For over the past year now, I have heard so much hype about incorporating Google Chrome into the educational process. Now that I have gathered a ton of information, completed some trials and tribulations, I wanted to share what I have learned so you can decide for yourself if Chrome will be your new accessory.
Google Chrome is a web browser. Just like Safari. You can download it for free onto your Mac or PC; you can have it automatically as your internet platform on a Chromebook. You can even download it onto your iOS devices (but I’ll get into usability on a later post). But the magic occurs when you activate a gmail account. Once you do that (whether it be a personal account or a google-based education account from a school), it opens up a plethora of supports.
So, I’ll wait while you do that….
Are you done downloading and installing your Chrome Web browser? If you see a Red, Green, and Yellow donut encircling a blue dot, then you should be good.
Did you create your gmail account?
Good, now you can play.
First thing’s first. I am going to describe a few basics.
Gmail.This is your email account. This is your user account. This is what is attached to everything you do in Drive, the Chrome Store, Google Classroom and Google Sites.
Google Drive is a web based documentation forum that has a word processing section (Docs), an excel-like program (Sheets), a powerpoint-like program (Slides), and another section (Forms). You can save documents in the happy cloud land. And bonus, it saves automatically as you work.
If you work or are a student that uses google based accounts, then you may have access to setting up your very own Google Classroom. This will not work if you do not have an email account ending in .edu. If you are not sure, ask your local IT guy.
Chrome Web Store.
It’s not the Apple App store; but it is similar. When you find the colorful 9 block icon that is labeled “Apps” (on my browser, it’s in the upper left hand corner) or just enter in the url https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/apps, you will now have the ability to attach Apps and Extensions to your gmail user account. This means, the apps and extensions you download can/will follow up wherever you log into a Chrome browser (except on iOS devices but I’ll get into that in a later post). Most things are free, especially when it comes to education.
What’s an App?
Just like when you download an app from the Apple Store to your iOS device, an App from the Google Chrome Web Store will bring you to a website and you will be able to complete games or tasks within that app.
What’s the difference with an Extension?
Extensions are tools you can use to customize your user experience in any site you could be on.
Now this is only the beginning. And I don’t want to blow your mind just yet. What I do want you to do is play and explore. Because there is a world of digital opportunity ready for the taking for anyone willing to try. Keep an eye out for upcoming posts and how-to sections to discover how Chrome's apps and extensions can help support different learning styles.