Native Printing in Chromebook

It appears with update 59 of ChromeOS for Chromebooks, you can now add printers manually to a Chromebook just like you would an network printer to Windows. No longer do you have invoke the ancient scrolls of CUPS extension and perform a ritual sacrifice in order print something from your HP 14 or Acer R11. Google Cloud Print just doesn’t work all the time and is a pain to deploy across a school or group of users.

To access the print features simply go Chromebook Settings-Printer-Add Printer. Presto! Connect your classroom printers through local network configuration or USB to your hearts desire.

Another great option if you wanna throw in your bag of tricks is a great Chrome extension IPPS/CUPS printer extension for Chrome which is a simple UI that allows you to connect to a wifi enabled printer. There is also a Google Admin version for mass deployment.

Forward to your CTO and you might even get an extra mouseball or RAM stick in your Christmas stocking.

How do you manage your printers in class or at your school?



Chromebook Gestures


Today’s blog post is a request from Carol McLaughlin who asked if there was an easy list for Chromebook gestures. I am a huge fan of shortcuts, gestures, and hit keys that make using computers, laptops, and tech hardware easier to use with less clicks per task.

Chromebooks generally have a single touchpad which is different than Windows PCs who have a touchpad and two physical buttons that are synonymous with a physical mouse. One of the great things that Chromebooks have done is incorporated gestures into the ChromeOS to navigate native apps and Chrome browser. Google released a nice list of gestures for Chromebooks found here. Chromebook Gestures List



Getting used to gestures and incorporating them into your work flow make tasks more efficient, less time consuming, and sometimes even seem like magic. One of my favorite gestures I discovered in accident as a secondary feature to the 3 finger tap. The three finger tap is magical when using it correctly. The primary feature of the 3 finger tap to open up a hyperlink in a new tab. As a teacher, every morning I open my Chrome browser on my Chromebook to access the 5-7 apps and websites that I need on a daily basis for my lessons. This was a time consuming task when so I had so many other things things to do in the morning before students walk through that door. I managed the bookmarks by keeping them in a Bookmark folder called “Daily” on the bookmark bar which I clicked each individual link with ctrl+click. This took time and was extremely annoying.

While listening to Google Teacher Tribe, Math Miller stated his favorite hack was a OSX feature that allow you to open up all bookmarks in a folder in one shortcut but there was no Chromebook gesture or shortcut. There had to be a better way for the sake of Chromebooks. One day I realized through an accident triple tap that all of my links opened in tabs and this became my new favorite gesture.

As I am teaching my students best practices with technology, I love to teach shortcuts and gestures that will make their workflow on a laptop or computer easy and efficient. My students find shortcuts with Chromebooks like a magical spells that I have bestowed upon them from Hogwarts. First graders and second graders are completely capable of using shortcuts and gestures on a Chromebook to navigate. This generation is a touchscreen generation so gestures are second nature when utilizing a Chromebook. Heck, my students love to show me new and faster ways to complete tasks on a Chromebook. In our classroom, we celebrate this new light bulb moments and make them the expert of that hack. This is all apart of our growth mindset classroom culture.

“Too easy Mr. Reed. Too EASY!”

For more info on Chromebook shortcuts, check out out one of my favorite blogs on Google Apps for Education, who had an awesome guest post on this topic including teaching how to use a trackpad to littles.

Go #gafe4littles and #2ndchat

Let me know what is your favorite gesture on a Chromebook is and what useful ways do you use the 3 finger tap gesture to open up Bookmarks.

Thanks for reading..Shawn

Text Keyboard Shortcuts on Twitter and Social Media

If you have ever participated in a twitter chat like #gafe4littles#edchat or #2ndchat you know how much of an exhilarating PD experience it is. Yet, participating in a Twitter chat requires you to use the specific hashtags. In an hour long learning marathon, typing your answers, replying to others and always using the hashtag can get exhausting and make you miss valuable tweets in the chat. There once was an engineer who worked at Palm Pilot who whose job it was to figure out how do any task in just three clicks. His job was literally to find a better way to do things on the device. That’s always been my inspiration. There has to be a better way.

One of my favorite mobile Twitter hacks when participating on twitter is using the text replacement feature on my iPhone. I can assign a shortcut of sequenced characters to be replaced by a longer phrase or hashtag. I use the sequence “##” which is replaced with a tap of the space bar to become #gafe4littles. This is particularly convenient in the Twitter keyboard because the # symbol is located in the corner.

