Google Chrome Basics For Kids
According to the New York Times, a reported 7 million Chromebooks were delivered to schools across the United States in 2016. So hopefully, you were one of those fortunate teachers that now have this amazing device available to you to transform your teaching.
Chromebooks are more than just an easy way for kids to have internet access. They can be used as powerful tools for efficient learning and creativity. My 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders that are well-seasoned members of my “Chrome Squad” are now sharing and collaborating on Google Slides, conducting surveys on Forms, voice-typing stories in Google Docs, developing work portfolios in Keep, collecting and sharing their favorite extensions and apps with classmates and teachers, editing images and creating their own videos! Amazing what they can do with the right tools and time to “Sandbox” what we teach them. If you are interested in reading more about my Chrome Squad, please see my previous Chrome Squad posts- Part 1 through Part 5.
So, now what can we do to begin training students to use Chromebooks more effectively? We can start with the basics! As elementary teachers, this thought process is in our DNA, right?
The diagram above is what I use to teach my students the basic functions of Chrome to visit websites, Drive used to store files, Docs, and Slides to collaborate and share work content. This diagram shows how the apps work together and is one of the pages from my ebook – “Chromebooks For Kids- Training Your Elementary Chrome Squad“. Available in July of 2017 on Amazon. Make sure that you sign up to your right – “BE NOTIFIED ABOUT MY NEW BOOK “CHROMEBOOKS FOR KIDS” if you are interested in receiving email notifications regarding my book. I start with Chrome basics on the second week of school with this lesson in the “Getting to know your Chromebook” Chapter. Most of our younger children come to us understanding how to “Swipe & Tap” on an iPad or their parents Android phone so building an understanding of a virtual, unseen workflow takes time, practice and patience. As an added barrier, we put a keyboard in front of them with very little training about using those keys. Nonetheless, they have all had experience being on the Internet in some capacity so, we start with using Chrome as their Internet portal and from there we begin talking about Digital Citizenship.
Most of our younger children come to us understanding how to “Swipe & Tap” on an iPad or their parents Android phone so building an understanding of a virtual, unseen workflow takes time, practice and patience. As an added barrier, we put a keyboard in front of them with very little training about using those keys. Nonetheless, they have all had experience being on the Internet in some capacity so, we start with using Chrome as their Internet portal and from there we begin talking about Digital Citizenship.
The first week of school is always filled with procedures and reminders to build upon the social skills they have already acquired. The second week of school is a great time to parallel good “Digital” decision making with those in-class procedures. We talk about “If it is not okay to do in class, it is not okay to do it online.”
Our sweet little “Digital Natives” understand more about navigating certain devices and sites than we do in many cases, that is for sure but they still need to be explicitly taught the proper use and expectations regarding their new devices, vocabulary necessary for effective communication and most importantly they need our ever-present moral guidance. According to Martine Oglethorpe, author of “Parenting in the Digital Age” and blog site The Modern Parent, it is critical that we help children build up a resilience to cope with the challenges that our 21st Century learners will face. Can they spot a scammer or a site that may be trying to gather personal information, known as “Phishing”? Can they identify false information, resist the temptation to post photos that they do not have permission to post or are not appropriate? These are just a few examples of the types of conversations we need to have with our kids and are addressed in my book.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the outstanding effort that Google is putting toward educating our students to be more resilient when it comes to interacting online. Google’s new- “Be Internet Awesome” was just recently released where students visit “Interland” using a highly “Gamefied” format to build online safety awareness. There are four lands to visit- Reality River, Mindful Mountain, Tower of Treasure and the Kind Kingdom. I am very impressed with the teacher lesson materials also included on this site. Check it out! My kids love it!