School for MSD of Steuben County started last week and since then I've been getting students quickly oriented with their Chromebooks for the first time. It has been great meeting many teachers and students throughout the district. The students are excited for the opportunity to dig into their new device and try things out.
Chromebook kickoff with third grade at Carlin Park today! #msdsc #msdsafari pic.twitter.com/xtVWWfa2fV— Lance Yoder (@Mr_Yoder) August 24, 2015
To get students to understand the purpose of the orientation, I make the comparison to learning to pound a nail into a board with a hammer. Most students identify with the fact that pounding a nail with a hammer is actually a difficult thing if you've had little experience using one. You bend a lot of nails, have nails fly right off the board, or even miss the nail altogether and smash your thumb! The point is, we need practice. In order to efficiently and effectively use a Chromebook, the students need to know how to utilize it in a manner that is going to help them be as independent as possible.
To get the kiddos rolling here are some basics of the Chromebook I like to cover with students:
Status Bar and WiFiThe bottom-right corner of Chrome OS contains a lot of information regarding the status of the Chromebook. It informs users of their battery life, WiFi signal, settings, and the user that is signed in. One issue we are facing frequently at MSD of Steuben County is that the devices may not connect to the Internet. If this happens, simply turning the WiFi on and off seems to fix the issue...for now.
Launcher and Chrome Webstore
Students will also want to know how to access the tools that make a Chromebook awesome in a school setting. This video covers how to access the launcher to perform a search and also access apps existing in their account. It also demonstrates how to use the Chrome Web Store to add apps into their launcher.
There are some Chrome apps that students will want to access very quickly. For those items, students should use the "shelf" so that they are just a click away from starting their work. Here is how to "pin" items to your shelf.
For items that students cannot find in the Chrome Web Store, teachers can have students go directly to the webtool from their Chrome browser. Through the Chrome browser, the students can "bookmark" items. There are lots of ways to go about accomplishing this task, but this video covers how to get your bookmark bar going and how to drag links directly onto it.
Using the bookmarks bar, users can also create folders to essentially make drop-down lists of bookmarks. This would be extremely handy for teachers to have students break their bookmarks down by subject, or use a folder to organize sites for a research project.
Feel free to use any of these materials with your students to get your class up and running with their Chromebooks. These resources should get them to the point where they can get organized an feeling fluent in their basic use of the device. Device fluency is essential to the flow of your lessons and class environment.