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Showing posts from June, 2014

Servers on the cheap - supporting our move to ChromeOS

Just replaced one of our remote desktop servers at school. I did this on the cheap with bits from Ebay - so it does not have to cost a fortune - you just need to be prepared to hunt around a bit for the right parts.

This server gives all our users on and off site access to their Windows desktop and apps. Brief look at the bits I used:

If you want to know more about how to do it or the bits to buy - let me know.

Remove Duplicates - a Google Sheets Add-on

Remove duplicates is a Google Sheets add-on that literally identifies duplicates in a sheet and removes them (if you want it to). It also allows you to compare two sheets and identify any differences. This has rapidly become one of the add-on that I'd not want to do without.

A brief video demo of what its all about:

Google Classroom a first look

Update: Classroom has now been launched and should be available to all gafe domains now. Google documentation can be found here. Key differences from the pre-release shown below:

Teachers can now see and comment on work in progress.Teachers can create a 'class information' page that sets out resources for the class. 
I've just been playing with Google Classroom. This is a tool that allows you to setup classes, share content and set assignments. The interface can be found at At the moment, you need an invite to have a go with it, but its due for general release in a month or two.

Video of Student and Teacher View:

The interface has been beautified from the demo I saw the other week and feels very slick to use.

I found adding students to a group rather tricky. I have all my students in Google Groups (we use Teacher Dashboard which sets these up). While I could select a group to add, I got an error message when trying to add them. This would be the quick …

Using the Query function to analyse homework

A few months back we started experimenting with a homework site that allows teachers to set homework and publishes the homeworks for parents. It also sends them an email and pops an event in their calendar. You can read a bit more about it here.

Since then we have started using this whole school and it generates a fair amount of data that we can play with. So I've been using the homework data to explore the Query function alongside Importrange to answer question such as 'What homework has X just been set?", "How many homeworks have Maths given out?". You can use the Query function to answer these sorts of questions. Below is my brief look at what I've done to date.

ChromeOS 35 Keyboard bug fixed...

So it looks like the defaulting to US keyboard bug has been fixed. Will try updating a few devices tomorrow - fingers crossed no more shift-2 needed to login!

From Chromebook Central:

New update for Stable Version 35:

The Stable channel has been updated to 35.0.1916.155 (Platform version: 5712.88.0 / 5712.89.0) for all Chrome OS devices. 

Notable fixes are below:

[376632] Fixed issue where keyboard defaults to US English.
[380338] Fixed touchpad issue where it wasn’t responding on certain devices.

For more information, check out the full Chrome Releases Blog announcement here. Systems will be receiving updates over the next several days.

Samsung Chromebook 2 11" & 13"

I had a chance to play with an 11" Samsung 2 Chromebook a while back before they were generally
released. Now I've got on on a trial basis and have been putting it through its paces.
I'm not a great fan of the fake leather look on the top - but otherwise its a good looking machine. Build wise its much better than the old Samsung 303. It feels very sturdy and well constructed - similar to the Dell Chromebook.
The screen is better than the Samsung 303, but not as bright as I would like. In terms of performance, I ran Octane (javascript) and Peacekeeper (HTML5) benchmarks for this device, a Samsung 303, Dell Chromebook and a Pixel. Both the Samsungs are on v36 beta channel as this gives a bit of a boost to ARM based devices. The Dell and the Pixel are on 35 Stable.

PeacekeeperOctaneSamsung 2 11”Samsung 2 11”Samsung 303Samsung 303DellDell