Part I of the series All Things Google with AT Specialist Mike Marotta called the "Using Google Chrome and Supports and AT". This webinar focuses on the Chrome browser and the ways in which Chromebooks can be used as a cost effective Assistive Technology tool for students with disabilities. Also discussed are: portability of all apps and extensions, the ability to have all Chrome apps and extensions synch across devices, and the collaborative nature of Chrome and use of alternative access. To view Part 2 visit, http://ctdinstitute.org/library/2015-02-11/going-google-chrome-apps-extensions-webinar
- [Voiceover] Good afternoon everybody. Welcome to the webinar. This is Mike Marotta, I'm excited to be here with you guys today. We've got probably a bunch of stuff to go through. As we start on our first webinar we will start looking at Google and Chrome as assistive technology. In a couple slides I'll give you kind of a layout of what the hour will bring, we'll go from there. We'll see how we deal with our topics that I had in mind as we go through but let me give you a little bit of a brief intro of myself so you have some of my contact info. You have my website address, e-mail and Twitter handle. I am an independent assistive technology consultant working out of New Jersey. I provide evaluations and training on assistive technology for individuals with all types of disabilities in all settings. I work with K through 12, I work with higher ed, I work withrehab and people who are living in the community. My one last plug that I would give and I know just from looking through the list of participants that I see today, I see some of my Twitter friends who are already on there.
But if you're not on Twitter I will take this 30-second non-commercial moment to say I feel like you're missing out on a great opportunity to learn from amazing AT professionals that are out there across the country. Excellent conversations, great ways to share information and materials and resources about all areas of assistive technology. Whether it's just doing searches and collecting resources from people or participating in something like AT chat which happens on Wednesday nights at 8 o'clock Eastern. Another great way to connect with assistive technology people. If you're not doing that yet hopefully you will take this little moment of encouragement to jump on to Twitter and please if it seems scary, jump on, follow me. I will follow you back and I would be happy to answer all your questions about Twitter. I think that's how important it is for us to be connected. You tend to remember those, how important connections are, I just returning from ATIA last week. If anybody was there you know how great it was this year but the connections that you make at a conference that kind of individualized one on one conversations, those hallway conversations. That's what I almost think of with Twitter.
It's like an opportunity to pick somebody's brain and just have a good nice discussion about AT so there you go, there's my plug. No money changing here from Twitter there. I just believe in it that much. One thing that I will take a cheap shameless plug, if you are interested in Chrome and assistive technology and you're looking for supports for yourself or for staff that you're working with, I recently published a quick card guide on using Chromebooks in the classroom. And so, I just wanted to share that information out with you. There's a link at the bottom. It's tinyurl.com/chromecard. That's a nice little reminder if you're looking for resources about Chrome as you move forward. As we go through I think as we're already using it which is great. As you go through the hour, please use the chat window. I have the chat window up now, I'm gonna do my best to watch it as I go through like I'm seeing that John's backing me up about my Twitter thing and I can agree.
John is not getting money from Twitter either. I think we just really think it's a great opportunity but use the Twitter. I mean, so I use the chat window if you have questions. I'll try my best to watch them as they go past but if I miss them, please don't take personal offense. I will try to scroll through them occasionally when I take a breath and see if I can answer some questions. But if something hits you as we're going through don't save questions until the end. Drop it into the chat. I'll take a second to look every once in a while. I think it's important for people to get those questions out the second that they hit you so that we can make sure to get your needs addressed as we go through our time together. As we talk about our agenda I'll kind of give you the general idea of what I'm thinking here which is exciting in a sense. If you have participated in any of the other webinars that I've done about Chrome, I tend to do a lot of Chrome webinars but pretty much just focused on the tools themselves, the apps and the extensions.
The nice thing about that, about this today is that we're really not gonna talk much about those apps and extensions yet. We're gonna do that next week. The nice idea about this extended format a little is it gives a little time to talk about all of those other areas when we start thinking about using Chromebooks as assistive technology and using Chrome as a support for people. And so what's nice as you see from the agenda as we go through, we'll talk about the idea of matching people to technology with the SETT Framework. We'll talk about using the Chromebooks and the accessibility that's built in but what's also nice is we'll have an opportunity to talk a little deeper about alternate access to Chromebooks. Using the Google Apps that come with someone's profile as soon as you create an account and then finally some tools and some tips and tricks of how to extend the function of your Chromebook. This is gonna be kind of a fun webinar for me because I don't get a chance to do that very often, to go a little deeper. But don't worry, we will do the apps and extensions next week, I promise. There's my little tease.
