Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chrome: A Better Browser


When I started my classes at UNI we made a pact to use Chrome as our default web browser. At the time I thought that this was just insane. I used Google for just about everything, but never really got into Chrome. Typically, I used Safari or sometimes Firefox. I was not a Chrome fan, and did not see any advantage to using it over Safari. One thing, well maybe two things, changed my mind:


Google Chrome has a lot of extensions that you can download and use to help make ordinary tasks more efficient and a lot more fun. The Chrome Web Store is like that of the Apple App store, yet very different. I suggest that before you add an extension that you read the reviews and the extension capability pages very carefully. 

It took going to the Midwest Google Summit in Lincoln, Nebraska and a lady by the name of Stacy Behmer from AEA 267 to change my views on Chrome. I sat in her class called "60 Chrome Extensions in 60 Minutes."Yes, she showed 60 different programs to us in that one small hour. I don't think she had any time to hardly breathe, it was that intense. 

Here is the link to her slide show.  I am going to highlight some of the Chrome extensions and help categorize them in the next few posts on this blog. 

Let's look at four extensions that can help students that may have literacy challenges. 

1.) VOICE SEARCH The Internet user can use their voice to search the web rather than type in the   keywords into the search bar. You will need microphone access to use this extension. 

2.) SELECT AND SPEAK Select and Speak will read parts of a website to the user. You first 
highlight the text that you want read, then click the extension icon to hear the text. I suggest that you experiment with the extension's voice and speed. The default sounds like a robot, but if you slow him or her down, it is much clearer to understand. 

3.) ANNOUNCIFY A step above SELECT AND SPEAK, this extension reads a page paragraph by paragraph. It also blurs out the paragraphs not being read, so the user doesn't question where the reader is at. 

4.) TLDR Too Long Didn't Read is a great app that shortens or summarizes longer pages of content. It pulls out the key facts and gives the user the option to see the summary, a shortened version of the text, or a longer summary of the text. It does all of this without leaving the page. Here is a video to explain the extension further:
THE NUMBER ONE THING YOU NEED TO REMEMBER IS THIS….. If you have a lot of extensions open at once it will slow down your computer's processing speed. Make sure you close them out when not in use. In a later post I will help you organize your extensions and help you put them in one place for easy access. 

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