Submitted by Fiona Beal
Yesterday in our new 30 Days of Google series I wrote a post about the Chrome browser ‘Get to know the Chrome browser’. Today I want to tell you about some of my favourite extensions (all free) that you can add to your Google Chrome browser bar to make browsing a breeze!
What exactly is a Chrome extension?
Chrome extensions are free extra features and functionality that you can choose to add to your browser from the Chrome Web Store. Generally I don’t go to the web store to choose as it is quite overwhelming – I go for recommended ones by other teachers. All the ones I have added to date are by recommendation. The extensions generally sit in the top corner of one’s browser and you click on one when you want to use it. This is what my browser bar looks like currently in the top right corner.
I love the way Amy Meyer illustrates the Chrome browsing experience in a post on her Fried Technology blog.
Did you know?
1. The top of your Chrome browser where the URL is found is called an OMNIBOX because it integrates the URL bar and the search functionality. (You don’t have to go to Google.com first.) This is also the place where your Chrome extension icons will be added.
2. When you open up Chrome you have the option to sign in. If you do all your extensions show, no matter which computer you are using. Amazing!
Ten favourite Chrome extensions
1. Google dictionary extension
This is SO useful for your students especially primary school students. .This tool can be so useful when students are researching as whenever they double click on a word the meaning is displayed as shown below. The meaning simply pops up in a yellow box.
2. Diigo bookmark, highlighting, archiving and anootating extension
Diigo is a MUST for anyone who surfs the Internet. The extension added to your browser enables you to quickly save something for laterand open it again on any computer where you have signed into Chrome. You just click on the icon and it opens a box that will enable you to tag the resource very easily. It is a case of:
1) Click on the extension icon
2) Choose ‘bookmark’
3) Add the tag name
4) Click on save
3. Google URL shortener
Whenever you are in a website and you want to shorten the link to promote it on Facebook or Twitter, the URL shortener is right there on the browser bar. You cick on it and it gives you the shortened version to copy.
This is described as ‘The most popular Chrome extension, with over 10 million users! Blocks ads all over the web.’ How often are you in YouTube and the ads start appearing? It is most annoying. AdBlock It works automatically: just click "Add to Chrome," then visit your favourite website and see the ads disappear!
5. Webpage screenshot
This takes a picture of your web page immediately and all you have to do is save it. It is like Printscreen except that you can also do the following to the page:
- Change Resolution
- Write Comments
- Share instantly via Gmail
6. Save as PDF
This extension lets you download web pages as PDFs in one click. It uses https://pdfcrowd.com html to pdf online service. This can save loads of time when wanting to download an interesting resource to use later.
7. Tab Cloud
Tab Cloud allows you to save any window session and restore it at a later date or on another computer. It effectively allows you to sync open tabs between multiple computers. To use TabCloud you simply click the TabCloud icon on the browser bar; you will then see your current open windows and previously saved windows. You can save open windows, or restore saved ones. You can also delete previously saved windows.
8. Turn off the lights
Turn OFF the Lights is a fantastic little extension that will take YouTube videos and darken the entire screen around the video leaving your video lit up! The focus will be solely on the video you want to show the students in your classroom! No distractions! The entire page will be darkened, so you can watch the video as if you were in the cinema. Click again and the page will return back as normal. Look at this before and after comparison.
9. Awesome screenshot
This is a great annotation tool. With this tool you can capture the whole page or any portion, and annotate it with rectangles, circles, arrows, lines and text, blur sensitive info, etc.
10. Watch Doc
This is a useful extension if you collaborate a lot on Google Docs. It could be very useful to a teacher. It notifies you if your Google Docs change. If you have shared some documents with others on Google Docs you normally have to go and check whether anyone's modified them. This Chrome extension will list your shared documents that were updated since the last time you have viewed them right from your browser bar.
Well, there we go – ten Chrome extensions that are among my favourites. But let me tell you – the list doesn’t stop there! These innovative extensions really are an awesome addition to a browsing extension. Why not try a few of them?
1. With more and more students going online in class, these extensions could really assist students with what they need to do in a task right there in the browser.
2. The time-saving ability that these extensions bring to a classroom is amazing.