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Announcing the Simply Send add-on.

I would like to announce the Simply Send add-on. This form add-on will simply send/notify the form results to specified email addresses.

1:1 With Chromebooks ~ VT-Fest 2015

The school I work for is now on year 2 of their take-home 1:1 program.  We have over 500 Chromebooks in the hands of all the students and staff.   Here are some things I learned along the way.
Add your comments to a Google Doc version this post:


The year before:

Purchasing and replacement schedule

  • I suggest: Take-home ~ 2 years, In-School ~ 3-4 years
  • Leasing
    • Buyout lease (Total Cost X .53)
    • Fair Market Value (FMV) lease (Total Cost X .45)
      • Pay a portion of the entire cost of the device.  
      • Estimate 15-20% for the ones you want to keep or unable to return.
      • We have no need to keep devices after the new ones arrive so why pay more.
  • What else is needed ~ Bag, management, Spares, Classroom management Software


  • Worth Ave Group (or similar)  vs. Self-insure
    • After 1 year we found that the Worth Ave Group was not worth the cost, and chose to self-insure.
  • What to charge students
    • Pre-charge everyone
      • Found that students did not feel as accountable for the care of the device.
    • Per-incident charge
      • Cost should be a deterrent, not actual cost.   (We did a $25 incident fee)
      • Sense of ownership and need for responsibility.
      • Rewards responsible students, and holds non-responsible students accountable.
      • Lost Chromebooks, or purposely damaged chromebooks, are handled by the administration, and the family could be responsible for the full initial cost of the device.
  • Expect about 15-20% screen breakage


Year 1 & 2


  • Challenge: Get them in the hands of the student in the morning of Day 1.
  • Year 1: Gave them out to 8th period class
  • Year 2: Gave them out during TA
  • Stafford students, were optional
  • Paperwork vs getting them to students is still an issue.

Classroom Management

  • Digital tools
    • Google Classroom (previously Hapara), Omnito, GoGuardian, GAT,
  • Physical change
    • Move desks around so that teachers can see the screens
    • Common terminology: Screens down, Screens up
  • Unprepared students
    • 15 Spares in the library that can be signed out.


Classroom Tools

All School Workflow

  • Administration needs to lead the pack.
    • No paper Faculty meetings
    • Admins need to be using a Chromebook as a primary portable device (Chromebook Flip);
  • We have been replacing aging projectors with TV's and Chromecast
  • Become familiar with add-ons and scripts
    • I personally have written many add-ons that are focused on school workflow: http://scripts.edlisten.com/, Lab Scheduler, CheckItOut, Transfer Ownership, Copy Folder
    • Auto-send form data: Homework-Club, parent notification (AutoCrat,  Simply Send)
    • Custom scripts for distributing Budget sheets, and IEP's to teachers.
  • Chromebooks don't print.  
    • Students can use a designated desktop in the library if they need to print.


  • About 20% screen breakage
  • Incident-fee instead of prepaid insurance
  • We fix and hand back to student.   We complete a google form, which auto-generates an invoice which we mail home.   Unpaid bills get given to the administration to deal with each month.
  • We spend about 1/3rd the cost to fix in-house and just take the loss on dead ones, then when if we went with an insurance of some type.


  • Challenge:  Let students have them through their last exam.
  • We chose to allow students to take Chromebooks home over the summer if they got them pre-inventoried.   About 1/3rd took us up on the offer.
  • Take-home: They had to bring their CB to the IT office sometime during the month of June and get the device inventoried.
  • Leave at school: They had to drop it off at the IT office after the last exam that they needed it for.

Other Links

Digital Signage TPC15 Presentation

Presented at: http://www.tpcvt.com/

We see those signs all over the place, and they seem easy to do, but how much do they cost?  What is the software like?

There are quite a few applications out there, but after playing around with many of them, there are only 2 that I think are worth mentioning.

The software

What I looked for when choosing a display software

  • Free
  • Integrated with Google Apps
  • Easy to use
  • Webbased (can be built while on a Chromebook)

Chrome Si gn Builder App:
Used best when: You have a single TV, and want to just play a Google Slide Show

  • This is a very simple app, that allows you to schedule a webpage (which could be a calendar, or google slideshow), to show up at certain times.  Then you can use the built in Kiosk mode to display that site.
  • Once you are finished, you can export the settings, then upload them to the Google Dashboard.
  • Each TV would be managed individually.
  • Schedule changes require a new config file to be uploaded.

Used best when: You might have more than one TV eventually, and you want to display multiple pieces of content (Calendar, weather, bulletins, YouTube, slideshows), on the screen at once.

  • RiseVision is a full featured digital signage solution.  Their platform is free, but will charge for some Gadgets or file storage. 
  •  This can handle multiple TV's, schedules, and presentations under one interface.   You can have multiple users with different levels of rights.
  • It can be set up to pull data from Google Documents, and calendars so that the end-users don't even need to log in.
  • Gadgets can be added on to show weather, or highly customized displays that pull data directly from a Google Spreadsheet.
  • Fair Haven Union High School chose to go with RiseVision, after testing several other solutions. 

The Hardware
In both of the apps, the signage is a Chrome App, which can be set to run as a kiosk in ChromeOS.

What hardware you need:

  • TV display (with hdmi)
  • ChromeOS device, (Chromebox, or ChromeBit)

What you need to do:

  • Set up Kiosk mode on a Chromebook: https://support.google.com/chromebook/answer/3134673?hl=en

How To: See New Google Form Results At The Top

Google Forms is great at adding data to a spreadsheet, but often all you want to see is the new results and that could be several hundred rows down.   Instead of scrolling down all the way down here is quick formula you can use to create a sheet that always shows the data at the top.

  1. In your form results create a new Sheet.
  2. In cell A1 enter this formula:
    1. =query('Form Responses 1'!1:100002, "Select * order by A desc",1)


  • =query() is a function built into google: more info
  • 'Form Responses 1'!1:100002 is the sheet name and range of the form data
  • Select * tells the query to select all the columns, This can be changed to Select A,B,C format also
  • order by A desc tells the query to reverse the order based on column A
  • ,1 tells the query to include the headings.

Also check out:
  • Also check out the EZ Query add-on.   This gives you a graphical interface to create simple queries.  At the time of this blog post "order by A desc" is not an option but it is on my road map to include in the future.