Considering switching to a Chromebook? Here’s what these experts have to say...

For those who are planning to get a Chromebook this year, major media outlets Computerworld and both recently published their review on the Acer Chromebook R13. We are sharing them below to help you decide on which device to get.

Computerworld’s article, Review: Acer Chromebook R13 - a Chromebook with class, is mostly positive, focusing on the design, support for Android apps, and overall usability. The review starts by laying out how the R13 is a “slightly larger, slightly improved version of the R11.”

The brand new R13 “has a much more solid feel than most Chromebooks,” and it’s good to hear that they “got the impression that this one will last for the long haul.” Computerworld also commented on the keyboard, which they were impressed with, though it was mentioned that the touchpad isn’t as large as those found on some high-end laptops.
They also picked up on the excellent new development that the R13 is “one of the few Chromebooks currently capable of running Android apps.” As with all of Acer’s Chromebooks, the battery is excellent, with the R13’s good for up to 12 hours. As Computerworld mentioned, “it certainly lasted over a day's worth of use with power to spare.”

If you’re attending BETT 2017, definitely get along to the Acer stand to check out the new Chromebook R13. It’s flippable, has a touchscreen, runs Android apps and boasts a decent 4GB of RAM to keep on top of all those tabs you have open! You can check out the full review from Computerworld here, or if you’d like a second opinion, check out this review from who found the R13 to be the ‘Best Overall Chromebook.’

If we forget to look out of the window

by +John Mikton

A window out
Every year has its moments, and 2016 was no exception. Various significant shifts occurred, including changes in the political landscape in the United States, United Kingdom, and Turkey. And the horrors of war, civil strife, terrorism and an underlying global tension have been constantly fed into our digital lives from the comfort of our screens.

As we consume the aggregated algorithmic social network feeds, each customized to ensure we get what we want to digest, we are choreographed into a more divisive world.

Information is power. This year, the pollsters, news agencies, and pundits got caught out with two big votes, and so many predictions seemed off.

Our landscape of information has entered a level of Orwellian curation, and what is news, fact, or reality seems dictated by emotion and perspectives constructed from our own curated news feeds. They are rarely factual. "Post Truth" - Oxford English Dictionary Names 'Post-Truth' Word of the Year by Jon Blistein is the word that defines these moments and a shift to a new narrative.

For many of us, this Orwellian curation has us struggling to distinguish fact from fiction. The level of sophistication of not only the algorithms but how these are manipulated to shift thinking is the new power. In schools, we are being told by various studies that our students capacity for media and information literacy is weak. (Students Have 'Dismaying' Inability To Tell Fake News From Real, Study Finds by Camila Domonoske ). When you consider we as adults struggle with this landscape, it is no surprise that our students struggle too.

In a world of algorithms where the sophisticated digital curation of social media, news, blogs, and video feeds can be manipulated to match an individual’s perspective, the challenges we face as educators are immense. This manipulation, shared in this sobering article " Google, democracy and the truth about internet search by Carole Cadwalladr", highlights the complexity of being truly media literate. The prevalence of third party curation in social media feeds during elections highlighted in this article "Macedonia’s fake news industry sets sights on Europe by: Andrew Byrne" emphasis the challenges we all face in understanding what is "real" news.

To be complacent is short-sighted in a school setting. There is a tendency with school professional development to not explicitly address the digital reality that engulfs our lives as an essential part of our professional learning. Information and Media literacy are what frame our own democratic values: choice, perspective, empathy, resilience, and critical thinking. If we as educators are going to assign students critical thinking tasks and ask them to engage with media and information while juggling screen time in a complex digital landscape, we cannot be passive bystanders.

As school leaders, we need to re-frame our engagement with the role of digital life in professional development. Together, we need to understand the complexity and impact of algorithmic information flows on our devices.

We also need dedicated spaces for this professional learning. We must learn how to mentor information flows, authenticate media, source perspectives, and understand the pedagogic impact of a curated news. We must approach this with patience and empathy, and allow everyone to build an understanding of the digital flows we live by, tapping into the talent of our librarians and digital coaches as guides. We must take advantage of the frameworks available to us (e.g: #1 or #2) and use them as a point of reference for a pedagogic consensus on how to mentor our school community.

The paradigm shift asks us to look at Digital Intelligence as a core intelligence. As defined by "- the sum of social, emotional, and cognitive abilities essential to digital life." and shared out in the World Economic Forum article: "8 digital life skills all children need – and a plan for teaching them".

