Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Back to School with Chromebooks

Many of you are heading back to school this year with more devices in the classroom that you’ve ever had access to!  Chromebooks have spread like wildfire into schools all over the world and now students have the world’s information at their fingertips!  Let’s make sure that we use those devices for engaging, real world learning in the digital age.

Here are a few things to think about as you head back to your Chromebook Classroom.

1.  Make sure to review Chromebook vocabulary together in the first week so that you are all on the same page when you talk about the OmniBox, Tabs and Extensions.  

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We’ve even had fun calling the navigation array - the Waffle and the Chrome menu bar the three hotdogs.  
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The refresh button above the number 4 key on your Chromebook - we call it the Google Magic Button - because REFRESH usually solves most of our Google hiccups.  

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Create a common language of vocabulary with your students and establish those terms early.

2. Customize your Chrome Browser with these extensions and teach the students how to use them.  It’s probably a good idea to also have a conversation with your students about when it is appropriate for them to download something from the Chrome Web Store.  We like to create some rules about searching and downloading extensions.  Have a conversation and set expectations clearly.

  • Read & Write for Google - Accessibility extension for emerging or struggling readers and writers.
  • Google Dictionary - View definitions and hear pronunciations easily as you browse the web.
  • Awesome Screenshot - Capture a web page or any portion, annotate the image and save to drive.
  • Clearly - Clearly makes blog posts, articles and webpages clean and easy to read.
  • Shorten Me - Instantly shorten links with, copy them to your clipboard and generate a QR code.
  • SpeakIt - Tired of reading? Select text you want to read and listen to it. SpeakIt converts text into speech so you no longer need to read.
  • TechSmith SnagIt - Take a screenshot, screen capture, or screen video recording. Collaborate and show what you know.

3.  Make sure to talk about Chromebook Care the first time you take the Chromebooks out of the cart.  James Sanders created this fun Chromebook Care video that you can share with your students to encourage proper care of your precious devices.

4. Be proactive with talking about Digital Citizenship!  We don’t expect our students to go throughout the year with out issues out on the playground or at recess so we can’t expect that students are going to get through the year without a “digital citizenship” situation.  Start the year by enrolling the students in Common Sense Media’s Digital Passport (good for grades 3-5) or by committing to teaching the Interactive Scope and Sequence with your students.  Each unit has student assessments built in as well so you can make sure the students understand what they are learning.

5.  Digital Age Learning is using devices to ACCESS CONTENT, COLLABORATE and CREATE.
Here are a few great websites and tools for Digital Age Learning in these specific areas..


6. Finally, remember that we are all LIVING IN BETA.  Launch things early in your classroom and work with the students to make them better.  Have a bias towards action with Digital Learning in your classroom and use all of the hiccups, mistakes, and failures as a way to create a community of problem solves in your classroom.  The world's information is at the fingertips of your students - make sure that we are asking questions that the students don’t just have to Google to find an answer to!  Ask questions where the kids are CREATING the answer!

Have a GREAT start to the school year!  More Chromebook info coming soon!



Carrie Baughcum said...

What a great back to school post! I love the tidbits of information and the energy of the reminders that will keep our teaching rich and our students inspired and excited!!

Carrie Baughcum said...

One more quick thing... your header seems to be missing, broken? :( All I see is a gray circle with a minus sign in it. I thought you might want to know.

Shawn Brandt said...

Thanks for the post, Molly. A lot of great reminders and resources as we start the school year. I watched the James Sanders video you posted... thought I would share the Caring for Your Chromebook video we are using with our rollout. Feel free to share if you ever need an example for secondary teachers: