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Google launches Chromebook App Hub for educators plus other classroom tools

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Earlier this year, Google  announced plans to build a Chromebook App Hubdesigned to help teachers and other curriculum administrators more easily find educational tools and apps to use in the classroom. Today, as a part of Googe’s educational announcements at ISTE 2019, the company officially launched the App Hub with content from Epic!, Adobe, Khan Academy and others. It also unveiled new product features in Quizzes in Google Forms, Classroom, Course Kit and more.

As Google previously explained, teachers today often surf the web to seek new ideas and activities to help them create their lesson plans. Meanwhile, curriculum specialists field special requests from teachers but are tasked with making sure the programs requested meet the district’s policies.

The Chromebook App Hub aims to address both these scenarios by offering a place for educators to discover ideas and resources, as well as learn how they can be implemented in the classroom and if they meet district policy.

Google worked with the EdTechTeam to help gather the ideas around apps, it says.

It also worked with the nonprofit Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC) to help app developers better consider the data privacy aspects of their products. That way, the districts would be able to find the appropriate solutions that meet their own privacy requirements.

“The SDPC is proud to work with [the Chromebook App Hub] to provide transparency and openness around the critical aspects of schools, states, and vendors securing learner information,” says Dr. Larry L. Fruth II, CEO of A4L/SDPC, in a statement.

Google additionally consulted with the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) and ConnectSafely on guidelines focused on creating “healthy digital citizenship habits,” it says.

At launch, Epic! will contribute to the App Hub its library of children’s books, videos and games; Adobe will include its visual storytelling app Adobe Spark; and Khan Academy will bring its free library of lessons across subjects like math, grammar, science, history, standardized tests and more.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to better establish the Chromebook’s presence in the classroom, as App Hub’s apps and activities are designed to run on the Chromebook computers.

Schools and classrooms are a newer battleground for devices, with Google, Microsoft and Apple all investing in various initiatives in the K-12 market.

Last year, for example, Apple introduced a new iPad designed to help it catch up with Google, and win over more school districts. At its developer conference earlier this month, Apple also showed off new features for its educational framework ClassKit and its free app for teachers, Schoolwork.

However, Google’s Chromebook is dominating the U.S. K-12 market because of itssimplicity, price and  IT department tools. As of 2017, it had 58% of the market, versus 22% for Microsoft Windows and 19% for Apple.

In addition to the launch of App Hub, Google launched a beta program for teachers that lets them create a rubric and attach it to an assignment, so students know how their work will be graded. The rubrics can be created in both Classroom and Course Kit.

It also launched tools that let teachers lock Quizzes in Google Forms on managedChromebook so students can’t navigate away until they submit their answer. And it says it will soon introduce a feature that allows teachers to import questions from previously used Forms into new ones.

Google is also launching an updated version of Gradebook that offers a more holistic view of student progress plus an early access program that lets teachers sync grades from Classroom to the School Information System (SIS). The early access beta program will be available to schools this summer, with Infinite Campus and Capita SIMS as initial partners, with more to come.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/06/19/google-launches-chromebook-app-hub-for-educators-plus-other-classroom-tools/

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Softwares

Microsoft is starting to force-update Windows 10 machines from version 1803 to 1903

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Microsoft has been known to force its Windows 10 users to update their machines; much to the chagrin of many customers. Though Microsoft’s Windows 10 updates are usually fine and relatively stable, they do sometimes bring sweeping changes that can frustrate users or even cause performance issues and outright data loss.

With this volatility and unpredictability in mind, it’s perhaps understandable that many users would try to avoid updating their machines for as long as possible. For several individuals, that means sticking to Windows 10’s 1803 update, which came out around mid-2018.

Unfortunately for those folks, Microsoft has had enough of their reluctance to update and has opted to take matters into its own hands. Starting now, the tech giant will be force-updating computers running Windows 10 version 1803 to the latest version of the OS, which is the Windows 10 May 2019 update (version 1903). Microsoft says its reasoning primarily stems from a desire to keep user systems secure.

