Monday, October 7, 2013

My Chrome Theme

This year we rolled out Chromebooks to all of our students grades 2-8. It's been a lot of work, but so
much fun.  This week we learned the value in the Chromebook and harnessing the power and creativity of our students.

With our Google Apps control panel we have tried to keep the Chrome Web Store under control. We didn't want students installing inappropriate themes and playing games on the laptop. Over the last week students began emailing me to request access to apps, extensions, and themes.  They figured out the web store pretty quick. After all they have only had the Chromebooks for about 2 weeks!  Google does a nice job gathering all apps and extensions for education, so it was simple to make 50 or more apps available to our students.

Themes are a different animal.  I really didn't want to go into class and find garbage all over each student's Chrome theme. Nonetheless, students kept asking for themes. I had received a warning about one of these students from his principal. I was warned that this student was cunning and crafty with a computer.  We figured we could use this to our advantage. So we challenged him to create themes for his school or anything else school related. He asked me to open up the My Chrome Theme app in the web store, and I did right away. He emailed me 3 zip files less than 24 hours later! So we uploaded his themes to the webstore and made them available in the GAFE Domain folder of the Chrome Web Store.  Check out how we did it below:

1. Enable the My Chrome Theme app in the web store for GAFE domain users.
2. Install the My Chrome Theme app
3. Follow the steps in the app for creating your own theme. (For a really nice theme you will need access to some type of photo editing application.)

4. Install the theme into your Chrome browser.  (You will need to take screenshots in order to post the theme to the web store.)

5. Download the .zip file
6. Navigate to the Chrome Web Store.
7. In the upper right-hand corner click on the gear and then "Developer Dashboard"

8. Add a new item.
9. Upload your file, and fill out the form on the following page.  * You will need logos and screenshots for your theme.
10. Publish your app to the Chrome Web Store. * A one-time $5 developer fee is required.
11. Finally, in the GAFE control panel, navigate to Chrome management and enable the themes you uploaded so that students can install them on their Chromebooks

This process has been so slick, that I'm planning on creating a contest for students to create the best Chrome themes for our school district.