Google Chrome Apps and Extensions in the Classroom

I have a confession to make: For a very long time, I refused to use Google Chrome because I was a Firefox chick, and I’m a loyal kinda gal.  This is the same reason I waffled about trading in my PC for a MacBook when I accepted my new position.  However, I’ve learned that change isn’t always a bad thing, and admittedly, I’ll probably never go back to Firefox or PCs.  Macs just have so much more…”style” is the word Kevin Honeycutt used when I couldn’t find the word, and, let’s face it, as far as browsers go, Google Chrome just has so many useful features for teachers, I’d be crazy to use anything else.  So let’s take a look at a couple of these features:  apps and extensions.

The easiest way to explain the difference between an app and an extension within Chrome is to say that an app is basically a website and extensions are “tools” that are added to the browser and allow users to “do stuff” to a website or while working online.  Apps and extensions are added to your Chrome browser through the Chrome Web Store.  As a teacher, I appreciate how you can search straight from the store’s home page for elementary, middle, and high school apps and extensions.  Apps (websites) are added to the apps links in your browsers bookmark bar, and extensions are added to the top of your browser beside the Omnibox.  (BTW, did you the box that you type in a url is now also a Google search tool.  You no longer have to go to Google.com to do a search.  This is why it’s now called the Omnibox and not just the address bar.)

Google Toolbar

Beginning this month, I will feature one Chrome app, one Chrome extension, and one tablet app each Thursday.  I enjoy reading blog posts that have “71 Apps for Reading” or “202 Ways to Use ________ in the Classroom”.  However, those posts are extremely overwhelming to me and I find myself picking out one of the suggestions towards the beginning of the post and give it a try.  By limiting my posts to one of each, I’m hoping to give you time to install and play with each one for a week before I introduce another one.  Please check back each Thursday evening to learn about new tools to use in your classroom.  Not only will I introduce the tool, but I’ll also give recommendations about how to use it with your students.  If you have suggestions about Chrome apps and extensions, or tablet apps, please feel free to let me know via the comments below, through email, or connect with me on Twitter.

Would you like more information on finding and adding Chrome apps and extensions to your browser?  Watch this short tutorial video.