Thursday, August 18, 2016

Using the SAMR Model to Improve Learning with Technology

This is a guest post by my friends at GoGuardian. Special thanks to them for the post, especially Alex Wagner & Dan Russ. Thanks.
Using the SAMR Model to Improve Learning with Technology

SAMR is a way to understand the progression of technology adoption and usage in the classroom, and is a great way to think about how best to implement technology in your own classroom or district.
SAMR has four distinct, sequential stages: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and finally, Redefinition. Each describes a different stage that, intentionally or unintentionally, most classrooms find themselves in when using technology. First conceptualized by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, the SAMR Model provides an outline that can help school districts maximize the benefit and return on investment from technology investment by encouraging them to take advantage of new approaches in pedagogy.

Explaining the SAMR Model

Let’s go over each of them in order, and use the student task of writing a persuasive essay and how different tools change the nature of the task:

Substitution is when a new technology, like a basic word processing device, is used in place of a pen and paper for writing a persuasive essay. Although writing and editing text is easier thanks to being able to replace text without having to manually erase anything, the student cannot use the word processor to add to or significantly modify the essay.

Augmentation occurs when an adopted technology, like Microsoft Word, allows students to more easily complete their persuasive essay than with a pen and paper. However, although students can use spell check, access a thesaurus, and see a word count to improve their essay, the nature of the task does not fundamentally change.

Modification is when new technology tools allow for the nature of the task itself to start changing. With the advent of Google Docs and other cloud-based word processing tools, students are now able to collaborate on the same essay in realtime, request feedback from teachers in the form of inline comments, and share documents instantly and globally.

Redefinition is the final stage of the SAMR Model, and occurs when tasks can include new and previously inconceivable components. For example, students could interview subjects for their persuasive essay over Google Hangouts or Skype and include the video in their essay, or build a 3d model of their subject’s village and show it to their teacher using a virtual reality (VR) headset like the Oculus Rift.

Why Is It important to Understand the SAMR Model for My School?

Simply put, it’s a question of not wasting money and squandering limited resources. If a science class continues to require students to write text-only research reports, and does not incorporate multimedia and live, multi-student collaboration tools, was it really worth investing in 1 to 1 laptops for each student instead of using a single computer lab? If classroom assignments -- and learning opportunities -- do not grow and change after spending hundreds of dollars on a device for each student, could that money have been spent better elsewhere?

The problem of squandered technological investments is not new to the 21st century, and did not even come with the advent of widespread personal computer adoption. In fact, this problem was understood as early as 1971:

The phrase, “technology and education” usually means inventing new gadgets to teach the same old stuff in a thinly disguised version of the same old way. Moreover, if the gadgets are computers, the same old teaching becomes incredibly more expensive and biased towards its dumbest parts, namely the kind of rote learning in which measurable results can be obtained by treating the children like pigeons in a skinner box.

Seymour Papert, from “Teaching Children Thinking”

That’s a great theory! How does it pan out in the real world?

Okay, I Get It -- Lessons Should Take Advantage of New Technology. How Have Schools Adapted?

In 2007, the Munich International School in Germany initiated a rollout of Apple devices for its students in a 1 to 1 program. The rollout included a series of workshops for students that were focused on not only good digital citizenship, but also what being a good digital citizen meant now that each student had their own laptop and ready access to the internet.

The Munich International School approached the challenge of their technology rollout with a revised version of an old adage: “Good things come to those who plan — not wait.” To help ensure an effective rollout and better learning opportunities for students, the school followed Dr. Puentedura’s SAMR Model carefully, arguing that “All educators involved in technology-rich learning environments understand the need to be clear with faculty about the expectations of technology use and learning.”

Each student at the school was asked to examine the internal and international migration patterns in the Americas during the early 20th century, and what influenced whether or not an individual might migrate. Students were tasked with creating a fictional, but plausible, person whom may have lived during this period, and to answer a question: what types of events would force such a person to leave their home?

