G Suite (Formerly Google Apps for Education)
The School District of Philadelphia

Training Slides and Resources


Chromebook Enroll and Recover

This page is for everyone in the School District who is using or wants to use G Suite for Education!  

On the left hand side you have buttons that take you to a Google Admin page, a resources page with the training slides our office uses during Google PDs and a link to information about our online virtual office hours.  


Chrome OS image
Chromebooks - 76
Mac/Pc Desktops/Laptops - 78
as of 11/28/2018


Mobile Device Setup

WELCOME BACK! - Chrome OS Version Update

posted Aug 22, 2019, 12:05 PM by Mark Willis

“Welcome back!  We’re really excited to jump into the new school year!  We have some great things coming in the Google G-Suite for the 19-20 school year.”

Please remember as you get your classrooms ready, it is very important that you make sure that your Chromebooks are running the latest approved version of the Chrome OS, which is version 75.   Also, your Macs and PCs should be running Chrome OS 76. As you take the Chromebooks out of storage, turn them on and let them connect to WiFi, wait about 5 mins or so, check the bottom right-hand corner for a notification that the Chromebook has received an update, then restart the Chromebook.   If you do not receive a notification then you will need to manually update the Chromebooks. The stepper can be found at https://gafe.philasd.org under resources.   If you have any questions contact the IT Help Desk or email gafe@philasd.org.   

Preparing Chromebooks for Summer Storage

posted May 10, 2019, 5:29 AM by Mark Willis

Storing Chromebooks long term

When the school year ends, you might wonder what to do with your Chromebooks. Here are some best practices to help ensure your devices work as expected when you return for next year’s class.


Battery tips

  • Do not let the Chromebook battery fully discharge over the summer. Even when a Chromebook is off, its battery continues to slowly lose charge. If left long enough, the batteries might no longer function and can’t be recharged.

  • At the same time, you shouldn’t keep Chromebooks plugged into a cart or charger while in storage for months. This can reduce battery life and lead to other issues. If you’re storing Chromebooks for a long time, charge them to at least 80% and unplug them from a battery source, following the instructions below.

Storage tips

If you plan to store Chromebooks for an extended period, follow these long-term storage steps:

  • Do not stack more than 7 devices on top of one another, because the weight of several Chromebooks can damage screens. Place the Chromebooks in a secure location, such as a cabinet or cart where they won’t be accidentally knocked over.

  • Store your Chromebooks in a cool, dry area, near  78°F (25°C). Be sure they avoid direct sunlight.

Prepare Chromebooks for long-term storage

  1. Charge your Chromebooks so that the battery is at least 80% full.
    This ensures that even when the battery discharges while unplugged over the summer, it won’t fully run out of power.

  2. To slow the discharge rate during storage, do not physically remove the battery from the Chromebook for storage. Instead, take the following steps:

    • Connect the device to a charger and turn it on.

    • Hold Refresh Refresh and Power Power at the same time.

    • While holding these keys, remove the power cable from device and then release the keys.

    • The device should shut down and remain off.

    • Confirm the battery disconnect worked by pressing the power button.

    • The device should not power on, despite having a battery charge. The Chromebook won’t power on by touching the power button or opening the lid, until you plug the device back to a power source.

    • If the unit powers on, you should repeat the powering down steps.

    • Once you have confirmed that the Chromebook is off store it in a cool, dry place, and near 78°F (25°C).

This is the ideal way to store devices. It reduces battery discharge to a minimum, prevents constant charge and discharge from reducing the battery life, and keeps the Chromebook in a stable, powered-off state.

Note: If you can’t put your model of Chromebook into the battery disconnect state described above, charge the battery to at least 80%. Then, turn off the Chromebook, unplug it from a power source, and store it in a cool, dry place.

Get your Chromebooks ready for school

A week before classes resume, get the Chromebooks ready for students.

  1. Connect the Chromebooks to a charger and a power source.
    This will get them out of the battery disconnect state.

  2. Power up your devices.

  3. Connect your Chromebooks to Wi-Fi and update them to the latest Chrome OS release.
    This can take time, as multiple Chrome OS versions might have been released since the last time the device was updated.

Note: Failure to follow these steps could cause your batteries to reach a critically low charge when the Chromebook is stored for long periods of time and could result in permanent failure of the battery.   


Dell provides a standard one year warranty on batteries. Batteries are a consumable item. All batteries degrade with time and use.

