Google Chrome - District settings


#1

Not technically innovation but I thought I share this information here.

Over the break, we deployed a few minor changes to the Chrome browser running on district PCs or Chromebooks. Mainly for student accounts but also some for staff. The changes weren’t significant enough for us to communicate these in an all staff. But I thought I share here the changes we made:

The specific settings listed in this spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ghOnF2nRmFRZQXAjIoGqB1d2lSV9vvtnSs6Nr-Qb34I/edit#gid=0

In short. For staff, Chrome was made the default browser, safe browsing setting forced.
For students, same settings as for staff plus, disabled incognito mode, disabled developer tools, forced safe search, forced youtube safe mode, forced only @district287.org logins to Google Apps.

Some of these settings were in place for some groups of students before, but now they are in place for all student accounts.

-Jonas


#2

Thanks for the info, Jonas.

I created a new category “Tech Issues & News” for this type of post.


#3

My adblock extension doesn’t work anymore, and I don’t seem to be able to reinstall it. Is this related to changed settings at all? Youtube with ads is super-annoying.


#4

Hannah,

It is not directly related, but I know about what you describe.

We’ve noticed that one Google Extension, the one called “Adblock Plus” was not working well in our environment. To the point of breaking our web filter at Epsilon one day in December, so we had to remove/block it. In some situations we also noticed that it would lock up web-pages and delay opening new tabs.

We instead recommend the Adblocker called “Ublock Origin”. Same functionality, open source and free, it seems to be working better in our environment. It’s highly regarded in security and tech circles as well.

We are contemplating pushing out Ublock Origin as a default installation for all our computers/chromebooks but we are still researching it’s potential negative impacts.

-Jonas


#5

Hi Jonas,

I have a question about Chromebook settings. Within Settings, under Advanced --> Accessibility Features there is an “On Screen Keyboard” feature that, when enabled, pops up a qwerty keyboard on screen that blocks half the screen and makes it very difficult or impossible to view the actual field or document the user is typing in. My question is – this feature seems to have been recently enabled on many (all?) student devices. I’ve been going around and helping students disable it. Do we know how/why this may have been enabled? Is there a way to universally reset that? Is there a keystroke or something that enables this feature? I’m seeing it on lots of student devices but I’m sure that none of them intentionally enabled it.

Ben


#6

Ben,

I am not aware of any recent change that would’ve modified this. The only recent changes are the ones from late December listed in the top of this thread.

In terms of fixing this, there is a setting that we can use is one that clears any previous accessibility settings from a previous user in the login screen.

But that is only to make sure the default settings are used in the login screen. After a user logs in, it should always use the user setting from their account and that setting should stick from login to login.

I am not sure why this would happen on your devices, other than some students having used this setting on those machines.

If you want to confirm exactly what settings come from district-wide forced settings and also to help troubleshoot the issue. When a student is logged in, open up: chrome://policy/
Any setting listed as “Cloud” means that we are pushing it through our Google Apps domain. Any setting listed as Platform is pushed through Group Policy if PC. The specific setting listed as “VirtualKeyboardEnabled” is the one that controls this functionality. If that one shows up in the policy list, let me know and I can troubleshoot why this is, it should not show up.

-Jonas