On The Chromebook: Security w/Updates

Device and account security are both critical components to anyone who uses technology. Starting last week, we will focus on this topic with tips that will cover how to keep your Chromebook secure and up-to-date as well as how to make sure your account and private information are safe.


Part 2: Chromebook Updates

Chromebook updates help protect your device from viruses and malware, and give you access to important updates and new features inside of the G Suite list of apps.

Automatic Updates

Your Chromebook is set to check for updates automatically and download them in the background. However, to install an update the Chromebook does require your help by rebooting the device.

  • Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 5.59.21 PM.pngWhen an update is ready to install, the Chromebook will notify you by displaying a vertical arrow in the bottom-right corner of the screen near the clock display.
  • Click the arrow to access the ‘Restart to update’ prompt. This will close all windows, tabs, and applications you have running.

Check for updates yourself

  • Open Chromebook Settings
  • At the top of the Settings window, click on the ‘About Chrome OS’ link

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  • From the ‘About’ window, your Chromebook will display the current version installed.
  • Click the “Check for and apply updates” to manually start the update process.
  • When the download is complete, a restart of the device will complete the update process.

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A couple of weeks ago I was setting up for a professional development session and for some reason I was unable to get my Chromebook to mirror its screen on the classroom display. Well, it sort of did in that I could see and control my cursor, but with pitch black being my only background color. I tried what felt like everything on both the Chromebook and the presentation equipment with no luck. Then, just for fun I did a manual check for updates on the Chromebook and lo and behold there was one. And you know what happened next, right? Yeah, the update fixed the mirroring problem…go figure.

On The Chromebook: Security w/the Lock Screen

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 make sure your account and private information are also safe.


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

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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)

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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.

Adding Shared Items to Google Classroom Error

ADD button in gClassroomOne 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:

  1. Student A, who created the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.
  2. She then went to the gDoc in Drive and used the Share tool to transfer ownership of the file to her partner, student B.
  3. Student B, now the owner of the gDoc, navigated to Google Classroom and used the ADD tool to attach the file to the assignment.

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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.

Embed Videos w/Google Drawings

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.

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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.”

On The Chromebook: Touchpad Gestures

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.


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  • 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.

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Touchpad Settings

  • 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).

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Touchpad Gestures

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  • 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

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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 ChScreen Shot 2017-04-25 at 9.58.24 PMromebook 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).