If you’ve got a Chromebook for the first time it can be difficult to know what apps are available and even how you install them. Luckily, there’s a well curated Web Store that you can install many free apps. On this page I’ve gathered a selection of Chromebook apps that are perfect to get your started with your new Chromebook.
How to install apps on your Chromebook or Chrome browser
You can browse and install apps onto your Chromebook from the Chrome Web Store. Just like the iPad App Store there is a huge range of free and paid for apps, including many designed specifically for education. To install an app just browse the Web Store, find an app your like, and click Install. It’s really simple.
Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides
Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are three core productivity apps that are essential in the classroom. They give students access to a solid office suite with built in collaboration and sharing features that you can use to enhance your lessons.
Docs is Google’s equivalent to Microsoft Word — a word processing app that is good for most of the tasks students will ever want to carry out. Sheets is Excel — a spreadsheet app capable of complex calculations. Slides is PowerPoint — used to create presentations. All of Google’s office apps allow you to export documents to the equivalent Microsoft Office format, but why would you want to?!
Google Drive – Save your files
Google Drive is where you store and access your documents and files. Drive lets you share files and folders between other Google Apps users in your school. You get 30GB of storage as standard, but there’s always the option to buy more if you’re storing large media files or want to create a central storage area. Using the New button, you can create documents in any of the apps you have installed.
Access Drive now: Google Drive
Google Forms lets you create questionnaires to gather data into a Google Sheet. It’s great for getting feedback from students, creating a way to accept and mark assignments, and for administration purposes.
Check it out now: Google Forms
Google Classroom – Build your lessons
Classroom is Google’s attempt to pull together all of its services in a way that makes teaching with technology simple. Classroom lets you build lessons, assign students, and distribute and mark assignments from a single page.
Google Classroom has only been released in the last few weeks so at the moment it’s not as feature rich as older learning platforms like Moodle, but it’s a really simple way to start to build lessons on your Chromebook. To access Classroom your Google Apps administrator must enable it first. If you’d like to find out more check out our first look at Google Classroom video.
Take a look: Google Classroom
Pixlr — Image Editing
One of the most common arguments I hear against Chromebooks is, “You can’t do Photoshop on a Chromebook.” Well, now you can.
Pixlr is an amazingly fully featured image editing program that runs right in your web browser. It has all the features you would expect from Photoshop — layering, filters, colour balance, saturation — with the added benefit that files can be saved back to your Google Drive. Okay, so if you’re a Photoshop expert you’re going to miss a few of the more complex options, but for most school tasks Pixlr can more than match Adobe’s beast of a program.
WeVideo — Video Editing
One of the reasons teachers love the iPad so much is iMovie. The ability for students to easily create little movie vignettes to record there way is extremely engaging. Well now you can do the same on your Chromebook!
WeVideo lets you record, upload, and edit movies right on your Chromebook or Chrome browser. Like iMovie there are theme templates that you can drop your own text, video, and images into to create movie style trailers. Once you’ve finished your video you can publish it or save it to your Google Drive to share with staff and students.
Google Books is a much-overlooked Google service that can have enormous impact in the classroom. Most books you must buy but there’s also a rich seam of classics and out of copyright material that you can use for free in your lessons. Books allows you to search for useful text and share it instantly with your class.
Some free books to get your started:
Search Google Books now: Google Books
GeoGebra – Mathematics
If you’re a Maths teacher you’ll want to check out GeoGebra. Suitable for all levels of education, GeoGebra brings together geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics, and calculus into a single Chrome app.
There’s also an active online community creating and sharing teaching resources for use on your Chromebook.
Scratch is a popular way to introduce students to computer coding is a simple and visual way. The Scratch interface features drag and drop elements which allows students to build up complex computer programmes without knowing any code. By doing this they build up a knowledge of the basics of computer coding like IF statements, loops, and arrays before getting put off by complex code.
Scratch can be used to create anything from presentations, to games, to apps, and there’s also a huge community of teachers and students willing to share resources and ideas.
Above is just a small selection of the educational apps on offer. To find more Chromebook apps that you can use in your lessons check out the education section of the Chrome Web Store.
Did we list your favourite Chromebook app? If not let us know in the comments!