Tag Archives: chromebooks

Education

Inspire Student Creativity with Chromebooks

chromebookWhile access to information does not make a student instantly knowledgeable, it does change the role of the teacher. This transformation leads to the question of, why creativity? One needs only to examine the current landscape and intersection of technology with education, business, and society to quickly recognize the dramatic shift that has taken place over the past few years. With technology potentially impacting the required and desired skill set for future work, education is being impacted in a way that fundamentally transforms the vision of what meaningful work looks like the in the classroom. With nearly unlimited access to information in 1:1 classrooms, the nature of instruction, inquiry and teaching is impacted in ways that shift the role of both the teacher and student.

Creativity & Chromebooks

When a classroom shifts to a 1:1 Chromebook environment, the normal progression of thought on how students will use these tools typically revolves around Google Classroom, Drive, Docs and Slides. However, the Chromebook landscape is rapidly changing. With recent announcements by Google, Android apps and the Google Play store will soon be available for use on Chromebooks. However, students and teachers need not wait for this functionality to arrive on their Chromebooks to begin shifting their thinking and their vision for Chromebook use in the classroom.
While the core set of Google Apps for Education tools will always be the foundation for Chromebook use in education, there is a growing potential for creative uses of Chromebooks. At EdTechTeacher, we have been working with Google for Education to help identify and curate the best Chromebook apps available to promote student creativity in the classroom. This first Creativity bundle will be the first in a series that highlights a specific theme and use-case for Chromebooks. The creativity bundle explores the capacity for students to create and edit audio with Soundtrap, create screencasts with Explain Everything, and edit video with WeVideo.

Soundtrap

This could be one of the most exciting platforms that I have explored recently. If one is at all familiar with audio capture and editing for classroom use, the Soundtrap interface will feel right at home. For those new to the concept of audio editing, the Soundtrap interface is designed for students and teachers to create relatively quickly with a short learning curve. Best of all, it works across devices…all devices!
Specifically on the Chromebook, Soundtrap allows students to capture audio, edit, collaborate and publish their final podcast, radio show, or interview. While Soundtrap was originally designed as a tool for musicians to easily capture their musical creations, as a platform for recording and editing audio in the classroom, it is ideal.
chromebook
Soundtrap also provides a Soundtrap for Education platform that allows for enhanced control for teacher and student classroom use. Within the Education portal, students can safely work within their own closed environment, and teachers can push out assignments to students via Google Classroom. When distributed to Google Classroom, students with automatically receive their own copy of the teacher created audio file, and the teacher will instantly become a collaborator on the student’s audio project.

Explain Everything

With an established history in the field of screencasting, the arrival of Explain Everything on Chromebooks transforms the capacity of the device to allow for limitless student creativity. Whether students are reflecting on written text, describing visuals, or creating an original animation, Explain Everything is an outstanding fit. With a recent update, images that have been downloaded to the local Chromebook folder can be imported into the recording canvas. Further, during the recording process, students can play back their recording to check for any needed editing or retakes. Once a recording is complete, the final product can be exported directly to Google Drive or to the local downloads folder for offline storage.
chromebook
Explain Everything for Chromebooks is a free download from the Chrome Web Store and allows for a free 30 day trial before a school or district license needs to be purchased. The EDU Group Account allows for management of users and increased control for classroom teachers or administrators.

WeVideo

WeVideo is a flexible video editing platform that allows students to create videos on their Chromebook. With all of the basic video editing tools one would expect built into the platform (text, voice-overs, stock video backgrounds, and transitions) any video project suitable for the classroom can be created, edited, and shared from WeVideo.
chromebook
WeVideo also provides classroom management and collaborative creation features for schools with the WeVideo Education program. For example, teachers can create Media Folders that can be pre-populated with images and video that students can then use to create their own unique final edit. Further, teachers can create Projects and select from a number of sharing options to “push” the project with selected Media Folders to their students. When students create a new Video Edit within a Project, the teacher has access to view and collaborate on student work.
Now that editing video on a Chromebook is possible with WeVideo, the challenge that persists is how to use video content captured by students in the process. The solution: Google Drive. Consider the power of students uploading video captured with their mobile device to a project folder in Google Drive. Once uploaded, the video content can be imported directly into WeVideo, added to a video edit, and mixed into their final edit.
chromebook

Bringing It All Together

When equipped with Explain Everything as a screencasting tool, Soundtrap as an audio capture and music creation platform, and WeVideo with the ability to edit all of the content, the Chromebook becomes a multimedia creation studio in the hands of our students. Consider the creative possibilities…

Get Innovative with Google this Year!

