Chrome Unboxed | Guest Contributor
2020 is coming to an end but due to unforeseen circumstances, the “new normal” appears to be here to stay until further notice. For educators, this means facing the challenges that come along with teaching a full curriculum in a virtual environment. The lesson plans may be the same but the delivery methods must be recreated and curated to complement the digital landscape while still keeping the kiddos engaged and corralled. This is a monumental undertaking and I feel that we should praise and applaud our educators every chance we get.
One thing that I have learned in my years of writing at Chrome Unboxed is that finding quality educational resources for a Google-centric classroom is a bit of a chore. Sure, Google offers support pages and you can find forums where educators share ideas and offer up solutions to some of the most common problems that teachers face. However, there has still yet to be that one, go-to place where teachers and administrators alike can find that all-in-one platform for everything related to Google Classroom and Chromebooks. So, we’ve decided to start collecting resources from around the web and sharing them here so that you can find the tools that you need to make the most out of the digital learning environment. Today, we’re going to highlight three free resources that will help you with everything from finding new Chromebook applications, to utilizing Google apps for learning and more.
Chromebook App Hub
The Chromebook App Hub debuted at the 2019 ISTE EdTech conference with the purpose of gathering useful Chromebook applications geared specifically towards the classroom. However, this “hub” is so much more than a simple catalog of education-focused applications. Instead, you’ll find tools that are specifically designed for, used by, and even created by educators. Google has neatly categorized the applications to help teachers find just the right tool for their specific needs and use case but that’s not the only thing you’ll find in the hub.
While it’s great to have a one-stop-shop of your EDU apps, finding unique and creative ideas for your classroom is equally as important in this time when virtual learning is the new normal. The Chromebook App Hub features an idea section where real-world educators can share ideas for creating and using digital content. You will find custom-designed content on subjects such as coding, digital citizenship, STEM, critical thinking, and so much more. Many teachers create their own lesson plans, applications, and tools and share them here for anyone to use or to inspire others in creating their own classroom resources. The sense of community created by the idea hub, I hope, should encourage educators to think outside of the box and glean from each other to enrich the digital classroom. You can learn more and peruse the Chromebook App Hub at the link below.
Author of The Chromebook Classroom, John Sowash is an industry expert when it comes to using Chrome OS in education. John is the founder of the Google Certification Academy and he speaks around the country and virtually sharing his expertise on Chromebooks and Google Classroom. He offers workshops to help prepare educators for L1 and L2 Google certifications. When he’s not busy with that, he puts out a weekly podcast called, you guessed it, The Chromebook Classroom and it is a great resource for educators and it’s completely free.
Apart from his speaking engagements and work to help teachers get Google certified, John keeps up a blog that offers tips, how-tos, and resources for teachers that use Chromebooks and Google Classroom. With the shift to virtual learning, Mr. Sowash recently published his “Chromebook teaching toolbox” that shows you his go-to tools for a productive virtual learning environment and you can access it at no cost to find apps, tips, and tools to keep your school year running smoothly.
Alice Keeler is another Google Guru that has a truckload of awesome content to share with the education community. Alice is an educator, EdTech expert, Certified Google Innovator, author, mother of five and the list goes on and on. She knows a lot about everything related to the classroom but one look at her website or Twitter feed and you’ll know very quickly that she is the queen of Google Classroom apps. Not a day goes by that I don’t see a tweet or an article where she has created some sort of awesome tool for the classroom using Google Slides, Forms, or some other Google tool.
Alice travels as a keynote speaker for EDU conferences and offers training, workshops, and more but her website shows her passion as a true educator. You can find tips on creating custom templates for Google Slides, Forms for keeping track of student progress, leveraging social media, Minecraft, and much more. She really offers a lot of great content and assistance for every aspect of the classroom and that’s not limited to just student interaction. Alice wants to assist educators in being as efficient and effective as possible whether digitally or in-person and her exhaustive list of accomplishments testifies to the fact that she loves to teach. Check out her website below and make sure to find her on Twitter for ongoing tips and updates.
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