You may have noticed the device of choice for many school districts and students is the Chromebook. We see them everywhere! At school, in homes, at Starbucks… So, what are they and why are they so popular?
Chromebooks are, simply put, devices that connect to the Internet with keyboards attached. They connect to the Internet with the Chrome Browser. If they connected with Firefox, they’d be called Firefoxbooks. If they connected with Safari, they’d be called Safaribooks. However, because they connect with Chrome, they are called Chromebooks.
Why is connecting with Chrome pretty awesome? Chrome allows users to add what Google calls, “extensions” to the Chrome browser that enables customization and efficiency experiences. For instance, do you want to split your screen in half to display two websites? They have an extension for that. Do you want to add your Bitmoji to a document in Drive? They have an extension for that too! The Chrome Web Store has thousands of extensions that help accessibility, efficiency, and creation.
Chrome itself has a lot of features as well. Teachers can help new ELLs and foreign language students change the displayed language to their home/studied language. It can also enable users to change the size and look of font in Chrome, customize the Google homepage and more.
But what about the Chromebook device itself? Chromebooks can be easily provisioned by districts to enable system-wide rules and push out extensions and services with the click of a button. IT Departments love the simplistic and easy management of district devices.
In addition to thoughtful device management, Chromebooks also have built-in accessibility features such as zoom in for screens, contrast changes, and even text-to-speech capabilities.
One objection we hear a lot is that users can’t download software onto a Chromebook to help with creation projects. We say, this shouldn’t be a limitation! There are hundreds of web-based applications that are compatible with Chromebooks.
The sky’s the limit for students who want to get creative. Students can create, edit and publish videos, images, documents, projects and more. The best part? Everything is stored in the web. It doesn’t matter if a device gets lost or damaged, their work will always be available!
We’re really excited about Google’s Chromebook App Hub announcement recently at SXSW. The new App Hub will help district leaders locate and suggest apps for teachers who are looking for specific needs. Stay tuned for that to go live soon!
Even better? EdTechTeam has partnered with Google to offer FREE PD with your Chromebook purchase! What’s the saying? “Give a man a fish you’ll feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, you’ll feed him for a lifetime.” We want to make sure your schools are equipped and ready to use these new devices to their full potential. Click here for all the details and how to redeem your free PD!
Kate Petty spent ten years as a high school English and ELD teacher. She fell in love with inquiry-based learning and made her way to her district office first as an EdTech TOSA and then as the district Instructional Technology Coordinator. Kate has a BA from the University of Nevada, Reno and a MA in Teaching from the University of California, Irvine. Prior to coming to EdTechTeam Kate was the CUE Blog Editor and CUE’s LeRoy Finkel Fellow. Kate is a Google Certified Innovator and Trainer and is a Certified PBL Teacher in Project-Based Learning from the Buck Institute. Kate’s passions in education are Genius Hour and Alternative Assessments.
Kate serves as the Director of Professional Learning for EdTechTeam. She primarily coordinates and develops custom workshops, and custom summits and events.
Kate currently lives in Irvine, CA with her husband and daughter.