I just wrote a rather lengthy reflection on some of the more conceptual learning I experienced at ITEC, I also learned quite a few tactical, productivity type things as well. Almost all of these ideas came from Chad Kafka.
The district Chad works for in Wisconsin, Franklin Public Schools, publishes a list of approved, whitelisted Chrome extensions that are available to kids. Like us, they block all extensions but approved ones. I have “borrowed” (stolen) this list with his approval. Here’s the list. My team is in the process of whitelisting all of these extensions. These all should be available in the Chrome Store before the end of the week if you want to have your students use any of these. Please note, there’s a lot of overlap on some of these. For example, there are a lot of screen readers/text to speech extensions. I would recommend using Google Read&Write for this as we have the full version pushed to students and staff already.
Let me know if you’d like us to push any of these and automatically install them for all kids in a grade level. I’ll be publishing a form later this month where you can request extensions for whitelisting. For now, just shoot me a note with the name of the extension, a link to it in the Chrome Store, and a brief (couple of sentences) description/rationale.
Chad also shared a whole bunch of other Chrome productivity tips. Here are a couple that I found the most useful.
You can use a Chrome “Incognito” window to login to a student’s Google account without logging out of your own Google account. This is really handy if you want to verify something for a student — test their userID/password or check in how they see a file. Without this, you would need to logout of your account and possibly your Chrome browser profile which is a hassle. Now, all you need to do is go to the “three dots” in the upper right corner of the Chrome window — just to the right of the extensions — and select “New Incognito Window.” The new window will be outlined in black. You can then go to drive.google.com or gmail.com or whatever Google login page to test the other account. Please note that we do not allow students to use incognito mode as this creates potential security risks — ie… no saved history, etc….
Like many of you, I have a personal as well a professional Google accounts. I’ve nevered linked them as I didn’t like the way the the “add account” feature worked. It’s messy and confusing. Chad demonstrated a cleaner way to access both accounts without mixing them. Again, go to the “three dots” and select “settings.” Scroll down to the “People” subheading. Click the “Add Person” button and enter your information for your personal account. Once you do that you can click the profile name button in the far upper right corner of Chrome and use the “switch person” button to open a new window for your personal account. By doing this you can be logged into both accounts at the same time — so you can have both Gmail accounts open.