Walk into a classroom and a teacher is tasked with meeting a variety of needs. This is no secret, but what may not be as apparent are the options that are available to meet the need. I'm going to quickly offer up three different options that exist in the on-screen keyboard available on the Chromebook.
Don't have a touch enabled screen on your Chromebook? No problem! This first option works with every Chromebook and is a great for students that struggle with typing. Voice typing has been well known within Google Docs, but did you know there is a built-in option for any text field you come across? No extra installations required. The user can dictate complete sentences and pause whenever necessary. The real key is knowing how to activate your on-screen keyboard without access to a touch screen Chromebook. Make sure you check the later half of the following video to find out.
If your students are using a touch enabled Chromebook, one option is to use the swipe feature. Android users have long been accustomed to using finger swiping in order to quickly write messages on their cell phones. iOS later added this feature, but users had to download a separate keyboard to accomplish the task. Finger swiping merely allows you to start with the first letter of a word and quickly drag your finger from letter to letter on a word. If this is new to you, the key is to not lift your finger until you are finished with the word. Another tip is to remember that Google will give you plenty of suggestions based upon your swiping motion at the top of the keyboard.
The final option of the three mentioned is to use the hand-writing feature. (In fact, I'm using it right now.) The option to write the words directly on the screen is great for primary grades. A common complaint I get about Chromebooks is that it will take away from handwriting skills. In a lot of ways, I think the option of writing on the screen would help with more precise letter creation as Google has to create typed text by recognizing the written words. Much like voice typing is a great resource for students receiving speech services. Precision is key. The user really needs to focus to get the desired outcome. Check out my video and try it out!
All of these input methods have a bit of a learning curve. Give them a try. See which options work best for the plethora of needs in your classroom. See which method works best for you.