Digital Intelligence needs to be woven into the curriculum. We do this on a daily basis with all other aspects of the curriculum. Let us do it with Digital Intelligence. Re-structure the focus and content to explicitly encompass screen-time management, privacy management, cyber security management, digital footprints, and digital identity; use these to make authentic connections based on our experiences. Then, reflect on our digital habits, likes, tensions, questions and understandings to create activities to share. In this process, we should hope to find comfort in being honest with our own vulnerabilities. We can then use this life-learning to support our students' understanding of digital intelligence.

Being explicit about implementing Digital Intelligence in faculty professional learning ensures this is an essential part of our educators professional growth. Working together, as adults learners, we need to harness the complexity of the choreographed digital world. By ensuring this is in our professional learning landscape, we are then empowered to share our digital intelligence to students. It is the only way to counter an Orwellian curation of information in a "post truth" world.

Beyond Digital and this blog post by John Mikton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at

Lunch and Learn with Dean Stokes at a FREE Live Webinar

Are you new to using Google Classroom or do you have colleagues who've never seen it before? If so, be sure to check out a FREE series of webinars that our very own Dean Stokes created with Texthelp. The fourth and final webinar takes place on Wednesday 7th December at 12:30pm GMT.


The links for the whole series are below so that you can start watching right away. The webinars run at a comfortable pace - concise with just the right amount of information you'll need.

Webinar 1 (13 mins) - Getting Started with G Suite for Education and Google Classroom
Webinar 2 (15 mins) - Completing and Collecting Work with Google Classroom
Webinar 3 (20 mins) - Assessing Work with Google Classroom
Webinar 4 (1 hour) - Lunch and Learn LIVE (Taking Things Further with Google Classroom)

By watching the series, you'll learn how to complete the entire lesson workflow using Google Classroom from creating a class to assessing work. You'll also find out how to use Read & Write for Google Chrome for supporting literacy and comprehension and Fluency Tutor for Google to assist with assessing reading - both free for teachers from Texthelp.

In the final LIVE session, you'll build on what was learned in the first three videos by discovering some great new tips and tricks. The session will end with a live Q&A for you to ask questions about using G Suite for Education and Classroom at your school.

Sign up for the live webinar with Dean Stokes!

We're excited to see you there!

Who are AppsEvents and what makes us unique?

AppsEvents has one clear goal: To produce amazing Google PD for Educators, to give them the tools and the inspiration to take their work to the next level....and to do it time and time again on every training engagement. We know we are only as good our last training event.

AppsEvents is a unique organization with a tight focus on the intersection of these areas:
  1. Google for Education: We work exclusively on training Google for Education tools and their leading edge applications in schools and in the classroom.
  2. Working with schools and Educators: We don’t train businesses. Our focus is 100% educators working at schools.
  3. Only PD: We’re not a consulting focussed organization and we don’t resell products and services. We believe the best investment schools can make is quality PD to give them the tools to take things forward themselves.
  4. Educator trainers: We work exclusively with trainers that are actively engaged within the education community, from Principals to IT heads, Tech Coaches to Teachers. All of our leadership team are currently involved in education; Either in teaching at schools or as GEG leaders and co-leaders and training directly for Google.

Our leadership team is distributed worldwide which gives us a unique international focus to bring the best elements of teaching we can find; not just from the US and from the UK but from multiple top-ranked education systems such as Finland and Singapore and from the best IB Schools worldwide. We have local teams located in Asia, US, UK, Europe and the Middle East.

All our summits have a strong mix of trainers; primarily local/regional Google experts with international trainers to give fresh perspectives. We don’t work with every trainer and our extended team we believe are the best Google Educators out there.

Curriculum development is a central part of AppsEvents and our global team collaborates to produce the most up to date Google for Education releases. For example our core ‘Google Educator Level 1 Certification Bootcamp’ currently has over 500 hours of development time on it, and still we revise it after every single event. We plan our curriculum centrally so you get a unified experience taking our training anywhere in the world.

We work on a 360 degree approach to empower schools, training all job roles: Educators, Leadership, Support and Tech staff and we work to make sure the effect of our PD is lasting in the school.

A unique thing about all our summis is the extreme focus on networking and community building. We always have a networking party for all attendees with free drinks and snacks after the close of day 1 to help people build lasting connections.

We are Google community-centric and work closely together with many of the top Google for Education partners worldwide such as LogicWing, Brams, Promevo and many more.

