Sunday, September 9, 2018

5 Chrome Tips You Can (& Should) Do

A lot of my time is spent on the computer. Learning, creating, troubleshooting, corresponding, etc. With the rare exception, I use Chrome. I use my Chrome account (aka Google) to allow for max productivity since I work in a GSuite school district and have carried that over into my personal life.

Let's start with answering the question, "What is Chrome?" Chrome is a web browser. Its use will provide many benefits. Today, let's look at 5 of them.

1. Chrome is NOT device specific.

By this I mean it will work on ALL devices! It will work on desktops, tablets, chromebooks, laptops, phones, iPods, etc. Chances are, if you can access the internet, you can download Chrome to your device. This will provide benefits to your sanity that I will explain below.

2. Chrome is NOT platform specific.

This means you can use Chrome whether you are a "Mac person" or a "PC person" or if you are a student who has been given a Chromebook. And with very few exceptions, you'll see it works similarly if you move between these platforms. 

3. Chrome contains ALL of your Google account.

What do you use in Google? Drive? Docs, Sheets, Forms, Drawings, Calendars? Classroom? Google Sites? Blogger? Google Keep? More? All of the above? Great! They are all in Chrome! 

Hands down, this is what turned me into a Chrome & Google user. I learned I can work on documents at school and go home and pick it up right where I left off ... WITHOUT needing to email it or save it to jump drive. Mind-blowing! The cloud was, and still IS a sanity-saver. I no longer worry if I am using the most up-to-date version.

All of this was before I learned about the collaborative and sharing features. When you learn how to share files and folders and work collaboratively with others, you will wonder why you didn't do this before. And in the education world, this becomes an invaluable tool assisting you in creating activities for your students that move them beyond word the basics. 

4. Chrome will sync across your devices.

Log into Chrome on one device, then log in on another. You will see everything syncs! Passwords, bookmarks, history ... this becomes INVALUABLE. This is the second reason Chrome & Google won me over years ago.

I had a desktop at school. I had a desktop at home. All I had to do was log into my Chrome account in both places and I was in business.

I have a smartphone - I logged in on it and BOOM! There it all is!

When our district went 1:1 and I received a teacher Chromebook, I logged in and, to my delight, there was all my "stuff"! Discovering and now trusting that my passwords and bookmarks are synced has become such a relief. I no longer feel tied down. If I changed my password to a program on one device, it syncs across all my other devices.

When I share the benefits of Chrome with others, I explain it like this ... as long as you are logged into your Chrome account, your device can be run over by a semi-truck BUT you won't lose anything. Log in on your new device and it's all there. (I'm not suggesting being careless, but hey, things happen.)

OR ... here is another common problem - your battery dies and you don't have your charger. Someone offers for you to use their device. Not to worry, log in to Chrome and it's all there. (Don't forget to log out and thank them.) This greatly assisted me a couple years back while on our 8th grade Washington, DC trip. I was able to use a computer at our dinner location to send out a very important piece of information.

You will save yourself time, energy, and frustration.

Have I convinced you yet?

5. Chrome allows for separation of accounts.

As I mentioned earlier, I first used Chrome and Google years ago at school. Now I use it at home, too. I try hard to keep these "pieces" of my life separate. I consider these my work and my personal "lives".

I use a laptop day-to-day. On my laptop, Chrome provides the ability to add multiple "people". This makes it SUPER easy to navigate between my "school life" and my "personal life" and my "Google Trainer life". This keeps passwords and bookmarks separate, too.

It also prevents account "contamination". Keeping things separate helps with organization. This pays off over time. You can see the option to add additional people in the image to the left.

Chromebooks provide the same ability, but in a slightly different way. You can only be "in" one profile at a time. 

In order to switch accounts, you would need to log out of your current one, and log back in to a different account. I used a Chromebook for about a year and a half and I found there was very little I couldn't do on it.

***If you are on a school issued device, please also be aware your Google Admin can enable (or disable) certain abilities on your Chromebook.***

Bonus: Saving!

As a teacher, one of the toughest parts about technology in the classroom was saving. How-to, where-to, when-to ... Google has you covered.

Chrome contains your Google Drive. Drive is one-stop place for all your Google files. And Google apps -Docs, Sheets, Forms, Drawings, Slides, and more- save automatically. Such relief! Power goes out? Not to worry ... it's saved. Battery dies? Not to worry ... it's saved. Accidentally close the wrong tab(s) out when browsing on Chrome? Not to worry ... it's in your history - which syncs across devices. 

Oh, and as a teacher, you can see student's browsing history (just like you can see your own) AND the version history of a document. But THAT is a topic for another blog. 

Join me next week when I'll share some tips/tricks to make your Chrome experience even better! 

Do you have additional questions? Please reach out. I'd be happy to help. You can comment below or find me on Twitter @kiefersj or Google+ +SarahKiefer .

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