Chrome Apps and Extensions

As our district slowly moves towards complete integration of Google Education, there is a host of tools that are available to teachers that can open up a whole new world in the classroom.  Many of these tools are available by customizing your browsing experience in Chrome.   I tried to piece together the puzzled parts of the Google Education Suite.

First, I already see many teachers asking students to create a Gmail account.  Creating a Gmail account will give students instant access to Google Drive and the apps that are associated with Google Drive (like GoogleDocs, GoogleSheets, GoogleForms and others).

Additionaly, if users login to GoogleChrome they can access the play store and download other applications that work like websites, but offer ways to manipulate content and interact with the web and extensions, which customize and add to the browsing experience by enhancing the previously installed apps or the web browsing experience.  I have reviewed lists of both and came up with some of the tools that may help in the classroom.  I have given some general use tools, but have focused an many that would help in English and Language Arts.

This is only a rudimentary list to open up the world of Google Apps and extensions.  The options are many and the choices continue to grow by the day so it is important that students and teachers pick a choose a few tools that work for them and their classroom and understand how Chrome works and how it can work for them.

Extensions:

 Save as PDF:  Allows you to save and convert a web page to a PDF.

Image Dictionary: Allows users to right click on a word and quickly find an image that  is representative of that word.

Hangouts:  Easily integrated with Google, Hangouts is an easy subsitution for Skype, Google Hangouts on Air allows the user to set up an online broadcast with up to 10 total people allowed to join and it broadcast live to YouTube, where anyone can view it live or taped.

Lazarus:  Form Recovery – I have not used or downloaded this extension yet, but anyone would find it useful.  It remembers form data from a website so that if you lose internet connection or reload the page and lose the information that you have typed, it will help you recover that information.

Evernote Web Clipper – If you are a user of Evernote – I am not.  Everyone else seems to think I should be, but this site will allow you to save pieces of page and store it to your Evernote Account.

Todoist – Extension helps you plan your day and organize yourself.  Pretty simple and one of many tools that would work this way.  I use Google Keep in order to integrate with Google better.

Google Books – I have not checked out their version of an online book store to see how comprehensive the list of titles are, but I would assume that if the collections is not extensive to date, it will be.  Added bonus is that you can annotate on any title.

Ginger – This extension acts as a spelling and grammar checker, no matter where you are working or writing.  You need to sign into Ginger each time you log in to maximize the experience.

MindMeister – create mind maps for projects.

Snagit – A new creation by TechSmith (Also has an application) is a screencasting tool that allows the user to record, annotate and do a whole lot more as they are adding and improving by the day.

GoogleCast Chrome Extension – works with a roughly $30 HDMI input device with your T.V.  If you download this extension you will be able to project your screen directly to the T.V. wirelessly.

Google Dictionary – Click on a word and get a pronunciation, definition or translation.

Diigo – Might be the best social bookmarking site for education (seems to be the most used for research)  not only allows you to bookmark, but also highlight and annotate.

Add to Drive: If you are already committed to Google Drive than this app may help you and your students organize their research or materials.  This extension will allow them to right click over a link, image or page and save it directly to your drive.

Readability or Clearr – Eliminates ads and information from sites to clean the page and make reading the website easier for students (or teachers) who are easily distracted.

Shorten Me – Shortens links to websites if you need to share a link.

WatchDoc – It can be really confusing collaborating on documents and waiting for updates, e-mails and the like.  Watchdoc tracks the changes to the document and gives you notifications to changes.

Honey – Another extension that helps you find deals when you are on a site so that you can find the special offers and deals on the site.

List of secure browsing apps: Adblock, DoNotTrackMe:  Online Privacy Protector, Ghostery (hide details so you cannot be tracked),

Apps:

BookTrack:  Allows students to take books that they are reading and add soundtracks or other audio.  Students can also create their own books and add music or read their own work to proofread.

MoveNote:  Allows students to add audio and video descriptions to Google Drive

PicMonkey:  Nice App that allows students to edit images online.

Geddit: An online student response system to gauge student understanding and gauges their progress over time.

Pixlr: The most used, most liked photo editor for Chrome that offers a  ton of options.  A lightweight alternative to Photoshop.

Pixlr-o-matic

Another photo editing tool that gives students a “retro” look to their photos.

Announcify:  Will read text from the web if you don’t have time to read or just want to learn in another way, it could be used as a proofreading tool for students as well.

Print Friendly & PDF:  Allows users to print out webpages without having to print out the advertisements.  Saves paper.

Read & Write for Google Docs:  Kind of a one-stop shopping app for English teachers which allows students to integrate many of the great features that the website provides including ones that reads documents aloud, allows students to highlight, has dictionaries to define words or give pictures of words.  Translate text in other languages, get suggestions for current or next words.  I would say that this is an essential first add for English Teachers.

EasyBib Tools:  Another essential tool for English Teachers, EasyBib is free and automatically cites websites with the click of a button, also checks the sites credibility and creates  a bibliography.

Webpage & WebCam Screenshot:  It says one of the easiest tools to use to create a screenshot.  I have used it in the past and have found some difficulty.

WeVideo:  An easy-to-use (kind of) video editing software that is easily integrated with other tools in your Google portfolio.

Sticky Notes:  Designed to keep track of all of your daily happenings in much of the same way that you would use sticky notes in real life only these get posted virtually over your computer screen.  I did not like it when I first tried it, but it could help some students organize notes for projects

Class Dojo:  My favorite web tool now for behavior management is available as an application.  Place your class in this tool and develop a set of positive and negative behaviors to gauge their behavior and keep track in a way that you can share with the students and their parents.

Apps for Common Core:  May help with lesson planning as it gives quick access to all Common core Standards by grade level, while saving time by suggesting additional apps resources to intervene for struggling students.

GoAnimate:  Most used animated video creation tool.

Drive Template:  Delivers resume, cover letter or many other templates straight to your drive.

Interesting Bookmarklet

Not even sure exactly what a bookmarklet is but this tool will allow teachers to encorporate SAT vocabulary into any online lesson by identifying all SAT or ACT words in any given areticle on the web.

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