Tag Archives: Chromebooks

“Explore” helps you get the most out of Chromebook

Getting started with new technology can be tough, with pages of instructions and tutorials to pore over. “Explore,” a new app built into Chromebook, helps you get set up and take full advantage of your computer, whether you’re a Chrome OS newbie or already use a Chromebook every day.


A compass for new Chromebook users 

Think of the Explore app as your compass for navigating your Chromebook. It’s an evolved form of Get Help, our previous in-product education app. Now, when you log in to a Chromebook for the first time and complete the initial onboarding, the Explore app orients you to learn about the most helpful Chrome OS features.


The Explore homepage gives you easy access to answers and visual tutorials to some of the most commonly-asked questions from new Chromebook owners, like how to best manage your files on Chromebook across local storage and Google Drive, or how to set up a printer with Chromebook.


ExploreChromebook2

You can venture through the Explore app at your own pace. Complete lessons and check back for new content when you’re looking for a specific answer or if you’re eager to make sure you’re maximizing your Chromebook. 


Easy access to special offers

Explore also includes helpful features for Chromebook enthusiasts. It has a tab for quick access to some of the best Chromebook perks, so you can quickly redeem them. For example, right now in the U.S., you can use the Explore app to get free access to 100GB of storage and more through Google One for a year, free access to the popular game Stardew Valley, and free three months access to Disney+.
ExploreChromebook3

Some more highlights

In addition to the Explore app, here are a couple new features that make your Chromebook work even better.

Use the Overview key, which helps you zoom out and see all the windows that are open, to multitask across windows masterfully. Now, when in Overview, you can drag windows from your Chromebook’s screen to an external monitor and vice versa. You can also easily split your screen from Overview, which makes it easier to multitask—you can have two documents open at one time, or review an article while taking notes.
WindowManagementChromebook

Words are wonderful, but sometimes emojis can capture even more emotion. We just added more emojis for you to use within Chrome OS, like a yawning face emoji (🥱), an ear with a hearing aid (🦻 ), and a sari (🥻). To use emojis on Chromebook, right click in any text field and navigate to “emoji.” 


We’ll have more highlights to share about new Chromebook features soon. Stay tuned!

Learn and play together as a family with Chromebook

The last few months have been an adventure for a lot of families like mine that are juggling work, parenting, and school at home. Our family Chromebook has been a huge help. Between video calls with teachers and classmates, virtual “field trips” to the zoo, moviemaking, and book publishing (and that’s just the last week!), my kids are spending more time online. With that comes some challenges, and I know I’m not alone. A lot of parents are looking for better tools to help them manage and guide their kids’ time spent online.


We hope our new Chrome OS update can help. This update brings two new improvements to Family Link on Chromebook: access to Chrome Web store extensions for kids and per-app time limits for Google Play apps. Family Link is an app that helps parents set digital ground rules and manage screen time across kids’ Android phones, tablets, and Chromebooks. Parents can use the Family Link app from their phone to set restrictions on which websites their kids can visit, set device time limits, and approve and install apps from the Google Play Store for their child’s account.

Access to thousands of useful extensions

Now, parents can let their children personalize Chrome with thousands of free extensions and themes from theChrome Web Store and be more productive with tools like Zoom and Screencastify. To approve extensions, parents just need to enter their password on the supervised Chromebook.
M83_Family_GIF1

Parents can now approve extensions from the Chrome Web Store for their kids.

Healthy guardrails for apps on Chromebook

With the latest update, parents can also set per-app time limits for Play Store apps to manage their child’s screen time on Chromebooks. This Family Link improvement gives parents more precise control over their kids’ app usage, so kids can strike the right balance of time on educational apps like Khan Academy Kids and games like Roblox.

M83_Family_Image1

Kids will receive notifications related to per-app time limits set by parents.

Getting started

If you’re new to using Family Link on Chromebook, download the app from the Google Play Store and check out this article on our Help Center for set-up instructions. 


Here are some other tips for using Chromebook as a family:

  • Visit the revamped “Kids” tab on the Google Play Store to find teacher-approved apps for learning and entertainment.

  • Visit Teach from Home for resources on teaching and learning at home, and more information about the Google for Education tools your kid may be using in school.  