Come join Greg Kulowiec and other educators from across the country in Boston and San Diego this coming year. The EdTechTeacher Innovation Summits will bring together educators from across the country to discuss the best ways to innovate student learning with Chromebooks, Google Apps for Education, and more.
chromebook
 
Featured image via Unsplash

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Education

3 Powerful New Ways to Use Chromebooks

When Chromebooks first entered into the 1:1 classroom environment, most people viewed the device to be strictly a portal to access Google Drive and the Google Apps for Education suite of tools. While there is immense power and potential to create collaborative working environments exclusively within Google Drive, Chromebooks have become so much more than just a gateway to Google Drive.

Chromebooks for Student Video Reflections

From the outset, creating video on Chromebooks proved to be a bit of challenge. In the early stages of Chromebook video creation, one was forced to use a Google Hangout on Air to record a Chromebook screen. With the emergence of Chrome extensions such as Screencastify and Snagit, screen recording on a Chromebook became increasingly viable. Chromebook classrooms can now add a new video creation tool into the mix. With Recap, students can easily create video reflections.
From the creators of the Swivl, Recap is a “high velocity” video reflection platform that allows students to quickly and easily submit video reflections based on teacher-generated assignments. Recently out of limited BETA testing, Recap is now open to all teachers and students. The platform works exceptionally well on Chromebooks.
Recap allows for quick, easy to create, and timely video reflection. The setup process in Recap will feel familiar to students, and the interface is exceptionally easy to navigate for teachers. Simply create a class in Recap, enter student names, and provide a class PIN number to the students. The non-email login option is a helpful feature with elementary and middle school classrooms. For high school classrooms looking to use recap, there is an option to have students log in with an email address.
From the student perspective, simply navigate to the student login page, enter the PIN number, and select their name. The simplicity of the platform is Recap’s strength. When a teacher creates an assignment in Recap, questions can either be text-based or a teacher-created video. A maximum response time per question can be established as well as a due date. Once students log in to the class, they will be immediately directed to the outstanding assignment.
The beauty of Recap is that the front facing camera is instantly activated and students reply directly within the platform. There is no need to download, upload, or share video files. When submitted, all student video reflections for the assignment can be viewed directly from the teacher dashboard. Without any need to download the video to view student submissions, teachers can quickly view and scroll through multiple student submissions. To keep the workflow simple, if teachers want to share student created video responses, there is a unique link provided for each student submission.

Recap & Visible Thinking

With the ability to instantly capture student thinking through video, the most critical question becomes, “What do I ask my students to ponder, reflect on, or consider?” One place to begin is with a series of Visible Thinking routines from Harvard’s Project Zero. By combining a Visible Thinking routine with Recap, teachers can end up with a clear insight into not only into the culminating answer to a question, but also the thought process or reflection on how a student ended up at their unique perspective.
Consider posting the Visible Thinking routine, “I Used To Think…,But Now I Think…” at the end of a class and giving each student one or two minutes to reply to each prompt through Recap. By pairing this thinking routine with a traditional assignment where the task is for students to answer specific questions based on course content, Recap can allow for insight that is simply not attainable at without using the technology.
As an alternative, Recap and a Visible Thinking routine can be used to gauge student understanding at the outset of exploring a new concept. Consider the “See, Think, Wonder” routine. Without any direct instruction, students can reflect via a Recap video assignment by explaining their initial observations (see), their evaluation and analysis (think) and finally their unanswered ponderings or questions (wonder). Once submitted through Recap, specific student submissions can be shared back out to the class via a web link.
Along with reflections and answering questions, Recap and a creativity Visible Thinking routine can be used to help students develop the capacity to think creatively about a scenario, concept or problem. While not for the purpose of collecting and evaluating a series of correct answers, pairing this style of routines opens up another potential use for Recap as well as an avenue for students to think creatively about challenging concepts. One particular creative thinking routine from Project Zero asks students to explore the following questions:

  • What would it be like if…
  • How would it be different if…
  • Suppose that …
  • What would change if …
  • How would it look differently if …

Each question from this routine could be added as a question within a Recap assignment, allowing a student to work through a concept step by step to develop a unique and creative perspective.
Each question from this routine could be added as a question within a Recap assignment, allowing a student to work through a concept step by step to develop a unique and creative perspective.
Check out the full demonstration video from Greg and how-to slides on the EdTechTeacher website.
 

