More and more, I realize that teachers don’t know the power that their Google Apps for Education admin has to make daily classroom life easier and more efficient. This disconnect comes from the fact that often times, the GAFE domain is run by IT people so they don’t know what the teacher wants/needs and the teacher just doesn’t know what they don’t know. I’m here to share with you what you might not know so that you can have a conversation with your GAFE admins to make your life easier in the classroom. All of these tricks can be applied to different organizational units (OU). If your domain is set up properly, then staff and students will be in different OUs. If your district has several buildings, it can be broken out even further by buildings. It can then be broken down even further to do grade level or teams. That means that one of these tricks can be applied to just a small group of people who need it.
Install Apps and Extensions for Students
One of the issues that we can run into is that domain admins do not want to allow students to install Chrome apps and extensions on their own. I get this. There are lots of apps and extensions that don’t serve an educational purpose and can be distracting. Luckily, there are a couple of options for teachers who may want to have Chrome apps or extensions installed. A teacher can request that an app/extension is “pushed” to all students. This means that when a student is logged into Chrome, the app or extension will be installed. This is great for things like the Google Classroom extension or Google Drive, but may not be necessary for all students if it is something that only one teacher uses. If that is the case, the administrator can “whitelist” the app or extension. This allows the student to install that one particular item, but still prevents other things from being installed. Once it is whitelisted, the teacher can distribute the link to the item on the Chrome Web Store via Google Classroom or however else the teacher sends out links (QR code, LMS, etc.)
Assign Bookmarks to Students
As teachers, we all have websites that we want students to be able to use frequently. With younger students, it is sometimes difficult to get them to create bookmarks for themselves and keep it organized. Luckily, your GAFE admin can push bookmarks to your students. When your student logs in to Chrome, there will be a folder on the bookmarks bar that you can name after your district. Any bookmarks you can think of can be put into these folders for students.
Domain Pre-filled on Chromebook Login Screen
When you log in on a Chromebook, the login screen asks for your email address. This can be challenging when you have younger students who are not yet strong typers or if you have a long domain name. Your GAFE admin can set up Chromebooks to have the domain name prefilled on the Chromebooks. Now the students will only have to type in their username portion of the email address. For example, my Chromebook login screen will already be populated with @jeremymcbrayer.com and I will only have to type in jeremy (the username portion of firstname.lastname@example.org) instead of my whole email address.