The Chromebook has two types of screen capture built-in to its operating system:
- Use this function to capture all of the contents currently displayed on your screen.
- Use this function to isolate a specific item on your screen.
- Screenshots are treated the same way as any file downloaded from the Internet and are stored in the Files app.
The Files app can be accessed by going to the Launcher tool located in the bottom-left corner of your screen, then opening the ‘All Apps’ tool from the pop-up window. (tutorial)
Editing a screenshot
- The Chromebook has some built-in editing tools for screenshots or any image file stored in the Downloads folder of the Files app.
- Double+click on an image file to open the image Gallery viewer app
- Use the Left-&-Right arrow keys to cycle through the images available.
- Click on the ‘pencil’ icon in the top-right corner to open the Edit tool.
- Use the Edit tool to:
- Adjust Brightness
- Rotate Left/Right
- Undo/Redo actions
- When done, click the EXIT button in the bottom-right corner to return to the Gallery app
Printing a screenshot
- You can also use the Gallery app to print a screenshot.
- Click on the printer icon in the top-right corner. This will open the standard Google print screen where you can select your printer and set your number of copies, layout, and other options.
Back in December I shared a post on How to Spot Fake News, citing an article from Common Sense Media as a good read for this topic. The timing of this was a handy coincidence as I was in the process of teaching my 5th graders about plagiarism and finding trustworthy sources. Fast-forward to February, a new semester, and a new group of 6th graders to teach. As I get ready to teach my lesson on Copyright, Creative Commons and Citations, yet another article has surfaced connecting the process of citing the source with being able to spot fake news.
In an article from EasyBib on 10 Ways to Spot a Fake News Article, author Michele Kirschenbaum entertains the idea that the credibility of a news article can be determined in part by the ease with which we can build a proper citation for it. The success or failure to answer the questions that Kirschenbaum lists can give us an idea of how trustworthy the source may be. For example, if the article includes citations and references to where it got its facts from then that’s a good sign. However, if you have to hunt to identify who the author of the article is then this could be a red flag.
Constructing a proper citation from online sources is not always easy, even when you employ citation tools such as EasyBib, Citation Machine, or the Explore Tool inside of Google Docs. However, if a source is proving to be particularly difficult to cite then that might be a sign that its credibility should be questioned and that more scrutiny of the source be undertaken before you incorporate any of its information into your own research.
There will be times when the WiFi we rely on for Internet access will go down. Some have the mistaken impression that if WiFi access is lost then a Chromebook is rendered useless, since it is designed to work “in the cloud.” However, this is not so you can use your Chromebook in a limited capacity.
- When you turn on your Chromebook, if you see the screen below then refer to the last line in the window and the link provided: “If you’ve already registered on this device, you can sign in as an existing user.” As long as you have signed into the Chromebook at least once before (when there was WiFi/Internet access) then this option will allow you to still login.
- The Chromebook will load a local copy of your Google Account profile that is stored on the its internal hard drive.
Google Drive Offline
If you would like access to your Google Drive files when there is no WiFi/Internet available, then you can enable Google Drive Offline. This will allow you to edit files native to Google Drive (e.g. Docs, Sheets, Slides, & Drawings) offline and then have the changes synced back to the cloud automatically when WiFi service is restored.
- Go to drive.google.com, then locate the Settings gear icon at the far-right end of the Drive toolbar.
- From the drop-down menu choose ‘Settings’
- Under the General tab, locate the ‘Offline’ heading.
- Place a check in the checkbox to enable offline syncing of Google Drive files.
NOTE: Not all files will be available for offline access. This includes PDF’s, Google Forms, images, videos, and files that haven’t been accessed by you in some time. Files that have been shared with you and therefore you are not the owner of will also be inaccessible during this time.
Have you noticed this icon while working inside of a Google Doc? How about a Google Slides project? Google Drawings? Do you have any idea what it does? In fact, it can be a powerful tool that allows the user to customize the format of a piece of text then quickly apply it at various points throughout the artifact.
To use the Paint Format tool:
- Format a piece of text/cell with the size, style, or color into the desired appearance.
- Highlight the text/cell, then activate the Paint format tool.
- To apply the format to a single word, simply double+click on the word. To apply the format to a series of words, a sentence, a paragraph, etc. then click-&-drag your cursor over the desired text.
- To quickly apply the format to multiple places throughout your artifact, double+click on the Paint format tool to lock it into the ‘ON’ position. When done, click on the Paint format tool again to turn it off.
To see the Paint format tool in action please refer to the video below from BetterCloud Monitor.