Want to learn more from Greg this Summer? He will be on both coasts!ettsummer.org/greg

chromebooks

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Education

How to create and collaborate (yes, really) online with Microsoft Excel

Office365-Excel-1, EdTechTeacher
Until recently, in the world of online collaboration, Microsoft has been decidedly lacking. However, they have made impressive strides in online and cloud computing tools over the past year. For example, you can now easily create, edit, and collaborate on Excel spreadsheets and workbooks.
This can be accomplished using the new Office Online or Office 365. It’s important to note that while Office Online is free, Office 365 is a paid resource ($99/year home and $69/year personal annual subscription; K-12 institutions have their own pricing tiers) and will give you greater access to resources, including free full-use of Mobile and Computer apps.
Microsoft recently extended its educational Microsoft Office license to include its online 365 service for free to schools. This means that if your school has a Microsoft license, you already have access to this tool. Just check with your IT administrative team to learn how to log on and access it.
Office365-Excel-1, EdTechTeacher
Navigating Office Online is a little different than the local tools on your computer. However, they are quick to figure out. To log in, go to Office.com (if you have a free Microsoft account or Office 365 account) or go to login.live.com to create an account. Today, we’re going to explore Excel, so click on the Excel icon to get started.

Excel: More than a basic spreadsheet

A new window will open and, just like the desktop version, you will be given the option to access your recent workbooks or to create a new one using one of Excel’s workbook or spreadsheet templates. If you select a workbook that you have recently been working on, then you will need to click on Edit workbook → Edit in Excel Online (for collaborative features) or Edit in Excel (to open on your desktop for more advanced functionality).
Once you do this, you will have access to many of Excel’s robust tools. You can can format spreadsheets and columns, include complex functions, create charts and graphs, and more! With a school or paid-for subscription to Office 365, you even have unlimited storage for working with Excel online.
OOffice365-Excel-1, EdTechTeacherne of the best features of Office Online and Office 365, however, is something that you won’t find on the traditional Microsoft desktop tools (at least not yet): the ability to collaborate in real time with others! No more emailing a file back and forth, you can simply click the “share” icon and either share via email address with view or edit privileges or share with a link (again view or edit privileges).
If you share via a link with editing privileges, the other user does not even need an Office Online or Office 365 account! This is a great way to collaborate with others who don’t have access to Microsoft products.
All of your changes are saved automatically in the cloud, so it’s perfect for a Mobile environment where you’re always on the go. The workbook will be stored in your OneDrive, so you can access it anywhere (online, app on your tablet or smartphone, or any computer)! The new Office Online tools extend Microsoft’s robust document editing tool to the web and is accessible from any device

Come Collaborate This Summer!

  • Workshop for That, EdTechTeacher Summer WorkshopsGoogle & Web Tools in the Student-Centered Classroom
  • The Chromebook Classroom
  • The iPad Classroom
  • And More!

View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org
 
Featured image by Apollo Zeus via Flickr cc

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Education

How to manage your Google Chromebooks with the Google Admin Console

Every now and again, Google’s propaganda is downright useful, and this is a case in point.
This video shows how the Google Admin Console makes deploying and managing your school’s Chromebooks a simple task, not a headache. The Admin Console allows you to remotely manage your students’ experience and add users, devices, printers, and network access all from the web and easily enforce over 200 digital policies across all of your Chromebooks.
You can even customize bookmarks and wallpaper for every student, grade level, or instructor. Using Chromebooks means all you have to manage is the learning.

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Education Work

You can now use Microsoft Office 365 on Chromebooks. Here’s how.

Many thanks to Jonathan Wylie for his professional input.

Chromebooks have quickly become an incredibly popular tool in schools. However, this has previously limited users to only Google’s productivity tools. One of the most common complaints that I hear about Google Apps for Education tools (Gmail, Docs, Slides, etc), is that they are not as robust as those you find in the Microsoft Office Suite. Now, with the recent upgrades to Office Online and Office 365, it is possible navigate to the full Office suite using a Chromebook – or any other device! Office Online and Office 365 offer new, web-based version of Microsoft tools and allows users to create and edit documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and more using only your browser. Another great feature of these tools is that it allow you to collaborate with others (even if they don’t have a subscription). All of your Office 365 creations will be saved in your OneDrive account in the cloud, so no need to worry about saving it on your machine!