AppsEvents is a focussed team of experts producing boutique high level events every time we set foot in the classroom. We look forward to working with you. For more information about hosting an event at your school please click here

Becoming a Google Certified Trainer. Challenges, Perks, and Opportunities

Featuring: Dean Stokes,

Editor's Note: We had a quick chat with Dean Stokes who is currently working as a fulltime freelance G Suite trainer and consultant. Dean has all the top 3 Google for Education certifications (Innovator, Trainer, and Admin) and will be facilitating our recently announced Google Certified Trainer preparation course. Here he shares some valuable insights on becoming a Google Certified Trainer.

We are also delighted to announce that Dean will be joining the AppsEvents team as UK Director. Congratulations Dean and welcome to the team!

AppsEvents: Hi Dean. Thanks for doing this interview. For the benefit of our readers, please tell us something about yourself.

Dean: Hey, my name’s Dean Stokes and I was a full-time teacher in England for over 8 years before deciding to freelance and travel the world in July this year. I’ve used Google products since Gmail was released in 2004 and began using them in my teaching in 2013.

AppsEvents: When did you apply for the Google Certified Trainer program and what was your greatest motivation?

Dean: I attended the Google Teacher Academy (now called the Google for Education Innovation Academy) in London, 2013. It was totally inspiring and I met some great people there including other AppsEvents speakers like Ben Rouse and Oli Trussell. I was already training the staff at my school but was inspired to share even further.

I applied to become (and was accepted as) a Google for Education Certified Trainer (GET) in early 2014. My biggest motivation was the opportunity to share my enthusiasm more widely. Being a GET definitely gives you more credibility when presenting to other teachers. It has also opened lots of doors for me and provided a huge, supportive personal learning network (PLN).

AppsEvents: Did you encounter any challenges?

Dean: Time. Trying to make my application as strong as possible whilst working with a full timetable of lessons was difficult. I would bullet point my ideas for the video and answers to the questions whenever I thought of them before bringing it all together when I had a decent chunk of time to do so.

AppsEvents: We’ve heard that you’ve been travelling around the world while doing Google Apps (now G Suite) training and/or consultation. Can you tell us more about it?

Dean: I really loved teaching in a secondary school but this year I made the decision to leave in order to freelance full time whilst travelling the world. Being a Google for Education Certified Trainer essentially enabled that to happen. It meant that I had built a large enough network of contacts and events that I could earn money whilst enjoying visiting different cities and countries.

This year, I’ve completed a road trip across the USA from New York to San Diego, went whale watching off Vancouver Island, enjoyed a sauna in Finland and lived in Barcelona for a month. I’ll also be visiting the Philippines, South Korea and Italy. In total, this year, I will have presented in 12 different countries for a number of schools and businesses including AppsEvents and Google directly.

AppsEvents: In your own words, can you list the top benefits of becoming a Google Trainer?

Dean: For me, it’s people, people, people. It’s thanks to becoming a trainer that I’ve been able to meet other people as enthusiastic as me about using G Suite for Education. That ultimately leads to more work but, most importantly, helps you to continually grow and learn from others.

AppsEvents: Do you miss teaching full time? Is there any similarity between teaching in a classroom set up versus what you do now.
Dean: I definitely miss teaching students but the great thing about my job now is that I get to train adults who will be able to collectively reach and improve the experience for more students than I would have ever been able to on my own. I'm also lucky enough to work on projects that involve students directly. For example, I'll soon be supporting a school in training a group of digital leaders who will in turn support other students and their teachers who will be using Chromebooks.

AppsEvents: What is the best thing about working as a full time trainer?

Dean: I really love the freedom that working this way offers. I'm able to essentially freelance full time whilst still enjoying life full time! It certainly didn't feel like I had the same work/life balance when I was in the classroom five days per week.

AppsEvents: Most memorable training experience?

Dean: This year I worked for Google on their BETT stand. I met 1000s of people new to G Suite and provided their first experience of Google Classroom. I am proud that Google asked me to work with them and I'm looking forward to BETT 2017. I have some other particularly exciting projects in the pipeline too, but I'm not able to share them publicly yet… Sorry!

AppsEvents: Can you share with us what people can expect from the Google Certified Trainer bootcamp?

Dean: The Certified Trainer Bootcamp will go beyond using tools. Participants will get involved in learning how best manage change by supporting schools and leaders. We’ll also run through a number of real-life scenarios to help them develop skills for creating relevant training plans. Different training strategies will be introduced to help aspiring trainers deal with reluctant or disengaged learners.

