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 Classroom Update: Copy a Class

Classroom class card with Copy option displayed

For teachers who work at the middle/high school level, using Google Classroom means creating multiple classes for each section of the content area taught. This has meant recreating, adding, and uploading the same starting materials for each class section. NO LONGER! Now, when you create a class in Classroom you can use the Copy Class option to quickly duplicate much of your content.


How it works

  • Once you have your first class section created, return to the Classroom home screen and click on the “traffic light” in the top-right corner of the class card you wish to duplicate. From the pop-up menu, select “Copy.”
  • A new pop-up window will be displayed where you can fill in the new Class name, section title, Subject (optional), and Room (found in the new Class settings window).
  • Note that Announcement posts, comments and student rosters will not be included within the new “copied” class.

Classroom Copy class setup window

  • Depending on how much content you have added to the master class, it make take some time for Classroom to complete the Copy class process. Once you have clicked COPY and started the process, you may navigate away from Classroom and an email notification will be sent to you when the process is complete.

Email confirmation that a class was successfully copied

For more information, please refer to the Google Classroom Support Site.

Google Classroom Update: Topic Tool Transformed

In the past, teachers could use the Topic tool to add a specific keyword to a post. Teachers and students could then filter the Stream to show only those posts that had been “tagged” with that particular keyword. With the introduction of the new Classwork page, the Topic tool has also been transformed to allow teachers to organize posts into groups by Topic. In addition, both posts and topics can now be arranged and re-arranged on the Classwork page.

How it works

First, Topics can be created from two locations:

  1. From the Create menu at the top of the Classwork page.
  2. From the Topic option inside the edit post window. It is from here that posts are tagged with a topic keyword.


Once you have some topics created, they will show up as headers on the Classwork page.

Classwork page with Topics as Headers

To re-arrange Topics or individual posts under a Topic, select the 3-dots icon (a.k.a. the traffic light icon) to move them up or down on the Classwork page.

Traffic light icon to arrange Topics & Posts

Google Classroom Update: The New Stream Tab

Google Classroom navigation tabs

The Stream tab in Google Classroom has undergone a major refit this summer and, while it is still the landing page when a user selects a Class Card, the content it displays has been streamlined to better fit its name. No longer the hub of activity that it was (that job has been taken over by the Classwork tab), the Stream keeps a running record of the activity taking place within the class. This was done to give students an overview of the goings on in the class and a place to ask questions and leave comments.

  • UPCOMING: Assignments with due dates will still be displayed in this box in the top-left corner of the Stream page.
  • To create an Announcement, click on the box at the top of the Stream labeled, “Share something with your class…” This will active the editor to enter text and access familiar tools like for which classes and/or students you want to see the post, add supporting materials, and then choose between Post, Schedule, or Save draft.

Create an Announcement editor window

  • To reuse an Announcement post, click on the icon to the right of the “Share something with your class…” box, then locate the class containing the desired Announcement post.

Reuse Announcement Post

  • Activity from the Classwork tab will be displayed in chronological order, with the most recent posts listed at the top. Assignments will include a clipboard icon and questions will include a speech bubble with “?” icon.
  • If the teacher has enabled the ability for students to leave comments, then the Add class comment… option will be visible beneath any Announcement post in the Stream. To enable/disable this setting, navigate to the Class settings tool by clicking on the gear icon in the menu bar.

New Stream tab in Google Classroom

For more information, please refer to the Google Classroom Support site.

Google Classroom Update: Class Settings

In my post from last week I talked about how to digitally breathe new life into the ‘About’ section through the use of the new Class settings tool. But, this tool contains additional settings that you might find useful.

How it works

  • Class settings is the new place for your class description and the location (room number) of your classroom.

Class settings editor window

  • Class code drop-down menu optionsPreviously found under the STUDENTS tab, management and display of your class code can now be accessed here. The options to Display the code, Copy the code to include in an email or slide presentation, Reset your code and Disable the class code are all still available from this location.




  • Previously located to the left of posts on the STREAM tab, the ability to set student commenting permissions on the STREAM tab is now located here.

Stream settings for student commenting abilities

  • The Show deleted items toggle switch is now located here as well.

Show deleted items toggle switch in Class settings

Deleted posts displayed at the bottom of the Classwork tab

  • Finally, from here you can turn on Guardian Summaries for a particular class. Once activated, this class will be included in any Guardian Summary communication for the students who are enrolled in that class.
  • A link to what a sample guardian email summary might look is also provided.

Enable/disable Guardian Summaries for this class

For more information on this and other changes to Classroom, please visit the Google Classroom Support site.

Google Classroom Update: Another Way to Use The ‘About’ Section

Google Classroom About section text linkLast week I posted that Google had taken notice of our feedback about needing a place to store static files like syllabi, resource links, and other items that we want students to be able to access throughout the class term. They did this by creating a new option on the Classwork tab called “Materials.” What I want to show you in this post is another option available to us for posting long-term ressources that takes advantage of a connection between the Class Settings tool and the About section. The About section still exists, albeit reduced to a simple text link. It is located in the bottom-right corner of the Classroom banner on the Stream tab.

How it works

  • In the new Google Classroom, click on the gear icon located in the top-right corner of the Classroom banner to access the new Class settings page.

Classroom "Class settings" gear icon

  • Click the pencil icon to Edit and add a class description and optional room number information.

Classroom "Class settings" window with Edit option highlighted

Class settings editor window

  • Now here’s where the workaround comes in. In the Class description section add links to the resources you want students to have easy access to throughout the class term. To help keep the links clean and manageable, use a URL shortener tool such as the URL shortener Chrome extension, Bitly or a shortener tool of your own choosing.
  • When you’re done entering in resources, click SAVE. Notice that your links become active automatically.

Class settings window with info. added

Teacher view via ‘Class settings’

  • Now, when students go into your class and click the ‘About’ text link, they will see all of this information including the links to your resources.

About section student view with resource info. added

Student view via ‘About’ link

My thanks to Christy Cate for sharing this great workaround on the EdTechTeam Google Plus Community.

Google Classroom Update: Classwork “Materials”

Google Classroom Materials iconWhen Google released their updates for Google Classroom this past August, one of the changes made reduced the ‘About’ section from a major tab to a text link located in the bottom-right corner of the Classroom banner on the Stream tab. This saddened many teachers who had used the About section to store static files and resources that they wanted students to have easy access to through the class term. True to their word, Google has listened to our feedback and in their most recent update added a new feature to the Classwork tab called “Materials.”

Add Materials to Classroom animated gif

  • Materials provides fields to enter a title and description for the post.
  • Add multiple resources to a Materials post using the same options available in an Assignment post.
  • Materials posts can be saved in draft form and scheduled for publication just like an Assignment, Question, or Announcement.
  • If choose to not add a topic keyword to your Materials post, then the post will be displayed at the top of the Classwork page.

Classroom Materials Post sample

For more information, please refer to the Google Classroom Support site.