Monday, January 3, 2022

Being Taught How to Use a Chromebook by my Nephew

 Over the new year, I spent an extended weekend with my family. It was a much needed vacation but the best part was my excited five-year-old nephew showing me his new school issued Chromebook. He just started kindergarten this year and every experience has been new after his last year in daycare and pre-k was mostly virtual or non-existent.

The first thing he wanted to show me was his new Chromebook. He was so excited to have a big kid computer. I loved seeing the practical use of all these programs and devices that I study and learn about. Since I work with mostly secondary teachers and was a secondary teacher before leaving the classroom, I wasn't sure how the younger students would do. Well, I'm impressed. Am I impressed with him or his teachers though? Or the Ed Tech companies that make the products? I think it's a combination of them all.

Chome "Beachball" Icon
To start, he used a Clever QR code to login to the computer, but his Google login was also on a sticker on the palm rest. I wasn't happy about the sticker with his password for obvious reasons, but I understand that he's five and the district probably needed to do something. I just hope they don't do this for everyone.

He had his QR code on a small piece of paper that was sandwiched in the closed computer and I did comment to my sister that I was surprised they didn't at least laminate it. She informed me that they have multiple copies and the classroom teacher has extra if it gets lost. My nephew showed me where to click on the screen and then how to hold the paper up to the camera to login.

His Chromebook is a touch screen and I think that was a good thing because I didn't once see him use the track pad. I'm not sure if he knows how and finds the touch easier, but I didn't ask. He did type a few keys when he pecked at some numbers.

Once logged in, he told me that I needed to click the beachball to open the computer. Yes, he called it a beachball and when I looked at it, I was surprised I never noticed that before. This is what I mean about kindergarten teachers knowing how to reach their students. 

His district has defaulted the Clever page as the home tab so it automatically opened a page with all his bookmarks. When I started to type a page directly in the omnibar my sister actually looked up from what she was doing and reminded me not to "mess up" his computer because he wouldn't know how to access anything. In her defense, I do have a reputation for changing things on family members' computers (video clip from The IT Crowd that represents me trying to help) however I never mess with core functions or features.

My nephew pointed to Dreambox and was excited to show me all the games and avatars. I have heard of this program before but never actually used it, so I learned a lot by having him guide me through it. Seriously, he kept referring to it as games, never once referring to it as math. I love that. He was voluntarily practicing his math skills and referring to it as games. As someone that grew up on Reader Rabbit and Math Blasters, I completely agreed with this mentality. 

Just a few bookmarks I saw on his Clever page:

  • BrainPop
  • Discovery Education
  • DreamBox
  • Google Classroom
  • Newsela
  • Renaissance Learning
  • Typing Club

I really enjoyed learning about the Chromebook from the eyes of my nephew. Seeing his excitement about both the technology and school was great. Knowing how important the kindergarten experience as the first introduction to school, I'm glad to see that halfway through his first year he's having such a positive experience.

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