Have you checked out Google Apps Add-ons lately? My-oh-my are there some great things happening in that world that would be fantastic for any blended course. Let’s look at three of them that I am excited about for online or blended courses.
1. Highlighters Tool by Texthelp. Google Docs are fantastic for collaboration and with this add on, you now have more options of how to highlight in a collaborative space. Think about how you could have students peer edit each other’s papers by following a highlighter protocol. Green for the main idea, yellow for opinions, blue for facts….or use the same technique for reading a scholarly article. The best part? This tool has a button for collecting the lines that you highlighted. That could be very powerful when trying to write a research paper and being able to organize important ideas. I see lots of possibilities with this one.
2. OpenClipArt. I struggle with finding images that are free and open. Yes, there are great sites out there. But sometimes, I just want to find an easy, no fuss, no worries piece of clip art. Enter this add-on. I can see this being tremendously helpful to those in the lower grades who may not have taught or scaffolded image copyright or creative commons use. If you haven’t taught those skills, guide kiddos to this app and you can have peace of mind that they are using appropriate images.
3. Kaizena. So often teachers want to be able to give verbal feedback on written assignments, particularly in blended or online courses. I have posted about this before, but I did not know there was a Google Add-on for this. How fantastic is that? It is a relatively new so I am anticipating some glitches, but it allows you to highlight particular sections of a Google Doc and leave audio feedback. This one really excites me!
I know I said three tools for online and blended learning, but here is a special bonus add simply because I like its functionality. Yes, I taught English, but I was never one who really needed students to learn how to format sources for a bibliography. In fact, I could have cared less if the periods were in the right spot and the italics and dates were correct. Those things just weren’t important to me. So when I found EasyBib online, I used it for every paper until I completed my graduate degree. It’s not perfect, but it did a better job than I did with sources trying to copy the format correctly from my bibliography guides. Now there is an add-on that will do the same thing! You put in the source, choose the type of citation and add the bibliography right to the Google Doc. Woot!
There are so many more add-ons that look like fun to play with. What are you finding the most useful these days?