If both you and your students have the Share to Classroom extension, you can push websites to the whole class at once by simply clicking on it, then pasting in the site you’d like them to look at. (You can also do this using Hapara, FYI.) Students can also share websites with you – and the extension keeps track of who has shared what with whom!
Sometimes it’s easier for students to speak than it is for them to type. Google supports voice typing in Google Docs – nothing to install, just select “voice typing” from the tools menu. Here’s a quick article with an overview.
I loved this article on Control Alt Achieve by Eric Curts – “Seven Summarization Tools for Students.” Why would a student need a summary of an article before (or after) reading? What are the best tools out there? Click the link to find out! (And if you decide to use an app or extension that he suggests, let me know so that I can be sure it’s available to students.)
There are quite a few screencasting apps and extensions out there, but they have a learning curve that may be a turnoff. Loom is a simple-to-use Chrome extension that allows you to record your screen as you explain whatever you’re looking at. You can choose to be on camera in a little circle at the bottom of the page, or you can be invisible. Imagine how many uses there are for Loom in the classroom – to explain an assignment for your students, to ask questions about a document in your PLT, etc. etc. The finished product can either be shared as a link, or the video can be downloaded as a file to upload to YouTube or any other website. To read about two other screencasting apps, click here.
A year ago, I couldn’t find an online touch-screen whiteboard for our math teachers to use in class, so this discovery is good news! Using the free version of AwwApp, people can draw, type, or add shapes to a whiteboard using their mouse or the touch screen – and they can invite collaborators to join in on their sketch. Once done, you can download it as a PDF or as an image file. The sketchboard will disappear after two hours with the free version – and you can’t upload any PDFs or images to draw on – but it seems like something that may be useful for all classes, not just math!
Toby for Chrome is a way to organize your browser tabs in one place. You can even sign in and save your tab “collections” for future use. For example, when I’m planning my journalism class, I like to have the Google Classroom page open, our class website, and our daily calendar. Instead of opening all of these documents separately, I can just click “Journalism” in a new tab – and all of the documents open! It’s easy to use, pretty to look at, and incredibly handy if you operate on tab overload. There’s also a mini version (Toby Mini) if you want all the features of Toby, don’t want your new tab to be taken up with your tab lists.
I use the Notepad function on my iPhone when I need to jot things down, but that doesn’t help me when I’m on my laptop. Google Keep, however, syncs with Chrome…so it’s on every device I use! And I can create notes to share with specific people, and the notes can have links! Images! Fun things! If you’re interested, look at this aesthetically-pleasing article, “How to Conquer Productivity With Google Keep” – or check out the video below.