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

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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.

Google Forms Gets Cozy With Classroom

gClassroom add menuIn my Digital Citizenship class, I sometimes use a Google Form as an assessment tool with my students. While a Google Form cannot be embedded into Google Classroom’s Stream (soon Google, yes?), one can easily attach the link to the live form. The first time I did this I posted the Form link as an Announcement, but then couldn’t tell when students actually completed the assessment. The second time around I posted the Form link as part of an Assignment, but while students remembered to ‘Submit’ the completed Form many forgot to ‘Turn In’ the assignment in Classroom. Now, I realize that I could just open up the Form Responses spreadsheet to check for completion, but I was so hoping for a more…efficient way to spot-check completion. That’s when Google does what it does best: change.

Assignment attachment optionsLast week in the Google for Education feed on Google Plus, they announced improved integration between Classroom and Forms (click here for the post). Now you can attach a Google Form to an assignment in Classroom (i.e. forgo the paper clip option and instead choose ‘Attach Google Drive Item’).  Then, when students go to submit your Form, they will be prompted to also TURN IN the assignment in Classroom. As an added bonus, when teachers go to the Google Forms assignment in Classroom there is now a direct link to the Form Responses spreadsheet.



Sometimes you just have to embrace “Living in Beta.”

Searching Twitter for Educational Resources

Twitter-iconI recently read a blog post by Richard Byrne on his FreeTech4Teachers blog (if you haven’t subscribed, you should), about using Twitter to search for educational content, resources, and ideas. First off, you do not need a Twitter account to search their system for resources, so this tip can work for anyone. The key is to take advantage of the built-in indexing system that Twitter uses called hashtags. Hashtags are keyword labels used to mark posts so that they will show up in a search by that keyword. Unlike a Google Search where the results are determined by algorithms, these results come from real people who have found resources and liked them enough that they took the time to share (a.k.a. ‘tweet’) them with others.

Great, but we are still dealing with a lot of information from a lot of sources. How can a teacher focus their search for educational content? Enter this fantastic website by Jerry Blumengarten. Jerry has amassed an impressive list of education-related hashtags to choose from. To speed up your search of Jerry’s page, use your browser’s ‘Find’ command (Ctrl+F for WIN, Cmd+F for MAC) to see if there is a hashtag based on the topic you are interested in. When you find a hashtag that fits, copy-&-paste it into the Twitter search box and let the results start pouring in!


  • If you are a Google Chrome user, then you can customize the omnibox search tool (that big bar at the top of the browser window) to quickly search databases like Twitter. Click here for more info.

HowTo – Add Files/Folders to a Secondary Location in Google Drive

This tutorial will show how to add an item in Google Drive to a secondary location. This is not the same as “moving” an item or “copying” an item. The “Add To” option allows you to create more than one path to access the file/folder. This is similar to how labels work in the Gmail app.


My thanks to Amy Mayer at friEdTechnology for her ‘3 Minute Tech Tip’ and to Kim Powell for tweeting it.

HowTo – Application Launcher For Google Drive Extension

This tutorial will show how to connect Google Drive with applications installed locally on your device via a Chrome extension. This configuration will enhance the Google Drive experience and improve Drive’s cloud storage services.

You will need 3 components installed in order to complete this setup:

  1. Switch to the NEW Google Drive
  2. Download the latest version of the Google Drive App (v1.18 or higher)
  3. Install the Application Launcher for Drive extension

For more information, please check out the Google Drive Blog.

HowTo – Use Private/Incognito Browsing

In a recent blog post by FreeTech4Teachers.com, Richard Byrne talks about the stereotype surrounding the “Private” or “Incognito” mode found in most web browser applications; that users only use this tool when they have something to hide. And while this is indeed one way that private browsing can be used, it is not the only way.

Google Chrome:

Chrome-Incognito Mode

Another use is to access a website that you are currently logged in to as both the teacher/manager and as a student/visitor. Using the private browsing mode, you can view a website from two different perspectives without having to log in and out of your account or use two different browser applications. As Richard Byrne points out, this avoids a great deal of hassle for him when he is providing professional development and would like to demonstrate a website, service, or tool from both the teachers’ perspective and that of the student. Teachers could use this to verify that the content they have posted online will look correct when accessed by students in class, or that content intended to be viewable only by one class session is not accessible by another.


Safari-Private Browsing Mode

Using the private/incognito mode can also be helpful when a student needs to access information on the teachers’ laptop, which is connected to some sort of presentation system (i.e. an interactive whiteboard). Instead of the teacher logging out of their account so that the student can login to access their work, teachers can open a new private/incognito window for the student to use. This allows the teacher to remain logged in to their web services while the student logs in to theirs. When the private/incognito tab is closed then that user is automatically logged out, thereby maintaining the security of their account and the information contained within.


Firefox-Private Browsing Mode