Join me next week and we'll dive back into the apps and extensions. But this one is kind of a nicer, kind of broader stroke of looking at Chrome and the Chromebooks and so I'm kind of excited to share that with you today. We have a, I'm just very excited about it. Let's see. I'll start with a little poll. A quick idea and this is just for my own personal understanding of who we are and where we all come from. The idea of what environment do you work in? What's your background? I'm just curious who we have on the line with us. We have a poll that will open up and I will stop sharing my screen just for a second so I can see it just to get a sense of who we all are, and then I'll turn my screen share back on. AT Specialists, people my heart, good. Okay, good, good. A nice mix, a big chunk of us are AT specialists but we have a nice kind of mix of just about everybody else represented as well. Just keep waiting for one PT to click in but it doesn't look like it's gonna happen.
We have some SOPs and some OTs, peope in K12, some higher ed people, some consumers and parents which is great. I'm happy to see that. All right, I think that's perfect. We'll close our poll so we get... Now I have a general idea of what we... Who we are and where we're looking at this from. We'll go back to the screen sharing just to give you kind of an idea and I'm just giving it a second to make sure it all pops back on. Okay, there we go. So when we think about it, I always start with this kind of slide and this kind of idea of what we're talking about when we look at assistive technology just in general. I think like anything else, a lot of times as we start to see these new technology initiatives let's call them, there is always that moment where we need to re-educate people we're working with in the idea of the feature match process of making sure that technology tools are matching the individuals that we're working with and their needs.
We've seen this in the past with laptop computers, iPads and now we're seeing the same issue with Chromebooks where initiatives are being thrust upon us sometimes with not much say for ourselves. We don't have much opportunity to sway that. But what's happening is that the initiative are becoming more prevalent with the idea of trying to get more technology in a classroom or more technology in higher ed. Considering how many of us were doing K to 12 and our AT specialists, who you're just kind of gonna see it all over the place. But what we always have to remind people is this idea of don't forget the process. Take a step back. Remember the process of how we focus on the person and then work towards the tool and I think it's important to remind people because people who are technology users, or I should say anyone who's not afraid of technology, and we'll always come across people that are afraid of technology. The people that aren't afraid of it will typically want to use technology in some way.
What happens is we get this experience of people forcing technology into situations. It's the square technology peg into the round pole and using it as much as they can in trying to find instances where it makes sense. In that process sometimes forgetting the idea of there are instances where technology just won't be right for someone for whatever reason. But I think if we look at it systematically and that's really what the SETT Framework's all about. It's almost like taking a breath in a sense and reminding people to focus on the process. Don't let the technology drive the implementation but instead let the person drive the implementation. The consumer, the person that's gonna use our technology. We look at that idea with the SETT Framework and if you're not familiar with it, a large chunk of us are AT specialists. I'm hoping that all of you AT specialists out there shaking your head yes right now, that you are with me on the SETT Framework. But keeping the idea of looking at the student or the person if you're working with an adult. If you're working with an adult replace student with the word skills and I think that sometimes helps me frame it to people in other environments.
Thinking about the idea of tell me about that person. What are they able to do? What are their abilities? What are their skills? What are their likes and dislikes? Paint the picture for me of who that person is. In the environment, tell me where they don't need to be. I think when you start exploring the idea of Chrome and I know it comes up on the other slide, the next slide but I'll jump the gun anyway. Think about Chrome and what we're talking about. One of the biggest features of Chrome is the ability for it to work across environments. That is very beneficial for some way as we start looking at this idea of using technology and where are we going to use it. Finally before we even jump to the tools part, we talk about the tasks. Tell me what the person needs to accomplish. That is what tells us what the technology will do. Don't get so overwhelmed and so engaged in a tool that we forget, does that tool even make sense for the task at hand? In the past this was a great opportunity with the SETT Framework with someone who was requesting voice recognition software and everyone had that voice recognition software.
Didn't matter, that was gonna be the answer. If you were able to speak that was our answer. And as you go through the SETT Framework for that, we talked about that, there were some instances where if a person's tasks were very simple and straightforward as writing, so where they were simply writing in a single word or a short phrase. For any of us who used voice recognition, that's the one time I don't use voice recognition is with a short phrase, maybe two or three words because it's a potential for us to not get the correct words in there. Now I've taken something that is potentially using some other tools, a 30-second to a limit solution and created something where the person has to think about how to say it, what to say. The commands that will replace words when they're spelled incorrectly or written incorrectly. And so all of those processes start to weigh into the fact this is the task that has to be accomplished.
