Friday, April 24, 2015

Chromebook Challenge Week 2 Update

Another week done and another week of fast reliable computing.  A quick update to my Pixlr problem. I wrote a test at home this week and I had zero trouble at all connecting and editing photos in the Pixlr app. It was so nice to edit and save as a new picture and it just create it in my Google Drive for me. I can now officially say it is a setting on the school's network that blocks it there. While at work I simply downloaded some blank templates of triangles and worked them out that way.  The other paint app I used just wasn't as good, Pixlr is clearly the best.

I had to write a practice test this week and I use ExamView test generator.  Unfortunately, it isn't available as an app.  Now this is a concern brought up by some teachers that use ExamView. I told there are two options, 1) textbook companies are starting to put their test generators online because of the success of Chrome OS and 2) you can use Chrome Remote Desktop, which is what I did.  I connected to my laptop via Chrome's Remote Desktop app and I had my pc running on my Chromebook and it ran smooth. If test generators don't appear online, you could set up a few old pcs per department that is made just for certain legacy apps that aren't available on Chrome OS yet. Give the teachers the codes to connect and let them do their thing. This is apparently how some Chrome OS only schools have kept teachers using their SMARTBoards.  So I made my test and uploaded it to my Drive in about 7-10 minutes.

The second test I wrote from was home.  Logged into and started a new test.  All my images are on my Google Drive so they were right there as well.  Any edits were done seamlessly in Pixlr.  Before if I wrote a test I would have to make sure I brought the file home, make sure I had Office or had installed the test generator on my home pc.  Not anymore.

Some of the other basic computing functions were tested this week, had to print out some tests and grades. All done successfully via Google Cloud Print.  I decided to convert a bunch of my old Word & Excel files to Docs & Sheets and I was shocked at how well they were post-conversion.  Bullets, formatting, etc. all looked like I was editing in Word. I read that Google is now 95% accurate on conversions and it shows.

One more separate, but positive note, we were giving a Performance Task and a teacher created it with Google Sheets versus PowerPoint.  This is the first time I can remember someone in our department defaulting to Google Apps. I am hopeful that this trend will continue.  Our teachers are sitting on useful technology, but they have their blinders up and do't want to look at it.  I wish every teacher would try to live from a Chromebook for a week and see the difference.

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