Must-Have Google Chrome Extensions for Teachers | My Hobby Courses

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Must-Have Google Chrome Extensions for Teachers

July 06 , 2020
15:28 pm
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Okay, there are tons of different Chrome extensions and I only have time here to focus on the most impactful Chrome extensions that you can have for your life as a teacher.

Screencastify - Screen Video Recorder

The first, and I think most important, Google Chrome extension that you need to have is Screencastify. Screencastify allows you to easily make video tutorials for your students that you can then post to your digital classroom, such as Google Classroom. Once you've created a video tutorial, students can watch them at their own pace, they can watch videos outside of class, and I promise once you start using it, it's going to completely transform the way that you teach.

For this first extension I'm going to walk through the entire process of how you would install it on your browser. When you're ready to add the extension, click 'Add to Chrome', click Add Extension', and in this case with Screencastify, you're going to be asked to quickly set up an account the first time that you use it.

So, let's say that I'm in a program like Book Creator and I want to teach my students how they're going to use it. All I do is go up to the Screencastify extension, click on it, click 'Record', and it's going to start recording a screen capture of what I am doing on the screen, as well as my voice and even a video of myself if I choose that option.

Once you're ready to stop the video, click the extension again and then click 'Stop' and there you'll be given a bunch of different options if you want to share the video to Google Classroom directly, to a YouTube channel that you've created, or to your Google Drive. You can do any of those with your video. 

The next extension that you need is called Tab Scissors. Once you have Tab Scissors installed, it will allow you to evenly split two tabs that you have on your browser so they're both visible on the screen.

Tab Scissors

Tab Scissors can be incredibly helpful if you're trying to enter grades in your gradebook from assignments on a separate page on Google Classroom or if you're trying to enter names into a website from a class list that you have pulled up on a Google Sheets. 

In order to put those tabs back together you're going to want to get a third extension called Tab Glue. After you've installed Tab Glue, all you have to do is click that extension and it will glue the two tabs that you just separated back together. 

Another essential Google Chrome extension is called Web Paint. If you project your computer screen a lot in class,

Web Paint

Web Paint is absolutely going to change your life. So, let's say you're projecting a website like newsela and you want to emphasize the title of an article. Just click on the Web Paint icon, click on the drawing tool, you can change the size and color, and then you can draw freely all over the webpage that you're projecting for students.

It turns every webpage that you project into something that's totally customizable for you to write on however you would like. There are other cool tools like Color Fill. You could draw a box around the title of this article and then fill the rest of the background in to just really emphasize the article's title for students. Web Paint is amazing. It's a tool that I use on almost a daily basis now in my classes. 

The next extension that I'm Going to show you, is an extension that I use on a daily basis and if you're a Google Classroom user, it's an extension that you absolutely must have.

Google Classroom reaches 100 million Play Store downloads - 9to5Google

In order for the Share to Classroom extension to work, students also need to have that extension installed on their browsers.

Add a Classroom Share Button | Classroom API | Google Developers

Once they have it installed, you can push websites out to them at any time during class. They don't even need to be logged into their Google Classroom. So, let's say I want to share this article to my students about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

All I have to do is click the Share to Classroom icon, then click the 'Push Button' and that website will show up immediately on students' computers in my class. Rather than having to get everybody's attention back and say, "Hey I want everybody to go to this other web page," all I do now is click "Push to Students" and that website pops up for all of my class.

It's really a game changer. In addition to pushing an assignment out to students, you'll see that you can also take that webpage and make it an assignment, make it a question, or a resource that you're going to post to Google Classroom. 

The next two extensions help me organize my materials and streamline my workflow. I'm a Google Keep user. I use Google Keep as an online sticky note system, rather than a paper to-do list, to track all the different things that I need to do.

Google Keep: Free Note Taking App for Personal Use

Google Keep is great because you can also share it with other people, like your students, and one way that you can use it in class is to make a collaborative list of different resources on a topic.

So, let's say that you have a shared Google Keep sticky note and you find a resource that you like that you want to add to a list. Simply Click the Google Keep extension and then if you want, you can add a title and a label if you're creating a new one, and you'll see when you go back to Google Keep that you now have a label with that specific resource on it.

For similar purposes I also recommend that you get the Save to Drive extension. Once you have the Google Drive extension installed anything that you right-click can now be auto-added to your Google Drive. So, let's say you find a picture that you like.

Chrome Web Store - Extensions

Rather than downloading it to your computer and then re-uploading it back to your Google Drive, you can now save that image directly into your Google Drive folder to streamline your workflow and make your life just a little bit easier.

After you've saved it, you'll see that you can change the destination for where it goes into your Google Drive and you can also change the default settings if you want everything to consistently go in the same place. 

Next, I recommend that you get the Screenshot extension. So, let's say that you have found a resource that you want or you are looking at a student's project and you want to screenshot that to upload it to Google Classroom or to a class website.

All you need to do is click on Screenshot and it'll produce an instant screenshot of that page. You'll see at the bottom there are also different annotation tools if you want to modify it and then you can click 'Download' to open up the screenshot.

Next, I recommend that you get the Google Translate extension. Google Translate is extremely powerful and will allow you to auto translate anything that is in front of the screen. So, let's say that I need to translate this website into another language for one of my students.

Chrome Web Store - Extensions

All I need to do is go up to the Google Translate extension, click 'Translate this Page', select a language that I want to translate to, and there you'll see that the webpage is now fully translated into Spanish.

This also applies to Google Docs, so if you have a document that you need to translate quickly and you need to share that with families or students, same thing. Click Google Translate, select a language, and you'll see that it's been auto translated.

Now, of course the translation is not one hundred percent perfect, but it's a great option if you need to improve your communication with students and families who speak another language.

Next for my own personal organization insanity, I like to have the Google Calendar extension added to my browser. Once you have the extension added, you'll see that it tells you how much time you have until your next scheduled event.

Google Calendar

You can also click on the Calendar extension to see your overall schedule for the day. I find it really helpful to just have a quick glance at what I'm doing without having to go and open up my calendar in a separate tab. 

Next, I'm going to show you SmallPDF and this one might blow your mind a little bit. SmallPDF is a Google extension that will allow you to auto-convert any document from one format to the other.

How to Effectively Use the Smallpdf Chrome Extension | Smallpdf

That's right. Let's Say you have a PDF and you just want to quickly convert it into a Word doc. You Can use SmallPDF to do exactly that. So the way it works is that you click on SmallPDF, choose the type of file that you want to convert to and from, then you'll see it takes me to a web page where I'm going to drag the file that I want to convert in.

Click 'Convert to Word', it will convert your document, and now I have an editable document out of a document that I previously was unable to edit. You can also go the other way around and convert a Word document into a PDF or choose from a variety of other types of formats. 

The last two Google Chrome extensions that I'm going to show you are really just about adding a little bit more joy factor to your classes. The first is the Bitmoji extension.


Now, it is important to mention that you need to set up Bitmoji on iOS or Android in order to be able to use it. Once you've signed up and created a Bitmoji account, you can click on the extension and then choose from a wide variety of avatars of yourself doing different things and saying different things that you can drop into Google Slides or into emails or documents to make them a little bit more fun and engaging.

In addition to Bitmoji, I also really like using the Giphy Chrome extension.

GIPHY for Chrome

With Giphy, you can select from a wide range of different animated GIFs and once you've found one that you like, all you have to do is drag and drop that into a slide or a document, again just to make that a little bit more fun and engaging for students.

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