AppsEvents: Aside from attending our bootcamp, anything else you would like to share to fellow educators who would also like to switch careers from being a classroom teacher to a full time Google for Education or G Suite trainer/consultant?

Dean: I do miss teaching and I really enjoy the times that I get to spend back in the classroom. The reason I switched was because I had a bigger goal of seeing as much of the world as I could. Full time freelance work has given me the flexibility to do that. It has also made me realise how much I enjoy training adults. Helping people realise what they’re capable of, no matter their age, is my favourite part of the job.

Sign up for a Google Certified Trainer Bootcamp now!
*Application for the Google Certified Trainer is now open and accepting submissions until December 31, 2016.

Register for #ItTakesATeacher Live on air. United Kingdom sessions: 10am GMT Sat December 3rd

You’re invited to Education on Air, an online conference from Google

Learn with educators from around the world. Join Google for Education on Saturday, December 3rd for Education on Air, a free online conference. Learn from over 100 sessions led by other educators. Learn new approaches & celebrate around that #ItTakesATeacher:
  • Australia & New Zealand sessions: 10am AEST
  • United Kingdom sessions: 10am GMT
  • Americas sessions: 12pm ET / 9am PT
Register (it's free) and you’ll have the opportunity to:
  • Engage with other educators and school leaders to share with and learn from each other
  • Hear from inspiring speakers like Linda Darling-Hammond, Jennie Magiera, Kevin Brookhouser and many more
  • Explore the latest Google product news and get tips and tools from educators


Switching from a Macbook to a Chromebook

by +Dan Taylor

My ‘new’ and ‘old’ travel setups ( contains power adaptors for all countries and VGA dongle for presenting)
I’ve always been a huge fan of Apple products, starting with my first temp job after University when I worked on a Macintosh LC 3. Right after starting the sysadmin quit and I volunteered to help, which ended up with me maintaining the Apple Workgroup Server! Basically I got deep into Apple tech issues from day 1 of my career.

The first time I accessed the Internet (Netscape Navigator anyone?) was on a Mac and the first Apps I ever developed were FileMaker databases on a Mac.

The first computer I owned was a 2004 iMac, followed by a Macbook, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air and finally the new Macbook and iMac.

Our home is basically a showroom for Apple products, including an iMac, Apple TV, Airport(s), iPhones and even the Apple watch…. I say all of this to show my Apple ‘fanboy’ creds are impeccable.

My Google fandom on the other hand was based around software not hardware. I setup my first Google Apps domain for friends in 2004 and was helping set up Google Apps for Education right after the launch in 2006. I was really lucky to work with some amazing educators and help some of the first schools to go Google in many European countries. I loved the open nature of Google software and got to work developing ‘CourseDirector’, an early LMS based around Google Apps (now run by the fantastic ‘WizKids’).

Chromebooks came on my radar in 2011 with the Acer and Samsung Models which I tested and loved…..but still I didn’t give any thought to giving up the Mac as my daily driver.

Several Chromebook iterations came and went and finally in 2016 I felt it was time to finally make the move to a Chromebook full time. The tipping point was this:

I realized I was spending all my time in the Chrome browser. I don’t work with graphics and video so the number of Apps I actually downloaded was decreasing. It basically came down to listening to music on Spotify and very occasional Skype call (come on guys get on Hangouts!!) both of which now have great web Apps.

So for the past month I have made the move and have been working entirely on a Chromebook. This has included a two week work trip to Hong Kong (where I presented at our summit), Japan and also presenting at our summit in Switzerland, plus working in between entirely on my Chromebook (where I’m currently writing this blog post).

In summary I prefer the Chromebook....but I have to be honest it is close. I am a heavy Chrome user and the native feel of Chrome OS suits my workflow better. I love the quick boot up time of the Chromebook and it's way faster than the Macbook and never crashes. Battery life is significantly better on the Chromebook and this is important to me as I'm often on the move.

I think for others it really comes down to evaluating if you can exist completely within the Chrome browser or do you need to use other software? If you really need Photoshop or Final Cut Pro a Chromebook won't cut it. I think the argument that Chromebooks are only good when your connected to the Internet is no longer valid. Offline use has been fine and I have worked on my Google Slides on a flight and updates synched perfectly when went back online later.

