Device and account security are both critical components to anyone who uses technology. The next few weeks will center around this topic with tips that will cover how to keep your Chromebook secure and up-to-date as well as how to do make sure your account and private information are also safe and secure.
Part 1: The Lock Screen
The lock screen will secure access to your device and the data within any of your open applications without having to shut your device down.
Option #1: Keyboard shortcut:
- Lock the screen at a moment’s notice
- Unlock your screen by entering your GSuite password
Option #2: Require password to wake from sleep:
- Lock the screen automatically when you close the Chromebook lid
- When lid is opened, you will be prompted to enter your GSuite password to continue
- To setup, go to Settings -> People -> Check of the box (see image below)
This security works best when you use a password that is strong (i.e. a mixture of capitals, numbers, and symbols) and that you do not share it with anyone else.
One of the many features found inside of Google Classroom is the ability for students to ‘ADD’ additional artifacts to an assignment. This is a valuable tool as it allows students to demonstrate their understanding and ability to meet the standard(s) using a wide variety of tools and then attach the artifacts to the assignment. This option is so important that the first assignment I give to my students is to practice using this tool by ADDING a screenshot of their favorite Chromebook app.
The effectiveness of this tool came into question recently when a student attempted to ADD a Google Doc that was shared with their partner. The student who created the gDoc, (i.e. the owner) was able to successfully ADD the shared file to the Classroom assignment. However, not only was their partner (i.e. with ‘Can edit’ access) unable to ADD the shared file but could not even find the gDoc, even though they confirmed that the file was in their Google Drive.
What the Google is going on?
Thanks to some ingenious troubleshooting by a pair of 6th grade students, we discovered that a student may only ADD a file to an assignment in Classroom if they are the owner of that file. So, this is what the girls did:
- Student A, who created the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.
- She then went to the gDoc in Drive and used the Share tool to transfer ownership of the file to her partner, student B.
- Student B, now the owner of the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.
Now, some may say that this is only a minor inconvenient issue. However, not knowing why both project partners cannot attach a shared file to an assignment has caused frustration for several of my students. Plus, I can’t help but brag just a little bit for the two students whose independent troubleshooting solved this mystery for us.
Embedding videos inside of Google products has sometimes been an absolute bear to achieve. For example, if you wanted to embed or ‘Insert’ a video into a Google Slides presentation then the video had to be accessible via YouTube. However, if you give Google some time and engage in that age-old practice of patience then things can change, like how now you can embed video files into a slide from Google Drive. Here’s the thing, if you can do this then you can embed a video into a Google Doc.
I know, I know, there is not Insert -> Video… option inside of Google Docs. But, there is the option to insert a Google Drawing and this is your “IN”. Thanks to Joli Boucher over at Flipped Tech Coaching, here is a video that will walk you through the process.
This work around has great potential for those who are getting into creating HyperDocs and now HyperDrawings. It allows teachers and students to interact with different types of media without having to jump between tabs or windows. That is, until Google gets around to adding the Insert -> Video… option into Google Docs.
~”If you send them feedback, they might just make it happen.”
The touchpad has expanded the range of options that users can have access to in order to manipulate, navigate, and exert power over how they interact with the content on their screen. I’m not saying that the days of the mouse are numbered, but there are many things that a touchpad interface allows the user to do.
- To access the Touchpad settings on your Chromebook, click on your avatar in the bottom-right corner of the screen and from the pop-up menu click on the gear icon for ‘Settings.’
- In Settings, scan down the list until you find the ‘Device’ heading (you can also use the built-in ‘Search settings’ tool and enter the keyword “touchpad”).
- Use the slider provided to adjust the speed of your touchpad cursor.
- Click on the ‘Touchpad settings’ button to access additional options.
- From this menu, you can…
- Enable tap-to-click: Your touchpad will interpret a tap as a left-click action, without the need to actually press down on the touchpad.
- Choose between Traditional scrolling (swipe up to move up the page) or Australian scrolling (swipe up to move down the page). This is the same interface as is found on most mobile devices (i.e. tablets & smart phones).
- CLICK: Select an item on the screen by pressing down with a single finger.
- SCROLL: Instead of hunting for the scroll bar, use two fingers to scroll up and down a document, web page, or anything that is longer than your screen.
- RIGHT CLICK: Two-fingers pressed down displays the right-click menu of possible options, depending on the item being selected.
- SWIPE: Using two fingers, swipe left or right to move back or forward through your browsing history page by page.
Touchpad Gestures 3.0
When you use three fingers to SWIPE left or right, the Chromebook will cycle through each of the tabs currently open in the active window.
When you SWIPE down with three fingers, the Chromebook will zoom out to reveal all of the different windows that are open. This includes multiple windows from the same app as well as windows from different applications. You can then select which window you would like to bring to the front by clicking on it. NOTE: The swipe direction is affected by the touchpad setting (i.e. traditional or Australian scrolling).
Google likes to promote their cloud services and specifically the ability to work on artifacts in real-time that reflect real-time changes. However, there are still times when hard copies of artifacts are needed and Google recognizes this. Because users cannot install printer software on their Chromebooks, Google has created a cloud-based printing service.
The ‘Select a destination’ Window
1. The print destination selection window is divided into three groups:
- Recent Destinations: This is where your recent print destination will be listed, with the most recent one listed at the top.
