Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego – Episode #2

A while back I posted about the return of The Elusive Carmen Sandiego via Google Earth with the hope that this would be the first in a series of new capers for a new generation of gumshoes to solve. Thankfully Google has not disappointed us and last week they announced Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego: The Tutankhamun’s Mask Caper.

Splash screen for The Tutankhamun's Mask Cap;er

For more information, please check out this post from Google’s The Keyword blog.

Google Forms & Chromebooks “Lock” Hands

Google Forms Locked Mode icon

Back in late summer Google announced that they would allow educators the ability to administer assessments with Google Forms in a distraction-free or “locked” environment. Last week they finally announced that the beta program is finally ready and are looking for help from us to test this new feature out (pun intended).


[NOTE: This feature is currently in beta and not available to all users yet. If you’d like to try it out, then you can sign up using this form.]


How it works

  • Once enabled, navigate to a Google Forms file that you have setup to act as a quiz and click on the Settings gear icon.
Google Forms Settings icon
  • In Settings click on the QUIZZES tab to locate the Locked mode on Chromebooks option that is currently in Beta.
  • Check off the box below to Turn on locked mode.

Notifications (teachers)

  • Once enabled, a notification will be added to the front page of the Google Form stating that this assessment has the locked mode option enabled.
Google Forms locked mode notification msg.
  • A similar reminder will be displayed on the assignment description window for teachers in Google Classroom.
Google Forms locked mode indicator inside of a Google Classroom assignment
  • Note that once locked mode has been enabled, certain options under the GENERAL tab in Settings will be turned off as well.
Google Forms General tab in Settings

Notifications (students)

  • If a student attempts to access the Google Forms assessment from a non-Chromebook device, they will receive an error message:
Google Forms locked mode error msg.
  • Otherwise, students using managed Chromebooks will be greeted with the following message window upon accessing the assessment:
gForms locked mode student notification
  • Once students click the START QUIZ button, the browser window will switch to full screen mode and disable any shortcuts, touchpad gestures, etc. that could allow them to leave the Google Form. Students do have the option to exit by clicking on the CLOSE QUIZ button located in the top-right corner, but if so then none of their responses will be saved.
  • NOTE: In addition to the window/tab navigation tools being locked down, other features like taking a screenshot have also been disabled.

For more information please visit Google’s The Keyword blog which contains additional information include a step-by-step guide, Help Center directions, and a link to sign-up to participate in the beta program. And if you do decide to sign-up please don’t forget to send Google lots of constructive feedback.

Google Drive – “Offline”

It’s no fun when you experience intermittent WiFi connectivity or heaven forbid a total Internet outage. It can be even worse when you are trying to work with 20+ students inside of Google Docs when this happens. Thankfully, with a little preparation ahead of time you can minimize the impact of an Internet outage and remain productive even offline.


How it works

If you would like access to your Google Drive files when there is no WiFi/Internet available, then you can enable Google Drive Offline. This will allow you to edit files native to Google Drive (e.g. Docs, Sheets, Slides, & Drawings) offline and then have the changes synced back to the cloud automatically when WiFi service is restored.

  1. Google Drive Settings drop-down menuGo to drive.google.com, then locate the Settings gear icon at the far-right end of the Drive toolbar.
  2. From the drop-down menu choose ‘Settings’
  3. Under the General tab, locate the ‘Offline’ heading.
  4. Place a check in the checkbox to enable offline syncing of Google Drive files.
  5. Click the blue Done button to save your settings.

screen-shot-2017-01-22-at-8-20-38-pm

NOTE: Not all files will be available for offline access. This includes PDF’s, Google Forms, images, videos, and files that haven’t been accessed by you in some time. Files that have been shared with you and therefore you are not the owner of will also be inaccessible during this time.

Enabling Drive Offline is now part of my Chromebook orientation unit with 5th grade students when they come up to the middle school.

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

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 5.59.34 PM.png

  • 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.

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 6.00.00 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 5.50.51 PM.png

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)

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 5.52.03 PM.png

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.