As a busy educator and school lead learner, it is imperative to model technology integration in the school. Utilizing technology to enhance what we do daily, as well as engage with those in the school is of paramount importance if we seek for others to integrate technology in the same way. We often find many tools, tips, and tricks to stay organized and on top of the day-to-day tasks. With so many tools to use, though, it can often be overwhelming on where to start. As a Google Apps for Education school district, I have found Google Chrome to be my browser of choice, and with that comes the amazing world of Chrome Extensions.
Chrome extensions add functionality to any web page. While an app will take you to another website, an extension will work with most any web page, utilizing a function to enhance all you do with that webpage. The beauty of Chrome extensions is that no matter what device I use, when I log in to my Google account, my Chrome extensions are with me, sitting right next to the browser bar. Furthermore, most extensions function with just one click, making them extremely easy to use.
Here are my top 7 Chrome extensions, with me on any device, helping me carry out my tasks more efficiently.
As a Twitter user, I have often found the fast-paced feed in Twitter hard to follow and difficult to keep up with all the great resources and articles shared. Tweetdeck links with my Twitter accounts, organizing hashtags and even Twitter handles into columns, making it easier to follow chats and scroll through content shared. The Tweetdeck Launcher extension is the first at the top of my screen, opening a new tab once it is launched, keeping me up to date on all the great educational resources being shared by my PLN.
Pocket is one of my favorite content collection tools. I have the Pocket app on every device I own, and the Save to Pocket extension is my one-click button to save the content I find. Pocket saves websites, resources, articles, and even images I come across. This is especially important when I find a great article, but do not have time to read it at that moment in time. When I find that great article, blog post, or resource, I just simply click on the Save to Pocket extension, and it is saved! I then use the Pocket app to locate my saved pages in the order I saved them, reading and then sharing with my PLN later.
Buffer is another great app and extension, linking with my social media presence. With one click of the extension, I can schedule and share the articles I find on Twitter. When I come across a blog post or article of interest, I will click on the Buffer extension button. It pops open a small box, linked with my Twitter account, and I can then customize the tweet, the article link already shortened and embedded into the post. From there, I can share it now or schedule the post for another time. Typically, I load Buffer with numerous posts at once, saving time in the long run, and sharing what I find with my PLN throughout the day.
As I have moved to more flipped faculty meetings and professional learning, TechSmith SnagIt has been a true asset to the creation of my videos and presentations. The SnagIt extension opens a small column on the side of my screen, giving me the ability to grab a screenshot or a small region of the screen, saving it as an image in my Google Drive. Whenever I am trying to pull together a video to show how to do something, I use SnagIt to capture the screen or smaller parts of the screen. It is easy to rename the image as well, keeping them organized within the Google Drive folder it automatically creates.
The Screencastify extension is my preferred tool for screencasting presentations for my staff. With one click to open the Screencastify extension, I am given the option to record one tab, my desktop, or even from my computer cam. With one more click, the recording begins. After I finish, Screencastify saves the video as a mp4 file in my Google Drive, once again in an automatically-created folder. I can share these videos via Google web address or I can upload the videos directly to YouTube.
This Chrome extension does not necessarily add functionality to anything I do during the day, but it is beautiful and encouraging, and so it made my list of top extensions. This extension replaces the new tab page with a beautiful landscape, an inspiring quote, a personal message, your To-Do list, and other customizable features such as your focus for the day and the local weather. Each time I open a new tab in Chrome, I am welcomed with a daily greeting, a beautiful landscape from somewhere in the world, and my short list of things to do. I do not dread opening new tabs any more!
If you are like me, I typically have multiple tabs open in my Chrome browser. When this happens on my Chromebook, the pages begin to slow down. Hence, OneTab saves the day. With this extension, I can simplify all the tabs I have open into one tab, listing the pages I have open for easier navigation. Once I am finished bouncing between multiple sites and want to restore the tabs at the top of the screen again, one click restores all tabs to their original position. Removing the clutter can be a lifesaver, especially when there is so much to do!
There are hundreds of great extensions for educators to use, adding functionality and ease of productivity to an educator’s day. Finding the ones that meet your needs can be an adventure! Check out the Chrome Web Store for all these Chrome extensions and apps. What are your top Chrome extensions?
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, TGTestLab.