Before Adopting New Technology

Before the initiation of the 1 to 1 device program, students presented their findings with an oral presentation, with some students using an overhead projector for images, and handing in a printed script to their teacher. While they may have substituted the use of an overhead projector to help improve their presentation, the nature of the assignment was essentially the same.

After the Adoption of a 1 to 1 Technology Policy: Using Technology to Redefine Learning

Teachers at the Munich International School radically redesigned the project, leveraging the unique advantages provided by a 1 to 1 technology policy. Although the goal of the project was similar — to create empathy for migrants in order to understand migratory movements — the actual project was dramatically different.

Now, students were tasked with the creation of a short digital story, of which they were the directors, producers, and actors. Instead of reciting a presentation in front of a classroom, students recorded video, added era-appropriate music, and used old images that “were able to invoke empathy for their story’s characters.” With the addition of multimedia and the ability to step into their character’s shoes, students “created a product that invoked in the viewer strong emotions."

“These powerful stories remain with us, and could not have been produced had it not been for the intentional user of the technology alongside a solid understanding of the learning outcomes of the unit of study (Redefinition in the SAMR model)."

So how does this apply to my school?

There is an important lesson to be learned here: that it is not enough to replace notebooks with laptops, or ink pens with Evernote. Teachers and administrators must constantly evolve their lesson plans, how they approach using technology, and what their educational goals are to produce successful and well-rounded students.

This quote from David Geurin summarizes SAMR nicely:


Further Reading & Learning about SAMR

10 ways to reach SAMR’s redefinition level, A collection of ideas to modify lesson plans to more fully take advantage of technology and the internet.
The SAMR model: engage in deep learning and authentic contexts, A concise overview of the SAMR Model, with a different take on using word processors in the classroom.
SAMR Model Musings, Includes an interesting, non-technology based shift from regular note taking to sketchnoting.
SAMR - Belongs in a School Near You!,

What is the SAMR Model and what does it look like in schools?,
SAMR in 120 seconds,

“A Learning Story from the Foothills of the Alps,”

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review Dell Chromebook 13 (i3 & touchscreen)

So here is a look at my 2nd high end model Chromebook I recently bought. I was really impressed with the HP Chromebook 13 and really thought of it as a real laptop replacement for teachers. The only concern that has come up since then is that it is so thin, could it be damaged easily? I don't know about that, but if that is your concern for a Chromebook and you still want high end, then the Dell 13 is probably for you.

It was made specifically for business users. And because of that the build is a little beefier. It feels more solid. Where as the HP was just a beautiful machine in terms of design, screen, and weight, the Dell 13 sacrifices some of that weight in favor of a more solid build. This thing can take a beating. It feels solid in the hands, but not too heavy. The keyboard is back-lit and spill resistant. And speaking of keyboards, man is this thing a pleasure to type on. I used to read reviews about great keyboards and it never really meant anything to me, but after typing on the Dell keyboard (and HP) a good keyboard goes a long way.

The top of the Chromebook has a sort of rubberized material on it that I am sure will hold up against scuffs and scratches. It also makes the laptop easier to hold onto and grip. The screen is gorgeous. Is it better than the HP? Probably not, but it definitely holds its own. Everything looks so good on it. Going split screen isn't a problem either as the 13.3 inch screen is plenty large for this mode.

It is definitely thicker than the HP Chromebook, but still thinner than my work laptop. Not to bash on Windows but when was turning on my new work laptop for pictures, it had one of those "we ran into some problems and need to restart your computer". Nice. 1 day old. 

Battery life is awesome as well. I have charged it one time and haven't needed to recharge it yet. Obviously I haven't done a lot of work on it, but still as of right now I have 81% battery left and 10 hours of time left. Amazing.

Oh yes, the elephant in the room...touchscreen. I went with a touchscreen model because as you know Android apps will soon make their way to Chrome OS and I thought touch might be helpful. Since I have had the laptop, I don't really find myself using touch that often. Part of that reason is that the trackpad is perfect. It is made of glass and responds perfectly to every touch. I have had or used about 9 laptops on my lifetime and this one is hands down the best. So in terms of keyboard and trackpad combo, I don't think I have ran across one that is this well put together. So touchscreen isn't a make or break. It is a nice addition, but as of right now, not a necessity.

