3 sweet Chrome browser extensions that will change your life
Okay. Life changing might be a bit extreme. It’s not like these things are gonna solve that problem we always seem to be having in the Mideast or help the Kansas City Chiefs find a better quarterback. But they are all very slick and can change how you and your students interact with content.
I’d been a hardcore Firefox user for years and slowly started shifting to Chrome a year or so ago. And unless Firefox gets some sort of awesomeness overall, I’m not going back. The reason? Chrome offers too many options for integrating Google tools and third-party apps / extensions into what I do everyday. I’m constantly making connections between my C4 Framework and how Chrome supports that idea of Collect, Collaborate, Create, and Communicate.
The three examples listed below are just a taste of how Chrome extensions can help you and students align teaching and learning to the four C’s.
More and more of the content you and students work with everyday is online. And there are a variety of tools – Evernote, Easybib – that can help keep things organized. But I also like using Save to Google Drive so everything is nice and tidy
Save to Google Drive does exactly what the name implies – install the extension, click the button, and save the entire web page or screen capture directly to your Google Drive. You can also right-click hyperlinks, images, and most multimedia to save to your drive.
Create a folder in your drive, use the extension options to set that folder as the default, and everything automatically will appear in that folder. You can also control the saved file format in the options page – including a Google file format that allows you to edit your saved content.
Save to Google Drive is a perfect example of the Collect element of the C4 Framework – providing a fast and simple method of gathering and organizing all sorts of data into one place. Kids can use this during the research process. You can use it as you gather instructional resources. A very cool way to use Save to Google Drive would be to create a shared folder where stuff gets saved and is available to everyone sharing the folder.
I also like Black Menu. Black Menu is a simple pop-up that appears on the side of your browser when you click its extension button in your Chrome browser taskbar you can search through anything in your Google universe, without leaving your original browser. This avoids multiple open tabs for mail, Drive, calendar, or just about every other Google tool in your account. You are able to send mail, add to Drive,use Google+, read news, – all from the Black Menu popup. It’s a fast and easy way to Collect and Collaborate with others.
A sweet example of a Collect and Create extension is PicMonkey. The PicMonkey extension lets you instantly grab images from any web page and open them in PicMonkey for editing. Pretty simple operation: click the PicMonkey icon when viewing a web page. A sidebar window appears with every image on that page and a screenshot of the entire page appears as a tiny thumbnail in a sidebar. Select an image to edit, and boom – your image appears in a PicMonkey editing screen, providing a simple tool for basic editing, cropping and rotating, image enhancements, insertion of text – all perfect for creating a variety of products. When your students are done editing, it’s a quick save to the desktop or Chromebook Files app.
Need a quick tutorial on Chrome extensions? Check out the Google Help page.
A few final notes on extension management:
- You can easily remove an extension from Chrome and your account by right clicking the extension’s icon in the upper right corner of your browser’s taskbar or by clicking the three horizontal lines / Settings button in the top right of your browser, then sliding down to More Tools > Extensions.
- You can hide the extension icon by right clicking the extension icon and selecting the Hide Button option.
- Rearrange the order of the icons by dragging and dropping.
- And if you find your taskbar filling up with too many icons, simply grab the right hand side of your browser’s search bar and drag it to the right or left to show just the right number of icons.