In Part 1 of this blog series, I introduced a few Chrome extensions I am using to help me customise my internet browsing experience. This followed on from Episode #6 of the Edufuturists Vault where we chatted to Dr Chris Craft, the brains behind many of EdTech Team's amazing suite of Chrome extensions. I discussed Eyedropper, Quick QR Code Generator, goo.gl URL Shortener, Emoji Keyboard and Share to Classroom. Don't forget to check that post out here.
In Part 2, I will discuss five more that have helped me. I hope they are useful - don't forget, please contact us if you want to write a guest blog post for us or want to discuss any of the topics we discuss.
This has been a lifesaver for me when I have had a number of long pieces of text or particularly URL links that I need to have on my Copy & Paste clipboard at one time. This nifty little extension lets me create entries and then label them for quick pasting. This has been really handy when I need to have paragraphs of text over a long period of time that I might use repeatedly, such as bios, tool descriptions or particular email addresses (or lists of these - GDPR compliant of course!) that I will need at later dates. Additionally, a simple right-click in a document allows you to insert from Permanent Clipboard too!
Texthelp, one of our Premier Sponsors at the Edufuturists Summit in July this year, offer a whole host of tools that increase accessibility within the digital space. I will let them explain it in their own words (they do it must better justice than I will!)
"Read&Write lets everyone read, write and express themselves more confidently and independently. Our easy-to-use toolbar makes documents, files and web pages more accessible. Read&Write is a big confidence booster for anyone who needs a little support with their reading and writing, at school or in the workplace. And its friendly literacy features help English Language Learners, as well as people with learning difficulties or requiring dyslexia tools. From hearing emails or documents read out loud to text prediction, picture dictionaries, summary highlighters and a grammar, spelling and confusable words checker, Read&Write makes lots of everyday literacy tasks simpler, quicker and more accurate."
Having these accessibility tools right in the browser with different coloured highlighters as well as screen-blocking so as not to be overwhelmed with the volume of words, makes a huge difference. You can add Screen Reader and Equatio as separate extensions too.
3. Save as PDF
This handy little tool allows you to do exactly what it says: save a webpage as a PDF! Sometimes you want to have the information saved without screenshots or other tools. This extension works right out of the box using the default settings. You can customise the PDF if you sign up for a paid account at Pdfcrowd. The available options include page size, page orientation, margins, password protection, initial view, etc. Nothing world-changing, just a simple time saver.
Talking about timesavers and you need to look no further than this extension. This is my go to tool for marking; I genuinely think this tool alone helped save my teaching career. No joke. No over-exaggeration. I know we mentioned this one heavily on the podcast with Chris Craft but it is certainly worth having in your browser. It is designed to give teachers the ability to provide students feedback quickly and easily. When a teacher highlights text in Google Docs, an overlay pops up with quick shortcuts to frequently-added comments such as “Spelling” or “Check Punctuation”, or “Evidence needed”. CheckMark has both comments related to grammar as well as concepts, citations, and more. You can customise the process so that comments that you write regularly on student work can be in your comment bank. Chris also revealed that shared comments and audio commentary are coming to CheckMark really soon. Watch this space and check out their website to keep updated.
Again, we have featured Screencastify as a full tool on Episode #1 of the Vault podcast. The great team at Screencastify offer an easy to use Chrome extension that allows you to record straight out of your browser and save it straight into your Google Drive. There are a few different versions but the Lite Option is totally free forever where you can create up to 50 10minute videos per month. Premium Features allow unlimited recording time and number of videos, no watermark and the option to export as MP4 and GIF, as well as crop/trim videos.
So basically, you can record your desktop, browser tab or webcam capture, narrate with your microphone’s audio and embed your webcam into the screencast. Additionally, you can annotate your screen with a pen tool, focus a spotlight on your mouse and then even publish directly to YouTube. The options are there for flipped learning, explainer videos, quick tutorials and so much more!
So, please let us know your favourites or how you are using these and don't forget to book on the Edufuturists Summit on 12th July 2019 - click the image below to go to the booking page