Author’s note: The author is honored to have served as a Special Education teacher for ten school years. This post is meant to offer helpful suggestions to all educators who teach students with learning needs. These extensions, like many special education interventions, are beneficial for students with learning disabilities and anyone else who wants to be more productive when using the Google Chrome Browser.
Google Chrome and its Extensions
Think of extensions as mini-programs that run in the Google Chrome browser. Users can add extensions to Google Chrome at the Chrome Web Store. Here are three ways to access the Chrome Web Store.
Find it in Google by typing “Chrome web store.” Click “Extensions” to search for extensions:
Find it in the Chrome browser’s Apps:
Find it in the Chrome browser’s “More tools” menu. This is also where extensions can be deleted or turned on and off:
Google Chrome can use a lot of memory. Users should be careful to not use too many extensions and risk slow computer performance. One way to quickly turn extensions on and off is our first extension:
Extensity allows users to easily turn extensions on and off:
AdBlock might be the very best Chrome extension. It blocks advertisements. No more annoying distractions! Check it out in action:
Readability takes away distractions so students can read articles. Check it out in action:
Grammarly is a great spelling and grammar checker. It works in Gmail and text fields on websites. It does not work in Google Docs at the moment. Take a look at it in action:
Open Dyslexic is an extension that converts text on screen into a font that some people with Dyslexia prefer:
Author’s Note (1/25/16): Split Screen no longer works. Fortunately, this post still has 8 great Chrome extensions thanks to Ellen McDonnell who commented below about Reading Ruler. It’s a great tool.
Split Screen allows users to view two websites side-by-side in the same browser:
Too many tabs open at one time? Just use OneTab to condense them into links on one website. Teachers can use it to make a list of sites for students to visit. No more clutter and users still have access to sites they want in one click:
Read and Write for Google
Read and Write for Google gives users a highlighter with four different color options.
It also converts highlights words as it converts on-screen text to speech!
Voice Actions for Google Chrome
This extension just came to my attention. I think it has great potential for students with disabilities. Watch me play with it:
I hope these extensions are useful for you and your students. If you have any questions or want to discuss further, please leave a comment below or tweet me at @edtechtom. The animated gif screen captures in this post were made with two more Google Chrome extensions, Screencastify (which I absolutely love) and SnagIt. Thank you for reading!
What I like to use is Readability with Reading Ruler for some students with special needs. I agree we need to be careful how many extensions we have – they will really slow you down!
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Ellen, thank you! This should be re-named 9 Google Chrome Extensions! I played with Reading Ruler today and liked it. I will incorporate it when presenting about this topic at conferences.
For the World Language classroom, the best extension I’ve found for copying and pasting accented letters and other special characters is Special Characters – Click and Paste (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/special-characters-click/fkjbliednplpohojfpgnbpcppgdnhklb?utm_source=gmail). Any other suggestions?
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Wonderful! Do you have any suggestions for a good speech to text for my students who have oral administration of tests? We now have the Chromebooks and I would love for my students to remain in class to take their tests and have the test read to them electronically.
If the tests are digital, Read and Write for Google (see above) could read it to them.
its a little more cumbersome, but Tab Resize allows you to view side by side etc.