Then we look at the features of that tool. If the features of our tools don't match those first three areas that what the skills are where the environments are and what the tasks are. It doesn't matter how many people telling me the Chromebook is the right answer for this person. If it's wrong, it's wrong. It's really bad if doesn't match their need and we can show that in those first three areas then we need to move on to another tool and we need to take a minute to say to people, "This will not work and here is why." And I think that's really important for ourselves as AT people or for anyone involved with helping to implement technology for someone is making sure we are comfortable enough with our rationale for using tools or not and be comfortable with our decision making process. This framework gives us the opportunity to have that process in place. That's what's really important and you know, this feels kind of soap boxy in the beginning. Trust me, I'll jump off the box in a second and we won't jump back on probably. We may but maybe later. I think this is really important so I think it is really a key to everything we do with regards to technology. It all starts here.
The rest relatively straightforward. Anybody who does a lot with evaluating technology, once you figured out the skills of the person and what they need, finding the tools to match it is very simple. And so we start remembering ourselves, remembering about those kinds of issues as we go through. All right, soap boxes off, that's what I stuck off. All right, so we're talking about Chrome today. Chrome, Google, Chromebooks, that whole picture is what we're talking about. The nice thing about this and why this has become so important for us in the field is the idea of how prevalent these tools have become. And one of the bonuses of that as we start to think about Chrome is just the ability to use it pretty much anywhere and have access to the supports we need. What we'll do is I'll launch back out of this to our next poll. This is our second and last poll. Hopefully no one will launch that up for me and we'll find out what is your comfort level with Chrome.
All right, so here is your choices. What's your experience level with using Chrome? You have some choices here. If you really don't use Chrome at all, you felt that was just on your car bumper that would be one. Not your preferred browser but you use it sometimes. Your preferred browser and then I gave you guys a last one which is love it. I'm ready to completely dive in and become a Google-certified educator, I'm ready. All right. So as we start to see people kind of filling in. All right, we got a general idea. People are using it as their preferred browser and then we have another large chunk of the group who use it sometimes but not always and that's fine. So as we go through, you know we'll talk about this a little bit and when we look at it today as well as I hope you join me next week as well when we follow up, And we'll start looking at leads that this may be. Maybe I can convert some of you, that would be nice. I have found that I had become a Chrome user exclusively and I think about why that is, and like anything else it's kind of a mind shift sometimes into the idea of jumping into a single way to do things.
And I just thought on this questions about being certified in Chrome and what you end up doing Andy is actually through Google, you can sit for exams and become a Google-certified educator. And one of the exams you have to sit for is a Chrome exam. You do Chrome, you do Google Drive, you do Google Sites. There's a whole bunch that you have to do. I believe it's just five. Don't hold me for this but I think it's five. Five different exams. Either five or six, I'm not positive. Yeah, I'll try to dig up the link afterwards and paste it into either here or the discussion board but that might be something that's of interest to people. Good I was correct, it's five. Thank you Andy. But the idea of thinking about Chrome and this idea of this mind shift and what makes this so powerful is that for many of us and anyone's who's been in AT for longer than several years now because this is a fairly new phenomena. We are from the day of a student with a disability needs a support. If it's a software support that support is loaded on that computer and you can't see any because I don't have my web cam on but I'm pointing at something right now. That software tended to live on a specific machine that the individual we are working with had to work on.
And so what happened is if that work needed to happen in multiple environments the natural reaction was there were two things we could do. We could purchase a laptop for that person and they would then carry that laptop around with them wherever they went with a specialized software, or we buy multiple copies of software and then install it wherever our person might be. Cut to now and fast forward to where we are right now, this idea of Chrome and its supports has changed that philosophy in a sense that the tools with attach to my profile which is all online. And so what happened is now if I recommend a tool for a person I'm working with and it's a Chrome-based support, that support attaches itself to their Google profile, and regardless of where they go, their tools support that and their tools follow them. Now we have that beautiful situation which every time I see it in school makes me smile just a little bit more of that student that two years ago I'm even working with and I had to have them using a specific laptop, or perhaps using a classroom computer that was off to the site somewhere, kind of disconnected from their classmates. Now I have students that now can just pull a Chromebook out of the cart like every other student in class.
It's exactly the same. They log into it. Their tools and their supports popup. And so what happens is we have this opportunity for the students we're working with in K through 12 to not feel that sense of I'm using something different or I'm uncomfortable because my tools or my technology is not what everybody else is using. And so we start thinking about that idea of the power of that. Jennifer asks about the ideas for creating profiles for kids under 13 or public schools. It's kind of an interesting conversation and one that I would certainly have with my IT departments in a school. And also there are certain ways that when we start using the Google Apps for education which we'll talk about in a couple slides. When we start using them you can pick and choose what features the student can have access to so you have opportunities for students who are younger to not have the same access as to the tools as every one else.