For iPhone:

Setting-General-Keyboard-Text Replacement

Set the Shortcut and the phrase

For Android- Setting- Language and Input-Personal Dictionary- + symbol to set up a shortcut.

I hope this saves you some time and makes Twitter chats a lot more enjoyable. How do you user text replacement shortcuts? What shortcuts do you have on your phone. Comment below what shortcuts you like to use on Twitter or Social Media on your phone. Is there any way to create shortcuts on PC or Chromebook.


IPEVO- A Beautifully inexpensive #Edtech solution

In the 21st century, a modern classroom that is connected with technology allows teachers, students, and families to engage in collaborative and creative educational experiences. Technology takes away barriers of learning that once existed allowing classrooms to connect with their peers in different classrooms all over the world. A modern classroom will have a teacher laptop or desktop, three to five student laptops or Chromebooks, a document camera, and/or interactive whiteboard. Unfortunately due to budget cuts, limited funding, and 5-7 year upgrade/renewal cycles for laptops and often longer for secondary technologies, teachers are often relying on their own creativity, ambitions, and fundraising for their own educational technology.  

A company that I really like is called IPEVO. IPEVO is an educational technology company provides low cost high quality educational hardware for the classroom including interactive whiteboards systems, small lightweight digital document cameras, and various accessories including USB chargers and tablet stands. 

My personal experience with IPEVO started when I was searching through Twitter when someone mentioned them @IPEVO and how they were loving their new digital document camera. I began to investigating their site and couldn’t believe the price of their document cameras.

After talking with some Tweeps who owned them and their testimonies, I was very excited about upgrading my document camera. I wrote a DonorsChoose grant and successfully funded the project for an IW2 interactive whiteboard system and an iZiggi-HD wireless document camera. 

My personal favorite is the iZiggi-HD wireless document camera for only $159. (They are about to launch a new version so it is currently off the site) The ability to take your document camera anywhere in the room and capture learning is like teaching magic. I love to provide my class with examples of amazing student work and learning by plopping down the iZiggi right on their desk. Being able to teach from anywhere in the room while still having access to projector create new opportunities for learning. We can captured screenshots, record with video capture tools, magnify a live specimen, and stream it all through a PC right to the projector. It’s truly magic. 


The hardware is extremely lightweight and well built. You would be able to toss an iZiggi HD into your teaching bag or backpack to take with you if you teach in multiple classrooms or do training at different sites. (Try doing that with an Avermedia or Elmo) I have used the document camera for several months in the classroom with little wear and tear. Everything has held up great and great connectivity including the wireless network.  


Besides the hardware, IPEVO has some wonderful software to support their technology including Presenter for the Ziggi camera series, and Annotator for the IW interactive whiteboard series devices. They also have compatible streaming and annotating apps for iOS and Android which allows to students to connect with what is being presented in new and exciting ways. Great way to app smash Seesaw, ClassDojo, or GsuiteEdu with classroom hardware. 

The ability to do more in a classroom with less money is truly a great blessing for teachers. I highly recommend if you are looking to upgrade any classroom technology especially instructional document cameras check out IPEVO. 

Teachers- If you like free edtech hardware, check out IPEVO Wishpool program. A part of their mission is to get educational technology into deserving classrooms. Each month, they offer a product in their lineup as a gift. All you have to do is sign up at and fill out a Wish for the gift. IPEVO selects a few deserving teachers and that is all. If you share your story for others about how the gift impacts your classroom, you possibly have a chance for other rewards. It is a great program. Sign up today. 


Gamifying Your ClassDojo- Pokémon Gotta Catch Em All

I have been using Class Dojo since from the very beginning. From the teacher side, I love the collection of data you can gather from Class Dojo from behavior to academic tracking on the fly within a classroom. Gaining that formative assessment data on the fly can be very useful and more appropriate than trying to recount the individual performance of 25 students after the fact. But one thing that has caused me to ebb and flow with using ClassDojo has been engagement of my students.  

Many teachers often use a Class Dojo store with prizes that cost a certain number of points for each. This gets really costly over time. My wife who teachers 4th grade offers classroom vouchers like homework slips, drinks of water, lunch in the classroom and other incentives.

One of the secret’s sauces of my classroom is that I am always willing to dive deep into the interests of my students whether it is dinosaurs, baseball, or Pokemon. Pokemon cards were starting to creep into recess, Fun Friday, and during class time. This is when I had an idea to increase my ClassDojo engagement and take it to new heights. I set about how to incorporate ClassDojo and the Pokemon universe. 