- Local Destinations: This option allows you to download a file instead of printing it.
- Google Cloud Print: This option lists all of the printers your account has been given access to. NOTE: This option by default shows the top 5/6 recently selected devices. To see the entire list of available printers, scroll to the bottom of the list and click on the “Show All…” button.
2. Once a printer is selected, use the left-hand sidebar to configure the printer for the desired output from the printer.
3. If you desire more customization options, then go to the bottom of the sidebar and click on the plus sign for “More settings.”
Additional Print Options
If you know the name of the printer you’d like to use, then you can easily start typing the name of that printer into the Search destinations box at the top of the window.
Save to Google Drive
This feature allows you to create a digital file out of the information you have on the screen and save it directly to your Google Drive. This can come in handy when, for example, you want to save a copy of a webpage.
Save as PDF
This feature allows you to create a digital file out of the information you have on the screen and save it to the Files App on your Chromebook. This feature can come in handy when you want to create a local copy of a webpage, or when you want to convert a file to a read-only PDF.
CleanPrint Chrome Extension
Many of today’s webpages are not formatted to print neatly on an 8 ½ by 11 in. piece of paper. When printing in this situation, you may want to consider using the CleanPrint Chrome extension. This tool will remove any ads, images, and other items that take up extra space (and paper), leaving only the important text to be printed. We have deployed this extension to all of our users at York Middle School to help with reducing printer consumables.
To use CleanPrint:
- Navigate to the webpage you want to print.
- Click on the CleanPrint extension icon to have the webpage “optimized” for printing.
- In the CleanPrint preview window, remove any items that you do not need included in the print job, then select the desired output option from the left-hand sidebar menu
Our IT department has decided to try something different when it comes to providing professional development to staff. We have been hard at work producing videos that cover various tools and tips in a more conversational format. Below is our introduction to Google Forms, hosted by yours truly and Tom Rup, our network administrator.
The Share to Classroom extension for Google Chrome can perform several helpful tasks. Most users use it as a shortcut to open Google Classroom, but there is more to this extension than meets the eye. For example, did you know that it can also be used to push a website out to all of the students that are enrolled in a class? Did you know that the extension can also work in reverse, allowing a student push a website to their teacher so that it can then be pushed out to the rest of the class? Before we delve into how to do this, let’s go get the extension.
Get the Extension
- On your Chromebook, use the Launcher tool to access your Google Apps and locate the Web Store app. You can also open the Chrome app and do a search for Chrome Web Store.
- Locate the ‘Search the store’ box located in the top-left corner of the site, then type in the keywords “share to classroom” and press Enter.
- Under the list of possible Extensions find the entry for Share to Classroom.
- Click the ADD TO CHROME button to start the download.
- When prompted, approve the extension to initiate the install.
Using the Extension
After adding the extension, Share to Classroom should now be accessible from the Chrome menu bar, located to the right of the URL/Search box.
- Classes are organized into the same order as they are displayed in the Classroom app.
- Classes that you create or co-teach in are displayed first under the “Teaching” heading.
- Classes that you are a member of are displayed below under the “Enrolled” heading.
- At the bottom of the extension window are additional tools, help, and settings.
PUSH-ing a Website
As a teacher, you have the ability to ‘PUSH’ a website to the device of each student who is enrolled in the class. This tool comes in very handy when you want to share a website with your students but don’t have time to post the link or perhaps are responding to a teachable moment.
To PUSH a website:
- Open a new tab and navigate to the website you’d like to PUSH to your students.
- Open the Share to Classroom extension, then select the desired class.
- If the extension is able to successfully PUSH the website, then a preview of the site will be displayed in the window.
- When ready, click the PUSH button to transmit.
- Students will receive a pop-up notification window on their devices that the teacher has sent them a PUSH notification, and within seconds automatically open a new tab and load the website that you specified.
- Below the PUSH button, there are menus to that store websites that you have recently pushed to students. This list is temporary and is not meant to replace bookmarking the site for later use.
- If you are enrolled in a class then you cannot PUSH a site to the other members of that class. However, you can submit a website to the teacher for review, who can then PUSH it out the rest of the class. Sites that you have received PUSH notifications for from students can be accessed from here.
Additional PUSH Options
You can create assignments, ask questions, and make announcements to a class directly from the extension. All of the features that you would see when creating one of these artifacts from inside Classroom are available here (due date, topic, etc).
- If the website you PUSH is in fact a native Google Drive file (i.e. Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings), then you will have the additional option of setting the share permissions you want students to have to that file including:
- View only
- Comment only
- Group edit
- The only option that you cannot set here is for every student to get their own copy of the file. To do this, it is recommended that you create the assignment directly from within the Google Classroom app
Shortcut to Classroom
Users can use the extension as a quick shortcut to get to Google Classroom. Navigate to the bottom of the window and click on ‘OPEN CLASSROOM’ to quickly navigate to https://classroom.google.com/
Google always appreciate feedback in order to make their products better. Click on the exclamation mark speech bubble to send them a quick note if you encounter anything amiss with the extension.
Get Help & Support
If you need additional support with the extension, then click the question mark icon to access Google’s Support page on the subject.
Use the Settings tool to control whether or not you receive browser notifications when students PUSH as website to you.