I do miss the lighter weight of the Macbook and prefer the keyboard and trackpad. Apple just does hardware so well and the many iterations of the Macbook have given it a slick user experience. Also the Apple Chargers are better to use and all Chromebooks still have the clunkier design of charger. I am thinking though that given the news that all Chromebooks will have USB Type C power starting with the next models I could keep using the Apple charger.

The Chromebook I have is the 'convertible' model which means you can flip over the screen and use ads a tablet. I have used this a couple of times but not enough for it to be considered a benefit. The touch screen I use a lot though, and I think all future Chrome devices will incorporate touch screen functionality.

Here are a few comparison points in no particular order:

Weight1.25kg. The weight difference although small is actually noticeable when I’m carrying a backpack around all day0.92kg
Battery life
I’d say about 7-8 hoursIf using Chrome browser around 6 hours (Chrome eats up battery on the Mac for some reason)
UsabilityPros: Touch screen is fantastic I use it a lot

Cons: Trackpad is slightly stickier than the Macbook
Pros: I love the keyboard and the backlit keyboard is great too
Connectors2 x USB, HDMINone. Need a dongle for USB (I used the two-in-one VGA and USB)
Cost (approx)$289$1289
Presenting from a projectorHaving the direct HDMI input is great as most new whiteboards have HDMI outputNeed a dongle to get HDMI or VGA
Working with multiple windowsI prefer the Chromebook F5 ‘Show all windows’ to OSX Spaces as an easy way to navigate between windows

So what’s next?......

It’s time for a move to Android as I am still an iPhone user. The new Google Nexus (thought to be renamed the ‘Pixel’) is scheduled to come out in October and with the current integration of Android Apps with the Chromebook I hope to get back a lot of the synergies from one ecosystem.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this post on my iPhone-Android switch and an update on my Chromebook journey.

About the Author

Dan Taylor | Google Certified Education Trainer
Google Apps Certified Admin

Dan Taylor is from the UK and the Director of AppsEvents. He has been involved in the Google Education community since the launch of Google Apps for Education in 2006.

Connect with +Dan Taylor on Google+

Creating Hangouts On Air Event Directly in YouTube [Video]

Hangouts On Air will move from Google+ to YouTube Live starting September 12, 2016. If you want to schedule new Hangouts On Air you will need to use YouTube Live (live streaming section in your YT channel) moving forward.

Events can't be scheduled on Google+ after September 12 and you will need to move existing events scheduled to happen after September 12 to YouTube Live. There is no need to panic as +Allison Mollica got us covered in this video tutorial.

Earn Graduate Credit with AppsEvents & College of Saint Joseph

Announcing for All AppsEvents as of September 1, 2016
Available via AppsEvents worldwide beginning Fall 2016 ~ graduate credit through the College of Saint Joseph!  
College of St. Joseph is partnering with AppsEvents so participants can earn up to three graduate credits for participating in either a Google For Education Summit Academy or Bootcamp.  This is now open to all attendees of Hong Kong, Zurich, Barcelona, Finland, Seattle, Arkansas and Rome (to name a few).  It is also open for the West Arkansas Bootcamp (Sept 16/17) which is right around the corner!  
Once the student completes the Google for Education Bootcamp or Summit Academy, the rest of the course will be completed 100 percent online. The student will have two weeks (14 days) from the last day of theGoogle for Education Bootcamp or Summit Academy to develop the required documentation. The documents must be uploaded to the designated Google Drive folder, before the due date, to earn full credit.
The amount of time spent at and outside of the Google For Education Bootcamp or Summit Academydeveloping the lesson documents must be comparable to the number of academic credits being sought:
1 credit = 15 hours
2 credits = 30 hours
3 credits = 45 hours

Course Requirements

  1. Successfully complete either Google For Education BootcampSummit Academy, or both.
  2. Develop an approvable lesson or project proposal BEFORE beginning the development of any lesson documents.
  3. Develop a learning activities (or activities) that will integrate computer technology into a lesson(s) at the adaptation level of the CSJ Technology Integration Rubric.
  4. Write a reflection documenting any new learning acquired from participation in the course.


The cost is $150 per credit, payable to College of St. Joseph
Available via AppsEvents worldwide beginning Fall 2016 ~ graduate credit through the College of Saint Joseph!  Join us in Hong KongSeattle, ZurichBarcelonaFinlandArkansasItaly... visit for a complete list scheduled public events.
If you do not see an event in your area, please contact us about hosting a Summit Academy, Google Educator Certification Bootcamp and/or Summit.  Email directly for more information or submit your request here..