  • Help your kid learn the fundamentals of digital citizenship and online safety with Google’s Be Internet Awesome family resources and the Interland game

  • Turn on Digital Wellbeing settings, like Night Light, which changes Chromebook’s screen temperature to reduce blue light at night.

We’ll be back soon with another highlight reel of recent improvements to Chromebook.

Learn and play together as a family with Chromebook

The last few months have been an adventure for a lot of families like mine that are juggling work, parenting, and school at home. Our family Chromebook has been a huge help. Between video calls with teachers and classmates, virtual “field trips” to the zoo, moviemaking, and book publishing (and that’s just the last week!), my kids are spending more time online. With that comes some challenges, and I know I’m not alone. A lot of parents are looking for better tools to help them manage and guide their kids’ time spent online.


We hope our new Chrome OS update can help. This update brings two new improvements to Family Link on Chromebook: access to Chrome Web store extensions for kids and per-app time limits for Google Play apps. Family Link is an app that helps parents set digital ground rules and manage screen time across kids’ Android phones, tablets, and Chromebooks. Parents can use the Family Link app from their phone to set restrictions on which websites their kids can visit, set device time limits, and approve and install apps from the Google Play Store for their child’s account.

Access to thousands of useful extensions

Now, parents can let their children personalize Chrome with thousands of free extensions and themes from theChrome Web Store and be more productive with tools like Zoom and Screencastify. To approve extensions, parents just need to enter their password on the supervised Chromebook.
M83_Family_GIF1

Parents can now approve extensions from the Chrome Web Store for their kids.

Healthy guardrails for apps on Chromebook

With the latest update, parents can also set per-app time limits for Play Store apps to manage their child’s screen time on Chromebooks. This Family Link improvement gives parents more precise control over their kids’ app usage, so kids can strike the right balance of time on educational apps like Khan Academy Kids and games like Roblox.

M83_Family_Image1

Kids will receive notifications related to per-app time limits set by parents.

Getting started

If you’re new to using Family Link on Chromebook, download the app from the Google Play Store and check out this article on our Help Center for set-up instructions. 


Here are some other tips for using Chromebook as a family:

  • Visit the revamped “Kids” tab on the Google Play Store to find teacher-approved apps for learning and entertainment.

  • Visit Teach from Home for resources on teaching and learning at home, and more information about the Google for Education tools your kid may be using in school.  

  • Help your kid learn the fundamentals of digital citizenship and online safety with Google’s Be Internet Awesome family resources and the Interland game

  • Turn on Digital Wellbeing settings, like Night Light, which changes Chromebook’s screen temperature to reduce blue light at night.

We’ll be back soon with another highlight reel of recent improvements to Chromebook.

A is for accessibility: How to make remote learning work for everyone

Editor’s note: Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and we’ll be sharing resources and tools for education, as well as accessibility features and updates for Android and Google Maps

When it comes to equity and access in education, nothing is more important than making sure  our digital tools are accessible to all learners—especially now as distance learning becomes the norm. I’m a proud member of the disability community, and I come from a family of special education teachers and paraprofessionals. So I’ve seen firsthand how creative educators and digital tools can elevate the learning experience for students with disabilities. It’s been amazing to see how tools like select-to-speak help students improve reading comprehension as they listen while reading along or assist students who have low vision. And tools like voice typing in Docs can greatly benefit students who have physical disabilities that limit their ability to use a keyboard.

This Global Accessibility Awareness DayI'm reminded of how far we’ve come in sharing inclusive tools for people with different abilities. But it doesn’t stop there. Everyday we strive to make our products and tools more inclusive for every learner, everywhere.

Applying technology to accessibility challenges

At Google, we’re always focused on how we can use new technologies, like artificial intelligence, to broaden digital accessibility. Since everyone learns in different ways, we’ve  built tools and features right into our products, like G Suite for Education and Chromebooks,  that can adapt to a range of needs and learning styles. For learners who are Deaf, hard of hearing, or need extra support to focus, you can turn on live captions in Google Slides and in  Google Meet. On Chromebooks, students have access to built-in tools, like screen readers, including ChromeVox and Select-to-speak, and Chromebook apps and extensions from EdTech companies like Don Johnston, Grackle Docs, Crick Software, Scanning Pens and Text Help, with distance learning solutions on the Chromebook App Hub

As more students learn from home, we’ve seen how features like these have helped students learn in ways that work best for them.

