By now, we’ve had G Suite for Education (formerly GAFE) in our district long enough that most staff are at least somewhat familiar with the basic functions of Docs, Drive, Classroom and Slides…right?! Well, that’s all well and good but it’s only just the tip of the Google universe! So, this week we’re going to look at one of the lesser known elements of Google – extensions!
Extensions EXTEND the capability of Google Chrome and they exist attached to the browser. But before I get started…a few cautions. Extensions are (mostly) made by third party companies. Because of this, they do not fall within G Suite for Education’s “safety net”. In other words, you need to be careful of privacy. If the extension is asking permission to see into your Google Classroom, for instance, maybe it’s not the extension for you! In addition, having too many extensions installed can slow down your browser, so, choose carefully and if you find you aren’t using an extension, uninstall it!
You get Chrome extensions from the Chrome Web Store and you need to be sign in to Google Chrome as your web browser for them to work. Once you’ve installed extensions, they live to the left of your omnibox. If you sign in to Chrome (not Google Drive….Google Chrome) on another device, the extensions will port over for you.
There are literally hundreds of extensions, so how do you choose which ones work for you? It can be a very personal thing – what interests you might not interest someone else. While you like an extension that tells you what time it is in 5 different countries, the teacher in the next room might prefer an extension that shows the stars available in the night sky! Having said that, the extensions below are pretty generic and generally useful.
Save to Google Drive
This extension allows you to save stuff you find on the web directly to Google Drive. Kind of like bookmarking it but better! This is a great way to save stuff that you want to use with your students.
If Save to Google is a great way to save information you might want to use at school, Pocket is a great way to save personal stuff. And the great thing about Pocket is that the stuff you save can be accessed on your mobile device, too. Even offline!
Let’s you quickly save things you like to your Pinterest account….’nuff said!
Read and Write for Google Chrome
Fantastic extension that helps support people who struggle with reading and writing or who are learning English or who just need a bit of help! Our district has enabled Read and Write for everyone who has a G Suite for Education account – look for more information about this extension on next week’s blog!
If your Chrome browser looks like the one above, One Tab is the extension for you! With one click of the One Tab icon, all of your tabs are converted into a list. You can then restore the whole list or just parts of it. One tab saves memory and might even make your browser faster!
Are you one of those people who has a hard time remembering your passwords? Then LastPass is a great extension for you – as long as you can remember the password you used when you started up LastPass!! Not only does LastPass remember your many passwords, but it also helps generate good password for those of you that find this an issue (yes, I am talking to you 1234 and you pswrd – I know who you are!)
If you want to be able to record what’s happening on your screen, if you’re thinking of flipping your classroom, or if you want to easily explain how to do something online to someone else….use Screencastify! While it’s not as powerful as a capture tool like Camtasia, it does a pretty great job, and it’s free! Awesome sauce!
Recently I was looking for a particular page on a website I used to use with my students. But….it’s no longer there! ACK! Luckily, thanks to the Wayback Machine I can still access archived versions of the website. The Wayback Machine lets you go back and view previous versions of websites that have been archived.
If you wind up with lots of extensions on your Chrome browser, Extensity is a great way to manage them, as well as turn them on and off!
If spelling and grammar are not your strong suits and sending emails to parents leaves you worried about mistakes you might make, then Grammarly might be the extension for you!
Lets you add fun little avatars of yourself to emails, etc.
As I said before, this is just a small selection of extensions you can add on to your Chrome browser. Some are helpful, others are just fun. Anyone who uses Chrome as their main web browser likely has their own favourites – try a few out and see what you like!