What also happens is the idea of for under 13 you can control the way that their mail works, that their mail is only internal to the domain they are attached to. So if their school district is the domain they can't receive mail from outside the domain and they can't send the mail outside the domain. It does kind of keep them in the smaller community of the school district itself. I think that's kind of a nice way to look at it. Thinking about Chrome and how that works and the ability to attach things to our profile there's really a... It's just been such a shift in the way we do things as they see people. It's been really, really kind of exciting. We'll jump into the idea of what is the difference because we're talking about chrome, we're talking about Google but the important thing to remember is there is a difference here, and it's a good time to do it. I do it now early in the presentation because I've done it in the past really late and I realized people go through the whole time and then they ask questions like can I load software into my Chromebook? And so what is the difference in a Chromebook and a Mac and PC? We have the pictures of each up on the screen right now.
Really the largest difference between these different platforms is the idea that the Chromebook does not allow us to install third party software. And so, what happens is anything I use on the Chromebook has to be installed as a Google App and what it were an extension. What that basically means is it installs that directly into the browser and basically the browser, your Chrome browser becomes in essence the operating system. Whereas if you have a PC or a Mac we can load software in there, we can do whatever we want. We have dragspeaking, we can load it in there, doesn't matter. We can load anything we want in there. The Chromebook that is one of the dramatic differences and that there is no limit of software. One of the other things is because it's, because all their supports are connected to your profile, ideally you would want to have internet access for a Chromebook to be its most effective and this is one of the mix of Chromebooks.
In the past when Chromebooks first came out there was not a wide range of tools that worked in an offline mode. What people used to think is that if I'm not connected to an internet source, like if I'm not connected to Wi-Fi, my Chromebook does nothing. It is just a brick, just sits there. In the beginning that might have been true. As this is being kind of an evolving operating system what we found is there are many, many apps and extensions that will work in an offline mode. If I'm not connected to the internet I still will be able to complete some tasks. What happens is any of the work I work on will stay stored locally on the device and then once I get an internet connections it will pop up and it will populate into my account. There are opportunities to still use them. I think originally when these devices first came out it was really all about using it on the internet. Now kind of a different thing. We're seeing more and more that schools especially are going to Chromebooks, especially when you start thinking about high stakes testing and computer-based standardized testing. They seem to be moving more towards this platform mostly because the test is online, these devices are relatively inexpensive and you can really tend to get more devices for the amount of money you might spend.
The cheapest Chromebook might be around $200 and then you know a fairly decent one may cost you a little more and they got three or 350. All the way up, I know there are a couple that are very expensive but predominantly Chromebooks tends to live in that $200 to $350 range which is relatively inexpensive. In the bigger scheme of things. I'm not gonna say I couldn't just open my pocket and have $300 right now but they are relatively inexpensive. Andrea was commenting on storage. Compared to regular or standard computers storage will be your big issue. Chromebooks themselves will not come with a lot of internal storage and also not a particularly fast processor sometimes and that's because of, and it's the comment to Andrea's second part of the question there. The bulk of your work is stored and done online. Once this is connected to your Google account you store all of your materials online in your Google Drive. That tends to be the strategy of how to do it. I know I could tell you I just had a successful week at ATIA last week and I did not bring a computer with me, I only brought my Chromebook.
Now I feel like I've completely made that switch over to just the Chromebook because all of my files live online. I was able to pull down presentations from my Google Drive and share them. I have to admit, I didn't completely go into my Google Drive and I'll be honest with you, I still have things stored on a flash drive that I brought with me, but I could do that. I could store things remotely on a flash drive or I could have loaded my presentations into the internal storage of my Chromebook which has, I think it has a 200 gigabyte hard drive because I think I got a bigger one, I got a nicer one. A little bit more expensive. But typically ones will not have that much storage and so you have to be aware of where your file is living. How are you using that?
And then as you move forward and then some of the comments were how much storage do you get, and people are commenting, if you're using Google Apps for Education, so if you're in a domain that uses that your sources are unlimited. If you're just a regular Google user I believe they just bump everybody up to 100 gigabytes but I'm not sure about that. It used to be 10 or 15 Andy. I think they bumped that up and I know that when I bought my last Chromebook part of what the little bonus of buying is they bumped my account up to 200 gigabytes for two years I think. My hope is by the time my two years is up storage will be so dirt cheap that I'll just be getting that amount for free anyway. That's my hope so we'll see how that hope plays out. Thinking about the differences here, that is one of the big ones. Storage and speed. It is a relatively simple straightforward computer, a Chromebook. It does have some built-in accessibility which is important for us as we think about AT and using people with a wide range of abilities.
