EquatIO & Google Forms: A Formula for Success

Google Forms and EquatIO icons shake handsIn a previous post I highlighted a great tool to help teachers generate mathematical formulas and equations, EquatIO, which is now FREE for teachers. And now with the help of the EquatIO Chrome extension, you can insert formulas and equations into questions and answer choices in Google Forms.


  1. If you haven’t done so already, get setup with an account with EquatIO and then apply for a FREE premium teacher account (directions can be found here).
  2. Next, add the EquatIO extension to your Chrome web browser.
  3. Create a new Google Form or open a pre-existing one.
  4. Create/select a question and hover over the question field and/or answer choice field to see the blue EquatIO icon. Click the icon to activate the extension.
  5. A toolbar with pop-up at the bottom of your window with all of the EquatIO editor tools at your disposal including text, graph, handwriting, and speech input editors.EquatIO toolbar icons
  6. Once you have created your equation, click on the blue INSERT MATH button in the bottom-right corner to add it to your form. Equations act the same way as if you were using the ‘add image’ tool in Google Forms.
  7. In the screencast below I demonstrate how to use EquatIO to add a formula to a Google Forms question as well as several answer choices.


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.


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

Search destinationsScreenshot_2017-04-03_at_1_34_50_PM

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 DriveScreen_Shot_2017-04-04_at_7_15_41_AM.png

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

Screenshot 2017-04-03 at 1.46.55 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2017-02-26 at 12.21.54 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-02-26 at 12.22.03 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 8.50.40 AM.png

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:

  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.

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 9.05.54 AM.png

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).

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 9.06.11 AM.png

  • 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


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

Screen_Shot_2017-03-06_at_9_34_31_AM 2.png

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

Screen_Shot_2017-03-06_at_9_34_31_AM 3.png

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


Screen_Shot_2017-03-06_at_9_34_31_AM 4

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

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 9.41.30 AM.png

On The Chromebook: Chrome Extensions Management


Google Apps are standalone programs that can run on their own and can be accessed from the Launcher tool on the Chromebook. Chrome Extensions are add-ons that work exclusively inside of the Google Chrome app.

Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 8.05.12 AM.png

1. Extensions are accessed from the top of the Chrome app window and to the right of the URL address bar.

  • Drag extensions to arrange them in any order you prefer.
  • If you need to make room to access more extensions, then place your cursor on the edge of the URL address bar, then drag to your left to shorten the bar and make more room for extensions.

2. To manage your Chrome extensions, use the “3 Oreos” button located in the top-right corner of the browser window to activate a drop-down menu, then click on ‘More tools’ -> ‘Extensions’ or type the following into the URL address bar: chrome://extensionsScreen Shot 2017-01-17 at 8.05.25 AM.png

  • Extensions are listed in alphabetical order
  • Clicking on ‘Details’ will display a pop-up window with info. about the Extension including overview, version, and what permissions it has to your account information. From here you can also access the Extension listing in the Chrome Web Store.
  • Some Extensions will show an ‘Options’ link to a window with additional customization and settings options.
  • Some Extensions can be disabled by removing the checkmark from the ‘Enabled’ box. Some Extensions cannot be disabled due to settings configured by the Google Admin.
  • Some Extensions can be removed entirely by clicking on the Trashcan icon to the right of the extension entry. If there is a pair of buildings icon instead of the trashcan for an extension, then this means it was installed by the Google Admin and cannot be removed.


3. You can add additional Extensions to your Chrome app from the Chrome Web Store (Note: there is an app for that in the All Apps menu).

Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 8.05.45 AM.png

4. Click on the ‘Extensions’ category or use the Search field if you already have an extension in mind.Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 8.05.52 AM.png

5. Extensions with a green ribbon in the top-left corner of their icon have already been added to your account; those without a ribbon have not been added and are not yet available for use.

