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Showing posts from December, 2014

Enabling YouTube for Schools with ClearOS 6.6

Youtube for Schools is a filtered version of YouTube where the emphasis is on educational content. I've played about with it for a while in test environments and over the last year or so it has become ever easier to enable. We use ClearOS for gateway services and the latest release allows it to be enabled without any complex command line stuff.

However, there are some serious caveats surrounding using it which I've spelt out in the video below:


The YouTube for Education forum is worth a look and hints that something new may be coming. We shall see.

Homework Site Update

A while ago we started using our own homework site to make homeworks publically available, fire them into students calendars and email. You can see the original post here. I recently updated the site to allow users - particularly parents, to view homeworks for specific students.

This is anonymised by using the students four digit admin number and uses a second Google Sheet to match the individual students to their homework. The video below is a brief demo of the site and explanation of how it work.

Google Safe Search in Schools

There has been quite a bit of talk about safesearch recently as its moved to https which has caused issues for some with filtering explicit content. Google provide online documentation of how to do this here. I thought it might be useful to illustrate what each approach involves.
Via Chrome Management Policy If a user is signed into a device using their Google Apps account, you can force SafeSearch using policy. So this works on ChromeOS devices and where users are signed into Chrome on a PC. It also applies anywhere.

So set this in Chrome User Settings in the management console:

While this policy applies offsite - it does not apply if a user in not signed into Chrome on a PC or signed into their own device with a non-domain account. Which brings on the next option for PC's.
Via Chrome Group Policy If you use Chrome on PC's, you should manage it with the Chrome Group Policy adm. Once added to your domain controller, you can control the behaviour of Chrome, including forcing Sa…

Enabling Smart Unlock on Chromebooks for Google Apps users

You can now enable Smart Unlock for you Google Apps users in the management console. This feature is off by default and you will need to enable it if you want them to have the facility.

The policy to enable is shown below:

Once this is set a user can enter settings on the Chromebook and enable the feature (in advanced settings):

Before you click on enable, make sure bluetooth is turned on on the Chromebook and the phone. In addition make sure bluetooth settings are open on the phone to make it discoverable. 
Just follow the onscreen instructions to configure. Once done, if the phone is unlocked, you can unlock the Chromebook by pressing enter - no password required. 
At the moment it seems to work on the latest beta (ChromeOS 40) and android 5. Not tried with other devices yet. Update: also works on ChromeOS 39 - so now any ChromeOS device I login to picks this setting up and turns it on automatically - so working on my Chromebox on Stable 39 in my classroom.