Saturday, 25 May 2013

Issues enrolling Chromebook (XE303C12) to a Google Domain via the Google management console.

Sorry!... The issue was not the XE303C12. It was me trying to use prior knowledge. Many thanks to +Andrew Robinson (Canberra/Goulburn diocese) for his help. All our Chromebooks were trialed prior to enrollment so unless they were brought back to factory default, they wouldn't enroll. I thought you could Powerwash (under advanced settings) to bring a Chromebook back to original state.  

It turns out you cant. Each Samsung Chromebook needs to be flushed according to their specific instructions.


What this means for us is that these devices can be rolled out by the teacher and a class straight out of the box... See this discussion.

I have left the original blog entry below in case others are wondering why their machines are not enrolling.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Using Blogger in the Classroom

Blogger is turned on for all staff and students as part of the Google Apps suite of tools. Our teachers are starting to use Blogger more and recognising its potential as a student reflection log, portfolio or even assessment submission tool.

Whilst by default, Blogger is an open forum, it can be locked down if you are wanting to limit visibility. Here's how.

1. Make sure you are logged in to your school google account (ideally in Chrome).
2. Open a new Tab and type in That opens Blogger in management mode.

3. Since you can have more than 1 Blog, go to the Blog you wish to 'lock down'. In "Settings" choose, "Basic", then you can explicitly specify the authors and the readers.

You can share it to a group BUT if the group has not been set up to accept emails from members outside the group, they will never get the notification.

This means you cannot share these to your student groups. They are all closed groups.

4. If you add your class by individual email address, each individual gets a message like this:
The only way a person can join this Blog is  to find your invitation and follow the prompts.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Staff and student OUs and Google+

Google+ & Hangouts are now enabled on all school domains for STAFF only.

It lets you...
...collaborate with up-to 10 people on a video chat. You instigate it. You arrange it. You do the invitations.
...record the conversation as a live stream on You Tube and allow others to participate in real time or after the event.
...set-up on-line, real-time, live lessons. You can share documents or interact on a virtual whiteboard with your live participants.
...divide up up your "friends" into different groups and share to a specific group.
...tag your responses with anything you like. If others start to use the same tags, you can find each other's contributions easily by searching via the tag.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Configuring Chromebooks Behind your School Proxy

Chromebooks turn deployment  into a teacher exercise and not another job for the Technical team....

You can deploy Chromebooks to students straight out of the box without any handling of the devices by your technical team. But the tech team needs to do some critical set-up of DNS/DHCP and provide a wireless provisioning network. Here are some insights from my team...

2. Our general set-up doco.
3. Minimal PD and On-site setup (Added to this Blog 20/5/2013)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Desktop Google drive VS Google Drive in the browser

I just want to extend a brilliant blog entry I just read from +Heather Dowd on her blog titled

Moving from Microsoft Office to Google Drive

There can be value in helping users understand that there is Google Drive on the Browser and Google Drive on the Desktop

Desktop Google Drive
  • Do not get students to set-up Desktop Google drive on a shared device BUT it's a must for all teachers and any student in a 1:1 or BYOD scenario. To set it up, open Google Drive in your browser and click on "Download drive for PC". Install it. Then find it (in Start, Programs, Google, Google Drive). Make sure you have "sync files" turned on. 
(Note: Once installed on your PC/Laptop, it appears in your Taskbar next to your Wireless indicator and date/time. Right  click and choose preferences to configure)
  • If you want people to co-author a Microsoft document and you want to leave it as a Microsoft document, you have to be using Desktop Google Drive. But when you share a file to others, they wont see it  in Desktop Google drive unless they find it in their Browser Google Drive and drag the file into "My Drive".

  • Edits are saved back to Drive without conversion or any formatting loss. (It's like working from a USB).
  • This works like a Word document shared across a network drive. The last edit will over-ride previous edits and the document is locked to only one editor. So if you want multiple editors working simultaneously, you can't use a Word document. You should set your file up as a Google doc from the getgo or as Heather indicates, convert it and deal with any formatting loss.
Next step....

Get rid of the Server/client scenario in schools and move all shares to Google Drive....

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Loop-back when you use SAML to log into CHROME

Having looping issues with SAML and Google?

Our users like signing in to Chrome because it allows them to share bookmarks and extensions on multiple devices. But sometimes, when they try  and sign-in, SAML sends them into an infinite loop.

The reason is that Chrome is trying to open a Pop-up to ask permission to do this and by default, pop-ups are blocked.

Un-block pop-ups and you fix the problem.

It's under settings, privacy, content settings.

SORRY.... False alarm. That doesn't work. Still need a fix for this problem..

Good question!
When you log into the Chrome browser, you allow your machine to be "managed" by the Chrome management console. In a school setting, it means you inherit  a whole heap of APPs pre-installed by your admin. This is great if the school is purchasing apps in bulk for student use. They can be pushed to all users via the ADMIN dashboard. Users need to be logged in to Chrome to get the apps.... The other big advantage is that  if the user logs on to a different machine and then logs into Chrome, (eg their home machine), they get exactly the same apps and shortcuts....

So what is the downside?....
To get the benefits, you have to agree to:

If you are a Chromebook school, all student devices are managed via the Admin console. In fact the admin push down proxy settings, wireless keys, apps, and a whole heap of other stuff. A non-chromebook using the Chrome browser doesn't get the same degree of management when the user is logged in to Chrome....

Sharing your units

IBLers... Look what changed on Google whilst we were not looking....

Yesterday we discussed the advantages of Desktop Google Drive. See here for a discussion on that.
One downside was that we were all getting used to working on Desktop Google Drive, but when we wanted to share a file, we were going back to Drive in the browser . But NO MORE...

You can do your sharing from Desktop Google Drive.

Gmail opens and auto-populates TO, Subject and Body

This BLOG is a little TECKY but I think some of you will  find ways to use it for other things like Bully Boxes, Assignment Submission etc etc...

When students and staff are using Gmail as their default browser, you can create URLs that open directly in email and have a pre-define subject and even headings for the body. So user clicks  a link on a menu. It opens up in Gmail  and auto-populates a number of the email fields like To, Subject, etc

Click here  to see an example.

How do we use it?
We have this as a link on  all our school intranets to simplify the process of submitting helpdesk requests...

So what is hidden under  the link?

Have a try changing the body message, changing the to address and changing the subject.... Its not as hard as it first looks.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Assignment Submission at the start of an assignment.... A new way of thinking.

Hey, don't wait till the assignment is due. Get students to submit the assignment on day 1 via an embedded Google form. Make sure the form includes the following:

  1. Student details (auto collect if you share the same domain as your students)
  2. Assignment name
  3. Due date
  4. Assignment URL. Clearly this only works if the assignment is being presented as a Google doc or other web based resource.
  5. Make sure the assignment is permissioned to you ( the teacher ) as editor and you may or may not want the class viewing anyone elses.
As you can see from the image, insert the form on the left of your site page and the underlying data sheet beside the form. That means as students submit, you get to see their names and you get to test that you have access to their file.

Great questions... So here are the reasons why you might want to change to this method.
  1. You can see the assignment as it unfolds.
  2. You know exactly where the file is. You just come back to this page and click the link on the right. You don't care how the student saved it to their Google drive or where they saved it.You have the link and it never changes even if the student moves it to a different folder.
  3. You know from the onset that you have permission to read and edit (rather than chasing students around after submission) and if  you don't have access, you get the student to change permissions throughout the course of the assignment.
  4. You can leave comments at any time OR co-author the document.
  5. You have access to the full revision history. 
  6. And when it comes to the due date, the student makes you the owner and themselves a viewer.