Category Archives: Chromebook

MyScratchNotes: Screencasting Linux on #Chromebook

Next week, we’ll be giving out laptops–considered obsolete in school settings, but that work fine with a copy of LubuntuLinux running on them–to students. After giving a quick tour of Lubuntu on the laptops, I suddenly had 6 “how to” videos to create. Of course, I could have made the videos on a Lubuntu laptop but I wondered, What if you installed Lubuntu on your Chromebook, then made the videos there? Could I use something like Screencastify (which has “picture in a picture,” BTW) to get the job done?

Naturally, the question going around in my head required some fun experimentation. As you might guess from the picture below, yes, it worked.

Running LXDE on an Acer C720 Chromebook

Although I’ve loaded GNU/Linux on a Chromebook twice before, I have to admit that this was the easiest and most pain-free. That is due in large part to the instructions provided online here, and which I’ve customized below (these are my scratch notes)…the customization involves LXDE in lieu of KDE or XFCE (neither of which I like much) AND loading the right audio drivers to ensure I can record.

Read the OriginalHow to Easily Install Ubuntu on Chromebook with Crouton | Linux.com

As mentioned in the article above, one of the main benefits:

Some of the advantages of Crouton are that unlike other methods, you don’t have to reboot your machine to switch operating systems; you can switch between them using keyboard shortcuts as if you are switching between two apps.

Here are the relevant excerpts that I followed…again, you may want to read the whole thing. These are just my notes should I have to go through this again.

Part 1 – Install Ubuntu with LXDE GUI interface on Chromebook with Crouton

1. “Install Chromebook recovery utility from the Chrome web store. Open the app and follow the instructions to create a recovery drive.” This is an important step in case you mess it all up.

2. Enable the developer mode by holding Esc + Refresh keys and then push the ‘power’ button. The recovery screen will show a scary warning. Just ignore it and let Chrome OS wipe your data. The process can take up to 15 minutes, so don’t turn off your Chromebook.

3. Log into your Chromebook and open the GitHub page of Crouton and download the latest script.

Check the download folder to see if crouton is downloaded.

4- Open the terminal in Chromebook  by hitting Alt+Ctrl+t

5 -Type this command to open shell: shell

6 – Install Ubuntu with LXDE GUI (the -e option will encrypt your drive, which is good)

sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t lxde

This process will take about 15-20 minutes depending on the speed of your Internet connection.

7 – Type sudo startlxde
This will start LXDE GUI interface to Linux.

8 – Update Your Linux installation. At the command line (Go to the START button in the bottom left-hand corner, then Accessories, then LXTerminal), type the following, pressing ENTER after each command:

(precise)mg@localhost:~$ sudo apt-get update

Then…

(precise)mg@localhost:~$ sudo apt-get upgrade

9 – Install your favorite apps…here are a few of my favorites:

(precise)mg@localhost:~$ sudo apt-get install shutter firefox keepassx mc 

Of course, you don’t have to install these programs at all. I usually also install Google Chrome browser, and Dropbox.

Part 2 – Setup Audio
One of the things I noticed when I installed Screencastify in GoogleChrome on Linux on Chromebook was that the microphone wasn’t detected. To get it working, I followed these steps at the Terminal (LXTerminal):

1 – Install pulseaudio

sudo apt-get install pulseaudio

2 – Install pavucontrol and pavumeter

sudo apt-get install pavucontrol pavumeter

Restart to get pulseaudio running

3 – Start pavucontrol, setting input/output is set to Audio Stereo Duplex

That’s pretty much it! Now I have a Chromebook that can switch to LXDE (LubuntuLinux) for audio editing when I need it using Audacity, as well as access my Keepass password file. And, I can record the video tutorials for getting around in LXDE! The video quality–and sound–is actually better than doing the recording on my Macbook Air…still haven’t figured that one out!


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#Chromebook WebCam Recording – App Roundup (Updated 12/10/14)

Welcome! Want to do some screencasting for flipped classroom or video tutorials on your Chromebook? Then you’ve come to the right place. The following are screencasting/webcam recording apps worth checking out.

Here’s a quick list of the rest in order of preference:

  1. My Pick: Screencastify 
  2. TechSmith’s Snagit app and extension combo
  3. ClipChamp
  4. MediaCore Capture

You can read the rest of this blog entry for more details….

It was only yesterday that a colleague asked, “How do you record video on the Chromebook?” While I have always tested video recording with WeVideo, I found myself looking for an app that would record video locally. . .I just hadn’t made the time to search.

Thank goodness for my Twitter PLN! Where else can you ask a question and get responses back in a short time period?

Fortunately, since Chromebooks are smashing the Education Market in the U.S.A., LOTS of folks are asking great questions, sharing them via Twitter.

