Let me start with this . . . I think the best thing that we can do for children in regards to the dangerous, disruptive and distorted content on the internet is to teach them to identify and avoid it. However, some students have difficulties with this and during intermediary times while helping them to develop better/safer online habits, an alternative support may be necessary.
One option is to use a separate Google Admin Organizational Unit (OU) that is has restricted internet access. In it, you can block all online content except for content that that you and your educators have identified as being a part of students’ learning experience. (The last thing that you would want to do is limit or prohibit their learning)
To do this:
Login to the Google Admin Console
Go to Device Management > Chrome Management > User Settings
Select the appropriate OU (Organizational Unit)
Scroll down to the URL Blocking Section
In the URL Blacklist section enter only a *. This blocks ALL internet content.
In the URL Blacklist Exception section, list every site that you do want your students to have access to. Keep in mind that an address like khanacademy.org will unblock anything starting with khanacademy.org, including things like khanacademy.org/math.
A few tips:
When placing students into this group, you may need to move them in Active Directory in order for them to stay in the Google Admin Organizational Unit. It all depends on your setup.
Maintain a Google Doc that teachers can access to see what sites are unblocked. That way, they can double-check their sites that they intend to use . . . and send you additions.
Consider using an instructional piece about appropriate internet use to help students learn to make better choices so that they can be moved out of this group after an appropriate amount of time.
Again, this is not a perfect solution, but different students need different supports and scaffolds as we prepare them for their futures in our technology-obsessed society.
Note: These limitations will only be apply 1) in Chrome, 2) with the student logged into Chrome.
The Duplicate Tabs button is probably an under-used option for most people. However, it can really come in handy. Every now and then, I need to keep a specific email open, but get back to my inbox. Duplicate Tab. Sometimes, I need to have a course in Schoology open, but open another. Duplicate Tab. One of my favorite uses, though, is when I have more than one Google Form submission that I have to fill out and they all have some similar entries (i.e., multiple session proposals for a conference, discipline referrals for the same incident with different students). Dup-li-cate Tab! Check out how that looks in the GIF below:
It’s nice to have easy access to lots of sites, but that bookmarks bar can get crowded. Use Bookmark folders on your bar to categorize them while still having convenient access.
2. Shorten those bookmark titles.
Shorter bookmark titles take up less bookmark bar space. Take the title out to just use the sites logo. If the site doesn’t have a logo, or it doesn’t make the destination clear (like a docs logo), use short words or even emojis to save space!
3. Create Bookmarks for Creating New Docs or Slides
Did you know that docs.google.com/create opens up a fresh new Doc? Or that slides.google.com/create does the same with Google Slides? Create bookmarks for those links and have quick access to that capability.
4. Different Bookmarks for Different sections of your Drive.
Do you go to your Starred files often? Need quick access to Shared with Me when someone sends you a file in a meeting? Do you have a folder for all of your students’ assignments that you go to daily? Make a special bookmark for different locations!
5. Different Bookmarks for Different Parts of Docs, Slides or Sheets
Different tabs in Sheets, Headings in Docs and slides in Slides have different URL’s. That means you can make your bookmark (or a link you send in an email or message to someone) direct you (or the recipient) to a specific spot. It’s nice when you want to send someone to today’s meeting agenda in the massive Doc with all meeting agendas in it. It’s also super convenient if you regularly access a certain spreadsheet tab.
6. Bookmark specific sections of GMail
Have a certain GMail label you access regularly? Want quick access to your starred or important files? Want to be able to get to emails from your admin or boss quickly? Create a bookmark for that exact part of your Gmail.
7. Bookmark specific Calendar Views
Want to be able to access Day, Week, Month, Agenda or a Custom View quickly? Make it a bookmark.
Being able to have side-by-side windows open is a key functionality tool when using computers. Doing it quickly and easily makes it even better. Chrome OS has two little-known shortcuts and one little-known tool that support this. Check them out in the video below!
Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to be a little more efficient. Two of my most used in Google Chrome are:
Ctrl+W (or ⌘+W on Mac) for closing your “top” tab (the one showing on your screen).
Ctrl+Shift+T (or ⌘+Shift+T on Mac) for opening your most recently closed tab.
#2 is probably my fave. Not only does it open your most recently closed tab, even if you closed it hours ago or even before shutting down Chrome, but it can open an entire window full of tabs, if you closed them. But my favorite-est part of it? Well, it has an educational aspect of course:
Ever walked by a student and seen them quickly close a tab before you got there? Ctrl+Shift+T to the rescue! Just imagine that student’s face when they find out that their teacher is a Chrome Keyboard Shortcut Ninja!!