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5 Chrome browser extensions that you probably haven’t heard about but need to be using

It’s not a secret. I say it a couple times a week:

“If Google was a person, I’d marry it.”

And not just for it’s money. (Though that would be nice.) I love how the Google universe has something for everyone. Elementary. Middle and high school. Different content areas. A variety of tools for consuming and creating. VR. Digital literacy.

You don’t have to look very hard before you find something you can use.

But one of the easiest things you can use is the Google Chrome browser and what Google calls Chrome extensions.

A Chrome extension is basically a small piece of software that you download from the Chrome Web Store and add to your Chrome browser. These little pieces of software extend the capabilities of the browser across multiple web sites and do something that the browser itself can’t do. Most extensions add a button to your browser’s taskbar to provide a clickable shortcut for doing, well . . . something. This might be a tool that helps you annotate text or provides text to speech capabilities or helps you edit screenshots.

There are thousands of these little pieces of code. Many designed to help you do your job better.

And I’ve got my favorites. Here are five that that many teachers I work with haven’t heard of but should be using: Read more

Wakelet. Cause Mary is a genius.

I’ve always known that Mary F. is smart. She’s been a K-12 teacher, a technology coach, and a college instructor. She’s leading the way with our year-long tech integration study group. And I’m pretty sure she had a side gig consulting with Google as they’re struggled with the new Gmail rollout.

And last Friday . . . smartness confirmed. She shared a new tool that I had never heard of before.

Wakelet.

And it’s very cool. Turns out a ton of people are using Wakelet to deal with the imminent death of Storify. But as Mary and I started chatting, we began to realize that there is a lot of power in Wakelet beyond just Read more

Rockwell’s Four Freedoms in the 21st century and rethinking art as history

How great is the Smithsonian? Seriously. Take a few minutes to think about all the teaching goodness that they provide. Learning Lab. History Explorer. Lesson plans. Podcasts. Webcasts. It goes on and on.

But there’s always been a bit of old school in me. So I still subscribe to the print version of the Smithsonian magazine. Yes. You can get many of the print articles at the online version but I like turning pages.

The problem, of course, is between online versions of things and print versions of things, I’m always playing catch-up with my reading schedule. The March Smithsonian just now just made it to the top of the pile and I was blown away by an article by Abigail Tucker.

Titled A 21st-Century Reimagining of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms, the article focuses on the question: Read more

Crowdsourcing the standards: How would you make them better?

It’s been seven years. Seems like yesterday. And now it starts again.

I’m not sure if it’s a law or a regulation. Maybe both. Either way, the Kansas Department of Education is required to review content standards every seven years. 2018 is that year for social studies.

Seven years ago, 30 of us got together for the required review. We sat down and started a process that some of us ended up calling “the Philadelphia.” We had a set of social studies standards but we knew they weren’t doing what we wanted them to do. They emphasized drill and kill teaching. Multiple choice assessments. And clearly failed to encourage critical thinking.

The KSDE mandate was to “review and revise as needed.” We agreed to that. Just like the Founding Fathers who gathered in Philadelphia to review the Articles of Confederation in 1787. They knew going in that they wanted to do more than just review and revise. They wanted something new, effective, and powerful. So they threw out the Articles and walked out a couple of months later with the Constitution.

And no. The Kansas social studies standards are not the Constitution. The 30 educators who met back in 2011 were not the Founding Fathers. But the group did come into the room ready to throw out the old standards, start from scratch, and build something completely new.

What we came up with is a document that Read more

Tip of the Week: Joe Harmon and shared Social Studies PLN goodness

I love Twitter. And I love Google.

So when Dr. Joe Harmon posted his idea on Twitter for a collaborative Social Studies resource Google folder, it was the perfect day. Taking advantage of my Twitter PLN and the awesome #sschat hashtag. Using Google Drive to share, view, and use teaching and learning resources. The only way it could have gotten any better was if Roy’s Pit BBQ had delivered some ribs and toast while I sat there getting smarter.

This is what the Internet was designed to do and what we should be using it for – connecting people and ideas in ways that make the world a better place. What does this look like in this specific case? Read more

Native Knowledge 360: Culturally appropriate & historically accurate materials about American Indians

The Smithsonian is not the only collection of museums in the country. There are others. But I am gonna argue that the collection of 19 Smithsonian museums and galleries is the largest and most awesome and coolest and most educational and easiest to use of them all. I mean, between the 19, they’ve got over 155 million artifacts, documents, resources, and specimens. If you can find what you need in all of that, you’re just not trying.

One of the newest and awesomest Smithsonian museums is the National Museum of the American Indian. And they just updated their education section to make your trying just a little easier.

Why is that a big deal? Read more