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Friday, January 9, 2015

Apps and Extensions I ACTUALLY use every day.

If you are like me, you gravitate towards anything that says Top 10 Apps/Extensions or Try These!  I love discovering new apps and extensions.  Anything that makes my workflow easier or will allow my students to experience something differently or transform the learning experience for a struggling student is speaking my language.

The problem is, with all the apps and extensions I've downloaded, there got to be no url bar on which I could navigate Chrome.

Here's the list of the apps and extensions I use just about every day.

1. Snagit.  I use this so many times a day I would be lost without it.  Not only can you use it to capture and image or a math equation, you can screencast from it.

2. Extensity.  This allows you to manage your extensions.  It will give you a list of your extensions so you can enable or disable the ones that you are going to use or not use.  It is a pain to uninstall an extension, so managing them is the only way I can keep all of the ones I have downloaded.

3. Readability.  This allows me to do several things.  It allows me to clean up webpages for those students that struggle with the distractions that most webpages have on the sides.  If you put it together with TLDR (Too Long Didn't Read) (BTW.. when you put two apps or extensions together it's called app smashing), I can then change the length of the article to a short, medium or long summary for our struggling readers.

4. Save to Drive.  I cannot overemphasize how handy this extension is.  For example, I was reading the #gafechat archives the day after the fast and furious chat trying to review the treasure trove of resources.  When I found something I liked, I just clicked Save to Drive and magically everything winds up in my Drive.  This is especially handy when I am finding resources for my #digcit course!

5. Tab Scissors and Tab Glue.  Although my desktop has two monitors, clearly my Chrome Book does not.  These extensions will separate two tabs so you can work on them simultaneously and then glue them back into one tab when you are done.  Seems simple, but very handy.

6. Tab Cloud.  I use this literally every day.  In my #flipclass AP Gov, I use #classdojo to keep track of participation.  I have 34 kids in that class, so I divided them up into color groups (red, green, orange, etc).  I opened all of the color groups in #classdojo and then clicked tab cloud.  That saves that set of tabs so that no matter what I am doing on my Chrome Book the next day, I click on the extension and it opens a new browsing session with just those tabs.  That alone saves me at least 10 minutes everyday, and every minute counts!

7. One Tab.  This one has been a lifesaver!  I don't know about you, but I find myself in the midst of the day with about 20 tabs open.  One Tab allows you to condense all your tabs into a list.  If you are doing research for example, you can click One Tab and then save the list of what are essentially now bookmarks and name it for whatever you are researching.  This also is helpful if you are trying to put a webquest together.  You could put a longer list of tabs together for the students who need a challenge and are able to sort through more information and a shorter list together for the students who struggle with too much information.

8. Ginger. I am actually using Ginger as I write this.  It highlights in blue the errors in spelling and grammar for you and then suggests a more grammatically correct way to state it (or what the correct spelling is).  Helpful and fewer clicks than alt+click to figure out if you have errors.

9. Goo.gl URL Shortener: I use this everyday also.  Whether it is shortening a URL or creating a QR code for extension activities, this makes it very easy to create and insert it into a document, etc.

10. Explain and Send Screenshots: This allows you to annotate a screenshot when a screenshot needs some explaining or if you are inserting it with directions into a document.  Very handy!

There are literally a zillion extensions, but these are the ones I use everyday.  I hope you found it helpful!

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