Chromebooks are not without their limitations. They lack Java and all student work must be saved in the cloud. To overcome the technical obstacles that have arisen throughout this semester, there are apps and extensions that I have used with students to save documents and pictures, provide feedback, organize links, and create content. While there are thousands of apps and extensions available and I have only began to scratch the surface, here are a few of the tools that have made working on a Chromebooks more efficient and effective within my own classroom.
Apps that Students and I have used this semester:
1. Explain and Send Screenshots
This extension is extremely helpful when trying to capture a screenshot or a partial screenshot online. This app is user-friendly and allows students to save pictures into Google Drive. In addition to being able to take a screenshot, this extension allows users to annotate and edit pictures. These pictures can then be shared to social media platforms or downloaded for other purposes. At the beginning of my the year, I taught students to use this app when they were creating video slideshows of pop culture experiences that shaped/influenced their lives. Again, students found this extension easy to use and found it helpful for several projects throughout the semester.
2. Goo.gl URL Shortener
Creating shorter URLs makes typing a website into an internet browser faster. This extension not only shortens URLs, but it also makes QR codes as well. I have used this to create QR images for class activities and for sharing URLs in videos and on physical handouts. While I have not had students use this tool, I have found it handy for creating lessons and activities.
During major research units and even when working on smaller class activities, teaching students to use the EasyBib extension has made creating Works Cited pages much more accurate. Having the extension located in the upper right hand corner of their Google Chrome browser is a helpful reminder to students that they need to cite their work, no matter how large or small the task is. It also makes citing much more accurate and user-friendly. There are so many different websites that inform students how to cite their work, but directing students to one source ensures that Works Cited pages will be much more accurate and consistent across the board.
4. Video Download Helper
When trying to download videos to be used/edited for class projects, this extension allows users to download videos from YouTube and other websites. There are many ways to download from YouTube, but I like this extension because it involves one click. Also, this extension allows users to download from many websites, not just YouTube. This is another helpful tool when students are creating multimedia projects and is also helpful for teachers when they want to save videos for future use.
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