Using your own device (BYOD) for NWEA testing.

At this time of year, it’s testing season in the US, where I reside. My school, and likely thousands of others, are likely taking the MAP NWEA tests at this time of year.

Yesterday was the first day of testing for me, in my English class. I planned on using my trusty MacBook Air to get the job done, mainly because I’m more comfortable using my laptop (bigger screen, etc.).

 

Unfortunately, things went downhill fast. In Opera and Chrome, you needed something called the “Lockdown Browser”, a feature which really doesn’t lock down the browser at all. Ironic, eh? Sadly, NWEA doesn’t provide public downloads to the “Lockdown Browser” for Windows/Mac (you could try to ask your teacher). Yes, shady download websites do have downloads, but I’m not willing to download from uh…those shady sites.

 

Linux users: While I’m proud of you for using Linux, the only method that really works on your device would be to install a VM of Windows. Not only is the Chromebook recovery utility needed later in this tutorial not available on Linux, NWEA’s lockdown browser doesn’t support Linux! You could find a Windows computer to use the recovery utility, but you’d waste more time making a VM just to get the recovery tool. Just make a VM.

 

Quick little update: My good friend Mike called me, in which he alerted me that there are official download links on NWEA servers to the software on Windows/Mac (No Linux support? Come on NWEA!) for the Lockdown Browser.

To go this way, you’ll need a Windows machine or OS X machine running a pretty recent version (Win 7+ and best guess OS X 10.8+).

Download for the PC version – Here

Download for the Mac version – Here

Do your normal thing to install the Lockdown Browser.

I’d personally uninstall the Lockdown Browser after all my testing is done, it’s up to you if you want to uninstall iti.

 

If you still feel like installing Chrome OS (for a fact I know it consumes less power, I only used 4% battery while doing 40 minutes of testing on my laptop), the original instructions are below.

 

Moving on. If you’d like to use your own device for NWEA testing, and your district/teacher allows it, here’s how to do it.

This guide does assume you have a decent sum of technological knowledge. Proceed at your own risk.

 

To get around the “no public downloads” problem, we’ll be installing bootable Chrome OS onto a flash disk, where a public download does exist for the Lockdown Browser extension.

 

First up, you’ll want to have an 8 GB flash disk. Make sure this flash disk is fast, as slower flash disks will really bring Chrome OS to it’s knees. You’ll also want to store the data on that flash disk somewhere safe, as all data on the disk gets erased when creating the bootable Chrome OS disk.

Second up, you’ll want to know how to boot into a USB drive on your computer. It’s different for each computer, you can search the instructions yourself.

 

Let’s begin. You’ll want to download Neverware’s CloudReady, by heading to their site, neverware.com. At the bottom of the page, click the download link for the Home edition. Download the 64-bit edition for laptops >7 years old. Otherwise, download the 32-bit version out of safety for laptops <7 years old.

Once the .zip downloads, extract the .bin file out of the folder.

Next up, you’ll want the Chromebook Recovery Utility extension, available for Chrome here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/chromebook-recovery-utili/jndclpdbaamdhonoechobihbbiimdgai

Once you’re in the tool, click “Get Started”. Afterwards, click the settings Cog at the top right, and click “Use local image”. Browse for chromiumos_image.bin, and double click the file to open it up. Finally, click the storage media you want to use (be sure it’s the storage media you actually want to use!), and click “Continue”, and then “Create Now”.

The recovery tool will write and verify the image to your flash disk. It may take a little while, especially for slower drives, so do something else in the mean time.

Once that’s done, you’ll want re-open this article on your phone, or another device so that you can keep reading.

Let’s boot into CloudReady! First, shut down your machine, PROPERLY. thanks <3

Afterwards, boot up your machine, taking note of what special keys you’ll need to press/hold to boot into an external disk. Boot into your flash disk, and CloudReady should start up. Run through the setup process, and log into your Google account.

Congrats, you’re almost done! You’ll now want to re-open this article on your computer, again, and open up the Chrome Web Store.

Finally, you’ll want the MAP Chromebook Testing extension, available here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/map-chromebook-testing-ap/omkghcboodpimaoimdkmigofhjcpmpeb

Get it installed, and you should be good to go for test day.

 

Once you’re done fooling around with CloudReady, shut down your computer, and remove your flash disk. Boot up your computer normally, and you’re good to go.

 

One quick note. In the status bar, make sure to never, ever hit “Install CloudReady”. Go too far, and you’ve permanently wiped your disk, and made your laptop into a Chromebook. Yikes.

 

Hope this little article helps someone in the world. I think.

 

Prologue: Today, May 26, it worked beautifully! I was able to take the MAP test. Recalling history, I don’t think you specifically need the MAP Chromebook Testing extension, but out of safety, it’s a good thing to have.

If you have a school-issued Google account, it’s likely a good idea to log into those. Your IT admin likely set up your school’s Google accounts to work with NWEA testing.

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