That becomes important to us. There is some support in there for high contrast. There is a screen reader built into the operating system. It's called ChromeVox, V-O-X. It is okay, it's not bad. It is much better and I'm trying to my positive ways to say things. If you're an individual here's what I will say and I'll make this relatively declarative. If you're a JAWS user, so if you're working with an individual with a visual impairment or who's blind, and they are a JAWS user, ChromeVox is not JAWS. It has JAWS features, it has screen-reading features in most capabilities. But for some of the people that I've worked with that are JAWS users, as I share this with them it is not quite the same experience. That has to be a consideration. And as we think about that those are one of those considerations when I think back to the SETT Framework, what we were talking about a few minutes ago. The idea of making sure that as we are exploring the options for using a Chromebook, if someone has very specific needs, someone is blind or visually impaired and they need a higher level of support from third party software, a Chromebook might not be the right answer for them. What might be the right answer is using the Chrome browser on a PC or a Mac and using the additional support.
I think that's where that education part comes in when we start talking to people as we roll these devices out. I had this at the end of last school year I was doing an evaluation for a school and the young girl was a JAWS user and she was moving from the elementary school to the middle school. And the middle school was a Chromebook school. What she used is Windows PC laptop. Windows 7 laptop because she used JAWS. And the discussion was or the statement was she couldn't use that when she got to middle school because they use Chromebooks. It was an opportunity for education and saying to the people in the middle school, well, they're using Chromebooks but what are they doing? That goes back to the task of the SETT Framework. So as we started to kind of bore down through the tasks a little bit, what they really were saying is that the teacher was using Google Drive to share a document and that's what the students were working on.
If that's the case then if the student I'm working with needs additional support but can still access Google Drive on her laptop, there really is not reason for her to be on a Chromebook. That doesn't really matter and it was important to kind of remind people that think to what we are doing not to the tools necessarily. Think about what needs to be accomplished. That was an important reminder. Maybe it has built an accessibility. Some of it's very good. The screen magnifier is very good. There's an onscreen keyboard, you can adjust the size of the cursor. There's some pretty straightforward supports for vision impairment. What I'm looking forward to seeing is some more options for individuals with physical access so we can adjust some things on the keyboard. Not a whole lot yet. There is sticky keys to hold down the modifiers and things like that. There are some things. I think as this continues to grow these will be features that will constantly change. It's nice I'm part of a beta tester group for the Chrome operating system and I just got an e-mail this morning from them that they pushed out some new beta features. They're constantly pushing new features out that are really nice and eventually work their way into the operating system as we use it.
It's a really nice opportunity to see things change right from kind of the ground up and that's what we're seeing with the Chrome no less. What's really nice and we start thinking about Chromebooks themselves, and again people tend to think, "Oh, they're Chromebooks. "They're kind of lower end computers "and we can't really do much with them." What we can find is there are known tools out there that we use as AT people that work very well on these devices. If you have a Chromebook I've had good experience plugging in different mouse alternatives to it. Trackballs, joysticks, different kinds of mice. If we're looking at USB mouse alternative I've had good success plugging them in and having them work on a Chromebook. Again if we're looking at that platform of using the Chromebook that's meeting the alternate access, we're getting that. There's some of those regular supports that we would use on any other computer we would interact with with an individual. And also switches. If we have somebody with pretty significant physical disability who needs switch access, we can plug switch adapter boxes right into the Chromebook. The one in the picture there is the Don Johnston Switch Interface. That's a USB interface. It plugs directly into the Chromebook and allows me to plug in single switches to control the functions on my device.
Andy was asking about an external keyboard. Can that be added as well with USB? It can. What I found with keyboards and then I'll give you this one little like caveat here and I've also found the same thing with these mouse alternatives. Some of the higher end mouse alternatives and keyboard alternatives, if they need a driver in order to work. So if I had to load software or go to a website that downloaded driver, chances are high those will not work on a Chromebook. What I've had the most success with is the straightforward tools that don't need a driver installed. They just work with the drivers that are already there. I've had some instance where a couple of the ergonomic keyboards that I wanted to try with a person were the keyboards were split and they were done in a different layout. Those keyboards did not work on a Chromebook because it didn't recognize the key presses because it needed a driver to help work that out. That was one of the issues that came up with there. It's something to consider.
At this point I haven't seen a good list of alternatives that work and don't work and one of these days maybe I'll get a free minute to actually make that risk. Until then I will probably just say that your best bet plug it in and see what happens. I know that's kind of a cop out on my end but that's what I tend to do. I plug it in, mess around with it, see if I can do things. If I get success I'm happy. I put that in my little bank of notes, "Oh, that one will work some other time." And so we go from there. That's not to say that as we keep talking about alternative access, there still are some alternatives that are fairly high tech that do work right on the Chromebook. The one that I've been having the most kind of fun with when I talk to people is using the Tracker Pro which has the camera that's mounted to the computer where the USB plugs in. And then the person wears the reflective dot on their head to control the cursor. I've been pleasantly surprised that that works really well on the Chromebook. There is no need to load a driver for that to work and a nice experience of figuring that out because I work with a young lady at a high school near me, who uses the tracker on her laptop, the Tracker Pro.
