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The Chromebook: A Versatile Learning Tool

By Noah Grossman

The brand new chromebooks that we received this year at UDHS have been quite useful and have served as a huge step forward in learning and technology. Although we have been using these resourceful laptops since the beginning of the school year, there are still so many things we don’t know about them! Each chromebook is packed with creative features and apps that improve learning and research. Here are just a few of the cool and inventive features that you can perform on your chromebook, to reach the maximum potential of our new laptops:

The Touch Pad

Every student knows the basic uses for a laptop touchpad. Its normal function involves both clicking and scrolling; however, the touchpad on our Acer C720 chromebook does much more. For instance, you can use your touchpad to find the definition of any word with just two simple clicks. By placing your pointer on a specific word on a website and tapping the touchpad twice with one finger, the definition of that word will pop up instantly. In this case, the feature is incredibly useful for research or for quickly finding a word that is unfamiliar to you.

Another aspect that is unfamiliar to many students is how you can use it to page through different tabs. If you happen to have a bunch of tabs open, try sliding three fingers along the touchpad to get quickly from page to page. This feature is not only cool, but it also offers a lot of accessibility.

Voice Recognition

Many students or teachers may not be aware, but our chromebooks have features that allow us to dictate our own words onto the computer. The simplest of this voice recognition is known as “Ok Google”. To allow this hands-free feature, go under your settings in the lower right hand of the screen, and check the box that reads “enable Ok Google”. Next, open a new tab and speak the words, “Ok Google”, at your computer. Then ask a question or say anything that you want Google to search for, and you will quickly find an answer. Whether you want to solve a quick trivia question or make a small conversion, this simple tip can probably solve it!

Similarly, the chromebook comes with an app called “VoiceNote II”. This app also allows you to speak your thoughts into the computer, whether you want to make a note, or take a quick break from typing. This application may not provide perfection for every word, but it is one of the better speech-to-text applications that you can use. Voice recognition may not be useful to everyone, but it is definitely a neat addition to the chromebooks.

Google Keep

Each and every chromebook comes filled with a bunch of different apps that benefit students in multiple ways. Most notably, I find Google Keep a great resource during the school day. Google Keep is a simple app that lets you keep notes and reminders neatly on your Chromebook. This app, found by clicking the search launcher in the lower left corner, allows you to create lists on colored sticky notes which save onto your Google account. It is a great alternative for students who may not use agendas or want to try a different way to write down homework/reminders. Additionally, you can find other helpful apps just like Google Keep by downloading them from the Google Chrome Store.

Shortcuts

One thing about getting a new laptop is that you may not know how to use it or what each and every button does. Chromebooks make life easier by providing a huge guide to nearly every shortcut you could possibly need for a laptop. By simply pressing the buttons Ctrl+Alt+?, you can access this collection of useful shortcuts. For instance, you may have wondered, “Where is the Caps Lock button?” or, “How do I add a bookmark?” All of these shortcuts are located in this one spot. To name just a few, you can click Alt + “search”(the magnifying glass) to enable the Caps Lock. Also, if you want to take a screenshot, just press Ctrl + window switcher key (6th key from the right on the top row). The shortcut guide along with these tips is very handy and can also allow us to perform tasks in a simple, fast manner.

All in all, there is an ongoing list of beneficial things you can do on your chromebook. Other than touchpad features, voice control, apps, and shortcuts, there are many other aspects that make the chromebook a great resource. Have you mastered your chromebook?

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