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Technology continues to be an important part of the modern classroom. Teachers see its value in engaging students and giving them the interactivity they need to enhance the learning process. As districts look for a powerful, low-cost solution to provide a one-to-one computing environment for students, many educators are choosing Chromebooks. These tools are a great fit for schools because they are lightweight, powerful, portable, low cost and easy to use.
Here are five Chromebook tips and tricks that will help teachers harness the power of these tools with their students:
1. Teach Efficiency
Chromebooks are known for their fast start-up times and familiar Google ecosystem. This means students and teachers can often get going with very little training. But did you know that there are keyboard shortcuts that can save you valuable time? Keyboard shortcuts are an amazing way to increase efficiency while using Chromebooks — and Ctrl-C to copy and Ctrl-V to paste are just the beginning. Google provides a full list of keyboard shortcuts teachers can link to or print and post for students to refer to as needed.
2. Use the Tools Deeply
Chromebooks are designed for Google, so it is wise to use the company’s applications to their fullest. Docs is great for word processing, but it also allows users to share and collaborate on their files for group work. New applications this year give students the ability to search the web without leaving their current file. The Draw application allows students to add graphics to their work, increasing engagement for visual learners. Add important reminders and assignment due dates to Calendar so everyone gets reminders and notifications for all of their classes. Let your students share their work on a large scale using Blogger or Google Sites.
Also look at the apps available on Google Play for Education. These apps provide engaging educational experiences and enhance the capabilities of Chromebooks.
3. Set Students Up for Success
Scaffolding is important when implementing any new technology, and providing age-appropriate instructions will ensure that every student is able to perform the work teachers are asking them to do. When giving Chromebooks to elementary students, use color-coding and visuals to help them remember log in procedures. You can also adapt and color-code the keyboard shortcut resource to help students remember which shortcuts work for each tool.
4. Manage the Tools Wisely
Google’s web-based management console for Chromebooks allows IT administrators or teachers to quickly change or update settings for an entire fleet of student devices. This can range from pushing or removing web applications to enforcing managed browsing policies. Seamless updates keep the operating system and applications fresh, so Chromebooks can actually get faster over time, with no need for time-consuming backups, security patches, or re-imaging. Chromebooks are designed to protect against the viruses and malware, so students, teachers and networks are safer without any manual system maintenance.
Google Classroom, exclusive to Google for Education, also allows teachers to track student progress through assignments and units and to facilitate discussion even during off hours.
5. Offer Students Options for Out-of-Class Work
Chromebooks are designed for online use, taking broad advantage of cloud-based tools. The new generation offers enhanced offline capabilities, allowing students to do some work on the hard drive. Help students figure out what work can be done offline if they don’t have internet access at home, and provide ideas for safe spaces, such as the local library, where they can go online when they aren’t in school.
Chromebooks are powerful tools for classrooms at all levels, and their ease of use helps teachers make the most of them. As more schools move to Chromebooks for their one-to-one computing needs, many teachers are looking for advice and best practices for how to best use these small but powerful tools with their students. These ideas can help teachers and students use those affordable tools to improve learning in and out of school by taking advantage of their full capabilities. Samsung Chromebooks coupled with digital classroom display technology can further enhance the learning experience, while improving the teacher’s ability to reach their students.
What Chromebook tips and tricks have you or your teachers discovered? Tell us in the comments below.