Chromebook Device Wallpapers now available in Google Admin Console!

Finally! Administrators can now get rid of that pesky Lizard, cityscape, or whatever default image the manufacturer decided to push to every device. You now have granular control over this setting and can apply it domain wide, or by OU. This helps immensely during enrollment so you can ensure the device gets put in the right OU without having to refer back to the Admin Console! Your technicians can just look at the background image on the next boot!

Of course there are other benefits. We are immediately starting a program in our Graphics Design classes that allows them to push wallpapers to the entire student body for their school. Announcements? Pictures from recent events? You can push all of that now to each student’s pre-login desktop. And it will disappear once they log in. No more pestering students by taking over their logged-in wallpaper!

Now of course there is a lot of content that gets in the way on the home screen. That is why I created this template in Photoshop that will allow your students to see what content may be obstructed. This template has 4 obstructed areas that in our testing are within 1-2 pixels on all of our 1366×768 displays. The areas are set as layers in the PSD, as follows:

“NoUsers” is what all new devices will see the first time they are logged into. If you do not allow sign-in photos, this will also apply to you. If you erase all content on each boot, this will apply. If you use Clever badges – this will be obstructed.

“BottomBar” is self explanatory. Obstructed on ALL devices.

“SingleUser” is where most 1:1 students will fall. Only this single small square is obstructed on 1:1 devices if only ONE user has ever signed in on the device.

“PartialObstruction MultipleUsers” is just showing areas that can be obstructed if more than one user uses a device.

Enjoy! Feel free to download and distribute.



YouTube Restrictions!

Goodbye YouTube For Schools!  Hello DNS based restrictions!

The folks over at YouTube in collaboration with Google Apps for Education have finally allowed us administrators some amazing tools to help filter what is available to students when navigating YouTube.  Gone are the days of adding videos to a specific school’s playlist to allow only certain videos in.  Gone are the days of the dozens of phone calls, emails, and trouble tickets asking for help adding videos to the approved playlist.  These new DNS rules allow us to do a few things:

  1. Filter out pretty much all of the bad stuff.
  2. Give teachers the ability to approve videos with the click of a button – and easy access to approvals from within the video
  3. Give teachers the ability to approve entire channels!

So many schools are afraid of YouTube and the challenges it presents.  Some schools block YouTube entirely.  We all need to understand the resources that YouTube provides.  There is so much user generated content, so much substance, and so much to learn from perusing the site.  Yes, you can get lost in funny videos, music, and video game reviews.  But you also have physics projects, lectures, book reviews, etc.

If you are reading this, and are currently blocking YouTube access – please reach out and let me know what I can do to help.  Here is a document I wrote that explains how to setup the DNS settings, and how to navigate the new options.  It has been used by thousands already, and I have fielded dozens of questions.  Happy to help!