In order to use these new office tools, you will need to have either an Office 365 subscription ($99/year for a home and family edition) or sign up for a free Microsoft account at Office.com (note that if you have a hotmail account, those credentials will also work).

An Office 365 subscription allows you to download the latest version of the software to your device as well as to use Mobile Apps for free. Recently, Microsoft extended its traditional educational license to include a subscription to Office 365 for Education. So if you have Office on your school computer, then you have the ability to create an Office 365 account and access more robust features in the Office 365 suite; speak to your IT manager to see what options may be available.

To access the Office Suite online, go to: login.microsoftonline.com and login with your personal or school credentials (again, check with your IT manager). Once you are logged in, you will see the option to access all of your available Office tools and then select the tool that you want to use. If you are using an Office 365 Education account, your administrator can determine which tools will be made available and which may not be turned on.

As an example, in my domain, I cannot access Mail or Calendar because we use a different system and Sites and Tasks have been turned off completely. However, here are a few highlights of what is possible with Office 365 on any Chromebook or Computer.

Office 365 Start

Mail

Not only can you now easily access your email via the web, there’s even a Chrome app. Like Gmail, Outlook now threads conversations, keeping all messages and replies together. From the web, it is possible to read and reply to messages as well as to organize emails into folders. A particularly handy feature is the green “replied to” indicator to show when exactly you responded to a specific message.

Calendars

Much like with Google Calendars, through Office 365 and Office Online you can now also access any personal or shared calendars. Students can subscribe to class calendars and even create shared calendars for specific courses or groups. A really nice feature is the ability to view different calendars as tabs. This way, you can view everything or only the events on specific calendars. If your school uses a lot of shared calendars, then this could be extremely helpful for scheduling purposes.

Collaborating with Office Online and Office 365

A great, new feature of the Office Online tools is the ability to add collaborators to any Word, PowerPoint, or Excel file! Simply click the Share icon in the top right corner. A new window will pop up giving you the option to share with view or editing privileges. You can share by email or via a link (no need for a subscription)!

Once the document is shared, you can collaborate in real time, from any device (including your Chromebook)! All of the Office tools have robust online features and sharing capabilities. You can even collaborate on a PowerPoint Presentation, include the fancy transitions, and even present directly from the cloud!

Expanding Office beyond a hard drive and into the cloud gives Chromebook users greater options, more collaborative abilities, and access to a more robust suite of tools to expand their learning environment. Look for more information about these tools in coming posts.

Also read:
Six reasons why you should go back to Microsoft Office.

Come Collaborate This Summer!

ETTsummer1

  • Google & Web Tools in the Student-Centered Classroom
  • The Chromebook Classroom
  • The iPad Classroom
  • And More!

View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org

Read More
Education Work

You can now use Microsoft Office 365 on Chromebooks. Here's how.

Many thanks to Jonathan Wylie for his professional input.

Chromebooks have quickly become an incredibly popular tool in schools. However, this has previously limited users to only Google’s productivity tools. One of the most common complaints that I hear about Google Apps for Education tools (Gmail, Docs, Slides, etc), is that they are not as robust as those you find in the Microsoft Office Suite. Now, with the recent upgrades to Office Online and Office 365, it is possible navigate to the full Office suite using a Chromebook – or any other device! Office Online and Office 365 offer new, web-based version of Microsoft tools and allows users to create and edit documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and more using only your browser. Another great feature of these tools is that it allow you to collaborate with others (even if they don’t have a subscription). All of your Office 365 creations will be saved in your OneDrive account in the cloud, so no need to worry about saving it on your machine!

