Type with Emojis on your Mac, PC or Chromebook

Emojis on keyboard

It’s true! You can type in everyone’s newest favorite language—emojis—on your Mac or PC laptop, and it’s SUPER easy!

Emojis are a crucial way that young people interpret and share emotions in the digital age. So while they are certainly fun and cute, there are other beneficial reasons to use them in your communication with students. Here are a few ideas that may convince you to start using those cute, expressive digital emotions: 

  1. Using a visual with your student feedback can work like a sticker does. It is motivating for students and speaks to some more effectively than plain text does. You can even use specific emojis to create an emoji grading system!
  2. By modeling the proper use of emojis, you are showing students how they can use them in their writing to express themselves. Students can use emojis in their writing like the ancient rebus stories we grew up with. Strategies like this will certainly boost engagement!
  3. Use emojis in writing prompts and student assignments to change things up a bit. Emojis may bring lessons and books to life in a new way while promoting deeper learning.
  4. Emojis are a great tool for helping students learn how to express their emotions and the emotions of literary characters. They can also serve as a launching pad for meaningful discussions about emotions and feelings. 

And don’t worry if you are a bit nervous because you aren’t an emoji expert! Marissa King wrote an Edutopia article that says: “Teachers don’t need to be emoji experts to use them in the classroom. After all, emoji use is constantly evolving, so it’s almost impossible to know every emoji. My students almost always know more about emoji use than I do, but that knowledge gap offers real opportunities. My questions are genuine. I can press at the edges of explanations and spot inconsistencies. When students explain how an emoji’s context impacts the meaning, I’m listening to learn.”

So how do you access emojis on your devices?

On all devices, put your cursor where you want the emoji to go, then use the keystrokes or follow the directions you see below to activate your device’s emoji keyboard.

Mac: Hold down Command+Control+Space Bar. The emoji keyboard will appear so that you can select your emoji. (For example: How you’re probably feeling right now . . . 😍)

PC: Hold down the Windows key, then press the period button on your keyboard. (That’s right! You’re speaking in emojis now. How does it feel? 😸 Yeah, that’s what we thought!)

Chromebook:  There are a lot of different ways to get an emoji keyboard on a Chromebook. You can right click in a text box where the emoji will go. A pop-up menu will appear with emoji as an option. Click this option and select an emoji. If you don’t have this option, we love the Emoji Keyboard Chome extension. Right now, it’s the highest-rated emoji keyboard in the Chrome Web Store. If your district does not allow you to install extensions on your district managed Chromebook, try these directions to enable the on-screen keyboard.

And there you have it! You’ll be adding in those smiley faces, high-fives and fist-pumps to your materials in no time! Want to test out your skills? Leave us a comment below with your favorite emojis! 😉

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Amy Mayer, nationally known speaker and Google professional development guru, got her start in education as an English and Foreign Language teacher. Since that time, she’s served as a district level director of multiple varieties and now is the CEO of friEdTechnology, a Google & Microsoft partner company serving districts across the United States. Amy is passionate about student (and teacher) engagement and equity in education.

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