Many school districts across the country utilize one-to-one computing; this means that each child is provided with a laptop or, in many cases, a Chromebook. According to a 2018 market brief by EdWeek, Chromebooks represented 60 percent of school computer purchases. Kajeet reported that in 2019 the majority of schools and districts—85 percent—use a Chromebook program.
Students use Chromebooks to complete and turn in assignments, they use them to do research, and, during downtime, they may use them to play educational games in class, too. What are the best educational apps for Chromebook?
Here are lots of app options for Chromebook to keep children entertained and learning.
Downloading Apps on a School-Owned Chromebook
If a child has been issued a Chromebook to use for school assignments, parents need to understand that this is a school-owned device. The Chromebook is not a personal toy. In fact, districts might have set restrictions on these devices to ensure that malware or inappropriate apps cannot be downloaded.
Before downloading educational games or apps onto a school-owned computer or device, parents need to understand district rules, regulations and restrictions and abide by them. Parents might want to check with the network administrator about what apps are permitted to download onto the device.
Other school districts might be a bit more lenient about educational apps. They may allow students to download games and apps to the device as long as they meet certain guidelines. Some apps may even be downloaded onto the device for children to use.
If the Chromebook is a personally-owned computer and not a school-issued device, parents may want to set their own restrictions on what their child can and cannot download via the Chrome Web Store.
Using Google Play to Access and Download Apps
On Apple devices, apps are downloaded via the App Store. Android and Chromebook users can download apps via Google Play. Some apps may be exclusive to Apple and/or Google devices.
Although Android and Chromebook are both Google-based devices, they can’t always access the same app experiences. Some Chromebooks aren’t compatible with Google Play. In addition, Google explains that some districts might not allow Google Play.
While Android users can experience augmented reality apps like Floom that lets them dig a virtual hole in their world and see on the other side, Chromebooks might not be able to access Google’s Android-based virtual reality experiments.
Best Apps for Math Enrichment
Children in all grades may have access to a Chromebook, and there are many apps that can help them with math and grade-appropriate math skills. Here are some of the best educational math apps available via Google Play:
This math game is designed like a traditional video game; it offers adventures, missions and more. Students can compete with friends. However, game play means that children need to answer some math questions. Prodigy is used by many schools, and students may already have access to the game via their Chromebook.
As Prodigy is educational and great for different grade levels, parents could reach out to the network administrator to inquire about downloading it.
Coolmath also is used by many districts. What’s cool about Coolmath is that the app features lots of different games for math practice, but some of these games also offer fun mind challenges for children. Children can even play checkers. They will have fun exploring all the unique games, solving puzzles and even practicing math.
This app offers puzzle activities to help children with addition, subtracting and comparing. They can take quizzes, too, so parents can determine how they have progressed. The app is free to download.
Some school districts have ditched the skill and drill exercises and tests to ensure children have mastered their multiplication facts. The responsibility for times tables proficiency may be up to parents; with Multiplication Ninja, children can practice their times tables to gain proficiency and speed. Take Time Trials or do a 30-Second Duel!
Fractions can be difficult for some children to master. Fractions for Kids helps children practice wholes, halves and thirds. Children also can practice fraction identification, compare fractions, adding fraction and the game helps children understand fractions via a number line.
Reading Apps for Chromebook
While there are a number of different math apps via Google Play for children to enrich their skills and help with proficiency and perhaps mental computation speed, too, parents also may look for apps for children who struggle with reading. As with the App Store, many reading apps are designed as games; these apps may focus on phonics, letter identification, and sight word mastery.
For reading comprehension and fluency, though, apps might require a subscription. Lesson-based apps may be designed to help guide children as they read; these apps may be fine to use at home, but downloading them on a school-owned device might be a different story.
Schools may have their own reading apps that they use to guide instruction and to help children who may be struggling. Districts also could have programs that are used across all elementary schools to help develop literacy skills.
Common reading programs that children may have access to at school include Raz-Kids and Accelerated Reader. These programs may be accessed via a Chromebook; some children also could be provided with their account information so that they can use the programs at school.
Raz-Kids may be a popular program that schools allow children to access at home. With Raz-Kids, children read books and take quizzes over what they read on the app. As they finish assignments and pass quizzes about the books that they’ve read, they move up to another reading level. Reading levels via Raz-Kids are denoted by letters of the alphabet.
Accelerated Reader, though, may be limited to in-school use. This program quizzes children about the books they read and can help schools understand how much children are reading and how much they comprehend, too. Some schools offer prizes to children when they gain a certain number of AR points; for this reason, schools may limit AR use to school only. That way, children don’t have any temptation to look back at the book.
For children who need more help with reading fluency and comprehension, a reading app with guided reading lessons could be beneficial. Parents can download Readability via Google Play. Readability offers a built-in AI tutor that helps children as they read stories aloud; the tutor also tests comprehension by asking questions at the end of each story.
While the app is free to download, Readability requires a monthly subscription to access all the features. However, parents can sign up for a free seven-day trial to better understand how the program works and to see if it’s a good fit for their child.
While parents may decide to use Readability at home, they should request permission from the school’s network administrator before downloading it onto any school-owned device. Since Readability is compatible with Apple and Android devices (and PCs, too!), parents should focus on installing the app on privately-owned devices.
Parents who want to provide their child with additional reading enrichment at home can sign up for a free Readability trial period today!