N.T.R., Boss

Nothing to report, Boss.

Didn’t touch the computer all weekend. Only used my MBP to work on LogicPro X stuff with a podcast that I’m setting up. So in that sense, with no native support for a program like GarageBand or Logic or Audacity, then the CB isn’t fully what I need for audio production. But then again, there ARE programs that work as Chrome extensions that allow for some of that. Maybe an area to explore later.

Off to Monday!


About 1/2 Done with the Challenge!

From what I see at @MrFiliplic, I see that we’re nearly 1/2 done with the #30DayChromeBookChallenge!  Time flies. I don’t have a lot to add beyond what he said–we’re having nearly the exact same experience. You can read about his adventures here.

Similar to Mr F, I’ve found myself barely using my desktop computer. Nearly everything that I do on that I can do on my Chromebook. The two biggest things are to run our Broadcast in the morning (which I’ve never tried on this device…worth giving it a shot even though I’m nearly 100% positive it won’t work) and for using GradeBook. As Gradebook requires a program install, I can’t run it on here. Still, it’s taken over nearly 90% of all my classroom computer use. It’s been a very versatile machine, and generally is handy.

In terms of typing a lot on it, I’m not a huge fan. My fingers don’t love the keyboard as much as my Mac, but these things are often a matter of muscle memory and personal taste. Also, if I’m fair, I’m rarely sitting properly at a table using the computer–I’m walking around with it, talking to students, at my desk, at their desk, moving, etc etc. So while, sure–that type of typing won’t be super comfortable–still, it’s a reality of teaching and if the typing isn’t comfortable in those situations, then perhaps that’s a design element that could be improved upon.

I don’t use the touchscreen too often, but I have noticed I’ve gone back to touching the screens of our desktops at the school expecting them to interact with me. So while I agree with Steve Jobs on this (“Turns out, people don’t like using a touchscreen in this way”), I also can see the usefulness of having the capability around as well. Jury’s still out on it.

I’ll keep going, and see what else I can do. Sill trying to get that video made. 🙂 Baby steps.


Online, Offline

Same work with the Chromebook. I tried to record a video tutorial using Screencastify, but that ended up in failure last night. Not a Chromebook error, but rather the site I was trying to use could only be accessed when I was on the district network. So I’ll try again tomorrow.

I’m setting up some Google Sheets for various uses, and found the offline work that the Chromebook allows to be pretty slick. I worked on the Sheets while my daughter was at gymnastics, and when I got home, they uploaded and saved right away to my Drive. Pretty slick.

So for now I’m at a stale-mate. I need to challenge myself more on this, but haven’t been able to really get the challenge going yet. I’m looking for more difficult stuff to do. Suggestions? 🙂


Weekend, O Weekend

We went away for Saturday and much of Sunday. I brought my Chromebook with me, along with my MacBookPro. Just in case. I ended up using my MBP, but just for checking Facebook a bit, looking for directions to the church we were visiting, and that was about it. Played some music on my iTunes. So totally didn’t need the MBP, but it was nice to use.

Didn’t touch my Chromebook until Sunday night, when I worked on lesson plans, catching up on some emails, etc. Then I had a plan. Talking to a colleague, we realized we needed a video for kids to use to help them figure out how to fill out notes packets if they just had their phone or tablet. So I took out my iPhone (6s…about a year and a half old) and worked on the video. I used the iOS 11 screen record to record my movements in and throughout apps, and then dumped that into Apple Clips to add my vocals, an intro, soundtrack, etc. Very easy to do. Took me a while because I kept messing up what I said, but not because it was hard to do.

From there, I shared the video to the colleague, posted it to two of my Google Classrooms, uploaded it to YouTube, and shared it to a third Google Classroom (one for us in Social).

Could I have done this on my Chromebook? Well, other than the iOS recording and use. I’d have to say Yes, I could have. I’m hoping–as I mentioned before–to work on that this week and create a similar video on how kids can complete notes using a Chromebook. I’m hoping it will be as easy as it was to create on my phone.

Into the week we go!


Personally Professional

Finished a full week now on the Chromebook. Overall, a pretty successful week. I’m actually really liking my lesson plan format with Google Docs, and find it more accessible and useable than I had with the PDF version I used to use. So for now this method is a keeper.

I’ve been “working” on my website, which is related to work, but also not 100% directly tied to it. I mentioned in my previous post that I was working on app icon creation. Today I stumbled upon Adobe Spark, which is all browser-based, and I used that to create an app icon that I’m pretty happy with.

Adobe Spark-2

So while this is personal, it is also professional. And totally able to be done on a Chromebook.

So at the end of week 1, my thoughts are still the same, but very happy with my progress so far. Next step for exploration for me is to start working on deeper stuff like screen casting (tried it yesterday and failed miserably), audio/video creation. Let’s see where this goes!


Roadblock/Beyond My Ability

So today I tried to update the app icon image that this website puts on a phone’s home screen when you save it to an iPhone (or Android, I presume). Right now, it is a cropped image of the header of this site–sand dunes from Abu Dhabi.

But it doesn’t look professional, does it? (Try it out–save Mrluukkonen.com to your homescreen!)

