I spent a great day on Saturday at #edcampWorcester. It was a relatively small edcamp, but had some very dynamic educators and lots of good conversations. One thing that came up was which Chrome extensions folks found useful. As more and more schools are moving to GAFE and chromebooks, we are seeing more extensions being created and it can be hard to find something useful in the myriad of choices on the chrome web store.
Chrome extensions, apps, add-ons...
So, what are these things, what are the differences between them and why should you care?
A chrome extension adds functionality. An example of this is screencastify- it allows you record audio and video online. Accounts managed by Hadley Schools have some restrictions by "organizational unit". The teachers should be able to access just about anything, however student accounts are restricted to those extensions that have been whitelisted by IT.
A chrome app is simply a link to a website. This can be useful for older students who can set up their own accounts on sites, but we do not use a lot of these at the elementary level as the accounts are centrally managed. An example of this goanimate. The app is simply a link to the site. The students at HES have accounts set up on the managed goanimate for schools site- not this general site.
Add Ons are a little bit different- not restricted to the chrome browser, but associated with various Google applications. It gets confusing because some add ons are also listed as extensions. An example of an add on for Google Docs is Easy Accents- which helps you put the correct diacritical marks on words in various languages. An example of an add on in Google Sheets might be Flubaroo or Save as Doc. Forms have their own add ons...
Why should you care? These tools can make your life easier- or at least more productive.
Finding the Most Useful Extensions
Our current list of whitelisted extensions can be found here. We are in the process of setting up a dedicated Hadley chrome web storefront for students. The students will be able click on a link like the one on the image to the left and see the approved apps and extensions, rather than randomly trying to find the whitelisted ones.
However, our current list is ever changing and isn't really set up for educators to use. I did not put additional information or categories on this list- which would be really helpful. But- there are many other lists you, as teachers, can access to see what you would like to use. If you find an extension that you wish to be accessible for students- please send the chrome web store url to both Mike and I. I know that our current list of 90+ may seem like a lot, but wait til you look at other lists...
Here is an excellent presentation from Kelly Fitzgerald- with twice as many apps- and she has them in categories... She has an excellent website with lists of favorite chrome extensions every week.
Lists and More Lists