Monday, October 7, 2013

If I were a specialist.....

Lately, I have really been working to leverage the technology for myself and students.  What is out there that will help our students work smarter and learn more?  How can we leverage their netbooks in their favor?  We don't have ipads; but they have a great device in their hand and how can we best use that to learn?

I have turned to Chrome Extensions.  Right now, I love Chrome extensions and what they can do. I know that there are great Chrome Apps too; but one thing at a time.  Patience, young grasshopper. These are my favorite extensions...from the student side and teacher side.

First of all, what is an extension?

So, let's take a peek at my favorite extensions!

If I were a specialist--actually, any classroom teacher can benefit from these extensions.....

Save Text to Google Drive
This Chrome extension helps you save web text content to your Google Drive.

Read&Write for Google:
This is a must have extension.  You can use the free service or the premium service for 30 days.  I wish that our district could afford the premium service.  The free service has some very useful tools: picture dictionary, read aloud ability, dual highlighting and more.

Allows you to annotate on a webpage and save your document as a png file.

Google Dictionary:
Be sure to set your options to allow for audio cues.

This is a great extension for editing pictures.

Converts Text to Speech on a website.  Pick the one that works best for you and your students.

This is a great extension; but it isn't working for me right now.  Announcify will read text from a website and also gray out the material that isn't being read.

Evernote Clearly:
Converts text on a website to a single page and then allows a student to write and annotate on the page.

Evernote Web Clipper:
I like this for helping students store websites for information.  A very easy tool that will aid with organization.

For Teachers:
As an instructor, I use all of the extensions listed above.  However, I use these two extensions all the time and I think that students would benefit from them as well--right now, they are my extra set of eyes and I haven’t shown these to my students. You will need to determine this for yourself.

Turn off the Lights:
This extension allows you to darken everything but the video.  A great little tool.

You can observe when a document that has been shared with you is modified.  A great tool to observe from afar and give you eyes in the back of your head.

When using Chrome, also be sure to teach your students how to pin tabs and how to quickly bookmark their tabs that are open.  All in all, there are a lot of great tools out there that can help you leverage time.  Who knows, you might get five spare minutes to yourself and with that spare time, you can find another great extension that will help you and your students!