Monday, January 27, 2014

Using a Chromebook Offline

chromebook from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/Chromebook.jpg
From Wikimedia Commons
Chromebooks continue to gain traction in education, and they can be an awesome tool for students to support Common Core and much more.

Here's a list of Chromebook Apps that can be used offline. They also, obviously, run online as well, and are considered best in breed by various folks... You can also use the base Google Apps for Education Tools, like:
  • Docs - edit and view
  • Gmail - write and view
  • Calendar - create and view
  • Spreadsheet - edit and view ("new" spreadsheets) 
  • Presentation (Slides) - edit and view
  • Drawing - edit and view
For schools, you can allow the 'offline' capability by going to the Google Apps Admin Console, then select Google Apps - Setting for Drive, then General Settings, and finally "Allow users to enable offline docs."

Learn more about offline capabilities here and more specifically about Chromebook offline access settings  - looks like it's 'automagically' enabled, I believe.

After a quick search, here are a few no-brainer offline tools for you to consider.

Google KeepA note taking app that I use and love. Automatic syncing across devices, too. This is on a short list of apps that has actually helped me get more organized.
Pixlr Express - Free offline photo editing with basic functions like cropping, resizing, rotating, color and contrast adjustment, and effects. It also allows you to open and save files directly to and from Google Drive. Of course, there's an even more simplistic photo editor built into Chromebooks image viewer app. 
Lucidchart for drawing flowcharts, mindmaps and so on, Lucidchart is one of the best.

This citeworld post helped jog my memory about the three apps listed above. 

From this Fractus Learning post, here are four more keepers: 
Desmos Graphing Calculator - self explanatory title, I think.
Geogebra - interactive geometry and algebra app very useful for demonstrating/visualizing math concepts. 
BioDigital Human- great way to understand and visualize the workings of the human body.
Planetarium - again, self explanatory, I think.

Media and such
Of course, the built-in media player allows you to listen to music, watch videos and so on for anything already loaded to the Chromebook's solid state drive. Here are a few more...

Kindle Cloud Reader - for your Kindle Library.
Google Play Books for reading books, pdfs, etc. offline. If you've acquired the book from Google, the full capabilities are intact (highlighting, etc.). For uploaded books and pdf's, you won't necessarily get all the built in capabilities.
Readium for Epub format books (haven't tried this yet). 

Here's another fairly comprehensive list of apps for Chromebook available offline, from the Chromestory blog.

For you start-from-scratch types, here's the definitive list of Chromestore apps that run offline.

Please fill in this quick form with any Chromebook offline "keeper" apps you and your students use.

Results can be seen here.

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