Helping all students shine during distance learning

Educators and students around the world are using Google tools to make learning more inclusive and accessible. Whether that’s using Sheets to make to-do lists for students, sharing the built-in magnification tools in Chromebooks to help those who are visually impaired, or using voice typing in Google Docs to dictate lesson plans or essays. 

In Portage Public Schools in Portage, Michigan, teachers are taking advantage of accessibility features in Meet to help all of their students learn at their own pace.  They use live captioning in Meet so that students who are Deaf or hard of hearing can follow along with the lesson. And with the ability to record and save meetings, every student can refer back to the material if they need to.  

In Daegu, South Korea, about 100 teachers worked together to quickly build an e-learning content hub that included tools for special education students, such as Meet, Classroom and Translate. “In the epidemic situation, it was very clear that students in special education were placed in the blind spot of learning,” said one Daegu teacher. But thanks to digital accessibility features that were shared with students and parents, the teacher said, “I saw hope.” 

live captions in Meet.gif

Accessibility resources for schools

At a time when digital tools are creating the  connection between students, classmates, and teachers, we need to prioritize accessibility so that no student is left behind. The good news is that support and tools are readily available for parents, guardians, educators and students:

Your stories of how technology is making learning accessible for more learners during COVID-19 help us and so many others learn new use cases. Please share how you're using accessibility tools and requests for how we can continue to meet the needs of more learners.

Accessibility ideas for distance learning during COVID-19

The massive shift towards distance learning presents many challenges for students, educators and guardians alike. But supporting students who have disabilities or require a hands-on approach in the classroom is an even greater challenge. Educators around the world are putting in long days to find creative ways to support all students in this new setting, especially students with disabilities. Here are some tips on using accessibility features to support all learners.

To help students stay organized and get work done

Distance learning has made it tougher for all students to pay attention and manage their time, and this can be especially hard for students with executive functioning challenges. These tools can hopefully help.

  • Use Calendar reminders to help students remember deadlines, and view due dates in the class Calendar in Google Classroom.

  • Encourage students to organize their assignments in Google Classroom or Google Keep, or in Google Drive

  • Suggest students use Chromebooks in full-screen mode when working on assignments to minimize distractions.

  • Students can use Virtual Desks on Chromebooks or the Dualless Chrome extension for students who may benefit from seeing multiple Chrome windows on a single Chromebook monitor. For example, students can view a video lesson on one side of the screen, and a written assignment on the other side.

  • To help students manage their time, use the Stopwatch & Timer Chrome extension to create large on-screen timers. 

  • Break up lessons into shorter parts, which can be beneficial for students with attention challenges.

  • Instead of doing video calls with the whole class, consider breaking the class into smaller groups, where each group meets one or two times per week. Prioritize 1:1 video calls for students who need it most.

  • For students used to working alongside teaching aides in class, you can create a Google Doc in which students can ask questions and get help in real time from their tutors, family members or support staff.

To help students and parents create a space for learning

Now that many of us are doing everything from home—teaching, learning, playing, and working—finding time for it all can be challenging. But it’s important to help students, especially those with learning challenges, carve out space and time to focus on schoolwork.

  • Dedicate a space (even if it’s small) for learning time only. If possible, avoid spaces near windows, open doors, or noisy areas of homes.

  • Suggest that students with attention challenges sit on swivel chairs, if available, to let off some energy. Fidget toys like spinners can also help students focus during lessons.

  • For students using text-to-speech tools, headphones can be helpful, especially if they’re listening during a video class with other students.

To ensure your lessons are accessible

Many Google tools have accessibility functions built in: 

  • If you’re using G Suite for Education, you can enable captioning in Meet or in Slides. Captions can be helpful for students who are Deaf or have hearing loss, or those learning English—but also students in a noisy home environment.

  • Record your presentations in Meet or tools like Screencast-O-Matic or Screencastify for students to watch on their own as homework. This can help you make the most of live lessons, when you want to encourage as much interaction as possible.