And the school just want the Chromebook and the Chromebook is about a third of the weight of the laptop she's carting around with her all day on her wheelchair. And so, we tried that to see if it would work and we were happy to see that we were able to plug her tracker right into the Chromebook that was in the classroom. We didn't have to do anything else to it except plug it in and she was able to use the same access method she used already. Again, it took this young lady from using a very old, very ugly, very big, very slow laptop. We got to push that to the side a little bit and she's able to go in the classroom. One of her classmates gets the Chromebook out of the cart for her, plugs her USB tracker in and then she's able to work automatically which has been fantastic for her. It's kind of a higher end support. And then also thinking about some of the supports that are bluetooth. The Chromebooks have bluetooth built into them so think about some of your other tools that you use for AT that are bluetooth. Whether it's keyboards, whether it's mice, whether it's like on the screen now the Blue2 from AbleNet which is a bluetooth switch interface. It allows me to plug to switch into a device and then control functions through bluetooth. That also works on the Chromebook.
We have some nice opportunities to use a lot of the tools that we are familiar with in this environment. That's been really nice to see that some of our tried and true AT supports that we're familiar with we can still use them regardless of these moves to other platforms, which is where we're heading off now. Mary asks, does the Chromebook work with hearing aids that use bluetooth? Mary, I have no idea. I have to find a pen, I don't know. I have to write that down. That's a great question that I don't know the answer to but I'm gonna hunt that down because that's a great idea. I don't know. Stay with me during the week and I'll share the link where the discussion board is and then we'll talk about that, that's a great idea. Now you all have to sit quietly while I write, okay cool. I don't know. Awesome. I'll find that out for you though or if you find it share it with me and we'll go back to report it. One of us is gonna find it. That's a good idea and that's the kind of thing because this is such a new platform, I think we're all trying to kind of find our way through it. And it's always nice when I'm able to show someone a tool that I've been using that's an AT tool that we've used forever but suddenly I can use it with this new platform. And then when you guys think of these other things that I don't work with all the time.
These are awesome, thank you. As we go through, we'll jump out of access. We'll talk real quick about Google Apps and to think of... When I think about Google Apps and if you're a Google Apps for Education school this is the array of tools you have that come with that. Everything from Gmail to your calendar to Google Drive to the Chrome browser to Hangouts for video conferencing. The Google sites in order to build your own websites. All of these tools are a part of the platform of supports that we have. I think what's great about that and the picture on the slide, I tried to think of how would I sum up Google Apps for Education? I was talking with my wife and we were sitting there talking about it and I was explaining it to her and I said, "You know, it's all about collaboration." And that's the picture that we decided to throw on that page. It's really about tools to allow us to work together. If you're a Google Apps user and you use Google Docs, one of the most powerful features is that you can share documents instantly. We can work collaboratively as we go. We can add things in and instantly someone else can see it whether they're in the same room with us, whether they're in another place, in another state, in another country, doesn't matter.
The collaboration part has been so powerful with that and I think that's one of the bonuses of what we see with Google Apps. What we're gonna do is I'm gonna share with you a resource at the end of our website that I put together for us to kind of support us as we move through this. My hope is as we go through the week leading up to next week's webinar that you will all log into this webpage and try to do some of these things for yourself. Like build a Google site for something that would work for you and then share it with the group. I'm gonna do another page, maybe I'll put it up there tomorrow or the next day to look at using the Google Doc and how could you collaboratively use that in your environment to share materials. Start thinking broadly about these supports and what's there and how they work and how we can use them to match the individuals we're working with, with their... And connect them to their classmates, to their co-workers, to other people in their community. Whatever it might be. And so, we'll have some supports for that. I have to say that out of the Google Apps, the one as an AT person I'm finding the most benefit of some kind is using the Google Sites which people don't always use. That is the tool that allows me to build my own webpages.
But what I'm finding as I go through it is that I'm able to build websites that are free first of all which is a bonus. That are collaborative that multiple people can work on and then the idea of building these supports for any learner that I'm working with. Can I build in video clips to support learning? Can I build in collaborative documents to support learning? The idea of adding in links and images to take people out to additional resources, to build background knowledge. What I find is when I think about the idea of people talking about universal design for learning, I find that using the Google Apps and especially sites gives me such a nice opportunity to build something, to share materials with anyone of any ability, of any learning style who wants to learn in different ways, and provide them the level of support that they need. It's really very nice and you know, it's not the best site builder in the world and they commented that it is good though. It is as decent. I think the features that are there are powerful They give us a lot of opportunity to think of ways we could connect our individuals to the rest of their classmates. And so it's just a nice opportunity so hopefully you'll come along on the ride with me during week and we'll build different sites and I'll share some that I've built with you, and hopefully you guys have built something, we'll kind of share them together. Think about how we're gonna use those in our own practice, in our own environments with the individuals that we serve. I'm looking forward to that as we move through the week.
