Each of our elementary schools will have six Chromebooks carts in addition to their netbook and iPad carts. With the addition of Chromebooks, it’s important to learn about the Chromebooks, experience them, understand some of the differences, and recognize the power within the Chrome Web Store.
How are Chromebooks different?
Chromebooks have a web based management council. This means they:
- update themselves;
- boot up in 6-8 seconds (and over time that speeds up);
- cannot have software installed on them;
- can have the Tech Department install apps and extensions through the Chrome Web Store (including a plethora of Educational Apps);
- can do most anything online via the Chrome browser;
- and, start up by entering desktop (elementary students won’t have individual logins, so they will click “enter” twice to get to desktop), then go straight into Chrome.
What do we need to know about the Chromebook hardware?
There are different types of Chromebooks. The one we are using in our district is the Samsung. They are light (2.42 pounds) and have a battery life of approximately 6.5 hours.
We also need to be aware that the screens are known to break easily if they are picked up by the screen (top) instead of the keyboard (base). Therefore, it’s important that we model and expect everyone to pick them up by the base, and review/establish procedures for walking with the Chromebooks.
Here’s a list of shortcuts for the Chromebook. There are some that you will want to specifically teach the students such as:
Screenshots can be added to an email or a Google Doc by inserting an image. Likewise, the image can be uploaded to other applications such as a blog post, etc.
To right click, press Alt + click or place two fingers on the mousepad and click.
Getting to the Chrome Web Store:
There are educational applications that can be added to the Chromebooks, similar to adding an app to an iPad from iTunes. At our Elementary Schools, we’ll have apps added a la carte! In other words, it will be by cart… which means we’ll collect a list from the teams, and have Mr. Tucker install those for you (kind of like how Configurator does for the iPad carts).
How will the teachers know which apps to have the Tech Department install on the carts?
Teachers do not need Chromebooks to try out the apps–they just need to be logged into Google Apps, and have their Chrome browser open. Then, they can add apps and extensions to their Chrome browser from the Chrome Web Store.
→NOTE: Some apps are for individual use only, and can not be pushed out and installed on the Chromebooks.
There are many ways to get to the Chrome Web Store from the Teacher laptop. Here are a few of them:
- Google “Chrome Web Store” then click on the link. Then select Education.
- Visit the Elementary School Collection on the Chrome Web Store.
- Go to the Chrome Web Store sampling of Educational Apps, then select one of the hyperlinks to take you to the Chrome Web Store.
- Visit the complete list of Educational Apps.
Installing from the Chrome Web Store:
Launching the App:
There are two easy ways to launch the app.
- Once installed, you can click “Launch App.”
- Or, add a new tab (CTRL T) and it will appear in the icons. Then click the app icon to launch (see example below).
Extensions are installed onto the toolbar (EG the Diigo extension for Chrome).
Google has a new feature called Add-Ons, which can be installed on Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets. While Add-Ons don’t require going to the Chrome Web Store, I thought it was valuable to share how to make the all powerful Google Docs and Google Sheets a little more robust.
For example, Doctopus (great for management of assignments and projects) and Kaizena (which used to be called Google Voice, allows you to leave voice comments on documents) can now be added through Add-Ons.
Some suggested apps for elementary students:
- Apps for Common Core — App for online drills related to standards.
- Biteslide — Biteslide is the easy and engaging way to make school projects more creative.
- EasyBib — Research management platform where students learn to avoid plagiarism, organize notes, and analyze work.
- Glogster EDU — Collaborate to express creativity through creation of posters with videos, graphics, sounds
- GoAnimate — Create animations with characters, camera, import music, sound effects, record dialogues and more.
- InstraGrok — It’s a research engine that lets you learn about any topic. A graphical concept map shows you how important ideas connect.
- Khan Academy — With over 3,100 videos from math to physics, finance, and history get to learn what you want, when you want.
- Lucid Chart — Collaborate real time on flowcharts, venn diagrams, mind maps, and other diagrams.
- Maps: Google Maps — Find local business information, directions, and street-level imagery around the world with Google Maps.
- MeeGenius! Children’s Books — Read each book with audio playback, word highlighting and automatic playback! Want to read it yourself, just click the pause button, and then turn the pages manually.
- Pixton Comic Maker EDU — Create comics with characters, speech bubbles, background, images, voice-over and more.
- PowToon Edu — PowToon lets you create awesome presentations and animated videos.
- RSS: Feedly — Feedly is a news reader for creative minds. Seamless migration from Google Reader.
- Slide Rocket — Create, collaborate and share amazing presentations.
- Study Blue — Make flashcards and store class notes. Study online for effective, productive learning.
- Stupeflix — Turn photos, videos, text and music into beautiful videos that tell meaningful stories.
- SumoPaint — Tune photos, create drawings, browse and remix images from others – it’s a fun way to share inspiration.
- Typing Club — Practice typing skills and track performance through an admin interface.
- VocabularySpellingCity — VocabularySpellingCity offers learning games and activities including spelling tests and flash cards for students to use to practice spelling and vocabulary words entered by their teachers or parents.
- WeVideo — Professional level video editor for students and teachers to collaborate, create and share video stories.
Finding tools for your students to use is an important part of technology integration. How will they will use those tools for learning? Will the tool be used for memorization (DOK 1)? Skills/application (DOK 2)? Strategic thinking (DOK 3)? Or, extended thinking (DOK 4)? Will it be used as a paper and pencil substitution or will it be used to transform learning?
- What Chrome apps or extensions would you add to this list?
- What other hardware thoughts or questions should be shared?
- Do you have other thoughts or questions about Chromebooks and the Chrome Web Store?