As of the third quarter of 2014, Chromebooks have displaced iPads as the most popular new devices shipping to U.S. schools. This is a huge win for Google in a market historically dominated by Apple and Microsoft. According to the Financial Times and IDC, “Google shipped 715,500 of the low-cost laptops into US schools in the third quarter, compared with 702,000 iPads.” Even more striking, the $199 and up Chromebooks have gone from zero to a quarter of the educational market in only two years…While Apple has been pumping iPads into schools, Google has gotten many of the same schools hooked on its free Google Apps for Education Suite. 

Source: Forbes.com Article

TIP – Quick Chrome App Management: Before we get started adding a whole bunch of extensions/apps to your Chromebook, you might want to first install Simple Extension Manager…that way, you can easily manage/disable extensions or apps you don’t want instead of digging around the innards of Chrome browser tools.

Some solutions for the webcam recording app question that involves saving directly to your Chromebook:

  1. My Pick: Screencastify – This remains an easy choice to depend on and I keep coming back to it, even after having tried all the rest. It features picture in a picture as well.
  2. ClipChamp – This was an easy to use webcam capture tool.  Read this great blog entry that walks you through the whole process of using ClipChamp…at the end of the process, you end up with these options shown right. As you can see, the video you get is an MP4 that is viewable and sharable on most devices and web sites.
  3. MediaCore Capture – I really liked MediaCore Capture…it recorded not only my screen, but also included a video feed of me in the bottom right hand-corner! The only fly in the ointment is that the video format it creates is webm (a.k.a. HTML5 video), which you would have to convert–maybe use Zamzar.com WebM to MP4–before uploading to a video sharing site. I can really see using MediaCore Capture as a screencasting alternative to Screencastify and TechSmith’s Snagit app and extension combo, which (as far I know) only offers screencasting.
  4. Zamzar Video Conversion needed for MediaCore Capture
  5. TechSmith’s Snagit app and extension combo

If you are looking for quick captures using the WebCam, consider these apps as well:
  • WebCam – Relies on a web site to “turn on your webcam” on your Chromebook.
  • WebCamToy – This app will work while offline to capture pictures. Features 80 special effects for pictures taken.
WebM to MP4 Video Converters
Here are a few tools you can use to convert from WebM to MP4, but if you’re putting the WebM videos in YouTube, it won’t be a problem…YouTube can handle WebM/HTML5 videos!


Final Selection: What’s my recommendation? Of these tools, I’d have to go with Screencastify. I know how to convert WebM to MP4, so that wouldn’t be an impediment for me. I also like the fact I can record the presenter in the bottom right-hand corner. That’s not to say I would cast away other tools like ClipChamp and TechSmith (since it offers image capture and other features) but for quick recommendations, Screencastify is my favorite.
And, while I have used WeVideo to “test out” webcam recording, it’s probably “too much” since I have little interest in video editing for most projects…my work is often done in “1-take.”
What are your thoughts?

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Securing Your Passwords: Chromebook

In previous blog entries, I’ve shared how much I appreciate the wonderful work the free, open source password protection/tracking solution community has done for Keepass. I literally work on Android, GNU/Linux, iOS, and Mac every day (occasionally Windows), and being able to access my passwords across all those platforms is a fantastic!

Visit http://techualization.blogspot.com

Unfortunately, I was finding myself spending a lot of time on a Chromebook, so I needed a quick way to access my passwords via the Chromebook. Since you can’t install Windows/Mac/Linux software on a Chromebook–I’ve installed GNU/Linux OS on Chromebook, but switched back to ChromeOS–I needed something to interface with Keepass.

The solution I ran across is “BrowsePass,” which was developed in 2013 and is still under development. You can install it in any Chrome browser, but it also works fine on Chromebooks (get it as an add-on).

BrowsePass reads KeePass (http://keepass.info) password database file (only version 2). It can open both remote and local files. You’d use BrowsePass when you cannot install or download KeePass locally. BrowsePass runs entirely in your browser, no additional software is needed. BrowsePass DOES NOT support files created with KeePass version 1 (KDB files)!

This solution works great, and I encourage you to give it a try.