  • Learn from your peers who are sharing stories with Google about engaging students through distance learning. Visit the COVID-19 distance learning resource page and Teach from Home for help.

To learn more and watch some tutorials, watch these videos, our G Suite accessibility user guide or join a Google Group. And find more on the Teacher Center, YouTube, and the Chromebook App Hub. Now is an important time to learn from each other—if you have other ideas, we encourage you to share them via this Google Form to help educators around the world benefit from your experience.

More from this Collection

Helping teachers keep teaching

As billions of students are out of school due to COVID-19, we're sharing resources, product features and strategies to help teachers keep teaching.

View all 8 articles

What’s new in Chrome OS: Easy navigation in Chromebook tablet mode

With the latest Chrome OS update, Chromebook tablet mode is simpler to navigate thanks to new gestures, the launch of Quick shelf, and updates to Chrome browser that are tailored specifically for tablet mode.   


What is Chromebook “tablet mode”?

Chromebooks, which all run on Chrome OS, help you to get things done and keep you entertained. All 2-in-1 Chromebooks work as both a high-performing laptop and a tablet. If you have a convertible Chromebook, fold your screen back on its hinge and your Chromebook transitions to tablet mode. Or if you’re using a detachable Chromebook like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, then you can fully remove the keyboard to activate tablet mode.


Navigate tablet mode with gestures

We've built new gestures for Chromebook tablet mode, which make it easier for you to navigate using touch. 

Now, to get to your tablet mode’s Home screen, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

Gesture1

You can also see all the windows and apps open on your Chromebook with a similar gesture. Swipe up from the bottom of your screen and hold at the end of the motion, and you’ll see an overview of the windows and apps running on your Chromebook.

Gesture2

If you’re browsing in tablet mode, you can navigate between web pages faster now. Just swipe from the left side of the screen to go back to the previous page. 

Gesture3

Enjoy more screen space

We’ve redesigned the shelf on Chromebook to give you more space on your screen for windows and apps. Now, when you’re in tablet mode, you can access your pinned apps and other programs that are running from the Quick shelf. To summon the Quick shelf, just make a small swipe up from the bottom of your screen. 

QuickShelf

Even when you’re using Chromebook in laptop mode, the shelf is now more compact to give you more space to focus on your task at-hand. This is especially useful if you’re multitasking with various windows.

Speaking of making the most of your screen space, we’ve also extended picture-in-picture to all Google Play Store apps on Chromebook, even for tablet mode. Now when you’re watching a TV show or video on YouTube, Prime Video, Hulu or other apps, you can minimize the video screen and watch it while you’re doing other things on your Chromebook.


Use Chrome, tailored for tablet mode

This update will allow you to more easily manage Chrome tabs with a touch-friendly tab strip while in tablet mode. When you’re browsing, you’ll be able to open a new tab with a big button, reorder tabs by dragging, and close tabs by swiping up.

This change is coming first to the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, which will be available for purchase within the next couple of months. We’ll then bring the tab strip to other Chromebooks with tablet mode soon.  

TabStrip

We’re also making updates to Chrome OS to keep Chromebooks hassle-free— especially in these moments when technology helps us stay connected to each other.  So we’re listening closely to feedback that Chromebook owners provide on our Chromebook Community to keep adapting our software to the evolving climate.  

Stay tuned for more from us soon. If you're new to Chromebook and want to get up to speed quickly, check out this article for more information and tips for using your Chromebook at home.

5 tips for effective distance learning during school closures

For the foreseeable future, most teachers will be teaching in front of a screen instead of a classroom. For educators who are new to distance learning, it can be challenging to know where to start. So we asked our Certified Innovators, a passionate community of Google for Education experts transforming education across the world, to share their best practices and strategies. 

Continue live teaching online

Marcello Baroni, high school, teacher of graphic design, Scuola d'Arte A. Fantoni Bergamo Italy

With schools closed, our whole school has been conducting distance lessons with Google Meet. That’s 650 students, 22 classes, 30 teachers, 20 tutors, and coordinators all connected virtually, so learning isn’t disrupted. We’ll be using Meet in the future to keep all students connected, wherever they are.

