Google Tools That Educators Probably Have Never Heard Of
Most educators are familiar with Google Docs, Slides, Form, Keep, and Classroom, but there is an entire ecosystem of other tools that many people have not yet encountered. Most of these are add-ons. Many people confuse these with Chrome extensions, but those are different: they work through Chrome, while an add-on works within another Google product. To use a Google add-on, simply open the platform (such as Google Docs or Slides) and then click on “add-ons.” Then, click on “get add-ons” and type in the name of the add-on that you are looking for.
Here are several add-ons that teachers will find helpful:
Kaizena allows teachers to give their students feedback on an assignment in a much simpler and more intuitive manner. Teachers can speak their comments instead of writing them. This means that a student cannot simply “copy and paste” a teacher’s feedback into the document; rather, they will need to think about what was said, process it, and then compose the ideas in their own words. Teachers can save feedback and then apply it to more than one student, which can be an immense time-saver.
Automatic citation generators are essential in high school and college, and students can use EasyBib as a Google add-on. Tools such as these are an important part of teaching students how to avoid plagiarism by properly citing their sources, and EasyBib makes it, well, easy for students to use the proper format. It supports MLA, APA, Harvard, and many other styles of citation. This simple tool will go a long way toward helping your students become college-ready.
Word clouds have something inherently fascinating about them, but they can also be used to promote learning. The Google add-on called Word Cloud Generator will create a word cloud automatically, and it has additional features that allow students to change size and color. Students can use it to analyze texts written by others—or to analyze their own text. It can help identify overuse of words and main ideas. It is also useful for creative and collaborative work and literary analysis.
There are also a variety of highlighting tools, such as Texthelp Study Skills and Highlight Tool, that will allow students to expand on Google’s native highlighting capabilities.
Since new add-ons are frequently added, it’s a good idea to check for innovative new entries from time to time. From the add-ons menu, there is an “Education” tab that will feature education-related add-ons.