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Going 1 to 1 with…Something

After reading this Gartner report summary…

“IT leaders can spend half a million dollars to buy and support 1,000 enterprise-owned tablets, while they can support 2,745 user-owned tablets with that same budget,” said Federica Troni, research director at Gartner. “Without a stipend, direct costs of user-owned tablets are 64 per cent lower. When organizations have several users who want a tablet as a device of convenience, offering a BYOD option is the best alternative to limit cost and broaden access.” Source: CBROnline

…a question popped into my mind. The question is, what’s the cost of going 1 to 1 in a local district given these numbers:

  • Staff: 1,233
  • Students: 9,820, which breaks out in this way:
  • PreK-3: 3,038
  • Grades 4-5: 1,457
  • Grades 6-8: 2,293
  • Grades 9-12: 3,032

Some “givens” we can work from:

  • 100% wireless access everywhere in schools, so no infrastructure to go build up.
  • Staff and students can bring their own devices (e.g. tablets, smartphones, computers)
1) Dell Chromebook 11 inch with management –  $314.46 per unit
  • $387,729.18 worth of Chromebooks for 1,233 staff (this is everyone, including custodians, maintenance, paraprofessionals and auxiliary staff, not just teachers and admins).
  • $3,087,997.20 worth of Chromebooks for 9,820 students (this is PreK-12 students). That breaks down in this way:
  • $955,329.50 for 3,038 PreK-3 students
  • $458,168.20 for 1,457 grade 4-5 students
  • $721,056.80 for 2,293 grade 6-8 students
  • $953,442.70 for 3,032 grade 9-12 students
Main Benefits:
  • Keyboard and trackpad
  • Full support for GoogleApps for Education, including email, calendaring, unlimited online storage, productivity tools like word processing, spreadsheet, drawing, presentations, GoogleVault email archiving.
  • IStation support by January, 2015
  • Think Through Math support available
  • Minimal management, no antivirus/malware solutions needed
Suggestion(s): To off-set lack of quality image/video capture, buy an iPad Mini per classroom.
2) iPad Mini with Case with management via JAMF’s CasperSuite – $307
  • $369,900 worth of iPad Minis for 1,233 staff (this is everyone, including custodians, maintenance, paraprofessionals and auxiliary staff, not just teachers and admins).
  • $2,946,000 worth of iPad Minis for 9,820 students (this is PreK-12 students). That breaks down in this way:
  • $911,400 for 3,038 PreK-3 students
  • $437,100 for 1,457 grade 4-5 students
  • $687,900 for 2,293 grade 6-8 students
  • $909,600 for 3,032 grade 9-12 students
Main Benefits:
  • There are several possibilities depending on your iPad app selections. Most of advantages include easy video/image capture, document camera, etc.
3) Hybrid Mix

Some combo of these two devices and desktops.

Ok, I ran out of gas on this blog entry.
🙂


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Device-Smashing: #iPads, #Chromebooks, Oh My!

Sitting in a planning conversation with an instructional team–including Mary Ray (@mray29), one of the ideas that popped into my head as we were chatting was the idea of a diverse classroom with multiple devices in it.

To modify the app smashing definition Greg K came up with, here’s the “device smashing” definition:

Device smashing is the process of using multiple devices in conjunction with one another to complete a final task or project. 

I’m going to reflect on this a bit more, but with cloud storage, I find myself jumping from one device to another to get the results I want. As more devices–especially in BYOT environments–are available to students, device smashing will certainly become more common.

I just don’t know if the name sends the right message, though!


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The Limits of the Device

Image Source: http://goo.gl/jhXC0u

Someone recently challenged the idea that iPads were better than Chromebooks. An enlightened Google-Certified-Teacher (not me) suggested the following perspective:

Wouldn’t laying out the benefits and limitations of each be more productive than determining a “winner”? The best device is subjective and determined by the user and the task.
I am of the belief there is not one perfect tool. We chose to go 1:1 Chromebooks but support hundreds of iPads across our district. Source: Judith Epcke, GCT Email

We have to be careful what technology we champion in schools…it’s so easy to fall for the magic bullet approach. Of course, the iPad is a magic bullet to many of the problems schools face when they are looking for a device in the classroom. I love my iPad’s ability to interact with pictures, videos and combine them into one space (e.g. Keynote), then drop that content into anything else and publish it.

But, I also love the Chromebook my job allows me access to for writing and sharing ideas (BTW, seen Google’s revamped EDU site?) In fact, I no longer try to make the iPad into my go-to device 100% of the time for writing and sharing ideas. It mostly sits at home until I need it for a high-end job, like catching up on Netflix, preparing a video presentation, reading my favorite fiction. For the most part, I rely on my Chromebook for the work I’m required to do and that I like to do as a writer.

Schools tell us that Chromebooks fill three big needs: they’re easy for students and teachers to use, they’re easy to share, and they’re easy to manage. That’s critical for schools that often want to give their students the best technology, but don’t have a large IT department to support it. And it’s part of what has made Chromebooks such a hit in schools. In fact, according to IDC’s latest report on tablets and laptops in K-12 education, Chromebooks are the best-selling device in the U.S. this year. (Read More)

Chromebooks, iPads, Androids are easy for folks to use because you agree to live within the limits of the device. This is the perspective I have found most helpful when working with others. I imagine the conversation can work like this:

“Ok, I understand you need to do certain things. Here are the limits of what these devices can do, and, if you change how you do things a little, you can take advantage of this particular device. Will it work for you?”
“Yeah, sure. I’ll give it a try. I’m not wedded to one way of doing things.”

