Are your students creating with Chrome?

Guest Post: John Sowash

Consuming information is much easier than creating. That’s why watching TV is so much easier than writing a script for a TV show.

A recent report by GoGuardian suggests that most classroom Chromebook usage is focused on learning games, flashcards, and watching videos. While these activities aren’t inherently bad, they aren’t terribly inspiring or creative and don’t help students develop important 21st-century skills.  

The act of creating something is one of the most powerful ways to internalize learning. That’s why teachers are so smart – we are creating things all the time!

Here are six ways that you can encourage student creativity with Chromebooks.

Tell a Story or Teach a Lesson

Video is the dominant form of communication today. Few students are motivated by the idea of writing a paper or creating a poster board project, but would be excited to create a video.

Here are three ways you can create with video in your classroom outstanding video tools that you can with a Chromebook

1. Screencast Tutorial

A screencast is a video that displays activity on your computer screen. Screencasting is a great way for students to share a presentation or demonstrate a math skill.

Screencastify is my favorite tool for recording screencasts on a Chromebook. It’s free to use!

2. Stop Motion Animation 

Stop motion is one of the simplest forms of video. This is an example that my students created using nothing more than a white-board and a camera.

ClapMotion is a free Chrome App specifically designed for creating stop-motion videos. Just point your webcam and clap your hands to take a picture!

3. Video Stories

 Everyone loves a good story. Capturing a story on video makes it easy to share. Storytelling with video requires excellent writing skills, editorial decisions, collaboration, and a good dose of problem solving. These projects take longer to develop, but result in rich learning.

WeVideo is the most full-featured tool for creating professional looking video projects. They have a free version you can use today.

For younger students I recommend Adobe Spark; Spark videos are super easy to create and share. The example below was created by my kids.

Design Something to Share

I was in middle school when my family got our first home computer (Gateway 3000). I spent hours using various “desktop publishing” tools like MS Publisher and Printmaster Gold. Doing graphic design with Google Drive is pretty limited (if we are being honest). Here are some Chromebook compatible tools that will help fill the void.

Thomas Jefferson

4. Trading Cards

I grew up collecting baseball cards. Kids “these days” collect Pokemon cards. Everyone loves collecting and trading cards, why not make your own?

Ask students to create a “deck” of the five most important figures of the Civil War, or the most powerful Greek Gods, or the most important scientists of the 19th century. The decision making process of selecting the individuals and their contribution is the value of this assignment.

Canva is a great tool for projects like this. I recommend using the “announcement” template which is what I used to create this trading card of Thomas Jefferson.

5. Infographic 

The intersection of data and design is an interesting space. Asking students to collect data create a visually engaging display to showcase the data requires all kinds of important math, analytical, and creative skills. Infographics engage both the left and right side of your brain.

Piktochart is a tool for creating infographics. Like this one created by Sarah from Hovr.

6. 3D Designs

You CAN create and model in 3D on a Chromebook! Even if you don’t have a 3D printer, you can still challenge your students to create a 3D model to solve a real-world problem.

Reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen? Have your students use a tool like Lego Builder to design a structure to survive the cold winter months.

Teaching Geometry? Have your students build a sculpture using Tinkercad. You can even send it to a 3D printer to bring your art to life!

Don’t just use the Chromebooks in your classroom to consume information, use them to create! Hopefully these six ideas have sparked your imagination and given you some inspiration for what you can do in your classroom. 

If you have Chromebooks in your classroom I think you will enjoy my free online course “Developing your Chromebook Classroom.” It’s full of practical ideas and suggestions for teaching with Chromebooks.


John Sowash

John Sowash is an experienced classroom teacher, former school administrator, author of The Chromebook Classroom. You can connect with John via his blog ( or Twitter (@jrsowash).