So how to does the i3 compare to the m3 of the HP? Well on the Octane benchmark, the HP was around mid 22,000's - low 23,000s. The Dell's i3 is usually in the mid to high 19,000's. I have ran the test a few times and haven't seen it crack 20,000 yet. Am I saying it is slow? Definitely not. Still boots in under 8 seconds and flies on everything I throw at it. My i3 Chromebox scored in the 15,000s so it is definitely an improvement.

Overall, it is easily one of the best Chromebooks out there. If you were looking to buy one, I am sure you could get away with getting the Celeron version with no touch. Everything else is standard, keyboard/trackpad & screen are the same on every model. I am curious to see how the touch screen plays out, but definitely impressed and happy with this machine.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Review HP Chromebook 13 G1 (Core m3 model)

So I am not a high end type of person. I rarely splurge and usually try and find the cheapest way to do something. Which is why I surprised even myself when I ordered the new HP Chromebook 13. Even worse, it was the Core m3 model which runs even more than the Pentium model.

Now if you are reading this chances are that you have already read some reviews and maybe have seen some videos of the HP Chromebook 13 in action. I am hear to tell you, however good it looked in the videos or how good it sounded as you read the is 1,000% times better. When I took it out of the box I was shocked at how light weight it was. Then I noticed how solid it felt. I have held quite a few Chromebooks and this one felt great. It definitely lives up to the hype of a premium build.

Opening it up I was greeted to a gorgeous display. Once again, I'm not normally a spec guy, just a gets the job done guy, but this thing shines. All models of this Chromebook come with a Quad HD screen and it shows. Colors are vibrant, images & text are sharp, and the 13.3 inch screen size is actually a decent size for work. When I went side by side on some windows, there was plenty of room to work with. That was probably the biggest surprise, I didn't think a 13.3 inch screen could split the screen enough to make it usable.

So how does it feel using it? Typing on it is great. Everything works like a charm and I have zero complaints. The Core m3 model flies when moving around. I have a lot of scripts and formatting in my Sheets and sometimes the c720 slows down, the HP ran through it like it was nothing. As I used it, it felt faster than my i3 Chromebox. When I ran the Google Octane test, my assumption was correct...and by a lot. My i3 Chromebox scored in the 15,000s-16,000s, the HP Core m3 was in the high 21,000s to low 23,000s. I can't imagine needing anymore power than what this thing has.

In my opinion the HP Chromebook definitely lives up to the hype. The build quality is great, the screen is great, and the speed is great. I think this would have been one heck of a laptop for teachers, even the Pentium version. I have seen those Octane scores in the same range as my i3 Chromebox.

The only drawback is the lack of touch, on any configuration of this Chromebook. Android Apps are making their way to Chrome OS and some might do better in a touch environment versus mouse. I'm not 100% sold on this because I have used Remix OS, Android in desktop form, and it works just as well with a mouse with no touch required. I am getting in the Dell i3 with touch, so I am curious as to how it compares to the HP Chromebook.

If you are looking for a higher end Chromebook that will make people think twice about what a Chromebook looks like then this is the Chromebook for you.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Learning Curve Part 3 - Apps & Extensions

As I mentioned in the last post, part of making a transition from one OS to a new one is making it as smooth as possible. Most people are going to be clicking around trying to open up programs or trying to figure out how to install programs. One of the benefits is that Chrome OS doesn't run any traditionally installed programs except the Chrome browser, because of this Chrome OS devices are faster and more secure. But people will want to have something that does something similar to traditional programs. That's where apps come in.

Most of the apps that run on Chrome OS are web apps. In other words, shortcuts to webpages that do the work. There are a few that run outside of the Chrome browser, but most of the more powerful ones are web based. Extensions for the Chrome browser are the other tools that will help make the transition go more smoothly. 

