Chromebooks? Really? Oh yes.

9 05 2014

When I heard that our High School would be going 1:1 with Chromebooks, I experienced a couple of initial emotions. 1) Disappointment because I love Apple 2) Fear of change 3) Excitement over trying something new.

When I realized that I am a heavy Chrome browser user, I rationalized “how hard could it be?” I love Chrome- with one caveat. I love Safari Reader. Overall, Chrome extensions and apps are cool. Many are what you would find on an iOS device or OSX Mac App.  Plus, Google Drive has been my main go-to for a couple of years now (Unless I’m making something pretty slick and professional looking, and I haven’t found anything as wonderful as iMovie– but I’ll get there).

Then I thought about my users that are heavy AT users. How would a Chromebook work with these users? Would peripherals such as adaptive joysticks and mice work? What accessibility features are there that I could leverage?

So, being me- I started to do some research. I found these resources to be very helpful in my start in looking at how to leverage Chromebooks for our users with Special Needs:

Chrome Toolbox

Supporting Struggling Learners in Chrome

Google Tools for Special Needs

My two users in the High School that are currently using Macs and iPads use Chrome as their default web browser and one heavily uses  Google Drive for student work.  I am curious to see how they will perform with the Chromebook, and leave the choice up to them as to what their preferences are. There will, of course, need to be some data collection around this.

I am looking forward to the challenge of integrating Chromebooks at our High School, while looking at each student individually and leveraging the right tool to meet their needs. Part of this work will begin by presenting at GAFE Peak in York, Maine on June 25. It will be nice to share with other users of Chromebooks in our neighboring district, but it will be especially nice to reconnect with former colleagues and learn from persons that have been integrating Chromebooks into their respective school cultures.

 

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