“Keeping these devices both supported and receiving monthly updates is critical to device security and ecosystem health,” the tech giant wrote in a support article announcement. “Based on the large number of devices running the April 2018 Update, that will reach the end of 18 months of service on November 12, 2019, we are starting the update process now for Home and Pro editions to help ensure adequate time for a smooth update process.”

Though some users will undoubtedly feel they know their machines and their potential security risks better than Microsoft does, there is no clear way to opt-out of this update — short of using software like ShutUp10 to disable the functionality entirely (which can carry its own risks).

The good news is, Windows 10 version 1903 seems to be relatively stable so far and perhaps a bit ironically, it even includes some helpful new update control features. For example, the ability to “defer” updates was once a Pro-exclusive option, but all May 2019 update users will be able to utilize a similar functionality now. Specifically, Windows 10 version 1903 lets you push updates back up to 5 times, for 5 days each (up to 35 days in total).

Source: https://www.techspot.com/news/81005-microsoft-starting-force-update-windows-10-machines-version.html

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Softwares

iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 developer beta 4 are now available to download

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The fast and furious pace of iOS beta releases continues unabated this week with the rollout of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 developer beta 4. We’re hopeful that this release is less problematic than the last, as Apple ended up mysteriously delaying the launch of the second public beta and then re-seeding the developer beta a full week later. We’ll have to wait and see, but it’s hard to imagine that beta 4 will run into similar issues.

We still don’t know exactly what this latest beta contains, but considering how messy the last beta was, it might be a good idea to update soon, as Apple has presumably fixed much of what ailed the last beta.

If you watched Apple’s WWDC keynote, you know about all the highlights of iOS 13, including new features like Dark Mode, a redesigned volume HUD, a new Reminders app, and plenty of performance enhancements. It’s not really a massive overhaul, but it appears to address many pain points of earlier releases without trying to fix anything that wasn’t broken. That said, keep in mind that this is just a beta, and there will be issues.

Here’s the full list of compatible devices that will run iOS 13, if you’re thinking about downloading the beta:

  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro 3rd generation
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2nd generation
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro 1st generation
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad Air 3rd generation
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad 6th generation
  • iPad 5th generation
  • iPad mini 5th generation
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPod touch 7th generation

iOS 13 will launch in full this fall alongside the next generation of iPhone models.

Source: https://bgr.com/2019/07/17/ios-13-beta-4-download-beta-profile/

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Why you probably shouldn’t install iOS 13 and the other betas just yet

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Apple this week officially released the first developer beta of iOS 13. As always, many people are eager to install the new iOS version and try the latest features, but there are several reasons why you should probably hold off. After all, it is a very early beta and is bound to have numerous problems.

Should you install the iOS 13 beta?

Apple itself acknowledges that the first beta of iOS 13 is buggy, warning “thrill seekers” that they should probably wait for the public beta coming next month:

Important Note for Thrill Seekers: If you’re interested in living on the edge and trying out the great new features in iOS 13, we strongly advise waiting for the many bug fixes and refinements coming to the public beta next month.

iOS 13 includes all of the problems you’d expect from an early iOS beta. That means a warmer-than-usual device temperature, completely unoptimized battery life, and numerous interface quirks, app crashes, and more.

Across all five of the new betas, iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS, you’ll run into compatibility issues with third-party apps. These betas are designed to give developers the opportunity to update their applications ahead of the stable releases this fall, and you shouldn’t expect applications to run as-expected until then.

Apple has also increased the difficulty level of the install with this year’s iOS 13 beta. While it used an OTA system last year, the first beta of iOS 13 is available only as a direct download from Apple’s Developer site. It also requires that you have the Xcode beta installed and that you restore via iTunes.

Apple will eventually release public beta versions of macOS 10.15, iOS 13, and tvOS 13. Those will likely come next month and will represent a more stable, but still buggy, way for the general public to test out the latest and greatest operating systems. The public betas, and future developer betas, will be available as over-the-air updates as well, dramatically simplifying the install process.

If you’re still tempted to try iOS 13 and the other betas in their current beta form, our advice is to install them on devices that you don’t rely on day-to-day. This will let you try out the new features, while also preserving the experience on your daily devices.

Source: https://9to5mac.com/2019/06/05/install-ios-13-beta-guide/

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