Updating ChromeOS on Chromebooks

posted Oct 19, 2018, 6:36 AM by Mark Willis

Updating ChromeOS on Chromebooks

Chromebooks will automatically try to download updates to the ChromeOS, and then install those updates when the Chromebook is restarted.  But sometimes devices will not update correctly and must be manually updated to bring them up to the current version.

If a Chromebook is not running the latest ChromeOS, these are some problems you might see:

  1. When trying to use the TestNav Kiosk App, the screen starts to load and never completes

  2. When trying to use Lexia Core5 or Lexia PowerUp, you receive a message that the device is running the incorrect version

  3. When attempting to Login to the Chromebook, you are returned to the Login screen with no error

  4. The Chromebook will not connect to the District’s Wifi network

To find out the current tested version of ChromeOS for your Chromebooks, or versions of the Chrome browser for Mac and Windows systems, please visit https://gafe.philasd.org.

To quickly check the version of ChromeOS on a Chromebook:

  1. Turn the Chromebook on

  2. Browse as Guest

  3. Go to the address bar and type “chrome://version”

  4. In the 1st line after “Google Chrome,” you will see the version listed

How can you check to see what version the Chromebook is currently using

  1. Turn Chromebook on

  2. Select Browse as Guest

  3. Click on the icon bottom-right hand corner

  4. Click on the Gear icon

  5. Click on the three bars in the top left-hand corner

  6. Click on About Chrome OS

  7. In the middle of the screen, you will the current version.

  8. At this point, you can click on check for updates.

  9. If there is an update it will day and asked you to reboot.

  10. If there are no updates it will let you know that the Chromebook is up to date.

If the Chromebook is saying it up-to-date but the version is not the current version or lower, we need to get the Chromebook updated to the latest version.

  1. Open the Chrome browser

  2. In the address bar type chrome://policy

  3. Click on the button to refresh policy.

  4. Close the browser

  5. Click on the icon in the bottom right-hand corner

Google Expeditions, Chromecast, Apple TV, or other media devices NOT SUPPORTED on PhilaSD network

posted Jan 5, 2018, 8:57 AM by Mark Willis   [ updated Jan 31, 2018, 7:57 AM ]

Use of Products using Chromecast or Multicast

Many schools and offices have inquired about adding certain devices to the School District’s network to stream or broadcast media.  Many of these devices use a technology known as “Multicast” to broadcast media to many other computers at the same time.  Multicast is great for personal home networks, but can easily overwhelm a large enterprise network, especially where WiFi is used heavily.  In addition, anyone can easily take control of these devices without using passwords, because they are not designed for a secure network.  As a result, in order to ensure reliable and secure Internet access for all users, Multicast is not supported on either the District’s wireless or wired networks.

The following products are not supported and can not be used on the School District’s network:

Apple TV

Google ChromeCast

Google Expeditions **

Roku Media Player

Amazon FireTV


Google Home



** The Office of Information Technology is currently working on a way to support the Google Expeditions product on the District’s network.  Please watch for further information before purchasing Google Expeditions hardware.

As always, please contact the Technology Help Desk before purchasing or attempting to use any type of media streaming devices on the District’s network - helpdesk@philasd.org or 215-400-5555.

End of Support for Adobe Flash - June 30, 2018

posted Jan 5, 2018, 8:54 AM by Mark Willis

Web-based Content using Adobe Flash Plug-in not working in the Chrome Browser

In August 2017, Adobe announced that the Flash Plug-in, used to provide content in web browsers for over 20 years, is being phased out completely.  The developers of the major web browsers have been working to remove Flash support over the last 2 years and we’re already seeing certain websites that are no longer functioning correctly.    Expect that all major web browsers will eliminate Flash Support within the next year.

Google has released its FINAL temporary fix to allow web based content to use the Flash plug-in. Google has confirmed that this will be the last fix.  By July 2018, the Flash Player Plug-in in Google Chrome will no longer work AT ALL. This includes the Chromebook Kiosk apps.  Once Google removes Flash from the Chrome browser, there will be nothing that can be done to restore it.   

Microsoft, Apple and Mozilla are expected to follow suit within the next year.

The Office of Information Technology began warning the District’s key vendors and partners nearly two years ago, applying pressure to replace Flash in their products.  If you use any other web-based resources that still rely on Flash, please let those providers know that if they do not move to HTML5 by June 2018, you will not be able to use their products anymore.

After July 2018, the Office of Information Technology will not be able to provide support for any software, services or issues related to Flash-based web content.  

