Friday, April 10, 2015

Chromebook Challenge: Set-up

So as I am getting ready for the challenge in a few days, I figured I would explain my apps/extensions I would be using and what I plan on doing with the Chromebook.  I won't be using a newer Chromebook, the Acer c720, which is a solid device.  Even though it runs an older generation processor, dual core, it will be no problem. Reviews say you can open up about 15 tabs easily.

So daily uses; roll & grades are done through Aeries, a web based program, so no issues there. In fact, for putting in grades I have defaulted to my Chromebook more and more over the past few weeks because of the speed.  Notes are done using a combination of Google Docs and my Note 10.1 tablet. I first type in my notes into a Google Doc and share it with the students via Google Classroom. When I put together my notes for the students, I sometimes use examples from a pdf version of their workbook.  To select the problems I want, I simply take a snap shot with Adobe Reader's built in tool. Drive' version doesn't have that, so I will be using Capture Webpage Screenshot. This will allow me to take snapshots of anything in the page, including pdfs, and save them as jpegs for the notes.  If I need to edit a picture I will go ahead and use Pixlr. I might look for something that doesn't have as many features, but for now it will be fine.  After I do the notes on my tablet in class I upload the hand written notes to Google Classroom as a pdf file. I can do this through my tablet or I can use an ftp server from my tablet to the Chromebook.

Tests & quizzes are administered through Socrative, a web based testing site that I have been using since September.  Since it is a website, accessing it on a Chromebook will be like accessing it on any browser.

Printing will be done via Google Cloud Print. I have my work Google account set up and can already print via my Chromebook. I will need to have my pc on because it needs to run through the computer. Our HP & Konica printers do allow for Google Cloud print without a pc, but they are not turned on.  The new Samsung ones don't but there are adapters which can convert them. So for now, the computer has to be on.

Our district uses Outlook for mail and they have a web based site I can use. I like to be notified when new emails arrive, whether I am on my tablet or computer. With Outlook Web Access Notifier I will be notified when a new email comes in.  I can click on it to go to the email right away or wait til later because there will be a number count on the extension in the corner.

Of course most of our campus still lives with Microsoft Office and I might have to do some editing with some documents and for that I have installed Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, & Slides. I did a tutorial video showing how great of an extension this is and know it will come in handy.

So as you can see I'm not expecting any issues and I think that I have a lot of the potential issues taken care of.  The only possible problem I can see right now is having certain sites being blocked. The Chromebooks all have the same access. Being a teacher doesn't give us access to anymore sites like being on our computer log in does. Maybe that will change in time, but that could be an issue.


  1. Are you using the Socrative Student app on the Chromebooks?

    1. Yeah I am. All the app is a link to the student login page. Quicker than having them type it in all the time.

      I had my students install the following apps
      Socrative Student
      Google Classroom

      They are all shortcuts basically but anything that saves time right?

  2. How are you going to securely administer assessments in Socrative? I am greatly interested in this issue and have been thinking about how to do it all year. Are you going to be able to lock down the browsers to prevent searching for the answers? I have a Moodle account with my course materials posted and so this is a real issue for me. I have a class set of Chromebooks. Sounds like an interesting challenge.

    1. I go ahead and just turn their desks around and am able to see all of their screens at once.

      It was easier to watch for cheating when their screens were all black. But with the new background white it might be harder although I noticed that the top of the screen has two noticeable blue bars going across it.

      You are right though, my biggest fear is that they go somewhere online to search for an answer. Cheating off another student is reduced because of the shuffling of questions and answers, but they do have the entire internet at their finger tips.

      That is why their calculators must be docked split screen and I tell them that if I see another tab open or anything else open it is an automatic zero for violation of test conditions.

      So far I have caught two people cheating, but it was with their phones.

      I know as teachers we want to do work sometimes when they are taking tests, but watching them is fairly easy plus Socrative is grading everything for you, so you are saving time on the back end.