The Chromebook is a different sort of device.  It is neither a Windows laptop or a Mac laptop and it is not purely a Linux OS device either.  The Chromebook uses a Google Chrome web browser that sites on top of a very tiny Linux operating system so therefore the device boots up in as little as 8 seconds.  The Chromebook uses Cloud-based or Internet-based services only.  You do not install software on to the Chromebook they way that you would on a Windows or Mac system.  Instead you would make use of a web-based app to accomplish the task that an installed program would do.  For instance, instead of using Microsoft Office PowerPoint, the student would use Sliderocket or Presi or even Google presentations.   Instead of using Microsoft Office Word to type a document, the student would use Google docs or Zoho docs.

It was decided to base our 1:1 program for the 4th through 8th grades on these Chromebook devices because of their rapid boot, and very long 8 hour battery life and also because of their simplicity in use.  When deployed in a classroom the teacher does not need to be a technician to get a roomful of devices up and running,  The students open the cover and in 8 to 10 seconds they log on to their accounts.  All of their information is then synchronized to the device.  All students have a Google account that will get them access to any Chromebook and to their documents and other content.

Since the Chromebook is so different I felt it necessary to point out a few tips on their usage.

File Manager:
Even with the Chromebooks simplicity with only a web browser running, the Chromebook does in fact have a File Manager built in.  It is possible to save and store files on the Chromebook.  To gain direct access to the File Manager just press Ctrl+M.

Screen Print:
There is no print screen button on the Chromebook but you can most definitely print the screen to an image file.  Just press the CTRL and the Windows switcher button [   ]]]  (just to the left of the screen brightness button on the top row of keys).  Once the screen print is taken you will find the file in the File Manager.  Press CTRL+M to open the File Manager.  The screen print is labeled screenshot-todays-date and ends in .png.

Caps Lock:
The Chromebooks do not have a Caps Lock key but you can put it into Caps Lock by simply pressing both Shift keys at the same time.

Multiple Screens:
If you are one of these people with lots of tabs open at the same time and would like to have some sort of order, you can open multiple windows and have certain tabs on certain Windows.  Top open a second or more window(s), click CTRL+N.  A new window will open.  To swith back and forth just click the window switcher button [   ]]] in the middle of the top row of keys, click the window you want to go to and then click the window switcher again to maximize it.


Printing:
You do not install printers on the Chromebook like you do on a Mac or PC.  Printing is done through a new Cloud service that Google calls Cloud-Printing and uses special HP and Epson printers.  The District only has one actual Cloud printer and it is located in the Glidden middle school.  

I have created a cloud-printing server in the District in order to make use of our legacy (non-cloud-print) printers.  In order to activate a printer for cloud-printing I simply add the printer to this special server and then I must share it out to every student that will be printing to it.  I have created a special process for doing this so it is simple to set up a new printer.

Shutting Down:
To shut down the Chromebook just press the power button in the upper right corner, the screen will shrink down and then go dark.

When All Else Fails:
As with any computer, if you find that something just is not working on the Chromebook try these two things before calling for help:

#1 use the screen refresh button on the top row of keys, it is the round arrow key, 4th button from the left.  If that does not work then
#2 just shut down the Chromebook and log on again.  It only takes 1/2 a minute of time.

To see a list of keyboard shortcut keys click here.

For a full list of usage tips press CTRL+? on your Chromebook.
 



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