Chromebook Apps: We Pick the Best for You

By Lori Elliott, Ed.D.

The Chromebook is fast, portable, affordable, and easy-to-use. With the right apps, it is also a learning and teaching powerhouse.

You may be pleasantly surprised to find how many tremendous Chromebook apps there are. There are apps for every content area, grade level, and learning style—and all are designed to make learning the exciting adventure it should be.

At the same time, you may be overwhelmed. How do you decide what to bring into your classroom—without spending hours researching?

First, let’s agree that using free apps as much as possible will be your top priority. Why pay when you don’t have to? Second, let’s also agree that before you choose any app, you’ll think through these two questions:

1. What will best support your students’ learning?

2. What do you want your students to do?

In other words, think “why” through each step of the app selection process.

Let’s go app shopping!

Grab your shopping list and join us as we look at some teacher-favorite apps you may quickly find you can’t live without on a day-to day-basis, filtered into separate categories:

Organization

  • Symbaloo allows you to store your favorite web sites visually and visibly all in one location. You know the endless number of websites there are out there. And how incredibly frustrating it can be to access them individually. With Symbaloo, students can simply click, access the website, and start the learning. The unwritten rule is that students shouldn’t be expected or allowed to type in web addresses. They may misspell the address, end up in an undesirable place, or waste time in other ways. Whether planning a unit of study or planning for the entire year, every minute counts. And Symbaloo is a proven time-saver.

Literacy Skills

The Chromebook is an excellent way to teach almost anything—including literacy:

  • into the book provides a place for students to practice and master at their own pace reading strategies, and develop skills in summarization, inferences, and comprehension.
  • Kidblog gathers everything they need in one place to create blogs and share them with the teacher, other students, and parents. (Many teachers have found children write more and more deeply when blogging because they have an audience.)
  • Story Bird is the perfect solution to the common lament, especially at the end of the school year, “I ran out of things to write about.” On this website, students select artwork, get inspired, and write a story about it.

Math Skills

Math is a lot easier to digest when it is fun, interactive, and visual:

  • Thinking Blocks is aligned with Singapore Math and the Common Core. It visually presents word problems that students can manipulate and solve.
  • Happy Numbers is a sequential course of K–2 numeracy instruction. It’s not about memorization of facts, but about building a strong foundation for learning more complex skills.

And here’s one more app we absolutely love:

  • Go Noodle is a whole brain site that offers video desk-side, brain breaks through dances, games, and exercise. Kids need to move throughout the day and Go Noodle helps teachers fit that into the classroom.

For more exciting ideas for using the Chromebook in your classroom, check out SDE’s webinar Classroom Tech Part 2: Laptop and Chromebook Integration, Tips, and Tricks with the Accidental Techie, (Grades K–3) by author and educational technology expert Lori Elliott, Ed.D.

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