Category Archives: How To

Backing Up Notability to iCloud and Google Drive

Notability is the #1 app that we purchase for students each year because it allows our classrooms to be completely paperless and it integrates with the three main tools of our one-to-one program: Schoology, Google Drive, and iPads.

Notability often has a big problem when an iPad gets a software update. After nearly every iPad update it appears as if a student’s entire notebook has disappeared. Panic often ensues when a student thinks she has lost her entire AP Calculus notebook.

Backing up Notability to two different locations is one way to ensure that you never lose your notebook. Here’s how.

Location #1: iCloud

Every iPad user can automatically back up data to iCloud for free. “Automatic” is the best part of that sentence. An iPad will back itself up when it is locked, plugged in, and connected to Wi-Fi which is usually every night for most people. To set up automatic back-ups to iCloud, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Notability app
  2. Tap on Settings (the gearbox) at the bottom of the screen not3a
  3. Tap on iCloud
  4. Slide the iCloud slider to on (it will change colors) not1

Location #2: Google Drive (or Dropbox)

A second location to store files helps to ensure that no data will ever be lost. Notability can back up to Google Drive, Dropbox, and several other locations. I recommend backing up data to Google Drive over all the others because it offers the greatest amount of free storage, it is easy to use, and because so many students already have a Google account in high school or are provided an official Gmail account by their school. To set up automatic back-ups to Google Drive, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Notability app
  2. Tap on Settings (the gearbox) at the bottom of the screen
  3. Tap on Auto-backup not5
  4. Tap on Google Drive
  5. Sign in to Google Drive if you have not done so already. Use your personal Google account if possible. Your school Google account  will be deactivated shortly after you graduate.
  6. The destination folder will likely be /Notability/ by default. You can change this but I do not see a need to do so.
  7. There are two file formats that work best: Note and PDF. If you plan on using Notability on an iPad in the future then you should choose Note. The only way to truly recover your notes and put them back into a Notability notebook is to choose Note. However, if you want to just have a copy of your notes that will be accessible on a computer, iPad, or cell phone then you should choose PDF for the file format. not4

If the directions change please post a comment and we will update this post.

Send Messages To A Specific Member Group In Schoology

Schoology allows you, the teacher, to send messages to one or more entire groups within your class. Do you want to send a message only to the parents but not the students? You can do that. Do you want to remind your students to bring in a family photo for their Mother’s Day project but you don’t want the parents to see the message? You can do that.

s2I am a coach and I use Schoology as my web page for the high school lacrosse team. I post updates all the time, and they are viewable by everyone – students, parents, and the entire public. There are some messages that I only want to be read by the team members such as rules for riding the bus, and there are other messages that I want only the parents to read such as asking for volunteers to help with the end-of-the-season party. I can use Schoology to target messages to my specific audience very easily.

To send a message to one entire group:

  1. Go to the course in which you want to send a message (you can only send targeted messages one course at a time)
  2. Click on Course Options in the left-hand menu
  3. s1Click on Send Message
  4. Choose the group who will receive your message – Admins (teachers), Members (students), Parents, or All Members (everyone I just listed)
  5. Enter a Subject
  6. Type your Message
  7. Add files or URL links to your message (like a class syllabus or a game schedule)
  8. Click Send

When you send a message to an entire group it is treated as a direct message between you and each person. If someone replies only you will see their response.

Want more information? Go to Schoology’s Course and Group Messages page. You can also learn more about the parent features in Schoology by viewing their How Do I Use Parent Features In My Course or Group? page.

Backing up photos from your iPad to Google Drive

Storage is a big concern for iPad users – there simply isn’t enough storage on the iPad. You need to move your photos off your iPad to clear up space for new photos, videos and apps.

Storage is also a problem when it comes to backing up your iPad. Apple only gives you 5GB of online storage for free. The best way to back up your iPad on a regular basis is to back up all your data and settings to iCloud except for your photos and videos – those need to be stored elsewhere. That’s where Google Drive comes in.  Google gives users 15GB of storage for free (students get 30GB), which is perfect for backing up photos from the iPad.

Before you start, you will need to know your Google Drive account information (email address and password), and you will need to have the Google+ app installed on your iPad.

Now let’s begin.

  1. First, open the Google+ App on your iPad (or iPhone or Android phone) and sign  in using your personal Google account. IMG_0152
  2. Next, tap the Settings button in the top right of your home screen. It looks like a gear. In the picture below, it is the gear icon at the top of the photo of the old church.IMG_0153b
  3. Next, tap the Camera and Photos setting. IMG_0161
  4. Next, tap Auto Backup under the Camera heading.
    photob
  5. Move the slider next for Auto Backup to On (which turns the slider bar a green color). There are other settings on this page that you can ignore at this point but you should consider changing later. To learn about each of those settings, go to Google’s Help Forum page. Click the Back arrow when you are done with this page.
    IMG_0157
  6. With Auto Backup turned on, several new options appear on the Camera and Photos page. Auto Enhance tells Google to enhance each photo. I leave this turned off because I want to have the original photo that I can choose to modify later. Auto Awesome is literally awesome! It will add effects to your photos where it finds it to be appropriate. Have a photo of you outside with snow on the ground? It will add falling snow to your photo – literally, animated snow will continue to fall. Awesome! You still retain the original photo because the Awesomed photo is created in addition to the original.
    IMG_0159

That’s it! All of your photos will back up each time your iPad is connected to Wi Fi. They are stored online so all of your photos are still accessible on your iPad, but now you can delete the originals to clear some room for other things on your iPad.

Refer to Google’s Help Forum page titled Turn Auto Backup on or off for more information on all the settings related to backing up photos from your iPad. These directions will work with other devices, too, including your cell phone.