I began by looking at sites like and my PLN on Twitter and Facebook ClassDojo Mentor Group along with other website to understand the mechanics of gamification. My students love having physical artifacts of their learning so why not create something to represent their achievements in the game. So I designed a system where students could earn actual Pokemon cards from Professor Reed’s Pokedex from the points that they earned in ClassDojo. 

I introduced the game to the students on a Monday with this Slides deck.(

Students can earn a pokemon every thirty points or evolve into one of the pokemon’s forms. (There was debate was version we will evolve from.. why does Eevee have 7 forms) Students display their Pokemon proudly as badges of honor From here the students got fully immersed in the Pokemon environment. Students can earn through standard behavior agreements or special learning incentives. 

I find that when you gamify your classroom, there is an excitement, buzz, and really pulls in all students into the action. Every cheers and is excited when that students a new Pokemon or evolves every week. Also it keeps me consistent with the project and the classroom behavior management plan. 


How do you gamify your classroom?


Gotta Catch ‘Em All

Symbaloo- A Classroom Timesaver

Education technology has been touted to cure the ails of the classroom from teaching the 3 Rs to classroom management but often times those promises fall short because it doesn’t meet all the expectations that we place upon it. The promise of many apps, devices, and websites can cause frustration with teachers who often just give up on it all. My favorite types of edtech are those that are out of site and out of mind. They do not take away from my time with students but enhance their learning environment in the classroom without my direct intervention. 

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”- Arthur C Clark’s third law 

When I was a first year teacher who has a love of technology myself, I was so eager to utilize my school’s computer lab with first grade students. That first day just logging into the Windows PC, typing in a URL, and helping them log into their user/password lasted over 47 minutes of the hour block helping those littles get access to their digital resources. By the time I was done, the final student had only about 9 minutes of computer time before going home for the day. The next few weeks, I got it down to 40 minutes to 28 minutes to 15 minutes as the students became more and more comfortable with using the computers. 

One day I was hanging out in #ntchat on Twitter (woot woot) when I saw a neat resource from Matt Gomez who had embedded National Geographic eBooks into this neat website called called Symbaloo is a web based bookmark service that allows you to created tiled bookmarks that live like icons on a page called a webmix. Being able to aggregate all of your useful web bookmarks into a single page is amazing. Matt had given his Kindergarten students access to a huge array of digital eBooks right at their finger tips. 

I had an ephiany moment that this is what I needed for my classroom and school. I immediately got excited and explained Symbaloo to my wife (love you Cassie) who gave me the wifey pat on the head and said that’s neat. I then set to work developing our school webmix by aggregating all of our school’s websites and resources into a one place. After it was set up, I borrowed some 4th and 5th graders and set out to install Chrome and update the Chrome homepage to our school webmix on all computers. 

Our school Symbaloo homepage

The following week, after some modeling in the classroomto present Symbaloo to my students, we adventured to the computer lab to work with resources and tech skills. I was able to have 100% logged onto computer and online with our first resource in under five minutes (first graders still need some help at the beginning). This was a brilliant accomplishment of education technology which I would declare magical! Now we can get to learning and not logging on. Later on we took our Webmix homepage and out it on 64 new windows laptops as well. This allowed all of our grade levels to access our school Symbaloo links easily and quickly. How many minutes that have been saved in my class over the last 4 years plus all the other classrooms is exponential. 

Today CharlesHanosek offered some advice that he embeds his Symbaloo webmix using the HTML code Symbaloo generates on a Google Site which generally prevents any intrusion of ads when your students are using it. 

Educational technology will not replace the classroom teacher but can absolutely enhance the classroom experience and take them beyond the four walls of the classroom. Teachers who shy away from tech in the classroom do a misservice to their students for their students will live in a world that tech will be completely embedded into their lives.  Even if teachers are not that into technology, finding and modeling tech solutions to daunting problems will give your students an example of persistence, critical thinking, and creativity. 

Let me know how you use Symbaloo in your classroom. 

Some other Symbaloo resources you can check out 

  • SymbalooEdu-education focused Symbaloo that teachers  can sign up for free. Access to educational focused web mixes and other awesome features. 
  • SymbalooPro– domain level control, webmixes, and group access
  • Symbaloo Lesson Plans– guided lesson plans with a lesson creator and marketplace. Great for HyperDocs and flipped classroom lesson delivery. 

And perhaps my favorite little hack for Symbaloo is their official Chrome extension which allows you visit any website and click the extension to add the link to a webmix. 

Chrome Extension- Symbaloo