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.
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.
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.
A similar reminder will be displayed on the assignment description window for teachers in Google Classroom.
Note that once locked mode has been enabled, certain options under the GENERAL tab in Settings will be turned off as well.
If a student attempts to access the Google Forms assessment from a non-Chromebook device, they will receive an error message:
Otherwise, students using managed Chromebooks will be greeted with the following message window upon accessing the assessment:
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.
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.
Go to drive.google.com, then locate the Settings gear icon at the far-right end of the Drive toolbar.
From the drop-down menu choose ‘Settings’
Under the General tab, locate the ‘Offline’ heading.
Place a check in the checkbox to enable offline syncing of Google Drive files.
Click the blue Done button to save your settings.
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.
Device and account security are both critical components to anyone who uses technology. The past few weeks have centered around this topic with tips that covered how to keep your Chromebook secure and up-to-date. For my final post in this series, we will examine how to access and review the activity on our mail account.
Part 4: Gmail Activity Information
Many of us login to our Gmail account from multiple devices, sometimes even from “shared” devices like a computer lab terminal or shared workstation. When this does happen, do you make sure that you sign-out of your account each time? Google provides a way to examine your Gmail account activity and, more importantly, force logout of all Gmail sessions that may still be active.
Open the Gmail app
Scroll to the bottom of your window and in the bottom-right corner locate the heading “Last account activity” and click on the Details link.
Here you can review the activity displayed. If anything looks suspicious, then you can click the ‘Sign out all other web sessions’ to force sign-out of your Google account on all devices that have been used to access your mail account.
It is highly recommended that at this point you consider changing your account password to prevent any future unauthorized access.
Before closing the window, scroll down to the bottom and locate the “Alert preference” heading. By clicking the ‘change’ link, you can configure this setting to notify you if any unusual activity is detected in the future.
Device and account security are both critical components to anyone who uses technology. The past few weeks have centered around this topic with tips that 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 3: Account Checkup
Conducting a periodic security checkup of your Google account allows you to review devices that have connected to your account, disable account access for apps whose sign-in protocols may not be up-to-date, and check that only the apps and websites that you have authorized have access to your account.
From any Google App, go to the top-right corner of the window and click on your account avatar.
From the pop-up window, click on the ‘My Account’ button.
Under Sign-in & security, look for the Security Checkup tool and click the GET STARTED link to begin.
Once inside of the Security Checkup, you will be asked to review three important account settings:
Check your connected devices – View a list of all of the devices that have accessed your Google account. If you recognize all of the devices on the list, then everything “Looks good.” If you see a device that you do not recognize, then click the “Something looks wrong” button and you will be prompted to change your account password.
Disable access for less secure apps – One of the features your Google account has is its ability to interface with different apps and services. However, not all of these use secure sign-in technology. This setting allows you to deny these less secure apps and services access to your account.
Check your account permissions – This setting asks you to review ALL apps, websites, and services that have access to your account. For each item listed you can examine what account information it has access to, when authorization was granted, and the option to remove it from the approval list. If you need to access one of these services later on, then you can grant them access to your account again.
Performing a security checkup on your Google account on a regular basis, perhaps once a month, is a good way to stay informed with where your account is being used and who it is interacting with.
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.
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.
When 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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:
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.
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
While 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.
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).
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.
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.
In 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.