Soapbox is an easy-to-use, yet robust extension that allows you to create a screencast where you share the screen with what you’re doing on your desktop. When you’re done recording, you can toggle between your image full-screen, your desktop full-screen, or a split screen. Try creating one for a project or paper introduction and keep it on your Google Classroom page for people who were absent or who want to hear the instructions again!
If you plan to include links to YouTube links to your study guides (or to any handout!), consider asking your students to add the DocuTube extension. Once installed, this program will offer students the option to view the YouTube videos you’ve linked in a pop-up window so that they don’t have to leave Google Docs. To get the add-on, students need to go to Google Docs –>Add-ons–>Get add-ons and then search for “DocuTube.” Try it out by adding it to your Chrome browser! It’s pretty handy.
If both you and your students have the Share to Classroom extension, you can push websites to the whole class at once by simply clicking on it, then pasting in the site you’d like them to look at. (You can also do this using Hapara, FYI.) Students can also share websites with you – and the extension keeps track of who has shared what with whom!
Sometimes it’s easier for students to speak than it is for them to type. Google supports voice typing in Google Docs – nothing to install, just select “voice typing” from the tools menu. Here’s a quick article with an overview.
I loved this article on Control Alt Achieve by Eric Curts – “Seven Summarization Tools for Students.” Why would a student need a summary of an article before (or after) reading? What are the best tools out there? Click the link to find out! (And if you decide to use an app or extension that he suggests, let me know so that I can be sure it’s available to students.)
There are quite a few screencasting apps and extensions out there, but they have a learning curve that may be a turnoff. Loom is a simple-to-use Chrome extension that allows you to record your screen as you explain whatever you’re looking at. You can choose to be on camera in a little circle at the bottom of the page, or you can be invisible. Imagine how many uses there are for Loom in the classroom – to explain an assignment for your students, to ask questions about a document in your PLT, etc. etc. The finished product can either be shared as a link, or the video can be downloaded as a file to upload to YouTube or any other website. To read about two other screencasting apps, click here.