So I got my Chromebook, now what? This is a common phrase immediately after receiving a school sanctioned device. After taking about two minutes to test all of your normal internet haunts and realize that your device can not get beyond the reaches of the school filters, it is time to find something to do with this thing. This short guide will give you the top five things to do on your brand new school device.
1. Start a conversation with your friends.
Ok I guess you didn't expect that one, but really it is only a matter of time before you figure out that this machine can be social as well. Honestly, we want you to be social and enjoy conversations with your friends; we just want you to do it in a safe and smart way. So, open up a google doc and share it with your friends. This will be the same experience you will use when doing group projects and collaboration work anyhow so the experience will be useful.
2. Read the news
For you older students, or students that like to stay current, create your own Google newspaper. Google news is a great resource for just about any topic. You can get current news on politics, celebrities, science discoveries and so much more. Not only will Google news be a great way to stay on top of current events but it will also be a great resource for future research during the school year.
3. Get trendy
Everyone likes to be trendy. But in this day in age how can you even keep up with the trends. "Trending" has become an hour by hour change. I always want to know what is trending so I am "In The Know". Google Trends is a site that shares with you the latest trending google searches. You can choose trends by category or just look at what is the current, biggest story in the world right at that exact minute.
4. Get organized
Well this one might not be a whole lot of fun but it is necessary and will make your life so much easier throughout the school year. Google Drive is your "hard drive" for this computer. I think of my google drive as my virtual desktop. I have created various folders in google drive that helps keep me organized and also helps me find what I need in a hurry. You might want to create folders for each subject or for topics of research or upcoming projects. Either way Google Drive is going to be your Trapper Keeper (ask your parents), notebooks, folders, and desktop all rolled into one. Get it organized now before you start school.
5. Go on one last vacation
No one likes to see the summer end. Take these last few days before school starts up and take one last vacation. Using Google Panoramio you can explore images taken from around the world. Many of these images were just takes moments before and uploaded by a fellow Google User. You can also upload photos of your region or city so when someone is looking to explore they will find your photos as well. Google Maps, Google Tour Builder and Google Earth are also great ways to take virtual journeys around the globe.
If you take some time with your new device you will find a lot of great content out there on the internet that is safe, fun and even useful. Take this experience as an opportunity to reach out beyond the no-so-trendy Instagram posts and every day snapchat pictures. Explore the internet with a new lens on fun and learning. The World Wide Web is an immense virtual world that most of us have barely begun to explore. Take this new school sanctioned device and know that you can explore safely and don't forget to share your new finds with your friends and teachers.