On The Chromebook: Google Cloud Print

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:

  • Screenshot_2017-04-03_at_1_33_37_PMRecent 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.

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Screenshot 2017-04-03 at 1.33.03 PM2. 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

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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.

 

 

 


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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

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 1.38.49 PM.pngThis 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 Extensioncleanprinticon.png

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:

    1. Navigate to the webpage you want to print.
    2. Click on the CleanPrint extension icon to have the webpage “optimized” for printing.
    3. 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

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On The Chromebook: Share to Classroom Extension

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.

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  • Click the ADD TO CHROME button to start the download.
  • When prompted, approve the extension to initiate the install.

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Using the Extension

Navigation

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.

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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.

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To PUSH a website:

  1. Open a new tab and navigate to the website you’d like to PUSH to your students.
  2. Open the Share to Classroom extension, then select the desired class.
  3. If the extension is able to successfully PUSH the website, then a preview of the site will be displayed in the window.
  4. When ready, click the PUSH button to transmit.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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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).

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  • Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 9.26.15 AM.pngIf 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

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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/


Send Feedback

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Google Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 9.36.14 AM.pngalways 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

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If you need additional support with the extension, then click the question mark icon to access Google’s Support page on the subject.


Settings

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Use the Settings tool to control whether or not you receive browser notifications when students PUSH as website to you.

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On The Chromebook: Calendar Offline

In previous posts I’ve covered how to use your Chromebook to access Google Drive and Gmail even when you are offline. This time around I will cover how to configure Google Calendar so that your events can be accessed even when you find your Chromebook cannot connect to WiFi. Similar to Drive but not like Gmail, there is no special app to allow you this access but rather a setting to enable from inside the Calendar application itself.

Enable Calendar Offline

  • Screenshot 2017-03-06 at 7.53.48 AM.pngWhile you are online, navigate to Google Calendar via the app under the Chromebook Launcher or by opening the Chrome app and entering calendar.google.com into the search box.
  • Locate the Settings ‘gear’ icon in the top-right corner of the page and from the drop-down menu select ‘Offline.’

 

 

 

 


  • A pop-up window will be displayed explaining how the Calendar Offline tool works (see below). Click the ‘Enable’ button to turn on this feature.

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  • Once enabled, Calendar will begin to download a local copy of all of your event information to your device. Depending on the amount of information stored in your calendar, this synchronization process may take some time to complete (mine took 10-15 seconds, and I have a lot of calendar events).

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  • Now, when you find yourself in an offline situation, instead of a blank calendar you should see all of the events in your calendar, albeit in a pale blue (and kind of sad) color. While in this configuration:
    • You can view the details of any event displayed, but cannot make any changes.
    • If you have an event that you were invited to, then you can makes changes to your attendance status.

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Shared Calendars Offline

By default, Calendar Offline will download events only from your personal calendar. If you would like to be able to see events from additional and/or shared calendars that you have access to, then you will need to add them to the offline tool.

  • Screenshot 2017-03-06 at 7.54.43 AM.pngIn Google Calendar, locate the Settings ‘gear’ icon in the top-right corner of the page and from the drop-down menu select ‘Offline.’
  • Now that you have enabled Calendar Offline, a new pop-up window will be displayed. Click on ‘Offline Settings’ to continue.
  • On this page will be every calendar that you have created, followed by those calendars that have been shared with you. Place a checkmark next to the calendars that you would like to be made available to view offline.
  • Remember to click on the ‘Save’ button at the top or bottom of the window to record your changes.

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The Data Center Mural Project: Update

In a previous post I shared the story of how Google is bringing a little magic to their data centers around the world by partnering with local artists to create the The Data Center Mural Project. I talked about the story behind the project, the types of media that can be explored at the Mayes County, OK (in the U.S.) and St. Ghislain, Hainaut (in Belgium) sites, and teased about two additional sites in the works. This week Google has added new photos, videos, and interviews for their Dublin, Ireland and Council Bluffs, Iowa sites.

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The Dublin, Ireland site was supervised by local artist Fuchsia MacAree, whose mural reminds me of the fun and excitement that comes with the spring and summer seasons, which cannot come soon enough for us here in the state of Maine, U.S.A. My favorite part of this project was learning about how they use the local climate to help cool the massive amounts of equipment inside, thereby saving energy and money on more traditional “mechanical” cooling systems.

The Council Bluffs, Iowa site was headed by local artist Gary Kelley, who used the building to tell the story of how important the area has been and continues to be in the sending and receiving of information. After listening to “A History of Connection” I could see this as a history project that I could really sink my teeth into. You can read the full debrief on The Data Center Mural Project by going to Google’s The Keyword Blog.

INTEGRATION

  • Have students investigate additional art forms in and around the area of these data centers.
  • Compare and contrast one of these data centers to your school/district computer system (besides scale, that is). Have students develop a list of qualifications and responsibilities that one would need in order to work at a Google data center.
  • Present students with the following scenario: If Google built a data center in your hometown, what would your mural proposal look like? How would it represent the community and surrounding art culture?

 

On The Chromebook: File Management

DownloadsScreen Shot 2017-02-04 at 2.36.17 PM.png

  • On a Chromebook, downloads from the web are directed to the Files app.
  • Artifacts that remain in this location can only be accessed from the device (i.e. no cloud access). Therefore, this should be a temporary storage location only!
  • Artifacts can can be dragged from the Downloads folder in the Files app to Google Drive using the shortcut in the left-hand sidebar.

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  • USB flash drives will show up here, as well as memory cards from a digital camera if your Chromebook is equipped with an SD card slot.
  • Note that USB drives and SD cards should not be removed before clicking on the ‘Eject’ icon next to the device listed in the sidebar. This is to prevent the corruption of the data stored there.

Google Drive

  • Chromebooks have a limited amount of storage space so it is important to store your files inside of Google Drive.
  • This also prevents the loss of data due to equipment failure since your files are saved in the cloud.

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  • Depending on what type of Google account you have, you may or may not have a limit on the amount of storage available. Google grants users who have G Suite for Work and Education accounts much more cloud storage space than standard account users. Standard account users do have the option to upgrade their storage by choosing from several pay-for options.

On The Chromebook: Gmail Offline

In a previous post I covered several tools and tips for when you find yourself in the situation of being “offline” with your Chromebook. While offline means that you can’t send or receive emails, there is a way that you can at least access the email you have already. In fact, you can even compose emails that will be sent when your Chromebook is able to access WiFi again and resume normal “online” operations.


Get the App

  • 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 “Gmail offline” and press Enter.
  • Scroll down to the list of “Apps” to find the entry for Gmail Offline.

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  • Click the ADD TO CHROME button to start the download.
  • When prompted, approve the app to initiate the install.

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Setup the App

  • Use the Launcher, located in the bottom-left corner of your Chromebook, to access the list of installed apps and find the Gmail Offline app.
  • When you run the Gmail Offline app for the first time, you may be prompted to ‘Allow offline mail’ so that the app can sync copies of recent mail to your device.

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Using the App

  • If you’ve ever used the Gmail app for iOS and Android, then you will notice that the interface is very similar to the Gmail Offline app.

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  • All email that the app was able to sync prior to going offline will be available here for you to read.
  • With the app you are able to:
    • Read emails
    • Archive or delete emails
    • Star emails
    • Organize emails into labels
    • Compose new emails or reply to existing ones
  • Note that email attachments may or may not be available, depending on whether the app was able to sync them to your Chromebook before going offline.

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When your Chromebook is able to resume normal online operations, the Gmail Offline app will automatically begin syncing all of your offline activity up to cloud and send any emails that were waiting in your Outbox.