Once again in the second half of 2016, the entire Android Play Store will become available to Chrome OS. When that happens ever most of these suggestions won't be as necessary. Because there is a Photoshop app for Android. There are also better versions of Office on Android then on their Office web apps. It is something that will definitely need to be revisited once that happens. 

This list of apps and extensions will be what I have found to be useful for teachers. I am sure that others will come out in comments later.

  • Office 365 Mail Checker: a great extension if you are still locked into Outlook for emails. Notifies you with an email near the address bar and also one in the bottom tray. Chrome doesn't even need to be open to get the notification.
  • Checker Plus for Gmail: if you happen to have Gmail as your main email, this is a must. Another extension that allows you to get email notifications and even respond without having to open up Gmail. 
  • Cloud Convert: one of the best all around file converters out there. If you don't like the way Google Drive's built in converter works, you can always try this one. I usually use it to convert pdfs to jpgs. Also integrates well with Google Drive.
  • Pixlr: Doesn't need an introduction probably if you have researched Chromebooks before. Pixlr is a solid photo editor. It's not Photoshop, but if you need Photoshop on a regular basis you won't be buying a Chromebook.
  • Nimbus Screenshot: taking screenshots of pages is very important for educators. This used to belong to Snagit, but they are discontinuing their Chrome extension, but this one is just as good. Another good screenshot extension is Fireshot. I actually use them interchangeably. 
  • Save to Google Drive: an unknown extension that is a must when you transfer into Chrome OS. This extension allows you to save any page, picture, or document directly to your Google Drive with one click. 
  • Google Keep: This extension is useful if you have started using Google Keep. Similar to some of the other extensions like Share to Classroom or Save to Google Drive, this app takes any webpage that you are on and shares it to Google Keep. This is useful because if you are putting together resources for students, but want to look at them in more detail later, you can save them to Keep and have them waiting for you at a later time.
  • Share to Classroom: For teachers using Google Classroom, this extension adds a share button. When you see a website you want to share, just click it and it will go to the class you want to share it with.
  • PDF Escape: In a perfect world, pdfs would be naturally editable, but they aren't. If you were to search PDF editors on the chrome web store, most aren't that highly rated. It is difficult to edit a pdf file. PDF Escape is an app that does a very good job of allowing you to open and edit directly into the pdf and save it. There are a ton of PDF apps out there and this is probably my favorite.
  • HP Print for Chrome: talked about this in the printing post. A must if you have an HP printer.

Those are some of my must have apps to help make that transition from Windows to Chrome OS a lot smoother. If you have any other apps you want to share go ahead and list them below.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Learning Curve Part 2 - Printing

In part two of the learning curve series we will go ahead and look at the second biggest knock on Chromebooks, printing. Some people would say that printing from a Chromebook is the biggest issue, not Office. In the last post David Andrade brought up a good point. When Android apps make their way to Chrome OS in the second half of 2016, almost all these issues can easily be resolved. Most every printer comes with an Android app that allows for pretty simple printing. But Chrome OS devices last a long time. For example, every Chromebook on our campus won't get Android apps, neither will my Chromebox.

For most PCs installing a printer is pretty straight forward. In fact, most printers used to be installed via usb directly into the computer that used them. Nowadays, printers are generally set up as network printers, meaning you hook that printer up to a network and more than one device can print to it. And it is because of this shift in printer setup, the notion that Chrome OS is obsolete because you can't directly hook a printer up to it is almost null.

The first method that most people will look at is Google Cloud Print. When GCP was first rolled out it was difficult to set up. Most printers weren't set up to handle cloud printing. Early Chrome OS adopters probably had to set up Google Cloud Print on a Windows/Mac machine and keep it on as a printer server. Most printers are made now for Google Cloud Print. Set up is simple and painless. I recently bought a Samsung laser printer and it was completely set up without a computer. All I needed to do was plug it into our router.

