Your child has been given a Chromebook for use during the school year by the School District of Lee County. The Chromebook functions like a textbook in that it remains the property of the school district. However, unlike a textbook the possibilities that open to your child through the use of the Chromebook are endless. Below are just some of the amazing things your child will be able to do with their Chromebooks.
Teachers can create, share and grade assignments through classroom as well as have out of class discussions, provide feedback and explore topics with students. Even if you have your own google account you or others outside of our school will not be able to use classroom, because it is a closed environment available only to the students and teachers.
You can and should have your student show you their classrooms so you can see what they are learning in class. Once you are viewing classroom with your child you will be able to see past assignments and due dates as well as upcoming work, announcements from the teacher and in some cases see how much they are participating in online discussions.
Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets
Students and teachers have a variety of ways to share and collaborate on the Chromebooks. Google’s Apps For Education or GAFEs are one of those ways. Central to the digital experience are Docs, Slides, and Sheets.
Google Docs is a cloud based, meaning no more saving to disks or usb drives, word processor. Docs is Google’s version of Microsoft Word or Apple’s Pages. One of the really neat ways students can use Docs with their peers and teachers is to collaborate. If a teacher shares a Doc with students or they share with each other they can engage with each other in real time. Students do not have to wait to have a document emailed to them, complete it, email it back and wait for the feedback. Google Docs allows students and teachers to working on the same document at the same time and see each others changes as they are happening. Faster Feedback leads to greater and deeper understanding. Google Docs also saves all changes automatically, so no more worrying about hitting save every few minutes and losing your progress.Students can naviagate to Docs by going to https://docs.google.com
Slides is to Google what PowerPoint and Keynote are to Microsoft and Apple. Student can create presentations to be shared with their teachers or peers that like Docs are saved in the cloud. Collaboration and sharing works the same with Slides so group projects become more authentic examples of group work. Also like Docs, Slides saves automatically.Students can naviagate to Docs by going to https://slides.google.com
Google Sheets takes the place of Microsoft’s Excel and Apple’s Numbers in the GAFE suite. There are a variety of uses for Sheets, from tracking assignments, benchmarks and grades, to creating projects in sorting information for class. Just like Docs and Slides, Sheets are sharable, save automatically and allow for quicker feedback and easier collaboration.Students can naviagate to Sheets by going to https://sheets.google.com
So where in the “cloud” does all of your student’s work go? Wasn’t it so much easier when all you had to do was empty the backpack out on the kitchen table and sort through piles of crumpled paper spanning the entire year? Fortunately, there is an app for that too. All of your child’s work will be saved in their Google Drive account. Because their work is saved in the cloud that means they can work on it on any device instantly, from their Chromebook to home computer, Mac, Windows, or Linux to their smartphone or tablet. They won’t even have to save different version and try to merge them later, Google Drive will take care of that automatically.
Students can also create new folders and color code them to organize their work, create new docs, slides, sheets and other google documents all right from Drive.Students can naviagate to Drive by going to https://drive.google.com
Students will also have a district email address that can be used to communicate with their teachers: their google id (Joey Smith might be email@example.com)
Single Sign On
With all of these apps and programs how will students be able to remember all of their passwords and usernames? Fortunately, they won’t have to. Student Chromebooks and the Google Accounts are all linked with a single sign on. One username and one password is all they will need to use the overwhelming majority of apps. When signing up for a new app, all students need to do is click on the red Google button and done.
Personal Gmail Accounts
Students should not put their regular gmail accounts on their chromebooks. We have found that doing so tends to confuse apps like Classroom, which are restricted to county use, and make it difficult or impossible to use the Chromebook until a school tech specialist can reset it.