In order to use these new office tools, you will need to have either an Office 365 subscription ($99/year for a home and family edition) or sign up for a free Microsoft account at Office.com (note that if you have a hotmail account, those credentials will also work).
An Office 365 subscription allows you to download the latest version of the software to your device as well as to use Mobile Apps for free. Recently, Microsoft extended its traditional educational license to include a subscription to Office 365 for Education. So if you have Office on your school computer, then you have the ability to create an Office 365 account and access more robust features in the Office 365 suite; speak to your IT manager to see what options may be available.
To access the Office Suite online, go to: login.microsoftonline.com and login with your personal or school credentials (again, check with your IT manager). Once you are logged in, you will see the option to access all of your available Office tools and then select the tool that you want to use. If you are using an Office 365 Education account, your administrator can determine which tools will be made available and which may not be turned on.
As an example, in my domain, I cannot access Mail or Calendar because we use a different system and Sites and Tasks have been turned off completely. However, here are a few highlights of what is possible with Office 365 on any Chromebook or Computer.
Office 365 Start

Mail

Not only can you now easily access your email via the web, there’s even a Chrome app. Like Gmail, Outlook now threads conversations, keeping all messages and replies together. From the web, it is possible to read and reply to messages as well as to organize emails into folders. A particularly handy feature is the green “replied to” indicator to show when exactly you responded to a specific message.

Calendars

Much like with Google Calendars, through Office 365 and Office Online you can now also access any personal or shared calendars. Students can subscribe to class calendars and even create shared calendars for specific courses or groups. A really nice feature is the ability to view different calendars as tabs. This way, you can view everything or only the events on specific calendars. If your school uses a lot of shared calendars, then this could be extremely helpful for scheduling purposes.

Collaborating with Office Online and Office 365

A great, new feature of the Office Online tools is the ability to add collaborators to any Word, PowerPoint, or Excel file! Simply click the Share icon in the top right corner. A new window will pop up giving you the option to share with view or editing privileges. You can share by email or via a link (no need for a subscription)!
Once the document is shared, you can collaborate in real time, from any device (including your Chromebook)! All of the Office tools have robust online features and sharing capabilities. You can even collaborate on a PowerPoint Presentation, include the fancy transitions, and even present directly from the cloud!
Expanding Office beyond a hard drive and into the cloud gives Chromebook users greater options, more collaborative abilities, and access to a more robust suite of tools to expand their learning environment. Look for more information about these tools in coming posts.
Also read:
Six reasons why you should go back to Microsoft Office.

Come Collaborate This Summer!

ETTsummer1

  • Google & Web Tools in the Student-Centered Classroom
  • The Chromebook Classroom
  • The iPad Classroom
  • And More!

View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org

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Education

Technology, Learning, and Chromebooks in the Elementary Classroom

Providing access to more than just apps, Google Chromebooks are the perfect tool to build the foundation for technology success in young students. Throughout my years as a K-8 technology teacher & coordinator, many people have asked me what Kindergartners, first graders, and second graders might truly do with computers in the classroom. As students reach the intermediate grade levels, it is easier for people to imagine what they will do with technology. They will utilize word processors to write essays; they will construct videos to demonstrate knowledge; they will work within a spreadsheet to collect and analyze data. But our little people in kindergarten, first, and second grade are often overlooked when it comes to 1:1 technology, or tablet devices are often seen as the only option.

So Much More than ScreenTime

Many people fear that computer usage in the early elementary years consists of just “playing games” and want to limit the “screen time.” However, it has been my experience that technology is no different from reading, writing, and math. There are building blocks and foundations that need to be constructed in order for students to become capable, efficient, and effective users of technology.
Young children are sponges. They come to life with the use of technological tools. They easily adopt new technologies as quickly as toddlers develop language skills. Their inhibitions are low, and their interest is high. So when the question of “What purpose would Chromebooks serve in the Kindergarten, first, or second grade classroom?” is asked, the answer is easy. They’ll use it as another tool for learning.
When I taught technology to kindergartners, we worked on word processing even before they could read! We spent hours exploring strategies for creating and organizing files. We spent time practicing basic keyboarding skills, and doing digital storytelling during Kindergarten and first grade. By the end of second grade, students had explored mind-mapping programs and had moved on to presentation software. At the end of third grade, the students had all mastered touch-typing and could type without a glance at the keyboard at the average rate of 40 wpm.

Basic Skills for Success

When students walk into our classrooms, we teach them to use pencils, paper, and folders. Pencils write, but kindergarten teachers have to teach students to hold the pencil appropriately. Paper holds the thoughts expressed, and folders contain and organize the paper. Ask any teacher, and you will probably hear that students have to be taught to organize their papers into folders. They have to be reminded to take their folders to and from school. The computer world is no different.
Over the years, I have spent countless hours helping students search for a missing file. To the questions, “What did you name it?” and “Where did you save it?” the answer is always the same. “I don’t know.” Without proper training, many students and teachers alike lack the knowledge and skills to save and organize files appropriately.

