Has your district told you your students will bring Chromebooks with them to class in the fall? Are you eager to integrate this technology into instruction but unsure how? Here are ten things you can do this summer to hit the ground running in the fall, brought to you by a teacher who has been in your shoes.
1. Ask your administration for a Chromebook to use this summer.
You want to know the Chromebook user experience before school starts. What better way to learn than by doing? This teacher loves Chromebooks in the classroom for many reasons. You will too, especially if you understand the platform your students use. See if your administrators are willing to loan you the same model students will use in the fall. Use it for everything this summer and you will be prepared.
2. Become a Google Educator.
If you want to successfully use Google Apps for Education (GAFE) in classroom instruction, you need to be proficient in them. Go through Google for Education’s process to earn Google Educator certification. The process involves online modules and five $15 (as of Summer 2014) tests. Author’s Note (6/28/15): This process has just changed. Please have a look at Google’s new options and see what works for you. Going through the modules will make you more than proficient in Google Apps. Taking and passing the exams will earn you a Google Educator certificate, a nice asset for your CV.
3. Upload your files to Google Drive.
This is essential for you to work with your students in a 1:1 classroom. After the Google Educator modules, you should be able to easily upload folders to Google Drive. Or, you can watch this video about doing it with a Windows computer:
Or this one about doing it with a Mac:
4. Get to know Google Classroom.
First, watch this video introducing Google Classroom. Imagine the possibilities. Get excited!
Then, read up about Google Classroom and how to use it to do transformative things such as seamlessly include absent and home-bound students in your class.
5. Learn from the experts.
There is so much great content about integrating technology into the classroom. It can be overwhelming. Start small by following these eight experts on Twitter and reading their blogs regularly. If starting a Twitter account seems overwhelming, read Alice Keeler’s blog post about signing up for Twitter. Here are my favorite education technology experts. Their names hyperlink to their blogs.
- Chris Aviles, @techedupteacher
- Kasey Bell, @shakeuplearning
- Michael Fricano, @edtechnocation
- Alice Keeler, @alicekeeler
- Kim Mattina, @the_tech_lady
- Kristen Swanson, @kristenswanson
- Sarah Thomas, @sarahdateechur
- Follow me on Twitter, @TomEMullaney, and peruse my website. I hesitate to include myself with the above experts, but I have taught in 1:1 classrooms with Chromebooks and have plenty of ideas for you.
6. Digitize your print documents.
Do this during the summer to save time during the school year. Once a print document is digitized, it can be altered and, hence, improved.
7. Convert your multiple-choice assessments to paperless Google Forms your students can answer on their Chromebooks.
My visual tutorial will guide you through this process. Doing this during the summer will save you untold time at the photocopier and ScanTron machine during the school year. If you are curious about grading, read my grading tutorial, but it will not be necessary until you give your first multiple choice assessment.
Author’s Note (12/3/15): The visual tutorial linked above will work for you if you are working with the old Google Forms. If you are working with the new Google Forms, please read this post to get acquainted.
8. Use TEDEd to change the way video is used in instruction.
Rather than have the whole class watch a projected video, you can add short-answer and multiple choice assessment questions, discussion prompts and links to further resources to any YouTube video. Make a list of your favorite YouTube videos used in instruction, and make them into powerful instructional tools with YouTube this summer. Students can work with videos at their own pace on their Chromebooks and you can use TEDEd’s tools to assess understanding.
9. Use Split PDF to break up large curricular PDFs into smaller documents.
Instead of printing the pages of the PDF you want your students to read and scanning them, use Split PDFto make original quality PDFs of the exact pages you want students to read. Split PDF connects to your Google Drive to access your PDF. It makes a new file with only the pages you specify. Students then read beautiful PDFs on their Chromebooks, not scans of photocopies.
10. Join Google Plus education technology communities.
This will serve as another great source for education technology information. Just like with education technology experts on Twitter, start small. Here are four great communities to join:
- Chromebook EDU
- Educators on Google+
- Google Apps Educators
- Google Classroom Educators
- Your local Google Educator Group. For example, mine is the North Carolina Google Educator Group.
Teaching in a 1:1 classroom with Chromebooks reignited my passion for education. I hope it does for you too! If you would like to talk more about successful technology integration in the 1:1 classroom, please comment below or send me a tweet at @TomEMullaney.