- Chrome Browser
- Chrome Operating System
- Chromebook (hardware)
- and of course, Google Drive should be thrown in here too
From CNET: "Google Chrome has matured from a lightweight and fast browsing alternative into an innovative, standard-bearing browser that people love. It's powerful enough to drive its own operating system, Chrome OS. The browser that people can use today offers highly competitive features, including synchronization, autofill, and standards compliance, and maintains Google's reputation for building one of the fastest browsers available." To learn more about how it works, continue reading on the CNET site.
The browser is very simplistic in its appearance, but that is by design. According to the Web site for the browser, "Like the classic Google homepage, Google Chrome is clean and fast. It gets out of your way and gets you where you want to go."
Google Chrome is among the first to offer a number of different features. For example, their tabbed browsing takes tabbed browsing a step further. Instead of just opening up a blank page, the browser opens a page with thumbnail shots of the most visited sites. This allows you to quickly navigate to their desired pages. Think how powerful this can be for our population!
So, how can Google Chrome benefit us? Well, first let's look at their statement about:
What are the tools available through Chrome?
Staying true to this site, below is a list of resources that I have found worth reading that will help to acquaint you with some of the tools and apps provided in Chrome:
- AT Freeware - 2012 Adirondack AT Expo has provided and amazing map of apps available broken down by category. Once here, you will never come back:-)
- Andrea Bodnari has provided a list of apps with information about each on her wiki.
- A collaboration between CALL Scotland and Mike Marotta developing an App Wheel for Google Chrome.
- Best Google Chrome Accessibility Features for Assistive Tech is a listing of a list of some of the extensions available in the Chrome web store for assistive tech on the blog Everyday Speech.
- ChromeAT by Mike Marrotta, a leader in the AT world, is providing us with a listing of extensions and apps, broken into educational categories.
- If you prefer hearing about apps, a 45 minute YouTube is available by Thomas Patra.
- You must learn about Google Chrome Read and Write Toolbar that AT in Action has provided a information on.
- Text-to Speech and Speech-to-Text: Assistive Technology Blog discusses SpeakIt! - Free Text to Speech Add On for Google Chrome and video Speech Recognition in Google Docs.
- A great chart was developed comparing Google Chrome with Firefox by AT and UD blog.
- Assistive Technology Blog has written about Google Voice Search for Chrome.
- Chrome AT Toolbox: has developed this searchable resource to locate tools that serve the particular challenges anyone might face while working in Chrome.
- Chrome Browser Apps and Extensions is a PDF specializing in AT supports
- Google App Attack is a rich Symbaloo of apps designed as support for our population.
- Supporting Struggling Learners in Chrome by Linda Hartman, has a list of supports broken down by need.
- Johnny Kelley and his team from Chesterfield County Public Schools has compiled a fairly extensive researched list of Chrome features, apps and extensions. It is accessed through Google Docs.
Hint: Install Chrome extension Adblock Plus to automatically remove ads that may be inappropriate in a school setting.
Google Drive is a free service from Google that allows you to store files online and access them anywhere using the cloud. Google Drive also gives you access to free web-based applications for creating documents, spreadsheets, and more. Files can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection. It eliminates the need to email or save a file to a USB drive. And because Drive allows you to share files, working with others or sharing with a teacher becomes much easier.
Google Drive doesn't just store your files; it also allows you to create, share, and manage documents with its own productivity apps. If you've ever used a suite like Microsoft Office, some things about Google Drive's apps might seem familiar. For instance, the types of files you can work with are similar to files that can be created with various Microsoft Office programs.
These are the types of files you can create and share on Google Drive:
- Documents: For composing letters, flyers, essays, and other text-based files (similar to Microsoft Word documents)
- Spreadsheets: For storing and organizing information (similar to Microsoft Excel workbooks)
- Presentations: For creating slideshows (similar to Microsoft PowerPoint presentations)
- Forms: For collecting and organizing data
- Drawings: For creating simple vector graphics or diagrams
- Chrome Virtual Keyboard - When enabled, a tiny keyboard icon appears next to the star at the far right of the Chrome address bar. Click that icon and select whether you want the keyboard to appear Always or On-Demand. Under the Extension settings for this extension, you can click "Options" and select a smaller keyboard that can be moved around the page.
