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. ;-)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Google Drive Going Away Message

The Google Drive App is a seriously awesome resource for backing up your digital stuff. Running on your MacBook, Google Drive is a lot like a virtual flash drive - but without the likelihood of dying in your washer, landing in the grocery store parking lot, or suffering some other kind of failure. I've posted a few times on the benefits of using Google Drive with your MacBook here, and here, and here and here and here,  It's an excellent resource for backing up your MacBook and the stand alone files some are still using like word docs, presentations, exam view tests, PDFs, videos, and other things you might store locally.  Numerous times during the last four years, the Google Drive App has allowed people to quickly and painlessly recover from hardware failures and software collapses. It does a great job of backing up  and - when disaster strikes - restoring your stuff.

Last fall, Google announced the retirement of the Google Drive App for Mac and PC computers.  As the  end of February nears, Google is scaring the daylight out of users, warning them that Google Drive for Mac/PC is going away soon.

Google's indelicate, panic inducing drive warning

While the Google Drive App for Mac and PC may be going away, Google Drive cloud based storage is, at this point, not going anywhere. And while the app itself is being retired, it is being replaced with two refreshed versions. Google File Stream is intended for business and education accounts. Google Backup and Sync is intended for consumer accounts. In my review of both products, I find they both work well, are easy to install and use, and each offers a fresher interface. Personally, I like the look and feel of Google Backup and Sync better than File Stream. It's just a bit cleaner. However, File Stream offers the ability to backup and sync Team Drives, which many EWG users are beginning to explore. If syncing Team Drives is important to you, consider using File Stream.

The deprecation of the Google Drive app running on your MacBook or PC is no reason to stop using Google Drive as your cloud based backup. Simply upgrade to File Stream or Backup and Sync. For those still using discrete, standalone files, an automatic backup and sync tool like those mentioned is still beyond important. Update your MacBook today to keep your backups current.

If you have questions about which Google Drive backup and sync tool is right for you, (and you're an EWG employee ;-)), contact me.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Embed Video from Google Drive

Youtube is arguably an easier, better place than Google Drive for video distribution. The statistics YouTube keeps on your videos include information about your audience, how many times your video has been viewed, at what point people stopped watching your video, and a lot more. Yet, there may be occasions when, for whatever reason, you just want to host a video in Google Drive. The video below shows how to embed a Google Drive video in your blogger blog, or anywhere else.

You can also upload video directly to your blog. While uploading directly is quite easy, you get less control over and less information about your video and how it is being used.

Video uploaded directly to Blogger