What is a Chrome extension?
A Chrome extension will normally sit in your browser toolbar next to the URL box and normally allows you to do something with the web page you are currently viewing. For example, I currently have a few extensions installed: the Evernote extension allows me to send the webpage or part of the webpage to my Evernote account; the Screenshot tool lets me take a screenshot of all or part of the current webpage while the Diigo tool allows me to add the current page to my Diigo social bookmark account.
|My crowded extension bar in Chrome|
To find and install extensions, you need to go to the appropriate section of the Chrome Web Store. You can then filter by category or popularity. Alternatively, you can just do a general search on the Web Store and look for any result that has a jigsaw piece icon in the bottom right corner. Once you’ve found the extension you want, click the ‘add to chrome’ button to add it to your browser.
|Some of the extensions available in the Chrome web store|
There are many Chrome extensions that are useful for teachers and students, and here is a small selection of them:
Reference App: brings up a small text window to enter information to automatically generate references in the Harvard style
Zotero plug-in: This links in with your Zotero account to allow you to collect citations that can be exported later to create bibliographies. It pops up in the URL bar when there is something that can be cited. For this you do need the Zotero application and you need to go to their webpage to find both the application and the plug in.
There are many note-taking extensions in the Chrome webstore, so take your pick over which one you prefer. Here are just a couple I like.
Citable: clip quotes or text from the web and have it sent automatically to a Google spreadsheet.
Evernote web clipper: This connects to your Evernote account - in my opinion, the best notetaking web/mobile app available - and allows you to automatically send a whole web page or a selection of a web page to your Evernote account.
Simple Highlighter: highlight text on a page, save it as a note, it will also try to remember and display the highlighted text the next time you visit that web page.
Google Scholar Context Menu: by installing this extension, you can right click on any selected text on the page and do a search in Google Scholar.
Wolfram Alpha: click on the extension to get the fabulous Wolfram Alpha search box. Great for finding out all kinds of weird and wonderful things.
Mendeley context Search: if you use the Mendeley reference and PDF manager software on your computer, this is a very handy extension. If you come across a page that has the option to conduct a Mendeley search for publications, a small indicator will tell you and you can click on the extension to run the search.
Creative Commons Flickr image search: if you need license-free images for your presentations or blog posts, this image search extension will look for them on Flickr.
Language immersion: love this extension, great if you are learning a language. You can set it to change some of the text on any webpage to the language you are studying. You can adjust the settings so that more or less of the page is translated.
Google Dictionary: does what it says on the tin, particularly useful for ESL learners to quickly check the meaning of words they come across on webpages.
How Do You Say: again, a useful one for ESL learners, highlight a word to hear its pronunciation in English or click on the extension button and type in a word to hear it.
Google Translate: popular Google translation tool made available from the browser bar. Click the button to translate the page you are on.
Other useful extensions
Pocket: ever find an interesting article on the web but don’t have time to read it immediately? Install this extension and it will save it to a Pocket account that you can read later on the web or your mobile devices.
Papercuts: one of my favourite extensions, allows you to save common phrases and pieces of information (such as addresses) and then quickly access and copy them. I found this particularly useful when writing student reports where I tend to repeat the same phrases again and again or for copying common names/addresses that I need to fill in forms.
These are just a small selection of extensions available, I would be interested to hear which ones you find useful on a daily basis.