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Favorite Chrome Extensions

Posted in "How To", EdTech Musings, G Suite, and Teaching

My #1 priority as an instructional technology coach is ALWAYS to find ways which make the life of a teacher easier. The number one reason I get for why teachers are not exploring all the amazing tools available today is TIME. They simply are overwhelmed with all that is already being asked of them and they have NO TIME. Google Chrome Extensions can be that one thing that ups productivity and SAVES TIME.

All extensions are added in the same way. Navigate to the Chrome Web Store, search by key words for extensions. Once the extension you are looking for is found, simply click on the blue ADD TO CHROME button and confirm. That’s it! Once you have added, the blue button will turn green and say RATE IT.

The extension is now a part of your profile and clicking on its icon (Located to the right of your URL address bar.) will launch the program. There are so many amazing extensions which can be used to UP PRODUCTIVITY and SAVE TIME. Here is a list of my most used extensions:

EXTENSITY

Right now Extensity is my all-time favorite find! It is the Control Button for all the extensions and apps you have added to your profile. It is ALSO an amazing app to share with students. With one click on a toggle button, you can turn off or on every extension currently enabled. Occasionally an extension will cause a disruption in a student’s online curriculum program. Rather than going into settings and completely resetting the student’s Chrome profile (which burns time and causes a student to spend unnecessary time re-setting up their profile), you now can simply click the toggle switch to disable all extensions. Another click when you or the student is ready for extensions again and they are all re-enabled. Individually extensions can be turned on and off as needed simply by launching Extensity and clicking on the extension to enable. No more lag due to too many extensions running on your profile. It’s really that simple!

CHROME WEB STORE LAUNCHER

Chrome Web Store Launcher is probably my second most used extension. With one click on the icon, I have easy access to every app added to my profile as well as a quick search field for adding any new extension that I need.

They also offer you five slots for your favorites (which I rarely take advantage of). I use this extension most often for quick access to the Chrome Web Store.

BLACK MENU FOR GOOGLE

Black Menu for Google is another one of those extensions that saves a ton of time by giving you access to ALL things Google on your profile. No more hunting for bookmarks, searching Google, or any other activity for the purpose of accessing your Google tools. They are all available with one click on the Black Menu extension icon! In addition, you have the ability to personalize with the +Add feature. This is MUST HAVE extension!

TAB SCISSORS AND TAB GLUE

How many times have you sat working on a project and had to click on different tabs to access the information needed? It can be such a time waster! Wouldn’t it be great to have both tabs needed open side by side so you no longer have to switch back and forth? Welcome Tab Scissors! Tab Scissors will split your screen right down the middle between tabs allowing you to see two separate screens side by side. Simply have open the tabs you are currently working on and then click on the Tab Scissors icon and it will do all the rest! Now, no worries if it doesn’t split the tabs in exactly the place you had intended, you can drag and drop any tab to the location you wish. Want the tab you’re working on to be on the left? Click on the tab, hold and drag it to the left. That’s it! Now you no longer have to click tabs to access the information needed. You can have it right in front of you side by side. Ready for full screen again? Now you click on the Tab Glue icon and it will put your tabs all together once again in one window. I love these two tools!

GOOGLE DOCS QUICK CREATE

Google Docs Quick Create is another productivity tool for both teachers and students that SAVES TIME. With one click on the icon, you have a choice to open and new blank Google Doc, Sheet, Slide, Drawing, or Form. Click on the tool you wish to use and a clean ready to be edited project will launch. It is by far the quickest way to get started on a new task.

CHECK MARK

Check Mark is a MUST HAVE tool for anybody using Google Docs. No more typing your own feedback comments. Check Mark will do that for you with one click! Talk about a time saver. Once the Check Mark extension has been added to your profile, click the icon to launch. On first launch, you will need to enable it and connect it to your profile. It will read Enabled and Synced when it is ready to go. (See the two arrows below.)

Check Mark comes with two rows of ready to use comments, but it gets better… you can personalize it to say exactly what you wish! click on the pencil next to the Preview for edit access to the palette.

Every row is editable. You can even add additional items to each row AND even add additional rows if you need more! So now that it is set up exactly as you wish, how does it work? With a Doc opened, begin reading and editing the doc as you normally would. You will see a shadow of the Check Mark palette. Highlight a word or phrase which you wish to add a comment to, then click on the Check Mark shortcut term needed. A fully written out comment will be added to the right of the document as if you just typed the entire thing yourself! Mindblown!!

LOREM IPSUM GENERATOR (Default Text)

Since we’re talking about creating products and saving time, there is nothing like having a random text generator at your disposal to test out any document layout. Lorem Ipsum Generator is an amazing tool to do just that! Open the document you are currently working on and begin the layout process first. For each area you plan to type a paragraph, simply click on the Lorem Ipsum icon and it will offer you a random default text which you can easily copy and paste in as a placeholder. As soon as you are satisfied with the layout, it is time to begin replacing the random text with what you really want to say. Having the layout organized first is a huge time-savor and allows you to quickly draft all things you can imagine.

 

SCREENCASTIFY

Screencastify is one of those extensions that I have run whole conference sessions on! It is an amazing tool that can be used by both students and teachers. The free version offers 10-minute videos and up to 50 stored in the Drive which is HUGE, however their paid version is $24 per year and offers unlimited. You have the capacity to create content and easily share to your Google Classroom, YouTube, Gmail and virtually any shareable space. Content can be downloaded as video and also GIF, which even adds more versatility to this tool. It is incredibly user friendly and offers one of the quickest methods of duplicating yourself in the effort of saving time. Psssst… Imagine yourself offering a lesson in three or four stations ALL at the same time OR giving students the opportunity to show what they know?!

Here’s how to get started:

Add and Setup the Screencastify extension:

Begin creating content! Watch the tutorial below to see how. *Note: Any person using a Chromebook will need to go into settings (After launch, the three lines upper left) and uncheck the box which says, “Pause on low disk space”. Chromebooks will not record if that box is not unchecked. Now go have fun!

INSERT LEARNING

I saved the best of all the bests for the last! Ever wish you could make content found on the web interactive with the capacity to share it with students AND when they interact with it, see their responses?  Now you can with Insert Learning! Insert Learning can make any content on the web interactive by giving the teacher the ability to insert a question, comment, sticky note, video etc. exactly where it is needed. Once the content is created, it can be easily shared with students via Google Classroom or Sites. Teachers have a dashboard with the ability to see exactly which students have completed the assigned as well as how well they did. It is an incredible tool which both students and teachers love! It does take a little more effort in setting up, but is well worth your time in the long run. Here’s how to get started:

You may need to adjust the flash settings (see below):

Then continue setup:

As soon as setup is complete Insert Learning will walk you through an entire interactive lesson tutorial beginning with a directive to click the Insert Learning icon to begin!

At the end of the tutorial, you will be offered a link to their dashboard where you will have many many lessons to browse and use. This extension is robust and does take some time to learn, but is well worth the effort and will save a tremendous amount of time over the long haul.

There are so many extensions available, but these are a few of my favorites for saving time and creating fun and engaging content. Most of these extensions work for both teachers AND students. Teachers desperately need to save time AND so do students! These extensions offer powerful alternative methods which you will find you can not live without!