Transferring Gmail & Drive to Another Google Account upon Graduating/Withdrawing/Retiring/Resigning

posted Jun 16, 2017, 8:59 AM by Mark Willis

Transferring Gmail and Drive to Another Google Account


Google provides an easy way to transfer your Gmail and Drive contents to another Google Account.   It could take up to one WEEK for the transfer to finish.  RESTRICTED content will not be transferred. Remember that your District Google Account has unlimited storage where as your personal Google account does not, you might need to purchase additional storage or delete some of your documents before transferring your files.  


To Transfer your district Gmail and Drive to another Google account follow the following steps:


  1. Log into your District Google Account

  2. Click on the circle with your initial or pic in it - located on the far right side of the screen


3. Click on MY ACCOUNT. It is in the blue box




4. Click on Control Your Content - located in the middle of the screen under the heading Personal Information & Privacy


5. Scroll down to the box labeled Transfer Your Content and click Start Transfer









6. Enter the Google account you want to transfer the files too or create a new account

7. Click on Send Code


8. Open the inbox for the account you are transferring the files too. You will have an email about verifying your account.  Open the email.


9. Click on “Get Confirmation Code.”







10. Copy and Paste the Code into the line for ENTER CODE



11. Click on VERIFY


12. Select which product you want to transfer by sliding the button to the left to select the product.










13. Click Start Transfer



You will receive an email in both accounts letting you know the transfer has started and another one once it has been completed.   It could take up to a WEEK for the transfer to finish.  RESTRICTED content will not be transferred.

Chromebook Enrollment

posted May 3, 2017, 8:31 AM by Mark Willis

When enrolling Chromebooks, the MAC address and other information from your Chromebook is captured.  Currently, in some cases, this information is not being captured.   The MAC address is used to register the Chromebook into the Wireless database so you will not need to authenticate to the wireless network each time you turn the Chromebook on.  

To make sure that Google has captured this information, please do the following AFTER ENROLLING and receiving the Successfully Enrolled screen:

  1. Log into the Chromebook  -  any philasd account can do this (make sure you have enrolled the device first)

  2. Open the web browser

  3. Go to any website

  4. Wait for 5 to 10 mins

  5. Now you can logoff and shutdown

If your time is limited and this cannot be performed at the time of enrollment it will happen the next time the Chromebook is turn on and used.  You will need to authenticate to the wireless network again and then log on to the Chromebook and open a web page for 5 to 10 minutes.

Update to Google Forms, Explore replacing Research, and the addition of Imagine Learning and Lexia app

posted Jan 10, 2017, 7:18 AM by Mark Willis


Google has replaced the tool Research with Explore.   To research topic, pictures, and etc for a Doc, Sheet,  and or Slide you no longer go to tools>research.  Instead on the bottom of the page in the right-hand corner you will see the explore icon  When you click on the explore icon it will provide you with suggestions related to information inside your document.  It will show you imagines, and related text.  You can always search for a topic you want as well.   If you want to insert the text or imagine, click on the + sign to the right of the item.  If you are inserting text it will automatically cite your work for you.  

Google Forms

Google has added some new features to Forms.   When adding questions to your form, Google will provide you with suggestions on what the answers can be.  Example:  What day of the week are you free? Google will provide you with the days of the week that can be selected.  To select suggestions just click on it and it will be added.  You can always just type in your own answers.  It will also make a suggestion on what type of answer should be given.  Whether it should be a short answer, paragraph, multi-choice, drop down, or checkbox. Respondent  can  upload a file to a question.  

Imagine Learning

Imagine Learning has moved their platform to a Cloud Based app.  All Elementary Schools in the district using Imagine Learning are now using the Cloud Based app.  The Site code is  4218990 for all schools..  We have pushed out an Chrome App for all users in the District, using the above mentioned Site code.  Students can access this app on a Chromebook or a Laptop or Desktop.  To access it on a Chromebook they  log onto the Chromebook, click on the Launcher (gray circle bottom left-hand corner), click on the Imagine Learning icon.   To access from a Laptop or Desktop, open the chrome browser, log on to the Chrome Browser and Google, click on the google apps icon (nine boxes in a square top left-hand corner), click on the Imagine Learning icon.   Both will load the app with the Site code already loaded, providing the students with just the logon screen.

Lexia Reading Core 5

We have created an app for Lexia Reading Core 5 with the district code already built in.   There a couple of ways to access this app:

1.) You can access from the APPs tab before you log onto to the Chromebook.   This is known as the kiosk app and the only thing you can do is work in that app; browsing the internet and opening other apps is blocked.