Organization as a Key to Early Success

Google Drive organization can be its own unit of study. Strong file management skills are something that many adults lack. Being able to move files between folders, color-code folders for visual organization, and search within Google Drive are skills that five and six year olds are absolutely capable of if they are given the opportunity and instruction. I’ve seen it happen, and it is pure joy to listen to the squeal of a six year old who discovers his friend’s cursor inside of his document.
After these building blocks set the foundation, we can move on to utilizing and organizing bookmarks in the Chrome browser, creating graphic organizers using mind-mapping programs like Popplet or LucidChart, creating video presentations using Movenote, and publishing writing online in Blogger or Kidblog. There are literally hundreds of websites and technological tools that Chromebooks offer opportunities to explore. But the very basics of Google is where the imperative skills of organization, file management, basic formatting, and working within a user interface are first learned. The Chromebook is the ideal environment to scaffold student learning for success later in life. Implementing them at the early elementary grade levels creates a strong foundation for continued success!

Chromebooks as the Building Blocks

Google Docs provided a perfect launching pad for early exploration of the digital world. Launching and exiting the program, creating, naming, closing, and re-opening a document were the first on my list for my Kindergartners. I discovered that after those skills were mastered, the rest of the user interface of Google Docs could be explored. Understanding elements of the program such as drop-down menus, buttons, and other icons are also vital to student success.
Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.50.14 PM
After teaching the basics of the user interface, text formatting was explored. The very concept of what it means to format text and the larger essential question of “

WHY

should we format text?” are keys to student success. While changing font, size, color, alignment, and style are all on the docket, helping the students understand the objective behind a writer’s choice to format text is equally important.
After working within a document, I found that students need to learn to organize documents in their Google Drive. Additionally, learning to share appropriately was an important skill for students. Because collaboration and communication are life skills that are built right in to the Google Apps for Education suite of programs, Google Chromebooks provide the platform for that collaboration to take place seamlessly.

Learn more about Chromebook Creation this Summer!

Google-Workshops

  • The Chromebook Classroom
  • Google & Chromebooks
  • Google & Web Tools in the Student-Centered Classroom
  • Technology in Elementary Classrooms
  • And More!

View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org

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Education

The history of education technology (in under 4 minutes)

Sure, you know about the current trends in education. You know how popular iPads, Chromebooks, and other devices are in schools around the world. But it hasn’t been that long since the days of having a single desktop computer in a classroom was a technological marvel.
In fact, it’s probably worth noting that we’ve come a long way in terms of edtech. So what better way to review the past than through a cute and informational YouTube video? I bring you, amazing ladies and gentlemen, the history of education technology in under 4 minutes.
This video does a great job of quickly walking you through the distant past as well as the recent changes happening in modern classrooms. From the building blocks of technology (geometry is an example) to the current proliferation of devices, there’s a lot to cover.
This video does not cover everything that’s happened in terms of the history of education technology, of course. It barely scratches the surface. But it also does something many other videos do not: it starts in the distant past rather than just a few decades ago. Enjoy!

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How to choose between iPads and Chromebooks in the classroom

The race to be the go-to technology in your classroom is more than heating up. It’s on fire. Like, someone grab a fire extinguisher because the race is ablaze. The two biggest contestants in this race are, not surprisingly, products from Apple and Google.

Both Apple and Google are in a high-stakes race to own the education ecosystem. They’re going about it in different ways but their goals are the same: to have their products used by the next generation.

Apple wants to basically lock new users (e.g. schools, districts, states, countries, etc.) into the Apple ecosystem by offering high-quality hardware and apps.

Google is more intent on offering low-cost hardware (they don’t even make most of it) and instead focusing on the software side. They want to offer free enterprise-quality web tools and apps that are incredibly effective. For some reason, neither company offers the ‘perfect’ option but they are offering some great products.

See Also: Can you run a classroom with an iPad?

When I say ‘products’ what I mean is hardware. Let’s examine the most popular education technology tools in classrooms today. The Apple iPad and the Google Chromebook. The former offers reliability, ease of use, and mobility. The latter offers a cost-effective way to use Google (and other) software. So, really, the biggest differece for most schools at this point is the price tag.

