Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Chrome Extensions for Learners

Below is a screenshot of extensions I have installed in Chrome; these might be helpful to students.

Mercury Reader
Websites are getting better about design and making sure the pages are not cluttered. However, there are still some sites that are not reader friendly and have additional content that distracts from the articles.

Mercury Reader is a Chrome Extension that cleans up websites and removes clutter to make websites easier to read.

Stay Focused   
Many students spend too much time on some sites. For some, it might be Facebook, others it might be a gaming site. The Stay Focused extension allows you to set an amount of time you want to spend on a site per day. When you are close to reaching the limit, you are warned, and after you exceed the limit, you are blocked from the site for the rest of the day.

While you can simply adjust the time allotted per day, or remove the extension, this could start a good conversation between parents and their kids.

Google Scholar Button
Google Scholar is a powerful way to find academic articles on any subject. The Chrome Extension gives you that functionality right in the browser so you don't have to leave your page.

See Google Similar Pages
Google Similar Pages gives you the power of Google to find a similar website that you are on. This is a great extension for research and finding multiple sources about a topic.

BS Detector
Fake news is in all the headlines recently. This extension will place a small red banner at the top of sites that are dubious, and explain why the site is being flagged.

Probably better than BS Detector because you don't need to explain the meaning. It also goes a little further and will show ratings for the websites next to the search results. Ratings are not always accurate though, so it is better to use this as a guide.

How many times do you need to shut down your computer, but have a lot of tabs open and you don't want to lose them so your computer stays on for a week? One Tab allows you to save all open tabs to open later. Students could use this to save tabs they are looking at as a web page and share with peers.

Google Bookmarks or Diigo
I am torn between the two for bookmarking. (Actually, I have started using a Blogger blog connected to so I can save and tag all the interesting Tweets and make them more searchable. In the end, it is fewer clicks than opening a new tab and clicking to bookmark.)

I have both Google Bookmarks and Diigo installed. Each has strengths and I like that they give students a chance to practice curating their discoveries.

Send by Gmail
This is a goodie for anyone. Have you ever come across a web page that you want to share with a friend? Send by Gmail will send it to them through Gmail. Tweet this Page works similarly. 

Screencastify is the extension I recommend for students to do their screen recordings. I like that it has the option to add their picture in a corner, and saves to Google Drive or to YouTube.

Adblock for YouTube
Sometimes the ads on YouTube are inappropriate for students. This takes care of that.

Grammarly checks for spelling and grammar mistakes. As a bonus, it gamifies it a little by sending you a weekly summary of your statistics.

For teachers ...

EDPuzzle YouTube
EDPuzzle for YouTube gives you the opportunity to create an EDPuzzle lesson while in YouTube to save time.

There are many more extensions available, and more I have installed. These are just a few. If you want a quick way to create a Google Doc, Slide Presentation, or Sheet, I recommend:


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