As I talked about in a few of my latest posts, BYOD is getting more and more popular in the education world. Specifically, Chromebooks are making a lot of inroads into schools because they’re cheap, small, and of course integrate very well with Google Apps for Education.
However, the major gripe about Chromebooks is that they are mostly limited to browser-based work. This is by design and helps keep the devices cheap, but that doesn’t change the fact that you can buy regular Windows-based netbooks for the same price or just a bit more that have significantly more capabilities than the Chromebooks.
To help solve this problem, today I want to show you five of my favorite Chromebook apps from the Chrome Web Store that can help bridge the divide between a regular desktop and the browser-based Chromebook.
Chromebook Apps for the Classroom
This hugely popular web-based calculator has created a Chrome Web Store app specifically for use in Google’s popular browser. It has all the same features as their regular calculator as well, so it should come in handy for all the math enthusiasts out there.
What’s interesting is that Desmos (the company) is still small. So small, in fact, that their CEO even publishes these great little YouTube videos on how to use the various features! Check out the latest one below:
Along the same math lines as Desmos comes GeoGebra. In short, GeoGebra is an interactive geometry and algebra app (hence the name) that lets you and your students dynamically display and edit content. Lots of math and science teachers use this application for teaching new concepts and analyzing data of all sorts.
Normally it requires a software installation, but they’ve also made a Chrome Web Store app, for schools that have used Chromebooks to go BYOD. What’s more, they have a metric boatload of free course materials on their website. What’s not to like?!
If you’re easily grossed out, you may want to skip the links in this section, because Biodigital Human’s representation of what the inside of our bodies looks like is insanely detailed! Normally it requires a graphics card that support WebGL, but luckily the app is also available for Chromebooks in the Web Store!
While BDH is free for basic viewing, they also have a Premium subscription plan ($6/month with free 30-day trial) that lets you download high resolution images, gives you access to advanced features, and allows you to create interactive quizzes for your students!
Check out this quick demo video!
It’s nice to know that us astronomy and space buffs aren’t left out in the cold when it comes to Chromebooks either. There’s always Google’s services like Earth, Sky, and Mars of course, but Planetarium is designed more for those who are curious about the constellations and the stars that make them up.
All you have to do is tell Planetarium where on the Earth you are located, and it will display the constellations you can see and info about each star. Each and every star Planetarium has is visible with the naked eye too, so you know you’ll be able to apply this knowledge when you actually go outside at night.
As ubiquitous as wireless Internet is these days, there are sometimes when there’s just no signal in range. Gmail Offline is a big help when that happens: it lets you read, respond, and archive mail even during those rare times when you aren’t connected. Once you can get online again, all the actions you took while offline are synced right away.
That’s just a taste of what is available for the Chromebook and a starting point to explore the store. Let us know in the comments if you have some favorite Chromebook apps for the classroom!