- Virtual Keyboard Interface - Double-clicking a text-entry area (search boxes, password fields) displays a re-sizable keyboard directly beneath that area. Also has a hide-able number keypad and over 90 international layouts in different languages.
- Virtual Keyboard for Google Chrome - Their original version; now "deprecated" by Google, but some people may still have it and it still works. Little keyboard icon also appears at far right of the address bar.
- Be sure to explore Google's Accessibility page to learn more about what they offer.
- Google Apps accessibility guides for blind and low-vision users. The guides cover Gmail, Drive (including Doc, Sheets, and Slides), and calendar.
- Here is a website where the creators are posting apps and extensions for students with various needs: https://sites.google.com/site/gchromeat/home
- Google Tools for Special Needs by Eric Curts, provides a great resource to learn more about the possibilities.
- Clicker Docs for Chromebook has a speech supported spellcheck and word predictor.It also includes topic-specific Word Banks, and access to free, curriculum based resources from their LearningGrids website. It helps students of all abilities to achieve writing success. It is particularly useful for learners with dyslexia and struggling spellers.
- MeeGenius Children's Books which allows you to read each book with audio playback, word highlighting and automatic playback.
- MindMeister which is a mind mapping app that raises student achievement through brainstorming and real-time collaboration.
- Pixton Comic Maker where you can create comics with characters, speech bubbles, background, images, voice-over and more.
- ScootPad which provides you with Math and Reading practice with data through a personalized and self-paced learning experience.
- Snapverter allows a teacher to take a photo of the test, email it to themselves and w/in a min or 2 converts it to document that can be read out loud
- Stupeflix where you can turn photos, videos, text and music into beautiful videos that tell meaningful stories.
- Typing Club so you can practice typing skills and track performance through an admin interface.
There is also a Chromebook (type of netbook) which is advertised as, "Boots in seconds. Nothing complicated to learn. Comes with your favorite Google apps. Built for everyday use and perfect for sharing with others."
- Looks like a laptop computer
- Is light weight, thin
- Provides for immediate connection to the Internet
- Uses the Chrome Web Store (to get extensions and apps)
Chromebook Features was initially created by Nicole Lakusta in response to conversations and questions asked by the staff and students she works with. (The framework for this list is presented in the same format as the iPad Features to ensure consistency.) This is a good resource to help you through Chrome General and Access Features.
To iPad or ChromeBook??
The other side of the story! Assistive Technology and access tools- not so easy!!!
So know, the Chromebook is not appropriate for all students. Looking at the functions before deciding on the hardware is a good idea. Nicole Lakusta's Chromebook Features Chart provides us with a good place to start with this.
Chrome AT Toolbox: Chrome Toolbox is a resource site that highlights free accessibility apps and extensions for Google's Chrome browser. It was designed by Mark Surabian, an Assistive Technology Practitioner, and John Calvert, a K-5 Technology Learning Facilitator. The site includes links to the free downloads and is arranged in several helpful ways. "This collaborative space was created to celebrate the many Apps and Extensions made by developers which serve the accessibility needs of individuals with disabilities. Although Google already highlights accessibility features built into the Chrome browser or through add-ons, we have collected numerous other free tools that we feel further contribute to that mission.
Stay tuned. I think Chrome will continue to grow and be innovative. If you need more, see my Pinterest selection, "Chrome and Google in Education" and AZTAP's Symboloo on Google App Attack.
For many how to guides on Google Drive in education and more on Chrome, check my Pinterest Page for an abundance of resources: "Google in Education (with a smattering of Chrome) Using Google Docs? Chrome has come your way? Let's make the most of it"