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Monday, October 2, 2017

Strangers in a Strange Land, or PC Users in a Chromebook World

Hello, fellow Denton ISD employees! I surprised myself this week when I turned in my borrowed Chromebook for use in a training event. We set up about 45 Chromebooks, and as we needed every possible one, I handed mine over.

No problem right? Well, as it turned out, I had stored a whole bunch of files on my checked-out Chromebook. Was I supposed to go over each returned machine to find the one I had been using?

That was very silly of me, and exposed some assumptions I had on board as an older PC user.  

Note to self: Chromebooks are cloud devices. Create any file you desire. Download anything you want (read your Acceptable Use Policy first!), but move the files to your Google Drive account before you finish your work. And that goes for your Chrome bookmarks too. Export those and copy them to your Google Drive. Here's a procedure for exporting your bookmarks.

If you don't wish to save files to your Google Drive, there is an SD card port on the side of your Chromebook. Insert an SD card for an alternate destination for your files (you'll have to format the SD card on first use). I've got an 8 GB card in mine. You can move that over to other Chromebooks. You can also use a pen drive, of course. Remember to dismount the SD card or the USB pen drive before you pop it out. Here's a procedure for dismounting your external storage devices.

When the Chromebooks came back, the very first Chromebook I opened up had the files I was looking for in my download folder, so I was lucky.

There's a hundred little habits that go into making you a good Denton ISD employee, and a lot of them involve the best use of your laptop and desktop computers. They just don't all translate over to using a Chromebook. Given the price advantage of Chromebooks over PC or Macs, we may wind up with a Chromebook as our main computing device one day, so we'll have to change our thinking about everything from our office routines to how we do computing. Be willing to change! Don't get fossilized in your work habits (as I tell myself)! Change is the constant.

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