Bandwidth – Maximizing and Troubleshooting

Bandwidth – Maximizing and Troubleshooting

As we move toward a week of at-home learning for all students in Alberta at the start of January 2021, we are offering this tutorial to try to help families maximize the capacity of their home internet connection without incurring additional costs to the internet service providers. There are many things that can be done for free to try to improve the Google Meet experience.

This video will give an analogy for the internet and bandwidth and then take you through some ideas to improve your home connection.

Summary

  • Move closer to your router. Try to attain 3 bars.
  • Do a speed test of your download & upload speeds.
  • When possible, download content the night before it is needed (especially video content).
  • Enable offline mode for GSuite (Google Docs, Slides, Sheets).
  • Powercycle your router.
  • Set Google Meet’s layout to “spotlight” (and don’t use blur/change background).
  • Remove household cell phones from the wifi, or turn them off.

 

Google Meet – Walkthrough of the New Features

Google Meet – Walkthrough of the New Features

When Google rushed Meet to market in March, there were many features in the works that weren’t ready yet. The quarantine likely caught them as off-guard as it caught us.  But, now, nine months later, there are many new features in Google Meet. This 18-minute video will take you through each of the new features and demonstrate how to use each.

At 16:20 I show how I created a link on March 16 and am still using the same link almost 9 months later.

Attendance Reports in Google Meet

Attendance Reports in Google Meet

It’s a new feature, and one that we, as teachers, really love. An attendance report provided to us after a Google Meet. Awesome!!

As with most new features, the roll-out is gradual. So, sometimes you may receive an attendance report, and other times you may not. In the coming weeks, these reports will become a regular feature of Google Meet, but they aren’t quite there yet.

To receive the attendance report, you MUST be the owner of the Google Meet. So, that means you want to be the first one in the meet, and you do not want to be using the Meet link generated in Google Classroom, becuase those ones are straight-up glitchy!

Glitches in Google Meet

Glitches in Google Meet

If you are experiencing challenges with either of these Google Meet glitches, this blog post will offer the solution.

1. The link that Google Classroom generates is glitchy. We have learned from our remote learning troubleshooting this fall that using the Meet link that Classroom publishes on the banner does not always ensure that the teacher is the owner of the session.

 

We realized these links were glitchy when we had one of our remote teachers log in to her own Meet first (ahead of all students) – 8:50 am according to the Google server log. At 8:58 her first student logged in, and that student was in control of the meet.

2. A Meet address that you have created seems to have expired. This seems to occur when the meet is given a nickname. 

 

To Solve These Issues

1. Go to meet.google.com and click on “Join or start a meeting”.

2. Do NOT give the Meet a nickname.

3. Copy the URL (web address) that Meet generates.

4. Paste the URL into Google Classroom as a material and apply a topic to it (I’d call the Topic “Google Meet Link”) and then drag that topic to the very top of your classwork tab in Google Classroom.

If at any time your Meet link begins to glitch (Michelle has used the same link since the first Covid quarantine in March of this year), repeat the above steps, but you’ll only need to edit the material in step 4.  You might also consider pasting your Meet link onto your staff bio page on your school’s website. Michelle has pasted hers onto her CESD staff bio if you ever need it!

Other Challenges

When things have glitches, it is often “the network” we first blame for the problems. If you are physically in a CESD school, it is highly unlikely to be the network. However, what students have open on their device can present challenges.

If students have a large number of tabs open, this can place a burden on their device, causing Meet to not have access to the local resources it needs to run. This can cause a student to be “booted” out of the meet, or can cause their video to be glitchy.

If students are at home on a PC or Mac computer, other programs they have open can steal valuable processing from that computer. Things like Fortnite running in the background, or YouTube open to play music while they listen can be quite problematic in Google Meet.

Students accessing the meet on a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) not using the actual app for Google Meet may experience challenges.

Lastly, the network in the personal space (homes) of the participants can have an impact on the meeting. The CESD network is unlikely to be at fault, but home networks may be.

 

Using Google Meet for Parent-Teacher Interviews

Using Google Meet for Parent-Teacher Interviews

In the past few weeks there have been a lot of changes to Google Meet. The new features they have rolled out can make managing online parent-teacher interviews much easier than what you may be expecting. Here’s a brief screencast to show you how to undertake this style of conferences without putting a large burden on your shoulders.