Teachers and students are also finding Google Classroom helpful to stay connected and engaged. Here are tips for using Classroom during periods of high demand. And to avoid connectivity issues, consider pre-recording lessons and posting to Classroom, or use the livestream feature in Google Meet. 

Create digital office hours 

Michael Kaufman, Tech Integration Coach, American School Foundation of Guadalajara

Digital office hours are a great way to ensure remote students still get one-on-one support from their teachers. I use Google Calendar and Hangouts Meet to create digital office hours. The two tools together make it easy to organize your hours and create a space for live interaction between the teacher and students in a distance learning situation.

Here is my YouTube video that guides you through creating digital office hours with Hangouts Meet and Google Calendar. 

Use offline features to support students with limited or no home internet access

Mykel Williams, 7th Grade Math, Baldwin County Alabama

Even if students have limited or no internet access at home, remote learning can be done using offline features for Chromebooks. Our students can still access Drive offline and they can download video lectures from Google Classroom to watch later if they don’t have internet at home.

1008-GDU-CV-First Day of Sites-ER-AV-06 (3).png

Build a digital learning hub

Kyle Pace, Director of Technology, Grain Valley Schools

Using Google Sites—a simple website building tool—you can build a central hub for resources, important updates, and reminders can help students stay organized and keep parents and guardians in the loop, too. Students can also use Sites to create digital portfolios and share their work with teachers, guardians, and peers. Our teachers do a fantastic job of using Google Sites to keep parents and students up-to-date throughout the school year. Each team has its own dedicated site with important information and reminders, which helps learning stay on track.

Want to get started with Sites? Check out this tutorial

Provide one-on-one guidance remotely

Abbey Sarault, 9th Grade biology and medical detectives, Abington

If a student is absent, has trouble accessing the internet, or even just needs a refresher on how to do something, videos can be a huge help, especially when students can download and replay them. With the Screencastify extension, it’s easy to record your screen and share the video with students directly in Classroom. You can also use videos to explain new tools and approaches to help students get the hang of distance learning. Here’s how I used ScreenCastify to guide absent students through an assignment

Teach from Home is our resource to help teachers who are teaching remotely. For more distance learning tips and information, follow along on Twitter and Facebook. If you have tips for supporting remote students, share them with us here. And if you’re just getting started using remote learning tools, check out the Teacher Center, where you can find 101 trainings and lots more. 

Chromebook accessibility tools for distance learning

Around the world, 1.5 billion students are now adjusting to learning from home. For students with disabilities, this adjustment is even more difficult without hands-on classroom instruction and support from teachers and learning specialists.

For educators and families using Chromebooks, there are a variety of built-in accessibility features to customize students’ learning experience and make them even more helpful. We’ve put together a list of some of these tools to explore as you navigate at-home learning for students with disabilities.

Supporting students who are low vision

To help students see screens more easily, you can find instructions for locating and turning on several Chromebook accessibility features in this Chromebook Help article. Here are a few examples of things you can try, based on students’ needs:

  • Increase the size of the cursor, or increase text size for better visibility. 

  • Add ahighlighted circle around the cursor when moving the mouse, text caret when typing, or keyboard-focused item when tabbing. These colorful rings appear when the items are in motion to draw greater visual focus, and then fade away.

  • For students with light sensitivity or eye strain, you can turn on high-contrast mode to invert colors across the Chromebook (or add this Chrome extension for web browsing in high contrast).

  • Increase the size of browser or app content, or make everything on the screen—including app icons and Chrome tabs—larger for greater visibility. 

  • For higher levels of zoom, try thefullscreen or docked magnifiers in Chromebook accessibility settings. The fullscreen magnifier zooms the entire screen, whereas the docked magnifier makes the top one-third of the screen a magnified area. Learn more in this Chromebook magnification tutorial.

002-B2S-Tips-Resize-GIF.gif

Helping students read and understand text

Features that read text out loud can be useful for students with visual impairments, learning and processing challenges, or even students learning a new language.

  • Select-to-speak lets students hear the text they choose on-screen spoken out loud, with word-by-word visual highlighting for better audio and visual connection.

