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..  

New Google Sites First Impressions by Dean Stokes

by +Dean Stokes

The new Google Sites was announced this week and is currently in early access. I was lucky enough to get hands on and see whether Google has truly given Sites some much needed love.

For years, users have been asking Google to update Sites. Whilst it's a great tool and hugely customisable, we all know deep down that it just looked a bit, well, old!

The new Sites has clearly been built from the ground up. It has a beautiful user interface which makes use of Google's material design principles and is just as intuitive as their other tools like Forms (which also recently received a refresh).

To give myself a challenge, I decided to attempt to rebuild my personal site using Google Sites. I originally used a Bootstrap template and it took me nearly 3 days to get everything just as I wanted it. With the new Sites I achieved the same result in half an hour!

Watch the video below to get an overview of how this awesome tool works and keep an eye out for another post soon where I'll dive further into the tools available and discuss the things that I think we're likely to see added in future.

About the Contributor

Dean Stokes 

Dean is a Google Apps expert. He spends his time training staff at schools and businesses all around the world.

Get more tips on his site -

Admin Corner: Chrome management - Making it yours

by +James Sayer

Referring to both browser and Chromebook management tools, Chrome Management allows school administrators granular controls on how students may interact with the web through a signed in Chrome browser.

Chrome is an app that serves as the home for your learner’s GAFE experience, from customised homepages to curated lists of bookmarks to preinstalled apps, there are loads of cool features waiting to be discovered. Of course users shouldn't be overwhelmed with the number of managed features and items served up when they login, any managed feature should improve the collaboration workflow and make it easy to access school resources.

All of the following settings may be actioned for the entire domain, or for a subset of users in an OU.

Apps and Extensions

Force-installed Apps and Extensions - key apps and extensions may be installed by default for all users, for example teachers may all want to use the ‘Share to Classroom’ extension - why not preinstall it for them. Firstly select the OU you want to apply this to, then click on ‘Manage force-installed apps’ and locate the extension, finally click on….. Done! The next time users login the extension will be installed.

Allow or Block All Apps and Extensions - it is also possible to create lists of allowed apps, or lists of blocked apps - block a game or only allow video extensions! Create the allowed/blocked lists under Allowed Apps and Extensions.

Chrome Web Store

Chrome Web Store Homepage - change the homepage to a custom list of recommended apps and extensions to make it easier for younger learners (and teachers!) to locate and install your recommended items. Create your school’s “For” collection - you can customize the name of the collection and then add to this list. Perhaps start with a recommended dictionary extension, screen capture and

Content - Safe Search

The default here is that ‘Safe Search’ is not enabled - by forcing this policy to no you will help block most adult content from Google’s search results.

URL Blocking

It is possible to block certain URLs by placing them in the blacklist, any URL in this list will be blocked unless it is added to the URL exception list.

User Experience: Managed Bookmarks

For school resources and useful pages, Admins can create a list of managed bookmarks that will appear in a user’s browser automatically, This is a really useful feature for younger learners who will benefit from a common list of school webpages and quick links to Google Apps pages.\

Omnibox Search Provider

It is also possible to lock which Omnibox search provider users will see the results from (the default is of course Google!).


These are some of the more common features of the Chrome management tools. There are over 100+ policies that can be configured, whether it is used to manage bookmarks or preinstalled apps administrators have a vast array of tools to improve the user experience.

About the Contributor

James Sayer

James is the Head of Mathematics and IT Coordinator for Patumwan Demonstration School's international program in Bangkok.

As Google Apps and Moodle LMS administrator James has conducted a variety of training sessions for different schools and supported teachers through best use of educational technology.

He is particularly interested in the use of technology to improve a learner's math ability across a variety of devices and platforms. James is a Google Education Trainers, Google Apps Certified Administrators and Moodle qualified.
Connect with James: