Learn Chrome OS: The Chromebook Simulator

If you’ve ever looked for a quick, easy way for teachers, students, and even parents, to learn how to use a Chromebook, then you should take a look at Google’s free Chromebook Simulator. It’s an online learning site with step-by-step interactive tutorials that will teach you everything you need to know to get started using a Chromebook. Here’s how it works.

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5 MORE Chromebook Tips for Teachers

Lots of people enjoyed my previous post with 5 Chromebook Tips for Teachers, so I decided to follow it up with five MORE quick tips that will help you start the school year in the best possible way with Chromebooks. So, see the presentation below for more Chrome OS tricks.

Tips include…

  1. Taking Chromebook screenshots
  2. How to access your Mac or PC from your Chromebook
  3. Printing with Chromebooks
  4. How to connect your Chromebook to a projector
  5. The Hapara Teacher Dashboard

And, if you haven’t seen it already, you may want to check our a previous presentation I did that was a Chromebook 101 for Teachers. Feel free to leave any tips of your own in the comments below.

5 Chromebook Tips for Teachers

Chromebooks seem to be the hot new device that everyone is talking about, so if you are lucky enough to be starting the school year with some of Google’s laptops, check out the quick presentation below that has 5 Chromebooks tips especially for teachers. The tips include…

  1. Saving to Google Drive instead of the Files app
  2. A new full screen mode for the latest version of Chrome OS
  3. The Screen Magnifier that lets you zoom in on specific parts of your screen
  4. Enabling Caps Lock on a Chromebook
  5. Help with Offline Apps that make your Chromebook more versatile

You may also want to check out a previous post I did that was a Chromebook 101 for Teachers, and if you liked this, be sure to click through to see the followup to this post that has 5 MORE Chromebook Tips for Teachers.

Chromebooks 101: A Guide for Which Chromebook to buy?

Is your school looking at Chromebooks? Unsure which one to buy? Although there might seem like a lot to choose from, there are infinitely fewer than if you were looking to buy a new Windows laptop. This guide takes a quick tour of the current lineup and gives some pros and cons for each in order to help you decide which Chromebook to buy. Prices listed do not include the $30 management console fee, which is in addition to the retail price and is charged per device for schools who want to manage their Chromebooks from a secure online Dashboard.

Acer C7 – $199

Acer c7

Pros:

  • Price – $199
  • 320GB of local storage – plenty for all your offline docs
  • VGA and HDMI ports
  • 100Gb of Drive storage for free for 2 years
  • HD webcam
  • Ethernet port

Cons:

  • Intel Celeron Processor
  • HDD not SSD so slower boot times and resume
  • 4 hour battery life – the least of all Chromebooks and not enough for a school day
  • No Bluetooth

Samsung Chromebook – $249

Samsung Chromebook

Pros:

  • Price – $249
  • 0.7 inches thin and only 2.4 lbs
  • 16Gb Solid State Hard Drive for 10 second boot times
  • 6.5 hour battery life
  • 100Gb of Drive storage for free for 2 years
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • Dual core ARM processor

Cons:

  • No VGA out
  • Perhaps not as durable as some others?
  • No Ethernet port
  • VGA Webcam

HP Pavillion Chromebook – $329

HP Pavillion Chromebook

Pros:

  • 14-inch screen – the largest of any Chromebook
  • HD webcam
  • 16Gb Solid State Hard Drive for 10 second boot times
  • Multi-format Card Reader
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • Ethernet port
  • 100Gb of Drive storage for free for 2 years

Cons:

  • 4.25 hour battery life
  • No VGA out
  • Weight – 3.96lbs

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Chromebooks: A Worthwhile 1:1 Device for Education?

There are a growing number of 1:1 districts in Iowa, and a variety of devices are being deployed in these districts. The Macbook is very popular, as are PC laptops and iPads, but what about the Chromebook? Is it a viable device for schools? Google certainly seems to think so. In fact, it recently announced that it was currently being used in over 500 school districts in the USA and Europe.

Courtesy of Samsung.com

Here in Iowa, Council Bluffs has deployed 4,300 Chromebooks. In South Carolina, Richmond School District has 19,000 Chromebooks, while another 3,500 are found at Leyden High School in Illinois. It has a ways to go in order to come close to the inroads made by the iPad or even the Macbook, but as a portable, viable device, it is catching on quick. Chromebooks in education are a growing force.

Device management is a major plus. The Google Dashboard console is easy to navigate, intuitive to use, and has almost all the options that schools are looking for with mobile device management software. When you compare this to what you would have to do to manage a collection of iPads, there really is little comparison. Apple’s Configurator is a great start, but it is not without its faults and random bugs.

I’ve been using a Samsung Series 5 550 for about a week now, and I have to admit that I really enjoyed using it. It is quick to start up, and even quicker to resume from sleep. The battery life is decent, but maybe not quite as good as it could be for classroom use. The Chrome OS has evolved well over the last few months, and there is an increasing number of offline apps available so you can still check your mail, write notes, or browse your calendar and docs without a wi-fi connection.

Does it take time adjusting to the Chrome OS? Absolutely, but if you are a Google Apps school, the transition will not be as big as you might think. There are apps for almost anything you want to do now, so Chromebooks in education are becoming more relevant by the day, especially with the introduction of the new $249 Samsung Chromebook that weighs less than 2.5lbs and has a battery rated for 6.5 hours of continuous use.

So, are you considering Chromebooks in your school district? What are the pros and cons that you have come up against while weighing up the merits of this platform?