  • With Chromevox, the built-in screen reader for Chromebooks, students can navigate around the Chromebook interface using audio spoken feedback or braille. To hear whatever text is under the cursor, turn on Speak text under the mouse in ChromeVox options. This is most beneficial for students who have significant vision loss. 

  • Add the Read&Write Chrome extension from Texthelp for spelling and grammar checks,  talking and picture dictionaries, text-to-speech and additional reading and writing supports- all in one easy to use toolbar. 

  • For students with dyslexia, try the OpenDyslexic Font Chrome extension to replace web page fonts with a more readable font. Or use the BeeLine Reader Chrome extension to color-code text to reduce eye strain and help students better track from one line of text to the next. You can also use the Thomas Jockin font in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

Guiding students with writing challenges or mobility impairments

Students can continue to develop writing skills while they’re learning from home.

  • Students can use their voice to enter text by enabling dictation in Chromebook accessibility settings, which works in edit fields across the device. If dictating longer assignments, students can also use voice typing in Google Docs to access a rich set of editing and formatting voice commands. Dictating writing assignments can also be very helpful for students who get a little stuck and want to get thoughts flowing by speaking instead of typing. 

  • Students with mobility impairments can use features like the on-screen keyboard to type using a mouse or pointer device, or automatic clicks to hover over items to click or scroll.

  • Try the Co:Writer Chrome extension for word prediction and completion, as well as excellent grammar help. Don Johnston is offering free access to this and other eLearning tools. Districts, schools, and education practitioners can submit a request for access.

How to get started with Chromebook accessibility tools

We just shared a 12-part video series with training for G Suite and Chromebook Accessibility features made by teachers for teachers. These videos highlight teachers’ experience using these features in the classroom, as well as what type of diverse learner specific features benefit. For more, you can watch these videos from the Google team, read our G Suite accessibility user guide, or join a Google Group to ask questions and get real time answers. To find great accessibility apps and ideas on how to use them, check out the Chromebook App Hub, and for training, head to the Teacher Center.


We’re also eager to hear your ideas—leave your thoughts in this Google Form and help educators benefit from your experience.

Works With Chromebook helps you find Chromebook accessories

A charger that gives you power when you need it, cables that ensure you can make important connections, a mouse that helps you work more efficiently—these accessories make it easier to work and play on your Chromebook. To help you find your next accessory, look for the Works With Chromebook logo on products in stores and online.

Chromebook and accessories

You’ll begin to see the Works With Chromebook badge on certified accessories in the U.S., Canada and Japan. We’ve tested these accessories to ensure they comply with Chromebook’s compatibility standards. Once you see the badge, you can be sure the product works seamlessly with your Chromebook.

Works With Chromebook certified accessories come from leading brands—including AbleNet, Anker, Belkin, Brydge, Cable Matters, Elecom, Hyper, Kensington, Logitech, Plugable, Satechi, StarTech, and Targus. Find Works With Chromebook accessories at Amazon.com, Best Buy (U.S. and Canada), Walmart.com, and Bic Camera (Japan), with other retailers and countries coming soon.

For more information about Works With Chromebook, check out the Chromebook website.

Works With Chromebook helps you find Chromebook accessories

A charger that gives you power when you need it, cables that ensure you can make important connections, a mouse that helps you work more efficiently—these accessories make it easier to work and play on your Chromebook. To help you find your next accessory, look for the Works With Chromebook logo on products in stores and online.

Chromebook and accessories

You’ll begin to see the Works With Chromebook badge on certified accessories in the U.S., Canada and Japan. We’ve tested these accessories to ensure they comply with Chromebook’s compatibility standards. Once you see the badge, you can be sure the product works seamlessly with your Chromebook.

Works With Chromebook certified accessories come from leading brands—including AbleNet, Anker, Belkin, Brydge, Cable Matters, Elecom, Hyper, Kensington, Logitech, Plugable, Satechi, StarTech, and Targus. Find Works With Chromebook accessories at Amazon.com, Best Buy (U.S. and Canada), Walmart.com, and Bic Camera (Japan), with other retailers and countries coming soon.

For more information about Works With Chromebook, check out the Chromebook website.