Chrome Extensions: Productivity
This week I whitelisted a few more chrome extensions for our students. As most are aware, having too many extensions up and running can really suck the life out of performance, so it is best to use something like Extensity to manage them.
The extensions I added are Save to Google Keep, Internet Abridged and Reader View.
Google Keep is becoming more and more robust, a great place to take quick notes, an easy way to collate ideas and save to Drive; it has the ability to OCR text in images, etc... I have been using it more and more of late and like to be able to right click on a web page and Save to Keep. I can add labels as I go.
I was trying out new summarizers. When looking for resources, I tend to skim through articles to weed out the fluff before settling in to actually read something closely. Summarizers can be tricky, as I am never sure of the algorithm used and so many times, they simply don't work. This one, Internet Abridged, seems to work and the summaries actually makes sense to me vs. some I have tried which seem to simply leave out 50% of the words.
Another extension added this week is Reader View. For many who regularly use iPads you are used to seeing those little lines that indicate a web page can be viewed in Reader View- cleaned up, minus all the distractions. Now, you and your students can do the same thing in Google Chrome. Try it!
Some of the other extensions I recommend include: OneTab, SpeedDial2, and Mercury Reader, along with AdBlock and TextHelp's Read and Write for Google Chrome. . Honestly, I do have at least 150 extensions, but I regularly use a very small percentage and leave the rest off until I need them.
Science Games That Give You Superpowers
H/T to Fred Delventhal for sharing Larry Ferlazzo's post on this science games site. It does appear that Legends of Learning is really free.
"Over 1000 curriculum aligned science games for elementary and middle school students within the Legends of Learning adventure. Legends of Learning is always free for teachers and students in school." Here's a review of the site.
Fake News- again...
Here's another resource, new to me, Mind over Media, from the Media Education Lab. I first met Renee Hobbs years ago at Educon in Philly. She is an internationally-recognized authority on digital and media literacy education. Ten years ago we all thought that the CRAP test would be all the students needed to help them verify web sources. Needless to say, times have changed as evidenced by Alec Couros' recent article for EdCanNetwork: How do we teach students to identify fake news? In a world where it is increasingly dangerous to simply trust what we read and see...
The other thing I am excited about this week is finally getting my Breakout Edu box in the mail. Now this whole Breakout Edu craze has been building over the last year or so. I initially decided that it was just a fad and that the box was too pricey- $99. But, you can put together your own box of tricks for a lot less money and this phenomenon is growing- not fading into the edu sunset. Over the last 6 months I have seen post after post online about how teachers are using this in their classroom, about how engaged their students are, how it can be used across all disciplines, across all ages… ad infinitum. When I was at edcamp Boston recently I asked others how they are using it and once again, heard great things. So…what the heck is this Breakout Edu thing? It is simply a series of mystery puzzles… think " Escape the Room". Here’s an overview http://www.breakoutedu.com/
Once signed up you have access to tons of game and there is a very active facebook group with teachers posting all sorts of clever ideas.
If you want to give this a try on the April PD day... let me know and we can figure out a time in the afternoon for all brave souls to try one, or make up our own.
Below is one example-an overview of a "sandbox" game.
Over the weekend I was listening to several SimpleK12 webinars on Google Tools. One presenter showed a Jeopardy like game, made with Flippity.net. Now if you've ever used the online templates, PowerPoint, etc. to make Jeopardy quiz games for your students, you know that can be a pain in the neck. This looked easy.
So, I checked it out, and not only was it easy to do, but their flashcard maker would be a great way for you/your students to collaboratively study for exams. Just download the templates, open in Google Sheets and follow the step by step instructions.
The quiz show game..
Here's a short video from Richard Byrne to show you how to do it and there are also complete directions on the site as well.
The Flash Card Generator
What I really like about this
1. You can add images
2. You can add video
3. It can be collaborative! Because it is made from a Google Sheet, you can share the sheet to your entire class, assign each student/group of students one section and they make the cards for the group...remember to update the link when adding to the published card deck
4. Options- card, list, cloud, quiz