Google Apps are standalone programs that can run on their own and can be accessed from the Launcher tool on the Chromebook. Chrome Extensions are add-ons that work exclusively inside of the Google Chrome app.
1. Extensions are accessed from the top of the Chrome app window and to the right of the URL address bar.
- Drag extensions to arrange them in any order you prefer.
- If you need to make room to access more extensions, then place your cursor on the edge of the URL address bar, then drag to your left to shorten the bar and make more room for extensions.
2. To manage your Chrome extensions, use the “3 Oreos” button located in the top-right corner of the browser window to activate a drop-down menu, then click on ‘More tools’ -> ‘Extensions’ or type the following into the URL address bar: chrome://extensions
- Extensions are listed in alphabetical order
- Clicking on ‘Details’ will display a pop-up window with info. about the Extension including overview, version, and what permissions it has to your account information. From here you can also access the Extension listing in the Chrome Web Store.
- Some Extensions will show an ‘Options’ link to a window with additional customization and settings options.
- Some Extensions can be disabled by removing the checkmark from the ‘Enabled’ box. Some Extensions cannot be disabled due to settings configured by the Google Admin.
- Some Extensions can be removed entirely by clicking on the Trashcan icon to the right of the extension entry. If there is a pair of buildings icon instead of the trashcan for an extension, then this means it was installed by the Google Admin and cannot be removed.
3. You can add additional Extensions to your Chrome app from the Chrome Web Store (Note: there is an app for that in the All Apps menu).
4. Click on the ‘Extensions’ category or use the Search field if you already have an extension in mind.
5. Extensions with a green ribbon in the top-left corner of their icon have already been added to your account; those without a ribbon have not been added and are not yet available for use.
6. Google Admins may restrict access to the Chrome Web Store for specific groups of users. For example, in my organization staff may add any extension to their Chrome web browser, but students may only add extensions that have been pre-approved. If there is an extension that a teacher feels would be of an educational benefit to students then they may submit a request to open up access to the extension.
Chromebooks come with the standard suite of Google Apps including Gmail, Calendar, Drive, etc. that can be accessed from the Waffle icon inside of Google Chrome. Chromebooks have many additional apps as well which can be accessed from the Launcher tool, located in the bottom-left corner of the screen.
From the Launcher window you can:
- Conduct a Google Search (voice command search available!)
- Access recently used apps
- View your entire library of installed apps (All Apps)
From the ‘All Apps’ icon, you will see all of the available apps currently installed on your Chromebook as part of your GSuite account.
- If you have more apps than can be displayed at one time, then use the line spacers at the bottom of the window to cycle through the different pages of apps.
- App icons can be re-arranged and grouped together into folders similar to app management schemes on mobile devices like the iPad.
- To create an group folder, drag one app icon on top of another. Then drag any additional apps into the folder.
- Click to open the app folder and you can then give it a name.
- To remove an app from a folder, drag the app outside of the window. When the main library window is revealed, place the app icon at its new location.
- From this window you can customize your Chromebook toolbar (a.k.a. Apple Dock / Windows Taskbar) with the apps that you use the most, making their use only a single click away!
- Drag apps from the All Apps window to the bottom toolbar that you’d like easy access to. Drag apps that you no longer want in the toolbar to any place on the Desktop to remove the shortcut (this does NOT delete the app, rather the shortcut to the app).
- To add additional apps to your Chromebook, navigate to the Chrome Web Store (Note: there is an app for that in the All Apps menu).
- Click on the ‘Apps’ category or use the Search field if you already have an app in mind.
- Apps with a green ribbon in the top-left corner of their icon have already been added to your account; those without a ribbon have not been added and are not yet available for use.
Google Drawings, an app found inside of Google Drive, has become more and more my go-to resource for creating artifacts and activities that are interactive. You can customize the workspace to any size you need using the File -> Page Setup, access multiple line and shape tools, and insert objects from the same sources as you can from a Google Doc or Slides file. The possibilities for this tool are only limited by our own imaginations.
Case and point, I recently read a how-to article from edtechteacher by Ben Sondgeroth where he outlines the true power of Google Drawings to create interactive artifacts. Ben walks you through how to create an interactive Google Drawing using Parts of a Cell as an example, among several others. My favorite example is the interactive States of the U.S. map, where each state has been linked to a video about that state from the History Channel. You can watch his video as he goes about this step-by-step below.
- Using interactive Google Drawings fits in quite nicely if you are using a flipped classroom setup or use Hyperdocs in your lessons.
- Share this technique with your students and see what interactive Drawings products they can build. I decided to add this to the list of options for my students to use when creating their Upstander Superhero as part of our unit of study on Cyberbullying.