Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Readability is now Mercury Reader

One of the first posts I made was about Readability.   Readability has been changed and is now called Mercury Reader


If you had Readability previously installed, it has been updated for you. 

Mercury Reader still allows you to remove webpage noise and clutter from an article to make it easier for students to read.  It also still allows you to make minor changes to font style, size and light/dark background options.  


Mercury Reader does have a few new options available.  There is a quick keyboard shortcut (Cmd + Esc for Mac users, Alt + ` for Windows users) which allows you to switch the Reader on and off in any article.  There are also updates in the printing and sharing options.  You can now share through Facebook, Twitter and Email.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Caret Browsing

Do you have a student that struggles with tracking while reading online?
Have you ever been reading an article online and your mind wonders (you get sucked into a day dream)? You snap out of it and forget where you were in your reading.

Caret Browsing might be just what you need. 

This extension gives you a movable cursor within any web page. It allows you to move through the text with your arrow keys. 
Click anywhere to move the cursor to that location.  

This Extension may be the tool for students that struggle with using a mouse or a trackpad.  
It allows navigation through an article using keyboard short cuts.
With all of the built in keyboard short cuts it is worth exploring. 

Keyboard Shortcuts:

Press F7 to turn on Caret Browsing. Press it again to turn it off.
Use arrow keys to move throughout the document.
Press Option + arrows to move word by word. 
Press Shift + arrows to select text letter by letter.
Press Shift + Option + arrows to select text word by word.
When you reach a link or control, it is automatically focused. Press Enter to select a link or button. When a focused control (like a text box or a list box) is capturing arrow keys, press Esc followed by the left or right arrow to continue Caret Browsing. Alternatively, press Tab to move to the next focusable control.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Create Google Documents Quickly

Do your students have a hard time creating a new Google Doc for writing?  
Are there times that you need to create a new Google Doc, quickly?

I may have just the answer.  

Google Docs Quick Create Extension for Chrome gives you a quick-create button for a new Google Doc, Sheet, Slide, Drawing or Form right in your browser.

Once the Extension has been added to your browser bar, simply click on the Extension and select the type of document you want to create.  

The new document is saved in your Google Drive, available to access again at any time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Move It!

Last week I posted about an Extension that enforces a distraction free work period, Strict Workflow.
This week I want to talk about an Extension that enforces movement into your day.

Move It
Research shows that movement helps increase productivity. Allowing yourself (and your students) to move around for a few moments in the middle of an intense work period helps you to refocus on the task at hand.

Move It is an easy way to be reminded to move. It integrates a break into your online work. Move It will present you with a random brain break or exercise activity to complete. Once you complete the activity, hit done and the next one will arrive after the designated time interval. 

Move It is only available as a reminder when your computer is online so it is perfect for an intense research session or writing period.  If you give your students online tests, it is great for that as well.

This can be a great whole group activity. Set it up on your computer during the school day or a testing session. When the activity pops up on your screen have the students get up and do it with you. This gives both you and your students a quick break and re-focusing period. 

Try Move It with your class today!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Strict Workflow

Are you looking for a tool to help students stay on task?  
Are you looking for something that enforces work limits on students without having to be the "bad guy"?
Are the temptations of social media too great when you are working at home? 

Strict Workflow may be just what you need. This Google Extension enforces a 25 minute distraction-free work block, followed by a 5 minute “break”.
The Strict Workflow time management strategy is simple: work hard for 25 minutes without distractions, knowing that a 5 minute break is soon on its way.

The Extension comes pre-configured with a blacklist of popular distracting websites.  You can add to this blacklist or add a whitelist of sites, which is perfect for students.

In the settings you can change the lengths of the work and break timers for students that need those adjustments.  FYI: These times are default for a reason, so only change them if you're certain that they will make you, or your student, more productive.

To use Strict Workflow, once it has been installed:
Click the icon to start a 25-minute work timer.         

After the timer goes off:
Click to start the 5-minute break timer, kick back and relax.       

Repeat until all your work is done.