Educational technology tips for teachers, librarians and schools.

10 Game-Changing Chrome Extensions and Add-Ons for Teachers

10 Game-Changing Chrome Extensions and Add-Ons for Teachers

By Maria Sellers

reading too much? Whooos ReadingGoogle has a wealth of add-ons and extensions for Google Chrome, Drive and Gmail, but who has the time to comb through all of these? As an eLearning Specialist, I try to find what is truly worth the time and consideration of my teachers.

Like my Google Tools search, my add-on and extension search involved these questions:

  • Does it perform a task that used to demand a lot of my time?
  • Is the end result worth the time in training?
  • Will this allow for better organization for both the students and teacher?
  • Does this allow me to do something that I couldn’t do before?

These 10 game-changing Google add-ons and extensions fit all of these criteria—you’ll be glad you checked them out.

1. Link Chooser Add-On for Google Docs

This amazing tool allows the user to search through their Google Drive to add a link to a previously created document. Users no longer need to open drive, find the document, click on share, and copy the link to add the document into a working Google Doc. That’s a huge time saver.

2. Turn Off the Lights Chrome Extension

Turn Off the Lights Chrome Extension helps individuals who are bothered or distracted by the content around a video player. (Ex: YouTube) We watch movies in the dark so that we only focus on the film—why not do this with your YouTube and website videos? Imagine the increased focus for students; no more distractions and scrolling ads.

More: 15 Expert Google Drive Tips for Educators

3. Twitter Curator Add-On for Google Docs

Many of us have used or use Storify, Story Crawler, and Storyful to archive a social media event or edtech chat. Did you know that you can now create your own “story” or favorite tweet document from a specific user or hashtag? Twitter curator allows you to filter by user, hashtag or topic. Teachers can create incredible resources for inspiration, research, student examples and much more.

4. Openclipart Add-On for Google Docs

Remember clip art for Microsoft Works and Word? Users could include the clipart images without breaking copyright and the documents were immediately more appealing. Now you can search through more than 50,000 images to spruce up your documents, adding a visual appeal for the reader—legally.

5. Speech Recognition Add-On for Google Docs

Siri and Cortana have taken over the smartphone voice-command world, and this simple tool will do the same for your students who can’t type quickly or type at all. Users can even state punctuation marks just as they can with Siri. This is also a great tool for students who wish to take notes but can’t type as fast as needed.

More: 15 Expert Google Drive Tips for Teachers

6. Pocket Google Chrome Extension

If you’re searching the web for resources and want to save them in one location to view later, this is the Chrome extension for you. Use Pocket to view articles, and categorize them (article, video, image, tag) so you can find them easily. Better yet, sync to your phone, tablet, or other devices, to allow for anytime viewing.

7. Print Friendly Chrome Extension

All too often we find an article on a website surrounded by images and bothersome ads. This add-on allows you to remove anything from the view in order to print or download a clean PDF.

8. Sidekick for Gmail Chrome Extension

This amazing tool is your Gmail inbox’s new best friend, allowing you to track who opens an email and how often an email is opened, as well as view the profile of a sender and schedule emails to be sent later. Tracking emails can be a lifesaver allowing you to see who has and hasn’t opened an important email.

9. Share to Classroom Chrome Extension

Google Classroom is not overly complicated and, thankfully, several digital tools, such as EdPuzzle (see below), allow you to connect directly to Google Chrome to add assignments. Share to Classroom is another great extension that allows teachers to share a website directly to a class in Google Classroom which results in the simultaneous launch of a specific website on all student devices.

More: 20 Best Google Classroom Tips From Google Pros

10. EdPuzzle Chrome Extension

If you’ve never used EdPuzzle, here’s a quick rundown—Teachers can use EdPuzzle to search for videos accompanied by assessments with ready-to-use questions. But, what if you can’t find the video you want? With the Chrome extension, teachers can search YouTube for videos they wish to use in EdPuzzle. Once the video is found, click the “Edit with EdPuzzle” button underneath, and the video will be pushed into edit mode for cropping, comments, questions and audio track (only if you’re already logged in). This is a huge time-saver and allows you to connect easier with a powerful learning tool.

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  4. Peter

    May 16, 2016 at 6:07 am

    Why does clipart add-on need to be able to view and manage my docs and sheets, including sharing them with other people?? From what I read in the reviews it doesn’t even work in Sheets anyway. I refused to allow it so I can’t use the add-on.

    • Jessica Sanders

      May 18, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      Hmm, that sinks! I hope you figure it out or find a better option!

  5. David Rowthorn

    June 27, 2016 at 4:49 am

    I just created a Docs add-on called Text Cleaner that allows you to clean text that is copied from elsewhere. It removes things like line breaks and multiple spaces in a row. It also clears all formatting, just like the clear formatting command, *except* that it allows you to keep italics and bold. Often, these are the the one part of the text you want to keep.

    I figure teachers and students would find this useful, since there are many activities that involve copying and pasting text from various sources.

    It’s available free here:

  6. Tom

    July 5, 2016 at 7:37 am

    Hi Maria, thanks for sharing these tools. I wasn’t aware of Pocket, but it looks like a tool I am going to try out. Another tip I wanted to share with you is I’m using it for a few months now and it’s great for keeping your “digital classroom” organized. You can create and share start pages filled with bookmarks, feeds, notes, to-do’s, etc. It’s super user-friendly and completely (ad) free for Educational use.

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