To fix it, I went online (using my Chromebook) to search for app icon creators that are free and work in-browser. I found a few, tried them out, but they were terrible. So I searched a bit more, and kept seeing the same thing: it should be done in Adobe Illustrator.

I’ve got Illustrator on my Mac, but I’ve never played with it. I’m not a designer or very artistic that way, so it’s unexplored country. Still–I was at a roadblock. To get what I needed, professionally, I had to use a full OS beyond ChromeOS. So I opened up my Mac, after letting it lay dormant for the past week.

After exploring more, I suddenly realized another thing: what I intended to do in Illustrator is WAY beyond my comfort level and ability right now. Something else I’ll need to learn! I also know I’ll be using my Mac soon for personal music creation in LogicProX, so I’ll also be playing with Illustrator then as well. In the meantime, I’m going to push my Chromebook to try to sketch out ideas using Google Keep so that once I figure Illustrator out a little bit, I’ll have some ideas to work with.

The consensus after all of this: the Chromebook is super useful but not enough for the heavy user, or professional. Still, it’s been pretty good all week for handling the lighter tasks. Great for a secondary device or a student. And for the price that these things cost, I’d say that’s a pretty reasonable expectation.


Day 4 with Chromebook: Steady as She Goes

First up: I need a name for this machine. My Macbooks and iPhones have always been named, and I need to continue the tradition. @MrFiliplic is calling his CB, but I need something with flair. Pizazz. Sparkle.

Anyway, today I did normal stuff with the Chromebook. Lesson plans were created Sunday night using Google Docs (along with learning to create a Table of Contents with it), and I updated them yesterday and today. Worked pretty well. Used the tablet feature to take attendance and explain some work today, and that all went well.

In terms of the tablet feature, it works pretty easily, but I find the screen has a tendency to rotate and swap orientations. I’m sure I can lock it in a certain orientation, but I haven’t investigated yet.

We were also given a pen to go along with our machine, and as a stylus it works decently, but there’s a strange feature with it. It has a clicker at the top, and for the life of me I can’t figure out what it’s for. Of course, I’ll have to Google it, but it’s certainly not obvious or intuitive. A small problem, but still a problem for a casual user. I love playing with this stuff and I can’t seem to figure it out. Of course, it will probably turn out to be something totally easy and obvious. Figures.

For now, I’ll keep on keeping on. I’ve downloaded the new iOS11 for my iPhone, and am working on creating some videos with Apple Clips and the new screen recording feature. I’ll then try to upload them to my Google Drive and deal with the rest of it on my Chromebook.

Until next time…


Chromebook Review: Battery Life pt. 2

I eventually ran out of battery on Sunday evening, and charged it with my MacBook Pro USB-C charger. The computer told me it would take about 1 hour and 35 minutes to charge to full, but I found I got to 100% closer to 2 hours. Still, not too bad. (I did do some work at about the 90% mark, so that may have slowed it down a bit.)

Monday morning I sat at 100%; I’ll be seeing how far I can go with it fully charged.

In the morning, I attended a meeting where we used a lot of Google apps, and I spend most of my time on my Chromebook. When I left the meeting, I was around 75% battery. Not too shabby. I went back to work at school and used the Chromebook for most of the afternoon doing attendance, creating/modifying lesson plans, and showing students their assignments. I also did a small bit of Google Casting of my screen onto the smartboard.  As I write this, it is now nearly 7:45pm, and I’m sitting at 42% battery. Very good. I’m suspecting that, perhaps, I can almost squeeze two days of light use out of this. I’ll keep from powering it up again and see how far I can go tomorrow.

My colleague, @MrFiliplic is also keeping track of his Chromebook use, and as luck has it, also recently posted about his battery life. Check him out here for more insightful words.


Chromebook Review: Battery life pt.1

Well, it’s Sunday and I’ve been playing with my Chromebook off and on over the weekend. My daughter created some drawings in Google Keep last night, I checked my Classroom and updates some assignments, and I’ve tinkered with settings.

The whole time, I haven’t charged my Chromebook. As I type, I’m sitting at 11%. So hard to say what the normal “real life” battery life will be, but so far it’s been very good. That being said, I’m comparing it to my MacBook Pro, which has gotten so far very good battery life. I expect longer life out of this, as it’s a “smaller” machine and doesn’t do quite as much or work quite as hard. But I have to say, so far I’m impressed.

On a side note, this computer has USB-C inputs for charging (and for a data port, I’m assuming), as my MBP does. Thus, I don’t have to take a charger with me anymore to school (I like having it just in case–even IF my MBP does get long battery charges). I can leave my MP charger here, and my Chromebook charger at school. The more we get common adaptors, the better IMHO. I have not experimented on whether both USB-C ports charge (there’s one on the left and one on the right), but once this battery finally runs out, I’ll be sure to check it out and report back here.

Until then, time to play around more! I’ve got lesson plans to prepare for tomorrow with a substitute, so it will be a good chance for me to do that on this device!


Chromebook Challenge: Accepted!

Well the Chromebook came today. Very slick. I’ll start playing with it over the weekend, and get my next month of exclusivity worked out. Seeing how I’ll be gone on Monday morning for a Tech Coach meeting, perhaps I’ll practice flipping my classroom and leave some video directions for students to follow when the substitute is with them. Sounds like a good way to get my feet wet!

Here we go!