Congratulations! You have made a very important decision on going paperless in your classroom! How exciting! Now that the decision has been made, I want to make the process even more stress-free for you and provide you with five free Google app extensions that myself and my students use everyday. The apps and extensions are free to download on any device or computer you and your students use and are so easy to work with.
|5 Free Google App Extensions For Your Classroom
Another important feature of Google Classroom is the ability to grade assignments as your view them. Students can receive immediate feedback and will no longer stare at you and pester you until you grade their work! The app also updates when a student turns in the work, eliminating the guessing game of who turned it in, who still has to turn the work in, etc. Best of all, like all Google apps, Google Classroom is available from any computer or device with internet access.
As teachers, we have a million things to do at once, and most of the time, can’t remember what one of those things are. We have to-do lists a mile long and it is so hard to keep track. Sometimes I will remember something I need to do on my commute home, but realize my Post-It’s are on my desk at work and I have to make a separate note someplace else. This only leads to misplaced lists and more things not getting done.
Google has solved this problem for us. It’s called Google Keep, your virtual Post-It system. You can create an endless amount of reminders for yourself, and even color-code them to better organization. Google Keep can send you an alert as a reminder of a specific note if you wish. Google offers an extension download that appears at the top of your internet browser that lets you add websites you wish to save for later use. Again, it’s available from virtually anywhere and you’ll no longer forget things!
As an English teacher, one of the BEST free Google App extensions I have found and use every single day is Grammarly. Once downloaded, it is added to the top of your internet browser for easy access. Grammarly offers so much that saves so much time and is just so valuable to all Educators.
So what is so amazing about this app, you ask? Let me tell you! First off, it is a spell and grammar checker, and not just in documents. It can be applied to almost anything you type and wherever you type on the internet, including Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. It offers a comprehensive list of synonyms for common words (Grammarly, 2016).
When you make mistakes, whether it’s a grammar or simply a punctuation mistake, it explains the mistake to prevent it from happening in the future (Grammarly, 2016). It can be applied to whatever, and wherever you type! How convenient! You can choose to upgrade to Grammarly Premium, which provides a key plagiarism tool that checks over 8 million websites. Students find the use of this extension so beneficial to their school work and the improvement of their writing skills. I highly suggest any teacher just try this out in their classroom and see the improvements for themselves.
For my fellow Math teachers out there, I have an app for you, too! For those of you who are t
rying to incorporate more Google app usage in your math courses but are having a hard time figuring out how to graph and use equations in Google Docs, for example, then I suggest downloading the Google App extension called WizKids CAS.
This extension is again downloaded and is considered an ‘add-on’ when using Google Docs. With the help of this app, your students can solve equations and plot graphs, find numerical and exact solutions, simplify and factorize expressions with variables, and drag and drop graphs and results into Google Docs from the add-on (WizKids CAS, 2016). It’s free to download and I think it’s a valuable tool for any mathematical classroom that wishes to utilize Google Apps more.
SpeakIt for Chrome
SpeakIt for Chrome is another free Google App extension that I feel is so valuable and beneficial to any classroom, especially in the Special Education and ESL setting. For those students who struggle with reading, this app is for them. For those students who just choose not to read because it’s “too much” or “too long”, this app is for them, too. The app also can be spoken in over 50 different languages, suitable for your ESL students, as well.
SpeakIt allows the user to highlight text found on the computer, whether it be from an email or from a website, and it will be read aloud to them. Once highlighted, it indicates the number of sentences that will be spoken at a time. I have found great success with the use of this app in my classes. I have no doubt you will too.