10 Chrome Extensions Every Student Should Install

10 Chrome Extensions Every Student Should Install

Whether your students have Chromebooks or use Chrome as the default browser, understanding that Chrome is an operating system as much as it is a web browser is important. Because Chrome is based on the open-source Chromium project, it allows developers to create extensions that “extend” what the browser can do. Here are my 10 must have Chrome extensions to start 2016: Diigo Web Collector Social bookmarking has been around for years now. Yet I’m still surprised how few students know and use powerful bookmarking tools like Diigo. Even if you don’t teach the bookmarking part of what Diigo can do, there are so many other features available. Being able to highlight text on webpages, leave sticky notes on any web page for yourself or for a partner you are collaborating with changes the way we view the web. The video on the link above will help get you started in understanding just how powerful of an extension this is. Sidenotes A great note taking app that opens up a side panel and allows students to take notes about a webpage as they read it. The app backs up all the data to dropbox so if a student’s Chromebook crashes or if Chrome crashes on your computer, all your notes are saved and reconnect via dropbox. I have been using this for a few weeks now and love being able to add quotes from a webpage. I can then go back and use it for blog posts, trainings, and keynotes. Students might use it for papers or class discussions. Note Anywhere I love extensions that do one thing and do them well. This is a simple sticky note extension that allows a user to leave sticky notes for themselves on any webpage. When they come back to that webpage the sticky notes just appear. Another great research tool for students. Goo.gl url shortener URL shorteners are not just for teachers. Students should learn how to use them as well to create quick short URLs to share with their partners, the world, or their teacher. The Goo.gl shortner has two functions I really like. 1) It connects to your Google Account and tracks how many times your link is clicked on. Right away giving you data about the links in your writing. 2) It instantly creates a QR Code that you can download to easily view the webpage on a phone...

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Google I/O Reflection

Google I/O Reflection

Now I have admitted before that I am a google fan boy. I love Google, I love their products, I love the way they take risks in development, I love the future they are trying to make a reality. So it should be no surprise that on Wednesday I prepared myself for the 3 hour Keynote that kicked off Google I/O Developers Conference this year. The conference has now ended and it is time to write my own reflection on the event and how I think this all relates to education. Let’s start with the educational announcements: Facts from the above video: Google Apps 25 Million educational users all around the world In the US, 74 of the top 100 Universities use Google Apps and 7 of the 8 Ivy League Universities use Google Apps. Love that they released these figures as just two weeks ago I had an IT Director tell me students still needed to know how to use Word as that was the standard. According to Google itself over 5 million businesses use Google Apps. What this tells me is platform no longer should be the focus. Wordprocessing the skill should be. It’s Google’s Job to Fix It Now I understand that this is Google trying to sell a product. But really isn’t that exactly what we hear educational institutions say? If only it was easier, faster and of course cheaper. What I love is Google is taking on those challenges and is continuing to try and knock down the barriers of technology in the classroom. At some point educational institutions will run out of reasons not to fully integrate technology. The only reason that will be left is fear….and fear is no way to run a school. Google Play Store for Education Two things here that make this a game changer: 1) The easy of use to volume purchase an app for a school/district or classroom. 2) No syncing of devices or management needed. The next time the device connects to wifi the new app, books or the video is instantly downloaded to the device. This is HUGE and those of you who are in charge of managing iPads in schools know just how huge this is. No need to sync, no need for one computer to manage all the iPads. Just buy and done. WOW! Of coures this is a direct shot at the iPad. The question...

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Setting Up Life in Seattle

Setting Up Life in Seattle

By Robert S. Donovan Today my new MacBook Air arrived putting the final touch on my new digital life here in Seattle. It’s always fun to set up a new computer and new digital gadgets. I haven’t owned my own computer in four years using my school issued laptop as my sole machine. So it’s great to get my hands on this new 13 inch MacBook Air and start to customize it. I went back and looked at the software that I started with in 2008 when I got my first Mac computer. Crazy to see what has changed and what has stayed the same.  So here’s my list of must have software…or is that browser ware? First Four Downloads: Chrome – Default Browser Chrome Canary – Allows you to sign into muptiple accounts. I use this for all my other gmail accounts  Firefox – Now my backup browser Opera – Second Backup browser App Downloads: 1Password: Love this to keep all my passwords safe and synced between all my devices using dropbox Dropbox: Because I live in the cloud Google Drive: See above Pages: Needed to open a document Chrome Browser Extensions: TweetDeck: Social Network Client Bitly URL Shortener: To share things on Twitter and Bookmark them direclty to Diigo Google+ Page Share: Allows me to share things on my Google+ Profile and Pages Diigo: My bookmarks Scribefire: Blog Post Editor that works inside Chrome, can’t blog without it.  Feedly: RSS Feed Newpaper Prismatic: RSS Feed Newspaper – new and trying out   Crazy to think that Pages is the only application I’ve downloaded that isn’t Internet based. Guess you know where I’m spending my time. I know I’ll download more but I’ve been working now for 7 hours and this is all I’ve used.   Samsung Galaxy S III I also purchased a new cell phone for coming back to the States. I bought my wife the HTC One X and I bought the Galaxy S III. I love both of these phones and my wife already knew how the HTC worked so liked sticking to that brand. We bought International unlocked versions (some habits are hard to break) and both phones work on the AT&T Network here in the States. But after talking with Tim Lauer I decided to try Straight Talk and there $45 Unlimited Talk, Text, Data plan…as I still hate contracts. So far I...

