New Podcast: David Carruthers

Over the Christmas Holidays, I had a chance to travel to London, Ontario to enjoy a Brunch hosted by David Carruthers (@pluggedportable) who is a Technology Coordinator with the TVDSB.

During that time we shared some excellent food and conversation. This is the first in a series of interviews with some of the inspirational educators in which I had an opportunity to speak with. In this interview David discusses the power of Social Media.

Building a Library Search Kiosk using a Chromebox

Set Up Non-Managed Chromebox to Auto Boot into Kiosk Mode:

  1. Wipe the data on the Chromebox using the following procedure:
    • Turn off the Chromebox.
    • Put a paperclip (or pushpin) into the recovery button hole.
    • Press down the recovery button with a paperclip (or pushpin) while turning on the device.
    • Press Ctrl + D.
    • Press the recovery button with the paperclip again.
    • The device reboots and displays a red exclamation point.
    • Press Ctrl + D.
    • The Chromebox reboots and starts the transition to developer mode. This clears all local data and takes approximately 10 minutes.
  2. After reboot you will see a welcome screen → DO NOT LOGIN
  3. Press Ctrl + Alt + K and enable the Kiosk mode.
    • This key combination works only if no one has ever logged in to this Chromebox.
    • If it does not work, go throught the proceedure in step 1 again.
  4. Login into the Chromebox.
  5. Open a new tab in the Chrome browser and surf to chrome://extensions .
  6. Make sure there is a check in the checkbox next to the Developer Mode. Developer mode allows the Chromebox to do some extra actions.
  7. Click the “Manage kiosk applications” button and enter the ID of the Kiosk App you’d like to enable.
  8. Press the “Add” button. The app will appear above.
  9. Highlight the Kiosk app and click the “Set to auto-launch” button.
  10. Press the “Done” button.
  11. Reboot the Chromebox and when asked (if you’re not asked, wait few minutes and then reboot it), enable app for Kiosk mode.
  12. Now, the app will auto launch each time you reboot.
  13. To Turn off Kiosk Mode, begin by rebooting the Chromebox. While the device is starting up, press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + S to interrupt the process and return to the login screen.


Set Up Kiosk App

  1. The first time you start the app it should open into the app, otherwise press CTRL + A to open the login screen (default is username: Admin and password: <<leave empty>>)
  2. Enter the address of the library search page and hit return.
  3. Check any restrictions you want.
  4. Set the username and password to something of your choosing ← very important
  5. Set to refresh every 15 min of inactivity.
  6. Set to reboot every day at 6 am.
  7. Click save.

You now have a kiosk set up for searching the library catalogue.

Things to Remember:

  • CTRL + ALT + S during a reboot will open the ChromeOS and it will function like a regular chromebox
  • CTRL + A in Kiosk mode will open the setting page for the app

Tech and Teachers

While scrolling through Twitter I came across this tweet from David Warlick (@dwarlick):

It got me thinking about changes in “edtech”. Over the past decade I have attending various conferences and I have noticed a steady change in the content of the presentations. What I am most impressed by is how educators who have embrace “edtech” have moved away from gadgets and doodads and have shifted to looking at technology to innovate education. In other words, my colleagues are not just looking for the next shiny new tool to try out. Instead, they are trying to improve their teaching by taking a pedagogical sound approach to learning. Only then are they trying to find the right “edtech” tool to enhance the experience for students. Sometimes the tool might be a new mobile app, while at other times, it is the use of coloured pencils and chart paper.

To me it looks like teachers are moving away from the shiny new gadget and are instead looking at these tools with the same critical eye we look at chalk or whiteboard markers. The questions about “edtech” tools have also changed from, “How do I fit this into my lesson?” to “Will this help my student to learn?” It is becoming less about the “latest and greatest” and more about how “edtech” enhances the learning experience.

Back to conferences. I have really notice a shift here in Ontario. At a recent conference, the majority of the sessions I attended where facilitated by Ontario educators for whom the pedagogy came first. As the sessions progressed, the “edtech” was demonstrated and explained to the audience while at the same time continually tied back to sound pedagogy. At the same conference I was left feeling puzzled at the end of a keynote that mostly consisted of a list of “edtech” tools. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have done these same presentations, but that was almost a decade ago when “edtech” was still in its infancy. I did not expect it from high profile speakers.

I continue to be amazed at the quality of speakers at Ontario education conferences. Congratulations to all the Ontario educators out there who are modernizing student learning from a factory model to a problem solving model that is more inline with a technological age. I look forward to learning from you at the next conference.