6. Google Admins may restrict access to the Chrome Web Store for specific groups of users. For example, in my organization staff may add any extension to their Chrome web browser, but students may only add extensions that have been pre-approved. If there is an extension that a teacher feels would be of an educational benefit to students then they may submit a request to open up access to the extension.

Gmail, Won’t You Be My Default Mail Client, Please?

Several years ago my school district transitioned to Google Apps for Education and Gmail became the handler of our email. After the move we encountered an issue where email links in Chrome were being handed off to the default email app on our laptops (in our case, Mac Mail) instead of Gmail. This was very frustrating for our users until we found a Chrome Extension, Mailto, to help redirect the email link requests.

Fast forward to today, and lo and behold there is an option built right into Chrome to ensure that Gmail is the default mail client for email links.

  1. Open your Chrome browser
  2. Navigate to mail.google.com or use the Gmail app from the navigation ‘waffle.’
  3. After the Gmail app has loaded, locate the omnibox (a.k.a. address bar) at the top of the Chrome browser window. Move down until you reach the far end of the bar and look for a pair of overlapping diamond icons.
  4. Click on the double diamonds to access a pop-up window containing the option to allow mail.google.com to open all email links. Select ‘Allow’ enable this feature.


If you use Google’s Inbox app, then you will need to go into the app Settings and disable the “Redirect Gmail to inbox.google.com” option under ‘Other’ then follow steps 2 through 4 from above. Afterward, navigate to inbox.google.com and then into Settings to re-enable the redirect option.


If for some reason you do not see the double diamonds icon in the address bar, then you can still access this option from the Settings panel in Chrome. The complete navigation tree to find this option is Settings -> Show advanced settings… -> Content settings button under Privacy -> Manage handlers button under Handlers. However, I think it’s easier to go up to the search box in the Settings panel and type in the keywords: manage | handlers and let Google show you the way there.


NOTE: This option does not make the Mailto Chrome extension obsolete. Rather, because it is an extension Google Admins can choose to deploy it to all of the users inside of their organization.

The Peanut Gallery (Gr. 5-12)

The Peanut Gallery – Add text dialog to silent movie clips

One of my favorite improv skits from Whose Line is it Anyway? was called “Film Dub” where the cast would have to watch a video clip with the sound muted and provide all new dialog, the results of which would often cause audiences to erupt in laughter. Now, thanks to a Google Chrome extension, students can flex their own improvisational muscles with The Peanut Gallery.

Peanut Gallery screenshot

Before you begin, you will need the following:

  • Google Chrome web browser app
  • An enabled or connected microphone

There are 15 silent movie clips to choose from with themes that range from The Lost World to Phantom of the Opera and Plane 9 from Outer Space. Once you make a selection, verify/approve the extension’s access to your computer’s microphone. When ready, speak the word “Action!” to begin. When you want to add textual dialog, simply speak into your microphone and the extension will do the rest. If you want specific punctuation then include it in your voice command (e.g. “What day is it question mark”). Once complete, you have the option to watch your film with inserted text and soundtrack, start over, or share over social media. If the use of social media is not an option, then copy-&-paste the URL from this screen into an email, Google Form, blog post, etc. to share.

For recording tips, background information on the origins of the Peanut Gallery idiom, and bibliography for the film clips click the ‘About‘ link in the bottom toolbar for the website.


  • Use this with students to conduct digital role-playing scenarios.
  • Create a PSA (Public Service Announcement) on a past or current events topic.
  • To maximize speaking opportunities, it might be helpful for students to storyboard out each scene in the video clip so that they can script out the dialog that would like to add.


Customizing Google Chrome (Hangout Archive)

This is an archived video from a Google Hangout ‘On-Air’ session at GAFE Peak in York, Maine.


In this hands-on session you will learn how to make Google Chrome work for you so that the apps, tools, and resources are easily accessible when you need them. Some of the topics we will cover include bookmark management, accessing tabs from other devices, managing extensions, omnibox shortcuts, and accessing the power of Google Search with your voice. Bring your laptop, mobile device, or Chromebook to the party!