chrome

Fluco Toolbox: Extensity

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever found your Chrome browser running slowly? Do you have a lot of extensions installed that you use often, and don’t want to uninstall any of them?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Extensity

First, the basics:

Name: Extensity
URL: Chrome Web Store link
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Use this extension to turn extensions on and off at the click of a button and keep your Chrome browser running smoothly.

If you’re anything like me, you may have a lot of extensions installed on your Chrome browser. These extensions all have some purpose, but unfortunately, having too many extensions running at a time can slow down your browser. You may find that you have uninstalled all that you can, yet there are still so many extensions active. Extensity makes it easy to turn extensions on and off as needed without uninstalling them.

First, go to the Chrome web store link above and add the extension to the Chrome browser. Give any necessary permissions. The Extensity icon looks like a sideways yin-yang and is blue and white.

Whenever an extension needs to be disabled, simply click on the Extensity icon to see all active extensions. Click on the extension to turn it off. It will now appear to be grayed out. Click the extension again to turn it on.

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Extensity also gives users the option to create Profiles. For example, if there are a set of extensions used only for work or shopping, then a profile can be created that allows certain extensions to be enabled/disabled when the profile is selected.

To create a profile, click on Extensity and then click the gear to access settings. Next, click the white “Profiles” button. Give the profile a name, such as “Work”. Click the + to add the profile. You’ll be asked to then select the extensions that should be enabled/disabled when using that profile. There are also options to select All or None. When finished, select “Save” and then “Close”. The next time you want to use a newly created profile, simply click on the Extensity icon and choose the preferred profile.

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I often use Extensity when there are extensions I use from time to time, but not every day. I only activate them when I need to use them, and leave them off the rest of the time. This keeps my Chrome browser running smoothly, and can do the same for yours!

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: Managing the Chrome Bookmarks Bar

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever added a lot of bookmarks to the bookmarks bar in your Chrome browser, and later couldn’t find what you needed? Do you just have a lot of bookmarks in general, and need a way to get them organized?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Managing the Chrome Bookmarks Bar

First, the basics:

Name: Managing the Chrome Bookmarks Bar
URL: N/A
Cost: N/A
Problem this tool solves: Create folders and an organization system for the Chrome bookmarks bar and bookmarks in general.

Over time, we tend to amass a lot of bookmarks. Even with monitoring and deleting unnecessary bookmarks, a lot can still accumulate. Scrolling through a long list can become tedious, and it can be hard to find that one particular bookmark. It becomes even more frazzling when you only want important links to appear in the bookmarks bar, but have more links than visual retail space.

We’ve all been there before, but there’s a way to organize bookmarks with folders so that links are grouped into folders and sub-folders on the bookmarks bar. Here’s an example using my own bookmarks:

 

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As you can see, my bookmarks bar shows folders of different topics. I then use a folder tree system to organize further. Here we see I have a folder for Minecraft items, and then within that folder, I have folders for things such as Tutorials, Reference Materials, and Mods/Texture Packs. If I hover over those sub-folders, then I can find my links. Sub-folders aren’t necessary; I could have left all of my Minecraft links in the Minecraft folder and called it a day. No matter the system used, I have made it so that my bookmarks bar shows all of my important topics. I have increased the amount of visual retail space!

Let’s get started. First, access the bookmarks manager by clicking the three vertical dots in the upper right area of your Chrome browser. Then go to Bookmarks, and Bookmark manager. This can also be accessed with the following shortcut: CTRL+Shift+O

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You’ll now see something similar to the following:

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Instead of it being organized, you’ll simply see all bookmarks that you have saved. Let’s take a look at creating new folders. Look at the content you have already saved, and see if similar topics have been saved. As a teacher, you might find subject-specific links. You might decide to make a folder for your subject, to begin with.

Go ahead and click the 3 vertical dots in the upper right area of the Bookmarks screen. Click the option to add a new folder. Give the folder a name. Drag the folder to appear under the Bookmarks bar folder on the left side of the screen. This folder will now appear in your Bookmarks bar.

