Thursday, May 29, 2014

ChromeBook

The ChromeBook is the next step in Google's attempt to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.
First, Google began introducing applications such as gmail, Google Calendar, Sites and then combined access to all these application through one single sign on - a Google Account. Google established itself as a rising star when it purchased YouTube in 2006 for a whopping $1.65 Billion! In a nutshell, you can now log into YouTube using your Google account information.

The next step toward world dominance was to create Google's own browsing experience - enter Google Chrome.  Chrome can be installed on any device and when logged in with a Google account, settings, favorites, search history (etc.) are shared among those devices.  Once logged into Google Chrome, the user is also logged into any Google application that they access through the browser.  Along with Google Chrome, came the Chrome Web Store. The Chrome Web Store, similar to Apple's App Store, offers Applications (Web Links) and Extensions (small downloads that usually add a button to the Google Address Bar). The primary advantage to the applications (along with a richer user interface) is single sign on, meaning the user can sign up for these apps using their Google account information.  So once signed into Google Chrome, the user can gain immediate access to the applications - and many of the applications allow the user to store associated files right into their Google Drive (online storage).

The latest portion of the takeover bid is the Google ChromeBook. The ChromeBook is basically a device that allows user access to the Chrome Browser.  While there are a limited number of Google programs that can be installed and accessed while offline, the primary function of the device is through the Chrome browser with internet access.  Learn more about all of the ChromeBook features. Single sign on is again the primary benefit.  While the user could choose to use the ChromeBook in Guest mode and log in individually to the Chrome browser or individual application - it is best to Log into the ChromeBook itself, which automatically logs them into the Chrome Browser and all Google (and 3rd Party) applications.

I suggest logging into ChromeBook with your personal Google account and buy (most are free) some web apps (get some ideas here). Try out Google Drive, YouTube, Blogger and some of the items listed in the Epic BYOD Toolchest. Also access mail.mycomets.org and try out the online Microsoft Applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) by logging in with your test Office 365 Account. 


Please add your Comments and Questions about Chrome and ChromeBooks.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Which Tools work best for BYOD?

I think the biggest challenge ahead of us is deciding first what it is we would like to accomplish in our classrooms and how the increased access to technology can aid our endeavors. The next decision is to choose which of the many available tools work best in the BYOD environment here at Mason.

Let's start with many of the interactive technology applications that we have investigated and implemented over the past few years. Blogging, Shared Documents, Presentations, Shared Websites, Formative and Summative Assessments, Screencasting and Electronic Note Taking are some of those applications.  The primary tools are offered through Office 365 (accounts given to students - faculty accounts coming in the fall) and Google (I suggest creating personal accounts).  There are several 3rd party apps that we can investigate - and some allow you to create accounts using your Google (or Microsoft) Identity.

Along the way, we will determine the best way for teachers to share their insights and discoveries about these tools and applications.  For now, lets use my blog and the comment stream below.  As we move forward we can choose more sophisticated methods of sharing.  I also believe that much of the work we will do in this pilot will be online - flexing our work time should aid in the efficiency of this project.

Back to the discussion.  Please Read the following article and reflect upon the tools that you have already used in your personal life or with your colleagues and students.

The Epic BYOD Toolchest - Vicki Davis

Please start commenting below.  The first person to comment will label their post according the particular grouping of Apps (Formative Assessment, Screencasting, Content Sharing, etc). Others wishing to comment within that category should reply to the first persons post.

Thanks for your input!