The other thing that's new and this is very specific only if you are a Google Apps for Education site, you now have access to Google Classroom which is their newer tool that takes... Think of all those collaborative supports that are in Google Drive. Google Drive sites, forms, documents. All of those tools and Google Classroom allow you to pull them all together and build a shared group that has access to all of these materials. You're seeing this roll out into more schools. It's really exciting to watch teachers become excited about this and it gives them opportunity to share assignments, collaborate on documents, work together. And it makes it easy for the teacher to share with the student and the student to share back with the teacher. So it's really, really nice. Looking at that, how you would use that to kind of combine that in a classroom setting or in a school setting. I'm trying to read some of the things you guys were talking about. The idea of making things more accessible and I think Kenny had a good point. Sometimes we ask them to add on the extensions that we work with or what building some of those accessibility pieces for us. The text to speech support, the screen reading support.
And so, thinking about how you would do that. I think you guys have good points about the idea. Secure the sharing information. The great thing about classroom and this kind of new tool that they've rolled out and that it very much keeps this as a small closed network. That doesn't mean there aren't still issues of that your IT department seems to work at as far as general security and not sharing people's information. But it's important to kind of keep that in mind as we go through. Classroom. I just only started working with Classroom because for the longest time I didn't have an e-mail address that was associated within Google Apps for Education school domain. Recently I got myself an e-mail address for the school that I work with so now I'm able to do that. So now I'm gonna be playing with that too. We'll definitely move to that. Ron asked the idea, is ChromeVox accessible with other Google Apps? It does tend to be and Ron I'm sorry for the vagueness of this, fairly accessible. I think that's partly an issue with Chrome itself that they're continuing to work on. It's this constant kind of strategy now to make things more accessible.
I think if you think back to Google Drive itself maybe a year ago it is very inaccessible to other supports and I think it has become better. I think it still has a little ways to go though. It's certainly getting better. But ChromeVox tends to be the best way to interact with because it is a Google service working within the Google Drive with the Google Apps platform. Tends to be a little bit more stable and functional I guess would be a good word. Some of the other things we talked about and this will be a big one for next week as we look at apps and extensions and using the Chrome Web Store to install those in our profile. Again the important takeaway from this with the idea of a web store is within Chrome, when you sign up for Chrome you get your account and you get the basic Google Apps that we talked about before. Anything you want to do to extend the functionality of your profile, you need to do by adding in apps and extensions. You do that through the store. You attach these tools to your profile and then wherever you log in to whatever platform, whatever device, your tools will follow you across and will load into that device. Very nice.
We'll spend more time next week looking at that but I just want to touch on it right now but that's how you go about doing some of these things. And so, some of the other things I think about, when I think about the Chromebooks themselves and using them effectively, here's some things towards the end that we'll just kind of touch on that remind us of things we have to do. I do this because it never fails and it carries up the technology platform is, if someone gets $20,000 for technology they spend $20,000 on technology and give so very little thought to cases and protectors sometimes. This reminder of it has to be considered at the point of implementation where do you need cases to protect the device? Do you need a bag to even carry it with? Do you need a mount to mount it to something? Again, I was at the ATIA Conference last week. Spent a really nice time talking to some of the mounting companies about the idea of looking at their laptop mounts and making adjustments for them to be smaller profile, lighter Chromebooks, to make sure they're prepared when people start asking for them. If I was an individual who uses a wheelchair I want to know that the mount has a bracket that works for the Chromebook that the school has.
So keeping that in mind as people move forward and not just mounts but protective cases. I've said this to people before. Nothing scares me more as an AT person than seeing a naked device run past me. Whether it's a tablet without a case, a laptop without a protective sleeve. Whatever it might be. When I see just a random device kind of moving past me makes me very nervous because it's just... I feel like it's just a matter of time before that goes for the ride. Some of the other things again these last few slides reminds us about the idea of can we extend the functionality of the Chromebook so that the classroom or a workplace is using a document camera? The example on the screen is the IPEVO and in the camera that I'm showing on the screen is the one that I own which is the Ziggi-HD. Great camera, relatively inexpensive, great display of information but it requires software to load in your computer. What IPEVO has done is they've put out a Chrome app and when you install that in your browser it basically allows you to plug in any of your document camera into your Chromebook and display the information on the screen. Really nice way to make sure that you have the ability to use these other tools in your environment in the Chromebook setting. So just because I have a Chromebook now doesn't mean I have to sacrifice all the other tools that I was using before. It's a really nice setup with the IPEVO.
