERE. Some highlights are noted below.
Teach Black History with Applied Digital Skills
Looking for an engaging lesson to teach during Black History Month? Our Explore a Topic: Celebrate Black History collection helps students research a topic of their choosing related to Black history and create a project in Docs, Slides, or Sites to demonstrate what they learned.
Safer Internet Day tips from the CEO of ConnectSafely
This Safer Internet Day, we’re sharing tips and best practices for online safety from Larry Magid, CEO of ConnectSafely. He recommends keeping mental health in mind, having conversations with students around the apps they use, and to always keep privacy in mind.
Celebrate Digital Learning Day with Applied Digital Skills
Save the date, Digital Learning Day is March 15, 2023! Join in the fun and encourage students to try new digital tools in their classroom with a lesson from Applied Digital Skills. To get ready for the big day, check out this collection of our most popular lessons amongst educators.
Arts & Culture: Artificial Intelligence
AI More than Human, explains, explores and examines the history, creativity and potential future of artificial intelligence. Discover art works, see videos of experts, take part in AI experiments and learn how AI is trying to save the planet.
Arts & Culture: Beethoven Fun and Games
Two new experiments, Beethoven Beats and Blob Beats, challenge you to play with and discover the work of Beethoven. Tap a rhythm to conjure one of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, or play the Blobs arcade game and score points with musical notes.

Looking for past issues of the Google for Education newsletter? Find them below, and sign up to hear from Google for Education.

2023 Newsletters

Tips: Multi-send, tab management and Screen Pal

Tech Tips

TIP 1 – Gmail’s new multi-send feature allows you to send a bulk email to multiple recipients with some customization (in contrast to simply being bcc’d in a regular email).

1.Open Gmail and click the Compose button.

2. From the compose window, click the double envelope button to switch on multi-send. Read the short description of the feature and click Turn On to continue. When multi-send is enabled, the compose window has a purple header.

3. Add the recipients in the To field. You can type in their email addresses, paste a list of addresses, or use a mailing list from Google Contacts.

4. Enter the subject line and compose your message as you normally would

I suggest removing the unsubscribe link before sending. If you don’t, if a recipient unsubscribe from your emails, you will receive a notification email from Google. Next time you send a mass email, anyone who has unsubscribed from your emails is automatically removed from the recipient list.

When multi-send mode is on, you can insert merge tags like @firstname to personalize your email for each recipient to show their first name when the mail is sent. The merge tags are replaced with the appropriate name for each recipient.

Click Continue when you’re ready to send the email.

5. To send yourself a test email, click Send Preview. Once you’re ready to send the mass email, click Send All.

To switch between regular email and mass-mail modes in Gmail, click the double envelope button from the compose window toolbar.



TIP 2Stop Chrome from refreshing your tabs with this tab management feature that helps keep websites active in the background in Chrome.

If you have a lot of tabs open on a regular basis, you have probably noticed that some of your older tabs have to reload before you can use them again. This happens because of a Chrome feature that “discards” any tabs you haven’t used for some time, in order to save memory and prevent the browser or even your PC or Mac from running slow.


How to keep a website active in the background in Chrome

Follow these steps to keep your background tabs active and avoid refreshing them when you return.

1. Open Chrome settings by typing chrome://settings/ in the address bar or by clicking on the three dots from the top right corner > Settings.

2.  From the left sidebar, click on Performance.

If you want to keep all your tabs active, no matter which site you’re visiting, simply switch off the Memory saver toggle. If you’re looking to protect only certain sites from being made inactive, continue to the next step.

Performance setting

3.Click the Add button that is next to Always keep these sites active.

Add active tabs

4. Type in the websites you want to always keep active, following the below rules.

If you want to keep active:

Entire domains and subdomains: enter only the main domain of a website. For example, google.com prevents the suspension of subdomains like mail.google.com and drive.google.com.

Specific domains, but not any subdomains: include a dot (.) before the main URL. For example, .google.com won’t prevent the deactivation of subdomains such as mail.google.com, and drive.google.com.

Specific subdirectory: include the URL path. For example, www.google.com/finance will prevent the deactivation of all Google Finance pages, but won’t stop the suspension of the www.google.com main pages.

URL host and query components: Asterisks (*) can be used as wildcards. For example, https://* avoids deactivation of all HTTPS sites, while youtube.com/watch?v=* matches and prevents the suspension of YouTube videos.

How to find more information about discarded tabs and stop Chrome from putting a specific tab to sleep

1. Open the Discards panel by typing  chrome://discards/ in the address bar.

Here you can see if the feature has been triggered for any of your currently open tabs.


2. On the left side of the table, you can see the Auto Discardable option. If you want to ensure a specific tab will not be discarded, click on the toggle button to remove the checkmark ✔.

Discards 2

In this example, the first tab has a checkmark, which means Chrome is allowed to discard it, while the second tab has an ❌, which indicates that the tab will remain active no matter what.

It’s important to note that this change only applies to that instance of the tab, not the website domain or the exact URL. Next time you open the same URL in a new tab, the Auto Discardable feature will be set back to ON (✔) by default. Use the instructions from the first part of this tip to always prevent Chrome from putting websites to sleep.



TIP 3 – ScreenPal, a Chrome extension, works inside comment and text boxes, saving steps and time for busy educators. Yes, it works right in Gmail, Docs/Slides comment boxes, Canvas, and pretty much anywhere with a text box. It gets better. A thumbnail or GIF is automatically generated. Here’s Brian Buffington showing you an example.