Articles tagged "Google Chrome"

Weekly post #1 - Google Chrome and Chrome Extensions

The idea is a weekly post - aimed at the needs of the educators at International School of Geneva - Campus des Nations - linked to from the 'Week at a Glance'. Each post will highlight four things of interest with some kind of increasing complexity or involvement.

Signing into your Chrome profile

Being signed into Chrome (and not just into your Google account) allows you to choose to sync password, histories, settings etc. Being signed into your account allows the school to 'push' various useful Chrome extensions to you. The school currently 'pushes' Google Docs Offline, Google Meet Grid View, Nod, Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides and Screencastify to staff.

All students should be signed into Chrome using their accounts as we also 'push' extensions to them.

Managing Chrome extensions

Another video from the talented Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers. His site and social media feeds are well worth following for educational technology ideas, reviews and support.

This short clip explains how to find and manage the extensions you have installed in Chrome.

Nod - Reactions for Google Meet

Nod has been 'pushed' out to all staff and students in Secondary.

Nod allows the members of a Meet to react with a limited set of 'reactions'. One of the most useful is the ability to 'raise your hand'.

You need to be logged into Chrome with your (or students with their account) for the extension to appear.

In order to see or send reactions, each user will need to have the extension installed.

Dualless - Chrome extension

Dualless is a useful Chrome extension if you do not have the luxury of a two monitor setup. It helps split your screen so you can see the Meet and what you may be presenting. The video above shows how it can be used to make your life a little easier when presenting during a Meet.

Practical Pedagogies 2018 - Engaging older students with Google Geo Tools

I had the pleasure to attend the biennial Practical Pedagogies conference hosted by St. George's International School Cologne, Germany.

The focus of Practical Pedagogies is ‘REAL training for REAL classroom teachers’. I hope the session I presented upon ‘Engaging older students with Google Geo Tools’ was useful for the 20 or so ‘real’ teachers who attended.

The slidedeck can be found below:


If you have any question about any of the content - please get in contact.

What on earth are Google Chrome Extensions, Google Docs Add-ons and Chrome Apps?

You may have heard about Chrome extensions, Chrome Apps and Google Docs add-ons - you may already have some installed and running. This post will explore what they are, give some recommendations to try and discuss the digital citizenship angle on their use with students.

Chrome Extensions

What is a Chrome Extension

Chrome extensions are small software programs that customise your experience of using Google Chrome on your laptop. They enable you to tailor Chrome’s functionality and behaviour to your needs or preferences. If the needs of everybody were added to Google Chrome it would be an even slower and more bloated piece of software. Once installed (you do not need to be an admin to do this) the extensions usually add an icon to the right of the omnibox in Chrome with the ability to do a specific thing. If you are signed into Google Chrome on a device the extensions will be automatically synced.

The Chrome extensions you currently have installed can be found by typing chrome://extensions into the Google Chrome omnibox or by clicking on the three dots in top right hand corner of Chrome > More Tools > Extensions.

Chrome extensions can be found in the Chrome Web Store. Here you can browse all the different extensions available and quickly add them to Chrome. Care needs to be taken with the source of some extensions - but more about that later. I find that a lot of extensions are just shortcuts to webpages. Few add real additional functionality - but those that do and do it well are super useful!

Some recommended Chrome Extensions

Earth View from Google Earth - Produced by Google - Each time you open a new Chrome tab you are greeted by a a beautiful Satellite image from Google Earth.

Google Mail Checker - Produced by Google - Adds an icon beside your Chrome omnibox and displays the number of unread messages in your inbox. This could be rather disturbing for some of you! You can also click the icon to open your inbox.

Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides - Produced by Google - Once the extension is installed, Office files that you drag into Chrome, open in Gmail, Google Drive and more will be opened in Docs, Sheets and Slides for viewing and editing.

What is the difference between Chrome Extensions and Chrome Apps?

The difference between extensions and Apps is not clear and it seems to me that Apps have  not become what Google wanted them to be as there is no real difference between what a Chrome App and a feature rich website can do. Google also seems to be withdrawing from ‘Apps’ and mentions of them are becoming less prominent.

Apps are web-based versions of software applications we would typically install on a computer. Chrome Apps don’t need to be installed on the hard drive because they live completely in the cloud; Chrome Apps are simply launchers for the web-based software.

The Chrome Apps you currently have installed can be found by typing chrome://apps

Talking to students about Chrome Extensions

The ability to share extensions is built right into the Chrome Web Store. In a few clicks you can have all your students up and running with the extension that they need for class. Each Extension in the Store has the internationally accepted sharing icon (three dots connected with two lines). Click on the icon and share by email to get the direct link to the Extensions page on the Web store.

It is worth discussing Chrome extensions with your students. Extensions are easy to install and not all come from reputable sources. Some of the less reputable ones may disguise themselves as a game or similar but add adverts to webpages that do not have them, record web browsing activities or even include keystroke recorders. If Google Chrome is not behaving as you or a student believe it should it is always worth looking at which extensions have been installed. I recommend deleting any extension that is not currently in use. I only tend to use extensions produced by Google or other well known developers.

What is a Add-on?

Add-ons run inside Google Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Forms. Add-ons are third party plugins which add a focused tool beyond what the Google tools offer. The tool I use to mail merge individualized emails to staff for PED day session choices etc was done using an Add-on to Google Sheets.

Add-ons can be found by clicking on ‘Add-ons’ in the top menu bar inside Google Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Forms.

Some recommended Add-ons

For Google Docs - MindMeister - Produced by MindMeister - With the click of a button, you can turn any bullet-point list into a visual mind map, which is then inserted directly into your Google doc. The mind map will include all of the information covered within the list, with the first point becoming the root topic of the mind map and the rest of the first-level bullet points becoming topics, branching off from the centre. Any second-level points are then turned into sub-topics, branching off from their respective parent topics, and so on.

For Google Docs - Lucidchart Diagrams - Produced by LucidChart - Easily insert diagrams you have created in LucidChart into your Google Doc. If you update the diagram in LucidChart you can choose to then update the diagram in Google Docs.

For Google Sheets - Yet Another Mail Merge - Produced by Romain Vialard - Send 50 mail merged emails a day for free ($24 / year for the unlimited version). Information from a spreadsheet can be added to email to individualise the output.

For Google Forms - Form Scheduler - Produced by Digital Thoughts - Free features include the ability to stop accepting responses after a maximum number and to stop accepting responses at specific date.

Reorganising your ‘Waffle’ aka the Chrome App Launcher

The ‘Waffle’ is the grid of nine small grey boxes that you find in the top right corner of your browser when you are using Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Keep etc. If you hover your mouse/pointer over the Waffle for a second or two the words ‘Google apps’ will appear. Google themselves do not call it the ‘Waffle’ - they refer to it as the App Launcher icon.

The G Suite Waffle

The 'Waffle'

Clicking on the ‘Waffle’ opens a menu of icons for all of the available apps in G Suite. There is more than one ‘page’ of icons with the need to click ‘More’ to see the second and third ‘page’.

Google orders your apps in the ‘Waffle’, however you can reorder them. All you need to do is click and hold on an icon and drag it to where you want it. I would suggest that the apps you use more commonly are on the first ‘page’.

When I log in to my computer I always start by going to my school email. I do this by typing (or at least starting to before autocomplete saves me a couple of seconds) into the Google Chrome omnibox. From my school mail I just click on the ‘Waffle’ and then the necessary icon to launch the apps I need such as Google Drive or calendar.

You can go straight to the various ‘major’ G Suite apps by typing the following into the Google Chrome omnibox:

Image credit: Daniel Nugent