The other thing and this is something that might be less about the end user and I almost think about this more for us as the service providers. The idea of this is looking at ways to remotely connect to other computers. What you can do is Chrome has an app called the Remote Desktop which allows me to wirelessly and remotely connect into my laptop. I have a Windows PC laptop that I leave at my house now. I don't even bring it anywhere with me. I just leave it here. It's a Windows 7 machine but I have the app on my Chromebook. If I need to access any of the software on my Windows PC, I can access it through my Chromebook by using the Remote Desktop. Now if something runs on the PC I can still use it in my Chromebook. If it's something that I've text to speech it will still talk out loud from my Chromebook and grant that it's probably also talking at home wherever my laptop is which might freak people out, but it is also talking right where I am. If I have tools as an evaluator that I want to try with a student I can do those through my Chromebook without having to bring multiple platforms with me.
If a student uses a specific AT tool that doesn't exist as a Chrome app yet use the Chrome remote desktop to log into a computer that has that software and really nice opportunity to see that kind of cross use and not have to cart around even more stuff with us constantly. And then one of the other things that if you haven't seen yet the idea of a Chromecast, that's the device on the screen. It looks like a little flashdrive but it plugs into your HDMI connector on your TV or projector, and now I'm able to wirelessly send my screen to a big projection screen. I can take my Chromebook and extend its display out to someone else wirelessly using that device. Relatively inexpensive, about 30 bucks or so for one of those but again gives that opportunity to extend it out. Andy commented on the Chrome remote desktop for the iPad. I was so happy when I saw that come out so they've just released that also. It's an app for your iOS devices that has the same function. It's called Chrome Remote Desktop and it allows you to do that exact same thing.
I could now use my iPad to connect into my laptop as well. Really nice, free app, fantastic, love it. Good deal. Guys, we're almost at the end. I've been trying to answer as we went. I'm trying to watch the questions as they move along and I think I did a pretty good job. Again if I didn't catch yours don't take it personally, I apologize. But what we... Nicole commented on if you use a VGA projector you're going to need some kind of connector in between these devices because the Chromecast only has an HDMI plug. You may need to buy yet another dongle and if anybody does a lot with different devices you end up with a bag that has all those dongles in it. And so you're gonna need to have one of those as well. That's a good point. Some other things that I have set up for us is that I have put together our Google site that we can look at. Let me just show it to you for one second. Let me bounce over that so you guys can see.
Here you see have the link on the slide page there. I'll also put this link into our discussion forum tip so you have the access. But it's sites.google.com/ site/ctdtechtalk. It's just a framework of the site, nothing too fancy but I have some links on the left hand side of some different kinds of supports that we might want to look at. As the week goes on I'll make some more pages and drop them in there that I thought would start us with just one about making your own Google site. Do you want to explore that and try to make something that works for you and then share your page link back in the discussion forum then we can all view it and comment on it. We'll start with that then I'll add some other ones too as we go through. That is the idea of the address for the collaborative site. We have our discussion forum which is happening at the cafe. You guys will get the link to that as well. The link is up there on the screen. We have our webinar next week and I hope you'll join me again. That's on the 12th at 2 o'clock Eastern and we will spend our entire time just talking about apps and extensions.
We will have an opportunity for you to go app crazy and just install a bunch of the things into your Chrome browser and so we'll be able to do that as well. With that, we have one minute left. I think that we'll also post out into... It's already posted, Emery posted up, thank you. There is a SurveyMonkey link that was posted in the chat window for you to go to and fill out to kind of give you a feedback on how this went today. I'll see if there's any other questions. The webinar will be recorded and I think I saw before that it will be up on the site tomorrow. Someone asked is the next week the ninth? Did I give you the wrong date? Now you guys can watch me frantically look through my calendar. I have the 12th. Please tell me it's the 12th, somebody. That's what I have. I believe it's the 12th. Someone else has it as the ninth too? It is the ninth. Okay, how about on the ninth we'll talk then. Sorry, I have the 12th on my calendar, no big deal. All right. We'll fix that when we get that out to you to make sure you guys have the date. More importantly I think we should make sure I have the correct date so we'll go from there. But besides that, I appreciate your conversation. You guys were great in that chat window, I really do appreciate it. I look forward to talking with you throughout the week in that discussion forum. Bring your questions, bring all your... Whatever you got, bring it and we'll talk about it as a group. Looking forward to it and then I will certainly talk to you next week on the ninth at 2 o'clock. I look forward to seeing you then. Thank you. Have a good day, everybody.