Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Chromebook Tip Of The Week: Mirroring vs. Extending

When you connect a Chromebook to a projector, the default behavior is to 'extend' your Chromebook's screen onto the projector. Extending joins the projector to the right hand portion of your screen, effectively extending your screen's total width. If you move the cursor all the way over to the right hand side of your laptop's screen, then keep moving it to the right, you'll see the cursor show up on the projector's display. Think of the extended display as a super landscape image, or a super wide screen. While there are many reasons why you might want to extend your Chromebook's display, like viewing presenter's notes during a presentation, many users simply want to have what's on their laptop's screen 'mirrored' or displayed on the projector, too. Happily, switching between extended and mirrored views is done by simultaneously pressing control and full screen. Try it. Happy projecting!
Press Control - Full Screen to toggle between extended display and mirrored display.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Chromebook Tip Of The Week: Do Not Disturb

Notifications are everywhere, but sometimes, you want them to be nowhere; anywhere else but on your screen. For example, when using your Chromebook to present student projects or when you otherwise have your Chromebook connected to a projector, you don't want a "Bloop - Your significant other has checked into the Oyster Bar" taking over any screen real estate or audience mind share. You need to shut notifications off. Here's how.

Near the right hand side of the shelf (the bar at the bottom of the screen) just to the left of the Status Area is the Notification Panel. Sometimes it looks like a bell. It's shape will often morph to the latest things used. There may also be a number indicating how many notifications are waiting. Click or Tap it.

Tap or Click the Notification Panel
Next, Tap or Click the settings gear.

Tap or Click the settings icon

Finally, Tap or Click the do not disturb option.

Make the do not disturb button blue.
Enjoy the quiet.

Depending on the resources installed on your Chromebook, your notifications and the notifications area may look different than the images show here, but the process to silence the notifications should be identical to that outlined here. Enjoy your now quiet Chromebook.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Chromebook Tip Of The Week: Hassle Free Updates

An up arrow in a Chromebook's status area
(lower right) means restart to update.
Chromebooks have the simplest, most effective computer updating mechanism I've ever seen. Updates happen silently and without hassle. Occasionally, you will have restart your Chromebook to apply an update. When you see the up arrow in the status area of a Chromebook's tray, simply restart your device to update it. The device will restart and be fully functional in about fifteen seconds. You'll enjoy security updates, bug fixes, and occasionally, cool new features.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Chromebook Tip of the Week: Change Screen Resolution

Change screen resolution on the fly!

Pressing Control, Shift, = makes screen items bigger (decreases resolution), and Control, Shift, - makes screen items smaller (increases resolution).

The teacher Chromebooks can go all the way from 1182 x 665 to  2194 x 1234. The default resolution is a comfortable 1536 x 864. You may find the ability to quickly change resolution handy when connecting to a projector or external monitor.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Chromebook Tip of The Week: Charging

USB C Cable
Forgot your Chromebook charger? District issued Chromebooks charge using a standard USB C port. In a pinch, you could get by using a simple iPad charger, and automobile charger, or even an older phone charger and a USB C cable. If you're using a newer Android phone, you already have a USB C charger and cable. While the iPad or old phone charger won't charge as quickly as the supplied charger - and may not even keep up with the drain on the battery -  it could be enough to get you through a low battery situation.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Chromebook tip of the week: Screen Lock

For many teachers, their district issued Chromebook constitutes a first Chromebook experience. To that end, I'm going to try to publish a weekly Chromebook tip during the fall semester. This first tip is on how to secure your Chromebook by ensuring that the screen lock is active. The screen lock will prevent people from having unfettered access to your account.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

MacBook Air Battery Cycle Count

The option to purchase your school issued MacBook presents an interesting opportunity and raises some questions. One question asked by several teachers focused on their MacBook's remaining battery life. Battery life can be an important buy out consideration.

The school issued MacBook Airs have a maximum cycle count of 1000, meaning they can be completely discharged and recharged 1000 times before being 'consumed'. A consumed battery doesn't mean a broken battery; it means you're likely to experience poor performance and reduced capacity. A battery cycle count of 500 on this particular MacBook model might roughly equate to a half consumed battery. You can dive into the battery life details at

The embedded video shows you how to check your device's battery cycle count. I hope it provides insight and helps you make an informed decision on the buy out option.