But is it more than the price difference? There’s a great discussion video from Lesson Planet that dives into the many things you should consider when trying to choose between iPads and Chromebooks in the classroom.

See Also: The beginner’s guide to Chromebooks in the classroom

Watch the video if you’re making this tough decision right now. Heck, just watch the video to be a more informed consumer – it’s quite good. Enjoy!

So which would you choose if you ran a school district? If you ran a country? Weigh in by mentioning @DailyGenius on Twitter sometime!

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Education

The beginner's guide to Chromebooks in the classroom

In 2014, Chromebooks surpassed iPads in the world of education. There are a variety of reasons for this: economic needs, more “laptop like” feel, and the ubiquity of Google Apps for Education in schools. If you find yourself the owner of a new Chromebook, you’ve probably noticed that it’s not quite a laptop, but it also isn’t a tablet. Chromebooks are actually their own unique tool outside of these categories. They are just different enough that they can require a little time to get used to. Here are some quick tips to help you familiarize yourself with this new tool.

What are Chromebooks?

Unlike iPads, there is no single manufacturer Chromebooks. In fact, you can buy them from a variety of vendors, with different specs, and prices from $199-$1,100. In general, a Chromebook is a laptop styled machine. Much like PCs run Windows and Macs run OSX, Cromebooks use Chrome OS. While they are designed to run primarily using an Internet connection (via Wireless or 3G/4LTE on select models), you can also use them in a limited capacity offline (data will sync and save when you connect to the web again). Because the OS is a simple system, it boots up in a matter of seconds (unliked a few minutes with computers and tablets). This lightning fast startup is a plus for those of us who grow impatient waiting for everything to start on our systems. Most Chromebooks are structurally robust, making them more resistant to damage and thus excellent tools for children that are less careful with their devices. Unlike computers or tablets, all of your Chrome OS programs, files, and even your personal profile live on the cloud. You don’t need to install software as everything lives on the web!

Getting to know Google

One of the biggest shifts for traditional computer users is moving away from the concept of installing software to have available while offline. Rather, Chromebooks leverage web tools as well as Chrome Apps and Extensions to add functionality. It can take some time to get used to not having desktop applications such as Microsoft Office or iWork. Instead, the Google Drive suite of tools – Docs, Sheets, and Presentations – allows teachers and students to create documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. Most users find the streamlined versions of Google tools much simpler than more robust, traditional word processors. Additionally, with its “share” features, you can easily collaborate with others. Google Drive (with unlimited storage for GAFE users and free 1TB for Chromebook users) allows you access to all of your files, no matter how large. If you would like an overview, read 5 Quick Tips to Get Started with Google Drive.

Navigating a Web Based OS

Another shift that can be an initial struggle for new Chromebook users is transitioning to a wholly web-based system. Chromebooks offer limited software installation on the device itself. Instead, it encourages you to employ web-based tools. As the majority of developers are shifting to the cloud, this is becoming an easier process. You can collaboratively edit videos using WeVideo or YouTube editor, access books via Google Books or Amazon’s Kindle Cloud Reader, and stream digital content with YouTube. In fact, browse the Google Chrome Store and view their list of tools; if you can’t find a web based version of a tool that you already use, you should be able to find an excellent or even superior substitute. Here is a great repository of web-based tools to use in your classroom.

Finding Your Stuff

You don’t have icons, a finder menu, or a start menu on Chromebook. Instead, you navigate your system using the launcher (the 9 Dot Menu at the bottom left of your screen). If you are a Chrome browser user, then you will be familiar with this tool. The launcher is located on the bottom left of your screen. When you click on it, you will see Chromebook’s default tools (e.g. Chrome Store, Drive, Gmail, etc) as well as any additional tools that you have added. If you are looking for a file that you have downloaded, then click on the “File” icon in this window to open up your “downloads” folder. This is where you will find any documents, images, or other tools that you have downloaded to your device.
As with all tech tools, the best way to learn to use a new device is to play with it and create! Now that you have the basics, take it out of the box and explore what’s possible.

Learn more about Chromebook Creation this Summer!

chromebooks

  • The Chromebook Classroom
  • Google & Chromebooks
  • Google & Web Tools in the Student-Centered Classroom
  • And More!

View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org

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