If you need to set up a printer server through another machine our IT guy came up with a quick solution. He took an old laptop and installed the printers and put them on Google Cloud Print. Then he simply shared those printers with staff members. It allowed us to print to the machines and not have a laptop running 24/7 for the rare occasions we printed. 

If you happen to own an HP printer, they developed their own Chrome App, HERE. I talked about the HP printer app before, but I feel like some of the things are worth mentioning again. All you need to do is find the ip address of the printer. Type it in and you are done. The two printers near us are both HP and they haven't had an issue once. I set up this app on my two colleagues Chromeboxes and not one time have I heard them tell me they can't print. 

And that is what we want when switching to a new OS, a seamless transition. If staff is able to work like normal and not have to worry about things working, then they are more willing to fully buy into what they are using. 

Our campus also has copy machines that are set up on our network for direct printing as well, for class sets. It was always hit or miss on our laptops. Sometimes is would work, but most of the time it didn't. In fact, I know of a handful of teachers who have never printed directly to the copy machine. Something that you might not know is that if a printer is one the network it has an ip address. And when you type in that ip address you are taken to a webpage for that printer. Most printers have a way to directly print from that webpage. So that one teacher that could never print to the copying machine can now upload the file to print and send it to the copying machine. Also to note, these printer webpages have all the options that you can select on the actual copier. So if you want double sided & stapled, all you do it check the boxes and it will print.

So from this post it sounds like printing isn't a real issue anymore, and honestly it's not. When I started the Chromebook Challenge I had to keep my laptop on when I wanted to print because it was my server. This year? Don't need it. Chrome OS has come a long way in terms of printing. And I'm not sure if that is because of Google or the printer companies. Google Cloud Printing is still technically in beta even though it has been functional for years now.

Despite all the advances in printing, there are still a couple of things to be aware of. The options in the Chrome OS print screen aren't as detailed as a Windows print screen. Chrome OS basically gives you the option of what to print & how many copies. Also a lot of the success lies in the printer. Even though I have had zero problems with my personal Samsung laser printer, some people complain that the printer is always said to be offline. And keep in mind if your network printer isn't an HP, then you will have to set up a printer server on a Windows/Mac machine to run through, or use the solution we came up with and have one machine and share them out.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Learning Curve Part 1 - What about Office?

Ok so let's say you have been following my journey and have decided to take the plunge on going all in on Google. So you buy that new Chrome OS device and now you have to work through the dreaded learning curve. We all know it exists. Whether it be going from Windows 7 to Windows 8, Windows 7 to Windows 10, or even from Office 2012 to Office 2014. It doesn't matter when technology changes, there it is the learning curve. What do you need to do to be successful in the transition?

I have been exclusively Chrome OS for over a year now, so I have already gone through the curve. I also have two colleagues that I convinced to go Chrome OS this year and have helped them through their curve as well. They were both surprised that there wasn't much of a curve at all. Why? Well, the answer is simple. Most of the work of Chrome OS is done within a browser. It doesn't matter if you run Windows or MacOS, you use a browser. And chances are it is Google's Chrome browser. So you already feel comfortable when you turn it on.

Now, the number one thing everyone that has made the transition from Windows to Chrome OS is how to deal with Office Documents. Now while I was transitioning over from Windows to Chrome OS, I did a little research and found an extension called Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides. What this extension does is allow you to open an Office document in Google Drive, edit it, and save it as an Office document. You never have to change it over to a Google Doc if you choose not to.

After I installed that on my account and my colleagues, that helped out. But in reality, it wasn't perfect. Which leads us to the biggest issue about Office documents, formatting. Google Docs is about 97-99% accurate when converting Office to Google and I will say that that number is pretty accurate. When it becomes a problem is when there is a lot of formatting on the Office document. Then when it converts to a Google Doc, there will be some formatting that needs to be done on your part.

But here in lies my point, with every transition there needs to be some front end work put into it. When teachers got computers, there was a lot of work done to put together those power point presentations, worksheets in Word, or even tests in Word. But education changes. If you are still using the same power point from 5 years ago, maybe it is time you update it. And that is what I would tell those teachers that will complain about having to change and do work on their lectures.

