By Naomi Harm
Chromebooks in the classroom have been the biggest game changer in education this year to transform the K–12 mobile teaching and learning environment. These robust, lightweight, and mobile learning devices have proven to be very powerful digital creation tools for students and teachers, allowing both educational groups to collaborate, design, and publish innovative projects seamlessly through the Google app suite supported by the Chrome browser.
The total cost of ownership is also one of the biggest selling points of Chromebooks in K–12 education today, from both the price point aspect and the IT perspective of the very low maintenance and upkeep of the Chromebook itself. Many K–12 schools nationwide can finally meet their strategic technology-planning goals of deploying and implementing a successful one-to-one initiative to meet the diverse learning needs and demands of every K–12 student.
Chromebooks empower student learning with the endless possibilities of instant collaboration, digital design, and the ability to publish student-driven projects immediately among teachers and peers through Google Apps for Education. This cloud-based mobile learning management and delivery system provides a robust online environment in which there are no more worries from the student end of “losing my homework” or excuses like “my dog ate it.”
Chromebooks also allow for invigorating and social student-centered learning opportunities. Because they are lightweight and mobile, Chromebooks can easily be used in student collaboration centers throughout multiple classroom workspaces, moved from classroom to classroom with ease, and transported between home, school, and the work environment.
Not only do students benefit from the power of the Chromebook but it is also a very productive instructional delivery tool for teachers. It enables just-in-time creation and delivery of compelling lessons and assignments to share and collaborate with students. Teachers are thrilled with “more instructional minutes” and “time on task” behavior to involve students with engaging and high-quality lessons. The simplified notion that a Chromebook boots up in less than eight seconds and from sleep mode awakens in less than three seconds just makes sense as the learning tool of choice to meet the demands of the instructional day.
Adding value to Chromebooks in K–12 education are the engaging Chrome Apps and extensions built in to the Chrome operating system. Chrome Apps are shortcuts to web sites that have access to Chrome APIs and services not available to traditional web sites, which allows students and teachers more “time on task” to interact with high-quality content and extend learning opportunities. They enable educators and students to design, deliver, and publish unique and innovative “flipped teaching” lessons and activities.https://developer.chrome.com/apps/about_appsChrome Apps such as Movenote, WeVideo, Magisto, eduCanon, Spreaker, and VideoNotes provide for quick and easy video and audio digital production of high-quality and thought-provoking content-driven lessons. They also allow students to view and listen to digital content multiple times while processing and applying new understandings at their own pace for a personalized learning approach to individualizing their learning potential.
Chrome extensions are small software add-ons that can modify, enhance, and personalize the functionality of the Chrome browser. Examples of extensions to assist students and teachers with productivity and enhance the browsing experience for K–12 education include 1-click timer, Google Docs Quick Create, Nimbus Screenshot, Consistency Checker, Google Dictionary, Google+ Hangouts, Padlet Mini, Screencastify, Move It, and TLDR. These Chrome extensions enable students and teachers to manage their digital production time and create efficiently within the online work environment.
And of course, there is the ultimate productivity of Google Apps—tried and true favorites of any Chromebook technology initiative:
Are you interested in seeing what other types of digital creation resources I have lined up for you to support your Chromebook initiative and efforts to empower student and teacher learning? Look no further—here is a collection of resources to maximize the use of Chromebooks in your teaching and learning environment.
Naomi Harm’s Top 10 List of Chrome Apps and Extensions for Pre-K–12 Education:
Elementary Recommended Chrome Apps
Comics Head—we all love to tell stories, share our experiences, comment on issues that affect us, and tell our friends about places we visited; Comics Head enables you to do all of it in a visually compelling format, with comics and photo journals
Dogo News—the leading destination for current events articles for kids and teachers
InspirARTion: Sketch & Draw!—tap your creativity with this easy-to-use painting application; a number of amazing brushes give you a way to create beautiful artworks in just few strokes; try symmetry modes to create interesting effects, and save your creations or share them with your friends
iStoryBooks—free interactive children’s books for the new generation
Movenote for Education—when writing is no longer enough, Movenote provides the fastest way to speak out; add your favorite content from whatever source you want and record video alongside it with your computer, tablet, or smartphone
My Story Editor—a simple app that lets you create an interactive and illustrated story within seconds
Newsela—daily news articles at five reading levels from grades 3 to 12 to drive gains in literacy
VoiceThread—a trusted tool for collaboration, professional development, and digital storytelling
Middle School Recommended Chrome Apps
eduCanon—a free tool to embed rich, dynamic questions into online video and track student understanding; deliver video like you teach!
Movenote for Education—when writing is no longer enough, Movenote provides the fastest way to speak out; add your favorite content from whatever source you want, and record video alongside it with your computer, tablet, or smartphone
Newsela—daily news articles at five reading levels from grades 3 to 12 to drive gains in literacyhttps://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/notebook/hoecnkggfbggadilpmdhpmocnokhpgmp/related?hl=en-US&utm_source=chrome-ntp-launcher
Padlet—the easiest way in the world to create and collaborate; it works like a sheet of paper where you can put anything (images, videos, documents, text) anywhere, from any device (PC, tablet, phone), together with anyone
High School Recommended Chrome Apps
ExitTicket—a student response system for exit tickets and formative assessments, designed by teachers to achieve one simple idea: accelerate student achievement
instaGrok—a research engine that lets you learn about any topic; you can also customize the maps with key facts, links, and images and share them with your friends, transforming the way all of us learn and share knowledgehttps://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-keep-notes-and-lis/hmjkmjkepdijhoojdojkdfohbdgmmhki
Livebooklet—turn lesson plans, assignments, and class projects into flip booklets that can be viewed in any browser on any devicehttps://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/loupe-collage/bhaonknplhhecdgjpphnooeomecgipkc?hl=en-US&utm_source=chrome-ntp-launcher
Lucidpress—helps you intuitively produce stunning print and digital newsletters, flyers, brochures, photo books, and more for print, mobile, or Web
WeVideo—makes video editing easy for everyone; accessible from anywhere and integrated with Google
Bonus section: The Chrome AT Toolbox: Meeting the Accessibility Needs of Individuals with Disabilities and English-Language Learners
Naomi Harm is the CEO of Innovative Educator Consulting Corporation. She is best known as a one-to-one mobile technology literacy specialist. She welcomes every opportunity to share her expertise and best practices related to technology-infused teaching and learning environments. Her dynamic career includes many exciting and cutting-edge jobs, which include Intel National Senior Trainer, Google Certified Teacher, Certified Online Instructor, and ISTE Faculty Tech Coach; she also manages her own “Innovative Educator Consulting” Corporation. Naomi provides customized mobile literacy staff development workshops and inspiring keynotes for K–16 educators and administrators nationally and internationally. These edtech-focused sessions encompass best practices of deploying and implementing one-to-one Chromebook and tablet teaching and learning environments, one-to-one student classroom management, redesigning collaboration and creation spaces, and collaborative active-learning strategies to engage and inspire learning for all. Naomi is truly passionate about building global relationships with edtech change agents, to engage in meaningful and collaborative conversations while finding new solutions to meet the needs of today’s diverse learners.