Instructional Resource of the Week

10 Terrific Tools for Teachers

Below are ten Google-related tools for teachers, along with ideas and suggestions for how they can be used in schools to make life easier, more efficient, or more effective. You may already be aware of some of these tools, but hopefully, you will find a few that are new or be encouraged to try out one that you heard of before.

1) Read&Write for Google Chrome

Read& Write is a Chrome extension that provides a drop-down toolbar with loads of neat features. Many of the tools are geared toward students, but two of them can be especially helpful for teacher.
First, Read&Write has a text to speech tool that can read your Google Docs aloud in a variety of voices and speeds. You can use this to listen to students essays and reports, or to proofread (or “proof hear”) your own writings, directions, and documents.
Second, Read&Write has a Voice Note tool that lets you record your voice to insert personalized spoken feedback into a Document. This can be a great way to speak your feedback for student writing, rather than having to type it out.
Note: Normally Read&Write has a cost, but it is available to teachers for free. After installing it through the link above, then fill out the form linked here to get upgraded for free: Free Upgrade Form

2) OrangeSlice Teacher Rubric

Rubrics can be a powerful tool for assessment and feedback. However, you may be wondering how to use a rubric with a digital assignment. OrangeSlice Teacher Rubric is a free Google Docs Add-on that makes it quick and easy to add and use a digital rubric on any Google Doc. This link contains additional details: Blog Post link

3) Flubaroo

Flubaroo is an Add-on for Google Sheets that will automatically grade your quizzes for you! Get and share assessment result immediately in class without needing to take home a stack of papers to grade in front of the TV. This link contains additional details: Blog Post link

4) Zero Noise Classroom

A noisy room is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can often be the sign of active, student-directly learning. But sometimes you do need to keep the noise down to an acceptable level. For those occasions, you can use the Chrome Web App called Zero Noise Classroom. Start the app, set your desired noise level and time duration, then the app will listen to the room noise and indicate how often the limit is broken with a red line.

5) Timer

Countdown timers can be a useful tool in the classroom to give your students a specified amount of time to brainstorm, discuss a topic, work on a project, complete a sample problem, perform an experiment, collect data, or provide additional structure. There are many tools that can do this, but the Chrome Web App called Timer is an easy but powerful option. Simply set the countdown time, optionally choose an alarm, and away you go! This link contains additional details: Blog Post link

6) Clip It Good

Images are a great way to improve the engagement of a Google Doc, Slideshow, Sheet, Form, or Drawing. And Google Photos is a convenient location to save and access your images with unlimited storage. But is there an easier way to get pictures into Google Photos than having to download the images, then upload them to Photos? Yes! With the Chrome Web Extension called Clip It Good you can simply right click on any image online and choose which Google Photos album you want to save the picture to.

7) Share to Classroom

Google Classroom is in itself a great time-saver, helping teachers to manage the mountain of digital files turned in by students for assignments. However as great as Classroom is, you can even save more time with the Chrome Web Extension called Share to Classroom. First, find a website you want to use with your students. Now click the Share to Classroom extension, choose the class, and then choose if you want to “Create Assignment”, “Ask Question”, or “Make Announcement” using the page. If the students also have the extension installed, you can choose “Push to students” to make the website automatically open up on their screens to get everyone on the same page (literally) at the same time.

8) Draftback

Revision History is a powerful tool to see every change ever made to a Google Document, who made the change, and when it was done. This can let you track student improvement in their writing, evaluate group work, and more (for more ideas and uses see this link: Blog Post link ) As awesome as Revision History is, you can make it really come to life with the Chrome Web Extension called Draftback. This extension plays back the Revision History in real time (or sped up) so you can watch the document as it was created to get real insight into the student’s writing process.

9) Synergyse

What do you do when you need to know how to do something in Google Apps right now, and you aren’t having any luck finding help? For the ultimate in “Just in Time” training you can use the Chrome Web Extension called Synergyse. With the extension installed you get a special Synergyse button to click on inside of most Google Apps programs. Simply click on the button to get a list of tutorial topics. Choose a tutorial and Synergyse will literally walk you through the steps as it highlights parts of the screen, speaks instructions, and has you click the needed buttons. Best yet, this extension used to cost money, but Google has purchased it and now makes it free for all users.

10) JoeZoo

Nothing's better than a teacher's eyes when grading student writing, but wouldn't it be nice to have a second set of eyes? With JoeZoo, that is just what you get. With this Google Docs Add-on, you can open a student's writing, launch Joe Zoo, choose to "Give feedback", and then run the "Monkey Checker". The add-on will now check through the Google Doc to find errors in formatting, grammar, mechanics, punctuation, and structure. Additionally, JoeZoo will provide an explanation of the error and suggestions for correcting the issue. You can use JoeZoo to be a "first pass" check on student work, and can then add your own feedback as needed.