Other issues with Office I have noticed, there is no smooth way to add in music into a Google Slide. Also, there is no way to easily add a watermark to a Google Doc.

Office is the one thing that people will say stops them from moving to Chrome OS. I am hear to tell you that the main issue you will run into is formatting. My recommendation is to convert it all in to Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides and go from there. Just know going in there will be some formatting that will need to take place eventually if you go from Office to Chrome OS. Once again, if you are using the same powerpoint for years and years, there are bigger problems that you need to tackle.

Next time we will talk about printing.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Perfect Solution?

I think it is no surprise that I think our school site should move away from Windows and towards Google & Chrome OS. I also have felt that a Chromebox is the ultimate device for teachers. I have documented my own journey, on this blog, from ditching Windows completely and going all in with a Chromebox this year.

But even though the beauty in Chrome OS is to be able to access your files & work anywhere you have a Chrome browser, some people still want a dedicated laptop. And here is where the struggle begins. You have a certain number of teachers who will never embrace a laptop. The keyboard is smaller, there is no dedicated numeric keypad, screen is too small, etc. And you will have another side that will argue that they need something mobile, so they can take it where ever they go.

I have found a solution that makes both people happy. Unfortunately, this pushes the old budget, but keeps it under $1000 a teacher, which is what I have heard our last laptops cost. My solution is to get a Chromebook that allows for a docking station, like the new HP Chromebook 13 G1.

It is one of the best Chromebooks on the market today, if not the best. I would recommend getting the m3 processor, so that initial cost of the Chromebook is $600. Definitely on the high end. But if you get every teacher the docking station that comes with it, for $150, then you have just turned the laptop into a desktop.

So Chromebook and docking station gets you to $750. You can easily find a monitor, mouse, & Chrome OS keyboard for less that $250. I would guess this set up would be around $900. But you actually now have two devices, a Chromebook (top of the line) & a desktop.

Now I know you might be thinking, just plug in an HDMI cable to it and you are good to go, why waste the extra money on a docking station. The docking station has a lot more going for it. More usb ports, ethernet connection, and 2 display ports. I used a Chromebook last year hooked up via HDMI and it worked, but this seems like a more powerful solution.

Also, why HP? Honestly, I think most Chromebooks are the same. I don't get impressed with shiny designs or other cool things. I care about specs. This is nice because it works with a Chromebook. They are made to go hand in hand. 

Now, the Dell Chromebook 13 is also another Chromebook that could work in this case, 

It is a great solid Chromebook as well. It has the option for a touchscreen for $629. So price range is very similar to the HP Chromebook with no touch. Dell doesn't make a docking station, but Plugable recently announced they have a docking station that works with Chromebooks, right now Dell is the only one, but more are coming.

Their docking station is $100, so the combined cost with a touch screen Chromebook is actually cheaper than the HP. It comes with more usb ports and has a DVI output, which is more compatible with most monitors. The only downside is that this won't charge the device when it is plugged in like the HP will.

But two solutions that gives everyone what they want.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Well this is a nice surprise...

So I was looking at my page views and noticed a spike and looked as to where they came from and saw they came from a site, So I clicked on the link and this is the page I saw

So I scrolled down until I saw this

WOW. I am shocked that this blog was recognized. Actually I am even more honored that someone thinks what I write actually means something.

By the way the rest of the list is HERE. Lots of great blogs I actually read there. Go check them out.

A Look Back at the Year

So a full year is in the books for using a Chrome OS device and I have to say, I didn't miss Windows at all, I did load Windows 10 & Remix OS on my old laptop though. My postings have been far and few between because I have been super busy. I had a student teacher 2nd semester. He did a good job and didn't require too much over seeing, but when I get a student teacher I find myself helping out around the campus with technology issues.