Continue to use the navigation pane on the left. Drag any bookmarks into the appropriate folder. Create more folders for other topics as you see fit. If you feel that you need folders within folders, you can do that as well! Follow the same steps used to create a folder above, and then drag the folder to the folder it should appear inside.

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A completed folder system for bookmarks for Minecraft.

If you’re a Fluvanna staff member (or a staff member of any district), chances are you have a lot of important links for the district. Instead of just adding each individual link to the bookmarks bar, why not create a folder for these links? That way when you click on the folder in the bookmarks bar, all of the important school links will appear.

The next time you bookmark a website, make sure you select the proper folder. Click the star in the omnibox and in the window that pops up, make sure to select the appropriate folder in the drop-down menu. If the folder doesn’t appear there, then select “Choose another folder” and select from all of your created folders.

 

Creating a bookmarks system requires that every now and then you do check and make sure you have usable links and make new folders as needed. However, this system will allow you to easily access more of your bookmarks more quickly, thus saving time and frustration!

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: Screencastify

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever needed to record what you’re doing on your device, such as if you’re trying to demonstrate learning or create a tutorial video for others?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Screencastify

First, the basics:

Name: Screencastify
URL: Chrome Webstore Link
Cost: FREE with paid options
Problem this tool solves: Use this Chrome extension to record your entire screen, tab, or webcam, and save the videos to your Google Drive or local machine.

Sometimes we need to make a quick video of what’s going on on our screens. It could be to demonstrate something, to create a tutorial, or something else. There are many robust, paid options out there, but often, free versions will do. In today’s case, we’re going to look at the free side of Screencastify.

The free version of Screencastify allows users to record videos up to 10 minutes in length, with a maximum of 50 videos recorded per month. Videos will also include Screencastify’s watermark. For the majority of educators, this is all they will ever need. For those who want more, like cropping and trimming and no watermark, a $24 annual fee is charged.

First, download Screencastify from the Chrome Web Store. Add Screencastify to Chrome, and watch the extension install. Once installed, it will always be a black strip of film. Click this to begin using the program.

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When first beginning to use Screencastify, users will need to create an account. Clicking the black film strip icon will walk one through the process. Once done, an account will be set up, and recordings will be saved in Google Drive. Chances are, the user will need to click the black film strip again. Once clicked, this box will now appear:

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Screencastify offers three options for recording- tab, desktop, and cam. Tab recording records only the open tab. Users cannot switch back and forth between tabs to record. Desktop records the entire screen, so switching between tabs is feasible. Finally, cam simply uses the webcam to record video of the user. Users will need to select which of these options they would like to use, as well as any of the other options available under each tab. Then click the orange “Record” button.

Screencastify will do a 3-2-1 countdown, and the recording will begin. Users can pause or end the recording at any time within the time limit.

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If recording a tab or screen, users have a gray toolbar at the bottom of the screen that allows them to use a focused mouse pointer, a pen tool to draw on the screen, and an eraser. There are also options to wipe the screen clean or to embed the webcam in the recording.

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As soon as the recording is ended, a new screen will load. This screen will play the recorded video, and on the far right side will show the information for the recording as it is saved in Drive. Videos can be deleted from this screen, downloaded, or shared. The option to crop/trim is shown, but can only be done with a paid account. The right side of the screen will update as soon as the recording is saved in Drive. Users will be able to copy the link.

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Speaking of Drive, videos taken with Screencastify are saved to a folder in Drive called Screencastify. Videos stored in this folder will need to be renamed once they have uploaded to the user’s Drive, as they are saved with the date and time stamp for a file name. Always make sure to change the name after the file has been uploaded to avoid confusion down the road.

With the recording stored in Drive and renamed, the user is free to share the video as seen fit. Videos are easily uploaded to Google Classroom or shared with other sites. Always check the share settings for the recording first to make sure that the necessary audience can see the video!

Resources