Chromebook 411

The CCS Device - Lenovo 500e Chromebook

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Big picture

GSuite Products

G Suite offers products similar to the Office Suite that we grew up using as well as some additional products to enhance productivity. Collaboration is seamless and easy for interaction between students and teachers. Research for facts and images can be done right within the different programs so creating research-based documents and presentations is simplified.


At CCS we will not be using all components of G Suite with our students. Our email will function through Office365 and some applications will be blocked to protect student safety. The components listed below are the ones that students will interact with most often.


Google Drive - a cloud-based storage system for all files, accessible from anywhere in the world on any device at any time.

Google Docs - word processing

Google Sheets - spreadsheets

Google Slides - presentations

Google Calendar - scheduling and organizing

Google Forms - surveys, assessments, exit tickets

Google Keep - a Post-It pad for your computer, tablet, or phone

Add-ons

Because G Suite is cloud-based we do lose some of the functionality that we are used to with traditional software-based systems. In an effort to improve our interaction with G Suite they have developed "add-ons" that further expand the functionality of the program.


There are a plethora of add-ons to meet your needs. Here are a few recommended add-ons for some of the G Suite products that students might find helpful.

Google Docs

EasyBib Bibliography Creator

Extensis Fonts - adds many extra fonts

Thesaurus

Magic Rainbow Unicorns - changes font into a customizable rainbow


Google Sheets

Flippity

Combine Sheets

More Fonts


Google Slides

Unsplash Photos - beautiful, free images you can download and use for projects

Icons by Noun Project

Magic Rainbow Unicorns Slides - changes font into a customizable rainbow

Chrome Extensions

Google Chrome has extensions that basically "extend" the functionality of the web browser. You can customize your Chrome experience and tailor it's behavior to your individual needs or preferences. Some suggested extensions that are helpful to almost anyone:

Grammarly: enhanced spelling and grammar check


Equatio - math equation editor

G Suite Training - offers extended support and training for the GSuite products

Save to Google Drive - lets you save website information or PDFs directly to your Google Drive

Save to Google Keep - lets you save websites directly to Google Keep and add your notes to them, color code, add labels for organization, etc (if you've never used Google Keep you need this in your life)

Kami - a PDF annotator that saves directly to Google Drive




To install Chrome Extensions, you just search the Chrome Web Store and click on the "For Clay Community Schools" tab and you will see all of the ones you have permission to install. Simply select the one you would like to add and then follow the prompts.

Apps

The Chromebook that we purchased for use will allow the use of both Chrome Web Store Apps and Google Play Store Apps.


Chrome Web Store Apps can be installed by searching the Chrome Web Store. Click on the "For Clay Community Schools" tab and you will see all of the ones you have permission to install. Simply select the one you would like to add and then follow the prompts.


For Google Play Store Apps, click on the Google Play Store (usually found pinned to the bar at the bottom of your screen). All of the allowed apps will appear. Select the one that you wish to install and follow the prompts.

How Do I Get Access to Apps and Extensions?

Teachers and students can request an app or extension be allowed for our CCS domain. Please select the button below to submit your request. Your request will be reviewed and you will receive an email regarding the approval or denial of the request.

Filtering the Chromebook

To meet federal requirements for student safety and security the Chromebooks are filtered through a third party company. As teachers and students find sites that they believe should be reviewed, they can request a site be unblocked or fixed so that it loads correctly. Even though some sites seem innocuous they may get their images from a separate system that isn't as secure.


YouTube is not blocked for our students, but we do have it set that only content labeled by YouTube as "educational" is accessible to our students. This does mean that the vast majority of YouTube is inaccessible and we also find that a lot of educational content is not labeled as such.


To request a site be reviewed, students and teachers may click on the button below and the request comes to my desk. I will review it and respond via email regarding the outcome of the review.

Why Chromebooks?

The skinny on Chromebooks

in 2017 Google Chromebooks accounted for approximately 50% of devices used in schools throughout the country. They appeal to schools for their simplicity, functionality, and affordability. With the addition of access to Android apps for many Chromebooks their appeal catapulted.


Some of the positives of using G Suite and Chromebooks:


  • access to files offline
  • no more confusion over where a file is stored; it is in the Google drive
  • no downtime--machines fire up and are ready to use in about 30 seconds
  • access to all of your files from any device, anywhere in the world
  • mobile integration--our students rely on their phones for a lot; they can have access to their Google products
  • your data is automatically backed up on the Cloud
  • real time collaboration
  • access to revision history
  • minimal learning curve to become familiar with products
  • group sharing and permissions
  • team drives
  • education accounts have unlimited storage


Here are a couple of articles that discuss Chromebooks.

Chromebooks in the Classroom

21 Stats, Facts, and Uses of Chromebooks

How Chromebooks Conquered Education

Why Google?

Chromebooks are the most popular device for K-12 education and gaining popularity outside that market. Google is on the cusp of some really great things and there is speculation that they are poised to make the leap into desktop computing.


One thing we've heard often is that we're not preparing students for real world experiences if we switch to Google and move away from every day use of Microsoft products. Well, to that end we've been researching and found that, according to US News and World Reports, Google Apps are used in 61 of the top 100 schools including Yale, Northwestern, Notre Dame and University of Minnesota. See the link to the article link below to read more.


Businesses are also making the switch. In 2016 nearly 60% of Fortune 500 companies used the Google platform. This is nearly a 10% increase from 2015. So while many business are fully Microsoft, more and more are embracing the Google platform.


Our students will still be taught the Microsoft programs in their lab classes. The learning curve from Microsoft to Google is minimal and vice versa. We may be helping them prepare even better for an ever-changing technology market.


Colleges using Google


Businesses using Google:

Fortune 500 Companies

Google Customer Success Stories

FAQs

  • Does this mean students have to use the G Suite of programs? It is far easier if they do use the GSuite, but they will also be able to access Microsoft Office365. Teachers can add either (or both) platforms to their Canvas courses.
  • What about assignments the students submit? How does that work? When a student uploads an assignment it converts it so that it is no longer editable so they can't continue to work on a Google doc after it's submitted.
  • Can students print from Chromebooks? At this time, no. Students can still go to labs or the library and print necessary documents from their Google Drives. Students should also be able to print wirelessly at home.

My personal plug for Google...

It's no secret that we're all familiar and comfortable with the Microsoft Office world. Some of us have been with them from the beginning. It's scary to be presented with something new to learn and no one is saying that you have to. I would encourage you to be brave and try it out at some point.


I attended a conference about five years ago and nearly everyone there used Google for their presentations. Shortly after we were introduced to Google and Microsoft 365 here in our corporation. I appreciate the availability of both platforms, but Google was, at that time, far more user-friendly. Microsoft 365 has made large gains, but Google is so easy and still remains the most user-friendly of the cloud-based platforms.


I do everything in Google. If necessary for someone I can download my files in the Microsoft format. But I don't miss Microsoft at all. It didn't happen overnight, and nothing is perfect, but I love having access to my files on my computers, my phone, or even being able to log into someone else's device and find "my" stuff.