“It isn’t that they cannot see the solution. It is that they cannot see the problem.” – GK Chesterton
Did you know a web browser has many free incredible extensions (Chrome/Safari)/add-ons (Firefox)/plugins(IE) to support teachers and learners? Teach your students how to enhance their reading, writing, literacy, studying, and research skills with these powerful web browser tools. Extensions also help teachers accomplish many time consuming tasks faster, such as grading, assessment, providing feedback, research, creating lesson plans and more. Extensions/add-ons/plugins appear at the top of a browser usually to the right of the omnibar. These icons when clicked help learners interact and engage with websites, pdfs, and Google Docs. Find free extensions/add-ons/plugins by searching your web browser store under a keyword like writing, translation, flashcards, science, math, history, or geography. For Chrome, click the Window tab then Extensions. Watch this video to see how to install an extension. Below is a slide presentation (download for free) of some of my favorite extensions for teachers and learners. A majority of these are for Google Chrome. Find 100s more extensions for teachers and students by accessing the bookmarks below.
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Extensions for Students
- Extensity– helps you manage all your extensions so your browser runs faster and isn’t crowded with tons of extensions at once.
- Pushbullet– I use this extension and free mobile app to send sms messages, images, and websites to all your devices and a group of people. If you are team teaching then you can send all the resources you find to each other and message each other.
- Open Dyslexic– changes the font on websites to be more dyslexic friendly.
- Read & Write– One of the best apps for students that has many features, such as reading aloud whole texts or selections while highlighting the words, defining words with text and picture dictionaries, speech to text, suggestion of the next word to write, and much more. Click here to register for the FREE TEACHER PREMIUM account.
- Screencastify– Chrome tool that records what is in a tab. The free version records up to 10 minutes.
- Nimbus– another extension to screencast, but also is a powerful screen capture tool that allows you to add arrows, draw on images, crop images, and much more. It is great for creating visual how-to guides. Awesome Screenshot is another screen capture tool with great features for marking up images and pdfs.
- Genius and Hypothes.is– With both of these extensions you can annotate websites collaboratively with others. Create notes, reply to the comments of others, and more.
- For engaging research, try the extensions that go with these incredible web tools and apps- Diigo, Livebinders, Scoop.it, Pearltrees, Storify, List.ly, and Pinterest. These sites also help students bookmark sites, organize them, and share them with others.
- Google Scholar– click to find scholarly resources on any website and cite resources.
- For citing resources try Cite This For Me, Colwiz Research Companion (includes annotation of papers and more), Citelighter (includes annotation and collection of pdfs and images) and EasyBib, which help students create works cited pages or bibliographies.
- For grammar and writing help try Ginger (features include a proofreader, spell checker, live corrections, defines words and offers synonyms) and Grammarly (spell checker and grammar checker for written documents, email and status updates on various social media sites. Must be 18 years-old.).
- Nuggets– Students create notes of their learning in 200 characters or less. They can add by typing or highlighting text. Add hashtags to search and organize the notes. This extension pops up with the notes to help students study vocabulary, facts, and more.
- Project Naptha automatically applies state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms on every image you see while browsing the web. The result is a seamless and intuitive experience, where you can highlight as well as copy and paste and even edit and translate the text formerly trapped within an image.
- Lazy Scholar– automatically queries Google Scholar and other services for a free full text the instant you open a scientific paper.
- SpeakIt– Select any text and hear it read aloud in 50 different languages. Announcify is another extension that reads sites aloud.
- To create flashcards with new vocabulary try StudyHQ, Lingually or ReadLang.
- To define and translate words try English Dictionary Translate (defines words in simple terms, translates in native language, provides example sentences, shows the phonetic transcription and gives the pronunciation) and Vocabla (dictionary and translator that keeps a vocabulary list).
- Google Translate also has an extension/add-on to translate any word.
- Noisli– learners can block out distracting noise and listen to the background sounds to be more productive.
Extensions for Teachers
- Goobric/Doctopus– extension and add-on to quickly grade assignments with a rubric. Saves teachers so much time!
- Kaizena– quickly give audio feedback on papers and assignments.
- Gradebook Split– splits your screen to show the gradebook along with the student’s work.
- DocentEDU-add questions, discussions, and insight directly into any website
- Goo.gl– a url shortener that also creates QR code for the link.
- Lazarus– saves everything you fill out on a form in case your Internet goes out or you accidentally click off the page.
Challenge: Teach your learners about extensions to help them become autonomous learners!
If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics.
Click to access that resource!
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