Saturday, March 2, 2013

Unleash the Potential

OMG I just found and took the time to understand the Chrome Web Store! Have you? This is huge! This is the second school year we have been using Google Apps for Education. I have been a supporter of the move to cloud based computing but I have been missing a few tools that I had prior to the move. Well guess what....... most of them are now back in my teaching toolbox. I'm like a kid in a candy store!

For those of you who have lived in the dark like myself the Chrome Web Store is place where you can grab for free or purchase web apps that run inside of the Chrome browser. What I recently learned is there is a collection of apps that are designed just for Google Drive. This collection of apps helps the user unleash the full potential of Google Drive.

One of the apps in the Google Drive Collection that I grabbed was PicMonkey. Ever since the Picnik website went away, PicMonkey has been my go to website for photo editing. Now I can edit photos inside my Google Drive. This is going to be a great tool for the 4th, 5th and 6th grade technology classes I teach.

Another old friend I was reacquainted with in the Chrome Web Store was Lucidchart. It is very similar to the Inspiration software in that it allows users to easily create charts, graphic organizers and documents. This is a great tool for my speech/language students because it helps make language visual. 

Google Presentation has always been a disappointment to me. It doesn't have any of the piazza of PowerPoint. So today I discovered the SlideRocket app from the Chrome Web Store and I gave it a try. It appears to have plenty of snap and piazza to make a professional presentation. I don't think you will be disappointed.

I also accessed the Kindle Cloud Reader App. With this app I was able to purchase or grab any free book from Amazon and read it on my laptop. Then I discovered if I download the Kindle app on my iPad I can access those same books on my mobile devices. Amazing..... this could benefit us so much as we start an iPad initiative at the elementary school level next fall.

I also chose to add Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides and Google Forms to my Chrome app list. This will allow me access to these types of documents offline. My thought was that this could be veryt handy if I plan on going somewhere that does not have an internet connection.

You are probably wondering what is the purpose of adding all of these web apps when I can bookmark the site or just Google it. While the best answer I can give you right now is that it make the page accessible right from Chrome Apps launcher and in a number of instance you have unlimited storage right in your Google Drive account instead of the limited storage you receive if you log on through the website.

It all finally makes sense to me. Ever since Google moved from Documents to Drive I've been frustrated. I saw it as nothing more than on huge storage receptacle in the cloud but now I know that it is much more. Google Drive is an integrated technological tool that has a lot of potential in the educational environment. Are you ready to unleash the potential? I am!