Yesterday, I added a wonderful video from Esther Park to my Virtual Breakouts post. She demonstrates the process she uses for breakouts when she uses Google Meet, and mentions a few very helpful extensions that can be added to the Chrome browser. I thought I would list those, and a few others, for you today.
Before we get to the extensions, I do want to remind you that extensions have the potential to contain malware and spyware. If you are using a district computer, be sure to get permission from your tech department before installing one. The same advice applies if you want students to install one. If you are using a personal computer, here are some tips on how to determine if you are looking at a safe extension. Particularly pay attention to the permissions that you are asked to grant when you install an extension. Weigh the benefits of having the tool against the risks you are taking if the creator has malicious intentions. As this article recommends, “Here’s how to stay safe: Use as few extensions as possible. If you don’t get much use out of an extension, uninstall it. “
I am cautious about extensions, but there are certainly ones that I use regularly. That being said, here are some that you may want to try yourself:
- Esther Park recommended two extensions that are super useful when doing virtual breakout rooms in Google Meet. One is the Tab Resize extension which allows you to open tabs in Chrome for each breakout room, and then select how you want them displayed on your screen – enabling you to see all breakout rooms at once. The other is Mute Tab, which allows you to mute the tabs quickly so that you are not hearing discussions in all breakout rooms at once. Here is a list of extensions that may specifically help with Google Meet.
- Page Marker is a nice extension for you to use when you want to draw/annotate on a website. According to the description, it was developed by a high school student.
- Screencastify is a free extension to create short videos of something you are demonstrating onscreen.
- Mote allows you to leave voice comments and feedback on shared documents.
- One Tab can save you from having students type in different URL’s during the same lesson. Open the tabs in your browser, and share to web page. All of the tab links are on one web page, which you can share with your students.
- Record to Slides was created by ClayCodes, and can be used to record video directly to a Slide in your presentation.
While there are many other extensions out there, I chose to stick to a few tried and true ones helpful for teaching virtually for this post. There are many more extensions, and there are a lot that can help students as well – especially with reading and writing online. I encourage you to investigate these for yourself, but to remember the cautions I mentioned above.