Possible Uses for Chromecast in the Elementary Classroom

This is the $35 Chromecast. It's so simple and so small.

This is the $35 Chromecast. It’s so simple and so small.

I just bought a Google Chromecast, and I’m really excited about trying it in my classroom.

I had always wanted to bring my Apple TV to use in the classroom, but the only Apples in my classroom are my personal computer, iPad, and iPhone, so it would not have been very useful.  Now, with Chromecast, students can finally mirror their browser to share their learning seamlessly with the rest of the class.  Chromecast might be a game changer in my classroom, especially when students use the Chromebooks from our Chromebook cart.

Here are some ideas I have for using Chromecast in the classroom:

  • Sharing Presentations from Google Drive with classmates (no need for plugging in with a VGA cord or getting on the teacher computer)
  • Sharing Google Docs with the class in writing workshop (we can mirror the screen so everyone can see the work and read with the writer)
  • Sharing great resources for history, science, or math learning (cool videos, images, information, etc.)
  • Collaborating on a document and getting instant responses or feedback (could also be used to discuss helpful vs. unhelpful comments in Drive)
  • Showing classmates your status in a project and what you have accomplished (especially useful when trying #geniushour or #20time)
  • Searching for examples of media (artwork, advertisements, videos) to discuss persuasiveness
  • Researching our favorite authors and sharing information we learned
  • Modeling how to use different tech tools (the teacher or student can do this from any computer instead of teacher computer).

There are a couple of barriers that may interfere with my plans:

  • You need a HDMI input to use Chromecast.  My SMART Board does not have HDMI inputs, but I have bought an adapter to try to solve this problem (I hope it works!)
  • Chromecast is technically only supposed to work with Chromebook Pixel. We have Samsung Chromebooks.  I am going to cross my fingers that this works anyway (W. Ian O’Byrne posted about using it with a Samsung Chromebook and said it worked).
  • Chromecast may not play nice with our school district’s wifi network.  I hope that it does!

One of my favorite tech blogs, Tech Crunch, wrote about what distinguishes Google’s Chromecast from Apple TV:

“Pitted against the AppleTV — or, in a fairer comparison, against the AppleTV’s built-in AirPlay streaming feature — the Chromecast’s biggest strength is in its cross-platform compatibility. Whereas AirPlay is limited to iOS devices and Macs (with limited support for Windows through iTunes), Chromecast will play friendly with any iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows app that integrates Googles Cast SDK. “

I hope that my Chromecast arrives soon and plays nice with the tech in my school despite all the possible challenges I’ve mentioned.  I’m excited to see if it’s a tool that will enhance our class’ ability to learn, create, share, and grow together this year.