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Blogging Process – Find Your Flow

Brian Grenier wrote a blog post back in 2007 that I think I missed where he asks the question how do you write a blog post? Miguel Guhlin just wrote a great post in response to Brian’s thoughts. In my COETAIL course yesterday we had a great discussion around how blogging was going for those in the class. All of them just 5 weeks into blogging. It was interesting to hear that many of them say blogging as publishing. That they had a lot of drafts waiting to be published but they wanted them to be “perfect” or “publishable”. “The thought that other can read this, that a future employee can read this makes me want it to be publishable.” It was great to listen to them talk among themselves and the different feelings they had about being a blogger. They asked me what I thought and along with Miguel talking about how he writes a blog post I thought I’d share my thoughts. 1. Blog topics are all around youYou are passionate about something whether teaching, technology, your kids or your car. Be passionate and writing is easy. If your not passionate about the post, or idea, you’ll know cause you just won’t do it. This makes it hard when a teacher (like me) asks you to blog about something you might not be passionate about. That makes blogging an assignment….not real blogging. Real blogging is about you….about your thoughts, your feelings, your ideas…..the blogging you do for classroom, is just classwork. 2. Write down ideas or topicsAt least two or three times a day I think to myself “that’s a blog topic” and for a while I would sit down to write a blog post and not be able to remember what it was that spurred that moments thought. So I’ve started writing blog topic ideas down. I use the stickies app on my MacBook and Google Tasks via a Chrome extension that lets me quickly jot down topics. I also have a notebook in my backpack for those times when a computer isn’t near to jot stuff down in. Everything from grocery lists, to blog topics. Lastly, I use my iPhone where I have a page of notes that are blog topics. No, you don’t have to have as many places as I do, but I know those are the spots I look for when I...

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My Google Chrome Extensions

Last week Google Chrome updated itself on my MacBook and now allows Chrome extensions. I’ve almost completely moved over to Chrome as the speed of the browser just blows both Firefox and Safari away in my experience…and the way it handles gmail, gdocs, gwave, and the rest of G is just smooth. What’s been holding me back from making the full switch were the Firefox extensions that I have come to rely on. But now that I have most of them, I use Chrome 90% of the time. Extensions slow a browser down as it’s extra code that needs to be loaded, extra things sometimes running in the background, so I’m committed to keeping my extensions to a minimum and keep the Chrome speed a priority. So, here’s my basic package: FaceBook for Google Chrome: Extension which lets you read your Facebook news feed and wall. You can also post status updates by clicking on your profile picture. (Simple and Quick, just how I like my updates, now only if it supported pages) Google Apps Shortcuts: A simple extension that allows you to quickly create a new Emails, Calendar Events, Document or Spreadsheet with minimal clicks. (Link seems to be gone at the moment but there are a ton to choose from find one that works for you.) Google Tasks: A simple Google Task extension for Chrome. (I’ve tried using Google Tasks off and on, but I think I finally found my extension that will put those to dos right in front of me!) One Number: Check GMail, Google Reader, Google Voice, and Google Wave. Four sources, one number. (Not sure I need this and Google Apps Shortcuts so I’m testing both. What I really need is one that will check and log me into different Google accounts like the Gmail Manager extensions does in Firefox.) That’s it….I do also have the Bit.ly URL shortener on the toolbar. If you have a bit.ly account it’s an easy way to share web pages to Twitter as you are reading them. I also have the Diigolet link on my toolbar as well. Diigo now has a Chrome Extension, but I like the way this toolbar extension works and once again it takes a load off my browser and only loads when I need it. The one extension that keeps me coming back to Firefox is the one I’m using to write...

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