It is important as educators to consider the differences between how Chromebooks and Laptops function to support learning. Chromebooks function differently than computers (laptops) or devices that download apps, such as Smart Phones or iPads. Chromebooks generally have 32 gigs of onboard storage (most are only 16 gigs), of which 10 gigs are taken up by the Operating System. Think of a Chromebook as a browser with a keyboard.
As Chromebooks are browser based operating systems, educators should explore and find websites that will foster student learning if they are using Chromebooks. To facilitate easy access to these websites, educators can create a Work Order for Tech Services with the website link included. Tech Services will then push out to these links, in the form of a bookmark, to student Chromebooks.
There are some limited browser extensions that can enhance Chromebook functionality, however it is challenging to find an optimal way to assign them. Since extensions can only be assigned via user, the extensions install each time a student logs in. For example, the extension Google Read and Write is an excellent learning tool, and supports UDL, however, if there are too many extensions attached to a student’s account this will affect the log in time. Extensions load every time a student logs in to that device as the extension is not downloaded and stored on the device.
Extensions are available in the Chrome Web Store (not to be confused with the Google Play Store). Chrome Web Store is for browser based additions whereas Google Play Store supports smart device apps that are specifically designed for touch controls.