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.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

iPads vs. Chromebooks

One morning last March, I had the chance to work with Dan Gloria's grade eight class. We looked at Adobe Spark as a tool to build a video based book report. Students used a mix of iPads and Chromebooks to tackle their reports.

I wondered out loud in front of students, "Why are some of you using iPads and some using Chromebooks?" "Is your iPad broken?" "Is your iPad's battery dead?" The junior high's preferred one to one device is the iPad. Why did most students opt for a Chromebook?

I was so surprised by my classroom observations that I issued a survey to learn more. Along with gender and grade questions, the survey asked,

The results were surprising.

Regardless of gender or grade, Chromebooks seem to be the "Go-To" device, with 58 % of respondents preferring Chromebooks.

Twenty two percent of respondents are, apparently, comfortable with either device.

I found the results to be fascinating, but I also want to know more. Is the type of school work being asked of students a determining factor in their answers? Probably. When I get bored, I'll try to answer that question. Stay tuned...

The entire data set including student comments and interactive charts is available here.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Why I don't miss Windows

How many Chromebook and Chromebox units are deployed in our district? Six hundred? One thousand? Fourteen hundred? It doesn't matter really; its a rhetorical question. Chrome devices work and work well. They update invisibly.  That's a lot more than can be said of certain "other" platforms. I can't imagine dealing with hundreds of student windows machines mired in a perpetual update quagmire, and am thankful for the distance. Four years ago, we chose Chrome. Chrome's growing ecosystem, ease of use, and dilapidated support structures of windows makes our choice look pretty darn good.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Exam View Updates

Posts intended to help teachers extend the useful life of ancient ExamView versions have appeared in TekEdCentric here, here, here, herehere, and, most recently, here. Soon, there will be another post that details how you can embed your exam view tests directly into a New Google Site.

Google recently announced that users of New Google Sites will be able to embed html code directly into their Google sites. That means that the web servers some currently run on laptops or the Dropbox web server lashups that some endure just to get online exams in front of students may become a thing of the past, to be replaced by something a bit easier.

When I get a chance to create a tutorial, I'll post it. Then there will be one more post to Exam View life support. ;-)