Lets Get Googling

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Write about something you are interested in related to Ed Tech. That is what we were tasked with writing about for my ECMP class this week. When I read the prompt for this week, I was excited and relieved- this was going to be such an easy post, I have tons of ed tech ideas I’d love to explore. I immediately went to my Tech board on Pinterest to choose my topic. Google Classroom. Powtoon. Classroom Blogs. Maybe choosing one topic wouldn’t be as easy as I thought…

After some thinking, I decided I was going to explore Chrome Extensions. I figured this was my sneaky way of being able to talk about numerous programs at one time. I actually wasn’t even aware that you could add extensions to Chrome until my professor, Katia, introduced me to Screencastify and Clipular (which are wonderful apps by the way; actually life changing).

Anyways, I decided to explore different Google Chrome Extensions that would be beneficial to have in a classroom! Whether they are great for teachers or students, there are some great resources at your fingertips!

Without further ado, here are…

My Top 5 Google Chrome Extensions

 

1 Goo.gl URL Shortner Extension
So just like the name suggests, this chrome extension shortens your URL link into something much smaller and shorter.  I know there are many other sites that do this as well, like tiny.cc. But what is cool and different about Goo.gl is that it also allows you to turn these massive links into QR codes. These QR links are wonderful and allow students to simply scan the code with their mobile device or IPad and takes them directly to the site, no typing involved!

Why is this awesome for teachers?
Well first, if you decided to just shorten the link, it makes it much easier for students to type it in and get it right! A short 10 letter link is much easier to type in than a 40 word URL filled with backslashes and random capitalized letters. But secondly, if you decide to go the QR code route- it’s even easier! And would also be a great addition to a daily five program or some other student-based activities! Check this site out for some awesome ideas on how to use QR codes in the classroom!

2. Select and Speak
This is an unreal app and should honestly be added to every teacher’s toolbar. This extensions turns text into speech. So any website you can possibly find can be read directly to you; it also allows you to select if you want  specific sentences read, or entire bodies of writing. What is another wonderful aspect of this extension is that it will read to you in different languages and allows you to change the speed of the reading as well.

Why is this awesome for teachers?

This is awesome for teachers because it is awesome for students. English as a Second Language Learners are the first group of students I thought of when I saw this app. This extension would provide two options for EAL learners: they can either build their English vocabulary by following along as an English-speaker reads, or learn quickly follow along with the class by having the text read to them in their first language.  This site would also be awesome for students with visual impairments or students who have dyslexia.

3. Screencastify
This is a wonderful tool which allows you to record your movements on your screen. You can choose to record your movements on one specific tab, or your entire desktop. With this extension you can make instructional or demonstrational videos, or engaging class presentations.  You can also make great videos, as you can see on this website which provide 14 ways to make an engaging video to show students! 

Why is this awesome for teachers?

Are you tired of running around the computer lab, jumping from child to child, trying to help them with the next step in following along? Are you bored of creating endless power points? Then this extension is for you.  Use screencastify to record your movements and create an instructional video for students to follow along with at their own pace. Use this extension to create a video filled with clips, text, ,other websites and links.

4. Newsela
Okay so this is kind of cheating because this is a google app, not an extension. But it is my blog and I can do what I want- plus it is just that awesome that it needs to be included. This site compiles news stories from multiple note-worthy news sources, and publishes them in five different reading levels from students from grades 3-12. Each article also includes assessment for students to complete. Students are able to select from school subject, age range, current events, speeches, biographies, and other topics.

Why is this awesome for teachers?

This is a great way for you as a teacher to engage students in current events and get them interested in what is going on around them. This app makes it possible for students to engage in topics that are often deemed as ‘too difficult for youth to understand’. It provides them the opportunity to educate themselves on social justice issues, develop critical thinking skills and many other areas. Check out this helpful start guide for teachers to use Newslea. 

5. Kaizena 

This extensions will save you hours. Literally. This extensions allows teachers to upload student assignments, and provide verbal feedback throughout their paper. As a teacher, you can go through the assignment and highlight specific sentences.  With the highlighted text, you can then speak, and the extension records your feedback and attaches it as a voice clip to that text. When the student reviews their paper, they are able to simply click each highlighted portion, and listen to their teachers feedback. Students can also reply written or verbal feedback to teachers.

 

Why is this awesome for teachers?

The Kaizena website states that providing verbal feedback rather is 75% faster than typing comments. That alone is reason enough to add this extension to your list of top 3 extensions. I think that I would personally provide much more feedback to students if I could talk rather than type all of my thoughts. I think it also also adds a personal feeling to the comments, as it allows students to hear your tone and adds a sense of personality.

 

Honorable Mentions: Here are a few of my other top finds of chrome extensions.

  • Share to Classroom:
    Instead of waiting and running around the classroom trying to have all of your students properly type in a website, use this extension to push a website to all of your students devices so it instantly pops up- hassle free! Shake Up Learning provides a wonderful article on how to use and introduce Share to Classroom to your students. 
  • TLDR: Too Long Didn’t Read:
    I am heartbroken that I did not find this extension when I began my university career.  Too Long Didn’t Read creates a summary of the entire article so that you can get the basic idea of the article without having to fully read. This is wonderful if you are looking for background information for a class, or looking at a new teaching resource.

  • Move It:
    This is a wonderful tool that I think should be on every working adults task bar. This extension lets you set a timer, and when the timer goes off, a simple brain break appears on your screen that gets you up and moving for a short break! I don’t think this would be super useful during a regular class day (because you are literally never sitting at your desk anyways). But I think it’s wonderful to have if you are lesson planning on the weekend, or spending hours staring at your computer screen during report card time.

I hope this post gave you some ideas for some extensions that you can add that will make your life as a teacher a little bit easier 🙂

Cheers,
– S

 

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3 thoughts on “Lets Get Googling

    taylorharder said:
    March 22, 2017 at 4:16 am

    Sarah I commend you on how thoughtful you are in your blog posts. When I have a question you seem to be one step ahead. For example when you said the Google Shortener makes QR codes I thought “That is great! Now how on Earth do we use QR codes?” Sure enough, your next link was a page on how to use QR codes. Thanks for covering all of your bases.

    Also, Kaizena blew my mind. Simply put. I can’t even. THAT IS SO COOL! Then, I read about Share to Classroom. I was literally pondering that the other day, going: So how can I make sure all of my kids get onto the same website at once, without them fumbling around with typing in long URLs or opening up e-mails, etc. I just recently realized that Chrome Extensions can be used on PCs too (duh – I already have that Sask Curriculum rubric-building one downloaded – download it if you don’t have it!). For some reason whenever I have seen it pop up in this class I thought it was for ChromeBOOKS only (and Chromebooks/iPads/specialized technology scares me) – but then I downloaded Screencastify and realized it was an extension for any Chrome internet browser. Ha!

    Here is a link to that Sask Curriculum extension. Download it. You will not regret it.

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/saskatchewan-curriculum-p/cciiafmkdiedhednhaojokmcmimhbdgi?hl=en

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      Sarah Munro responded:
      March 22, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      Thanks Taylor! I’m glad I was able to help you out a bit 🙂 I was in the same boat, too- I had no idea what extensions were, but they are actually so easy to use! Thanks for the Sask Curric one, I’ll have to add that one to my tool bar!

      Like

    […] also borrowed Sarah Munro’s idea of tackling a tool in which I could review other tools […]

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