What is a Google App?
What’s the difference between apps, extensions, and add-ons? All of these are useful features available to you on a Chromebook, PC, or Mac (even in the Chrome browser on an iPad or other tablet device). Learning to use these features can make your life easier and provide you and your students with a host of tools and resources to assist with learning, make research more effective, and help with creating digital products.
As you go through the steps below the instructions are for Chromebooks and for the Chrome Browser which can be installed on any device. How you access the apps is dependent on which one you are using. The steps and images will assist you on whichever one you are using.
1. We’ve already noted that the browser you will be using to access these tools and resources is Chrome. Make sure you are using the Chrome browser on your device if you are not on a Chromebook.
2. We will take a look at Google Apps first. The definition of an app is a program that runs inside of the Chrome browser. This makes Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Presentations, etc. examples of Chrome Apps. There are also other web apps that can be accessed from your Chromebook or Google Drive.
3. Google places the default apps in a little tic tac toe grid on the top right portion of your screen in Chrome. Locating the apps you installed varies based on the device you are using. Go to http://google.com and you will see the grid in the upper right hand corner. Click on the grid to see the default apps that are available to you.
4. To see examples of what is available other than the default, go to the Chrome Web Store and choose the category on the left hand side for Apps. Also click on either Websites or Chrome Apps.
5. The Web Store contains several types of apps, including Drive apps. Drive apps are usually web applications that are built outside of Google but can be connected with your Google Drive for easy access. An example of this would be adding an app for Lucid Chart (to create mind maps) to your Google Drive. As a Google Drive app you could access Lucid Chart while working on a Google Doc without leaving your web browser tab.
6. To connect apps directly to your Google Drive, you must navigate to Google Drive first. Then choose New, More, and Connect More Apps to find apps that you can use through Drive. Once added, by choosing New and More when you are creating in Google, you can access the app directly and save to your Drive (you may have to choose export to Google Drive to save a digital artifact created this way).
7. After installing the apps, you will find them on your Chromebook by accessing the app launcher in the lower left hand corner of your screen.If you are not using a Chromebook, you can access your Chrome apps by typing chrome://apps into your Chrome browser address bar. While not as convenient as accessing on a Chromebook, you can think of this as a way to bookmark interesting applications. If you are using the Chrome browser, you may also see a little Apps waffle you can use to access your apps.
The Apps waffle looks like this:
8. Take some time in the Chrome Web Store to browse and locate some apps you will consider using, either for yourself or your students. Some recommended ones include:
9. If you have other questions about installing or using Google apps with your Chromebook or Chrome browser, check out this site with Google FAQs about apps.
10. There are many apps that are aways being added to the Chrome Web Store. If you don't see an app as you scrolling through the main menu, you can search the store.
11. Locate and add at least two of the apps to your Chrome environment, either in your Google Drive or to your menu bar, or both. In your final assignment you will be asked to install several and reflect on ways you will use them in your classroom or for your personal productivity.
Move on to Google Extensions
ISTE Standards for Educators
c. Model for colleagues the identification, exploration,
evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.
b. Establish a learning culture that promotes curiosity and
critical examination of online resources and fosters digital literacy and media fluency.