2.) The other way would be for your students to log onto the Chromebook and click on the gray circle on that bottom left-hand corner.  This is known as the App Launcher. This will display all the apps available to this user.  You would click on the Lexia Reading Core 5 icon.  Accessing this way will allow the students to open other apps and also browse the internet.   

New Google Sites Update & Viewing Videos in Google Drive and Classroom

posted Nov 7, 2016, 4:34 AM by Mark Willis

New Google Sites

Google will be releasing the New Sites app on November 9th.  Classic Google Sites will remain up and running until further notice.  In the future, Google will notify users and provide a timetable for the shutdown of Classic Sites, which is expected to be 1 year.  In 2017, Google is expected to provide users with an option  to automatically migrate  Classic Google Sites to the New Sites.

Once the new Google Sites is available, we encourage users to begin all new website projects using the new Google Sites, and consider migrating your existing Google Sites your own pace.  There is no guarantee that Google’s migration tool will work for all Sites, nor is it guaranteed that the new Sites will have all of the same features as Classic Google Sites.  Google Site publishers are responsible for evaluating their own project sites and working to maintain project after this change.

The New Google Sites feature is closely linked to Google Drive, and the site’s files are treated more like Google Docs.  So, in order to publish new Google Sites to the Internet, all users with current access to Sites can now publish any Google Drive document (Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Sites) with everyone on the web.  

With this comes great responsibility - as professionals, we need to carefully consider before sharing information with Google Apps.   We must not share private information as it relates to students or staff members with anyone not authorized to see that information.  This includes social security numbers,  grades, health related information, email addresses and other personally identifiable information.  Always be very mindful of this when publishing documents and or websites.    

Videos - Google Drive & Google Classroom

The issue with playing videos through Google Drive and Google Classroom has been resolved.  Students can now create videos and attach them to their assignments in Google Classroom, and Classroom teachers will be able to play the video without receiving an error message.

Google Updates & Changes

posted Sep 23, 2016, 4:41 AM by Mark Willis

Google Calendars

Staff and students now have the ability to share their primary Google Calendars with external users.  They can share their primary calendars to allow up to read and write permission levels with non-District Google Apps accounts.


YouTube has been enabled for all staff, allowing teachers to upload their own videos for use in the classroom.  Educators must use YouTube videos for educational purposes only and must tag their videos as educational.  And remember that, for any video that contains students, you must have prior written consent from guardians for the student to be in the video.

Google has also changed the terms of service for YouTube, requiring written consent from every student’s parent or guardian, which is something that the District we cannot do at this time.  As a result, students may only view YouTube videos while not logged into Google within a web browser.  Depending on the browser or operating system, students may experience some issues viewing YouTube videos.  We will continue to monitor and update accounts where possible to mitigate the changes made by Google.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics, Tag Manager, and Data Studio (beta) are now available for all staff members to use.  Google has changed the terms of service for Analytics such that we cannot make it available to our students at this time.

Google Classroom

Classroom now features summary emails which can be sent to parents and guardians who request it.  The feature cannot be managed centrally, so each teacher will need to decide whether or not to use it, and will be responsible for maintaining the list of guardian email subscribers for each Classroom. Teachers are responsible for ensuring they are not sharing any personal student information in the title or description of Google Classroom assignments, announcements or questions. The District is currently designing a process to create Google Apps accounts for student teachers and guest teachers, using a different trusted email domain.  Additional details will be coming in the near future.  The District will not be implementing any whitelisted (Hyperlink)  Google Classroom domains from universities or partners at this time.

Gmail and Google Contacts

Staff will no longer need to import the email addresses of student into Google Contacts.  The auto-complete function has been enabled for all students, so staff should be able to locate every student by ID number – this applies to Gmail, Drive, and Classroom.

Staff and student may now use IMAP to connect to their Gmail messages from email clients like Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird.  Use of POP3 will remain disabled.  Please note that support for other email clients is limited, and the District will encourage users to continue using the Gmail web interface.  For help setting up an IMAP client, follow these directions, starting with Step 2.


Google Chrome and Chromebooks

Google is taking even more steps toward deprecating websites which use Adobe Flash.  Beginning in September, Google will be updating the Chrome browser to further block the ability of website developers from using Flash.  Staff and students may find that some favorite resources are no longer available on Chromebooks or in the Chrome browser.  The District has no control over the direction or pace of the changes implemented by Google, but we will work with key partners to transition away from Flash-based content and toward new standards like HTML5.  If you experience issues with Flash-based sites, you may want to reach out to the content publishers, to find how they will be handling the transition to HTML5-based content.  https://chrome.googleblog.com/2016/08/flash-and-chrome.html

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