Morris Area Schools
Tech Tips for Chromebook (and iPad) Users
Last Revision December 10, 2020
Click on this link to learn how to access NWEA testing.
There are two primary reasons for the NWEA testing process to fail. The first is due to an old Operating Systems version. The second is the screen resolution.
Verify and Upgrade the Operating System (OS) Version
Video link here showing the process.
Adjusting Screen Resolution
Click on this link for a video on how to change resolution.
A document, video or sound file won’t open when you click on it. Sometimes this occurs when saving the file in Google Drive or Google Classroom.
The majority of the Zoom challenges involve the quality and speed of the Internet service at the location of the Chromebook. This could be a limitation in the home environment, or possibly an overdemand at the service provider in our area. The High School and Elementary systems are constantly monitored and have sufficient Internet bandwidth to handle our needs. Typically a failure with the school system resources results in most, if not all, of the students failing to connect to Zoom or other applications. To establish an Internet connection “baseline”, continue with the Test Local Internet Bandwidth process below.
Remember Your Home WiFi on Your Chromebook
Click on this link for a video on how to set up your Chromebook to remember your home Wi-Fi.
Test Camera and Microphone
Click on this link for a video on how to test your Chromebook camera and microphone.
Test Local Internet Bandwidth
It's a good idea to run this test several times during the day, especially when things appear to be running slow or you experience disconnections to verify that it is, or is not, your Internet service speed.
Real Time Zoom Statistics
Retrieving data about your current, in-progress Zoom meeting can be very helpful in understanding if your Internet connection, Chromebook, or Wi-Fi is the reason for a poor quality Zoom video session. Data about your Internet connection can be obtained from your active Zoom meeting in three simple steps. First, click on the up arrow to the right of the Stop Video icon in the bottom left corner of your active Zoom meeting window. Second, click on the video settings option in the resulting window. Finally, click on the Statistics tab at the top of the Settings window. A window similar to the one below will appear. Of key concern are the top three data points -- Latency, Jitter, and Packet Loss. In the example meeting below, latency is 70ms and 59ms of which both are very good. Anything at 100ms or lower is a good number. A number over 150 will certainly cause a choppy or skipping video stream. For Jitter, we are seeing 10ms (sending from the Chromebook) and 4ms (receiving from the meeting host to the Chromebook) of average Jitter. Again, both are very good numbers. Jitter over 150ms will start to impact the quality of the video. Finally, and possibly the most disruptive is packet loss. In the example meeting below we see 0% for both send and receive. High packet loss numbers over 8-10% can severely degrade the video quality to the point of the meeting being unusable. Your Zoom meeting quality can be impacted by any one of these individual numbers. And if two or three numbers are too high, then the quality of your Internet connection is simply too poor to participate in the Zoom meeting. While you may have a strong signal, and while your other “PC” or TV streaming activities work, two-way video communications simply may not. Internet connection quality changes throughout the day, and your ability to participate in a Zoom meeting may improve or degrade depending on many things outside of our control. If your numbers are consistently poor over the course of the day and week, then contacting your Internet provider to look into the issue would be the next course of action.
Verify Chromebook is Updated
Another frequent disconnection issue relates to an old version of the operating system on the Chromebook. To verify the device is using the most recent operating system level perform the following steps or click on this link for a video explanation:
Chrome Browser Inconsistencies
Sometimes the browser can get hung up on a web site or a common function across web sites (such as authentication) and simply not load. A potential resolution:
This should clear up the website login problems.
Getting your first and last name into Zoom meetings.
Click on this link to ensure your first and last name are used during Zoom meetings.
Keep Your Router Up to Date
Software on your router, called firmware, ages and becomes out of date like any typical PC or Chromebook software. Advances in connectivity, speed and feature set (including security) can be missed if the router isn’t updated regularly. Firmware controls how the router behaves and maintaining it will allow for the best possible system performance. There are too many routers and associated options to provide a comprehensive procedure here. However, our recommendation for slow network, or unreliable connection, is to ensure that your router has been properly upgraded or replaced if too old. Click on the links below for popular home router maintenance, or contact your router manufacturer’s website for assistance.
Many people don’t believe they have anything worth taking by Internet thieves, and so they do little to protect their digital presence. But in reality, most attacks are not targeted, they are opportunistic. Small software programs, called bots, are traversing the network testing one location after another in an effort to gain access to anything. Some simple techniques will significantly reduce the chance of a compromise on your home network and prevent software downloads from stealing information and slowing down Internet access.
Testing the Quality of your Internet Connection.
Click on this link to test the quality of your Internet connection. This does not test the reported speed, or the strength of your Wi-Fi signal, but tests how reliable the data is going back and forth between various Internet destinations.
Click on this link for a video on how to add Screencastify to your Chromebook.
Google applications and data are stored predominantly in the cloud. That is, most of the application resides on a server somewhere and not on the Chromebook. Data you type in from the keyboard is rapidly stored on these servers as well. As a consequence, a good Internet connection is necessary for reasonable document editing performance. If you notice the machine is not able to keep up with your typing and editing speeds in Google Docs, check the following:
The first step in obtaining service is to fill out a Tech Questionnaire (link here). If your Chromebook does not function well enough to go to a website and complete this form, simply call the Help Desk at 320-585-2169. We will need to know the student name, email address, a contact phone number, serial number of the device, and detailed description of the problem. Please leave these details in a voice message if nobody is available to take the call.
Capturing an image of the Chromebook screen can be helpful when diagnosing issues with the machine or the software. The steps below outline the process to capture the screen, either in whole or in part, so it can be sent to the Helpdesk.
Capturing the full screen.
Press the Ctrl + show windows key (this is the function key with the rectangle and two trailing lines-- see image below) together. A pop up a window appears displaying the snapshot that has been taken.
The screen capture will stay visible for about 10 seconds before it clears itself. Press the Copy to Clipboard link in the resulting window.
Capture part of the screen
To grab a cropped area press Ctrl + Shift + show window keys. The mouse cursor will change to a crosshair, which enables you to draw a rectangle around the area you would like to capture. Similar to the full screen option, press the Copy to Clipboard link in the resulting window.
After creating a new eMail to: Helpdesk@Morris.K12.MN.US, you can paste this image in the body of the email, along with appropriate text about what you were doing, etc.
This tips section provides solutions to common problems for iPads used by our Kindergarten through grade 3 students. The video in this link will show you how to diagnose and repair iPad issues such as low storage messages or apps not working correctly,