So what did I get done this year? Well first up was AP Qualifications. I have a colleague who has to pour through about 200 applications and see if they qualify. I asked him what he was looking for and he said just grades. So I took his application and turned it into a Google Form. I found a way for the Custom Formatting to search for the unqualified grades and highlight them in red and then highlight their names so they would be flagged out. Then to top it off I had a second tab for his acceptance list. I had to run an add-on to sort by color and then pull that data to another sheet. Well once I showed his dean, she asked me to do it for the rest of her department. So I did and I think that will streamline the AP applications next year.

His dean is in charge of AP testing so she had to put together the master AP list. It was easy once I got everything into a Sheet it was easy to manipulate the data. So what I have planned for next year is for the AP qualification lists to be automatically pulled from the AP applications qualifying tab. So in theory, once they close the application everything will be done, acceptance & master list. Big shout out to Alice Keeler who is 100% right when she says "The Answer is Always a Spreadsheet".

After she saw this she asked me to help with an AP/IB registration form. Students will complete a form where they input their AP schedule. It will identify any types of conflicts (by flagging them in the Sheet) and using FormMule email the students their AP schedules...if our district would open up student email access. It will also have necessary papers to qualify for fee reduction & help identify students that might be in CIF playoffs when testing rolls around.

I also work on a Staff Resource Doc that I saw from CUE. Basically, on one Doc it has everything ever needed for a staff member. I set it up so that certain things will require staff to make a copy first, like our warehouse order form. And of course it is set up to automatically add up the total cost for the teacher.

Also made another Form for requesting set up in the auditorium. Staff fills it out and once again thanks to FormMule a nice email is sent to the custodians as to what needs to be set up.

And finally, I have been trying to convince our admin to seriously look at buying Chrome OS devices for our next upgrade.

And as I look back I realize that most of this, if not all of it, would not have happened if I didn't have a Chromebox. It pushed me into a direction to use GAFE more. And when you start using it you realize just how useful & powerful it is.  And I think that is the big picture of using a Chrome OS device.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Printing from Chrome OS just got easier

One of the main drawbacks of Chrome OS is the lack of a solid printing option. Even though I am running a paperless class now, I still have to print gradebooks, letters of rec, and other reports. So in able to do this I have to make sure my work printer is on and run Google Cloud Printing through it, basically turning it into a printer server. It works. Everytime it works. The problem lies within Windows. I turned on my laptop to print out something and I had to sit and wait about 20 minutes for it to load an update and restart...20 minutes wasted time.

So how has it improved? Today I found an app for Chrome OS called HP Print for Chrome. This makes printing fast and simple. All you need to do is locate the IP address for the printer and type it in. It doesn't have to be a cloud ready printer or anything like that. I use 2 HP printers, they are different models and this app works for both of them. If you don't have an HP printer, then you are out of luck until that printer manufacturer decides to make an app too. I think this is better than waiting on Google to move their Cloud Printing out of beta.

As of today, my Windows laptop is turning off and I don't see a reason why I will be turning it on for the rest of the year. And this really strengthens my case for our school to adapt a Chrome OS devices as our next computer.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Chrome OS to the rescue...again

Been awhile since I posted something, so I will share a quick story of how Chrome OS saved a teacher's day. A teacher came in and told me he had a problem. Turns out he left laptop at home and had no device for the day. On top of that, he had a PowerPoint Presentation planned for his classes that day. I told him I could loan him an extra Chromebook from my class set. Since attendance is web-based now, he could take roll.

As far as his PowerPoint, last year he moved his documents to Google Drive after his laptop crashed. I told him you could get to them anywhere so he did it. Since he had his PowerPoint on his drive, we hooked the Chromebook up to his projector and ran the presentation like normal. The slides in the PowerPoint were off centered, so we did a quick conversion to Google Slides and it looked perfect. After school, he came up to me and said everything worked perfectly and thanks for the help. But without him moving his documents to Google Drive none of this would have worked.

I have been trying for 2 years now to have our staff move to Google Drive and this is another example why. Heck, it's a great example to move away from old Windows based laptops to Chrome OS devices for the school.