For those folks that are, or imagine that one device can do everything (yes, I’m guilty as charged), then disappointment is sure to follow. These days, I feel pretty comfortable recommending a classroom have access to certain devices for some tasks, other devices for others…even though you can manage to be productive on either.

A recent diversity study pointed out that People working together can achieve more than they can alone; this is a fundamental principle upon which organizations are founded. 

What if we changed that a bit and said:

Devices working together can achieve more than they can alone; this is a fundamental principle upon which BYOT is founded on.


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12 Tools for Productivity on Your #Chromebook and #iPad (Updated 11/2014)

Have you ever asked yourself, “Can I do that with this device?” It’s a lot of fun. For example, the iPad has become a bit of a boring tool for me, not because it’s hard to do things with it, but rather, because I feel like I’ve mapped out workflows for what I commonly do. Once you map out what you do normally, you start to ask yourself, “What else can I do?”

Some of the common tasks–and the quick solutions I use on each–I expect to be able to do include the following (I’ve indicated in parentheses the cost of each, if it’s not free):

  1. Email
  1. iPad: CloudMagic app (free and fantastic for iOS and Android!)
  2. Chromebook: CloudMagic chrome app
  • Web surfing
    1. iPad: Chrome, iCab ($1.99), Puffin (Flash friendly sites) browsers
    2. Chromebook: Chrome
  • Curating content with ReadItLater’s Pocket, Evernote and Postach.io
    1. iPad: Evernote, ReadItLater’s Pocket, EverClip2 (read my blog entry), Flipboard (read more)
    2. Chromebook: Evernote and their WebClipper, Clearly, ReadItLater’s Pocket
  • Blogging
    1. iPad: Posts, Blogger
    2. Chromebook: Blogger web site
  • Reading and Creating ebooks
    1. iPad: 
    1. Create: Book Creator ($4.99)
    2. Read: Readdle’s Documents, or Open in Nook
  • Chromebook:
    1. Create: 
    1. Create GoogleDoc, save as HTML/PDF then Convert using 2ePub OR
    2. Create text in markdown using Writebox, then load it into dotEPUB‘s Create
  • Read: Readium (read this article on creating with iPad and reading on Chromebook)
  • Creating presentations
    1. iPad: Keynote (easy to embed videos), Haiku Deck
    2. Chromebook: GoogleSlides, Haiku Deck web
  • Encrypting emails and files with AES-256 encryption
    (Note: this is for light privacy…i wouldn’t trust it for serious stuff, whatever that is)
    1. iPad: Encipher.It, oPenGP ($4.99), MiniKeepass 
    2. Chromebook: MiniLock for file encryption, Encipher.It. Safeguard your logins and passwords with Keepass.info and BrowsePass Chrome add-on
  • Virtual Private Network
    (If you don’t have a VPN for your WiFi devices, then you need to watch this or read this)
    1. iPad and Chromebook: Private Internet Access ($40 a year)
  • FTP/SFTP files to and from a web server, phone or location
    1. iPad: Readdle’s Documents
    2. Chromebook: sFTP Client ($2.99)
  • Audio Recording & Editing
    1. iPad: 
    1. Recording: Voice Record Pro, AudioNote ($4.99), Evernote (free)
    2. Editing: Hokasai (Free but requires in-app purchases to do anything worthwhile)
  • Chromebook: 
    1. Recording: MicNote (can record audio played aloud from Chromebook speakers…like AudioNote that allows you to take notes while you record! Free version records 2 mins but Pro version for $4.99 records for 2 hours with unlimited notes/recordings)
    2. Editing: Twisted Wave, Audiee
  • Video Creation and Editing
    1. iPad: Explain Everything ($2.99 works for iOS and Android), Pinnacle Studio ($13)
    2. Chromebook: WeVideo
  • Screencasting
    1. iPad: Reflector for your Mac/Windows computer and Quicktime for computer
    2. Chromebook: Screencastify (makes HTML5/webm files), TechSmith SnagIt (need extension and app; makes MP4s) 
    It’s pretty amazing when you consider what can be done on a Chromebook and how easy and flexible it is. What fun to revisit my favorite apps, as well as discover some on Chromebook or for Chrome browser, that can be used.
    Of course, there are some places where the iPad wins…but in a classroom, you’re not likely to be in an either/or situation. 
    BTW, My MiniLock ID is 
    29NVByRvWs19dGHmUcav6riKBSTATuBsUTDtSaj47QNA5N

    “He who does not move does not notice his chains.” 

    Source: Rosa Luxemborg as cited by Glenn Greenwald


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