It’s a Chromebook. How Do I…?

Over the past year or so, Chromebooks have been popping up in schools across the district. Many of the learning activities students engage in involve the use of web-based resources, and Chromebooks allow them to access the Internet quickly and efficiently – and at a much lower price than most conventional laptops. This allows us to put more devices into the hands of students, but there are a few things that work a little differently than the Mac or Windows laptops you might be used to. Most of you know I’m a devoted Mac user, but I’ve been using a Chromebook on and off this year to get more comfortable. In fact, this post has been written and published using a Chromebook! Read on for a few of the very basic things I’ve learned along the way.

Logging In  For our elementary students who don’t have their own Google accounts, the Chromebooks are set to automatically login to a guest account. From there, students have the same Internet access they would have from any other district computer.

At the middle and high schools, students and teachers can login to the Chromebooks with their own Google accounts. This gives you access to your Google Drives and also creates a profile on that machine so any files you download will be available any time you login on that device (without allowing other users to see them).

Downloading Files  While most of the work you do on a Chromebook will be stored “in the cloud” through your Google account, you do have the ability to store some files locally. For instance, if you’re looking for an image to insert into a project, you can save the file to the Chromebook’s downloads folder and then browse to insert the picture.

Right Click   To bring up the “right click” menu on a Chromebook, tap the trackpad with two fingers at the same time OR hold down the Alt key and tap the trackpad with a single finger.

Screenshots  Need to take a screenshot of your whole Chromebook screen? Press the Control key (ctrl) and the “Window Switcher” key at the same time. To capture just a portion of the screen, hold down Ctrl and Shift and press the “Window Switcher” key. Then drag the crosshairs around the portion of the screen you wish to capture.

window switcher key

For more information, check out my Diigo list about Chromebooks. I continually add to this list as I find resources related to Chromebooks, so it’s always growing. If you’ve discovered your own helpful tips and tricks for using Chromebooks, please share them in the comments below.



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