Monday, September 3, 2012

Using Google Chrome This Year? Add some Cool Extensions!

 If you are using Google Chrome as your web browser for the first time this year or using it again this year but haven't heard of adding Chrome Extensions to your web browser, you should try some that I listed below. I never had used an Extension/App before last year and now I love them. I didn't even get time to list the highlighter extension, the text to voice extension, or the dictionary extensions...all great extensions as well. But I did place the ones I currently put on my Chrome web browser for this year. I hope you can find some of them useful. (All are free by the way)

   First of all, here is the link to the Google Chrome Webstore where you can download games (Angry Birds is on here for free, so you can play it straight from your computer!), apps, and extensions: Google Chrome Webstore click here!
     Awesome Screenshot Capture and Annotate Extension. Great screenshot app, but I think I may have found an even better one.

     Explain and Send Screenshots. I haven't tried this one yet, but I added it to my web browser. Sounds easier to use and easier to send or post to FB/Twitter with this extension. If it works great, I may drop the Awesome Screenshot extension.

    To Do List Extension. Best part about this extension is that it is already in your web browser, so you don't have to downsize anything or open up a new window. If you are online or on  your email, it is there with one click.

    Clearly by Evernote. This takes away all the "clutter" that is on a webpage. The ads, the sidebars, the extra graphics. I have started using this to read things easier or if I want to print something without the clutter.  I also use it if I want to show something to the whole class, but don't want the junk with it.

   Evernote Clipper. Speaking of Evernote, I have this extension to clip any article or anything online and save it automatically to my Evernote file. If you don't know what Evernote is, I am still learning and I am in my 2nd year of using it, but I do love it and am getting better at it. Routinely one of the most talked about apps/programs among professionals.
    Chrome Remote Desktop BETA. Haven't tried this yet, but this could be great for us technology coaches as this allows you to show your what your desktop looks like to someone else in our district without having to be there. Plus, the tech. coaches could do the same and let you see what we are doing. I think it would also help people troubleshoot problems as well. As I play around with this, I will see if this might be useful for us.

Simple But Great Math Site for All Ages

  Came across a math site called A+ Click Math Skills Test and really, really thought it could be useful to parents and teachers. Did some playing around with a math practice site that I came across, mainly to see if my own kids could use it. Not only did I figure out that my kids could use it, but I figured out that our own middle school and high school kids could use it. I randomly tried some 11th grade problems and REALLY struggled. I guess I am not as smart as I thought I was! My favorite feature is that it lets you move up a grade level after 4-6 correct answers in a row and if you choose to move up, the questions immediately get harder. This isn't a game site and some kids may not have fun with it, but this is a great practice site with lots of questions and when a student gets the incorrect answer, it shows the correct answer with solution to explain why it is the correct answer. And lots of pictures and diagrams to get the students thinking and understanding.

A+ Click Math Skills Test site click here!

Another Way to Search for Apps for Kids: An App!

  There are some websites out there that help categorize great apps for kids, especially educational apps. But  then you have to get your IPad, IPod, or other device to look up the app. With this new tool, your search and categorizing tool is an App itself, so you will already be using your device and can easily find and download the app you just searched for. WeWantApps helps you search by age group and category and one of those categories is "education". Might be good for your own kids or for any classroom or group of kids that have IPads or other app-supported devices. It is getting some good early reviews as well. I plan on adding it to my IPad today and giving it a try.

WeWantApps click here to learn more!

Some Neat "Make Your Own News" Sites to Try

 One of these sites I just heard about and haven't tried yet, but it sounds really easy and something that kids could really learn from. The other is one I heard about in the Spring, tried it, and loved it. Both could be very good tools to use in school, especially in social studies or science where you might be studying a topic in the news. Here are the sites:

Link TV: Know the News: This site has an interesting idea for students to try. Students can find a topic currently in the news and search for clips of it at various news services and see how similar or different the reports are. They can take each clip and cut/paste them back to back to play a string of news stories about the same idea. Or students can simply make their own newscast by cutting and pasting stories from all over the world by different news media. Either way, students will be working with the news and seeing how it gets reported. Might be a good way to talk about bias, sources, and the power of media in general.

Jack the News is a very cool and fun site. I have to admit that I have played around with it several times, one time even recreating the Des Moines Register online news to show only my family's latest news. I even added my family's picture to the front page picture! But, you can use it for education too by having students re-make a website about a topic, the current news, or their book they are reading. The possibilities are endless. And it is fairly easy to use as well. Give it a try!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

To-Do List As Extension to Chrome Browser

  For our many staff who are now using Google Chrome as their web browser instead of Internet Explorer, the next step is to start adding Chrome Extensions like Screenshot apps, dictionary apps, and note-taking apps. But another great one is this "To-Do" app/extension. You don't need a separate window as your To-Do list is always ready and visible through your web browsing tool bar area. Go to the link below (the Chrome web store) and download it today!