All you need is Chrome

This post is as a sneak peek of the presentation I did at the 23rd TESOL Macedonia Thrace Northern Greece International Annual Convention, on March 26, 2016 and was originally published on the TESOLMTh e-bulletin.

Computers have made it a lot easier to organize our work, do research and enhance teaching by incorporating creativity tools. The web has added flexibility and collaboration to the mix. Chrome is a web browser that brings everything together: Research, Collaboration, Productivity and Creativity. All this is achieved by both using the browser’s features and by adding third-party apps. Not like those on our smartphones, but web apps that bring additional features and functionality.

Everything syncs like magic

Got a new computer? Good for you! Been using Chrome? Once you log into Chrome on your shiny new laptop using your Google account, something wonderful happens. Have
you witnessed it? All your preferences, your bookmarks, your saved forms and passwords and all your extensions (apps) are there. Just like that. Isn't that wonderful?
Got a new smartphone? Log into the Chrome Browser app for Android or iOS and the same magic is now on your smartphone as well.

Pop-up dictionary

Remember those bulky dictionaries? You can forget all about them. Get the Google Dictionary extension and you’ll be able to right click on any word for a quick look-up. Click on the speaker icon to listen to the word. How cool is that?

Repeat yourself

Love formal emails? Hate typing the same canned feedback to your students? Auto Text Expander has you covered! Enter the phrases you use regularly and match them with a keyboard shortcut. When the time comes to type that repetitive and boring jargon, simply type the shortcut and voila. The entire phrase is there. Just like magic. You can even use it to quickly sign your name or full email signature. I type //dt and it gets replaced with my full name. Very useful. If you do a lot of email like I do, you’ll understand.
And of course, you can always revisit my previous post on doing research, featuring Diigo for online bookmarks and web annotations and Cite This for Me for automatic citations and bibliographies. Or the one on using Chrome for viewing and editing Office documents. Remember that one from a year ago?

One last thing: Smartphone notifications on your computer

Yes, you can do that. Simply add the Pushbullet extension to Chrome and download the app on your smartphone. You’ll be able to get notifications from your smartphone on your computer screen. Of course, you can block the apps you don’t want notifications from. Who needs an email notification from your phone when you have Gmail open on the browser anyway? But that SMS message is more than welcome to pop up, even just for 8 seconds. And the coolest thing: You can reply to it directly from your computer, using your keyboard!

The slides of the presentation are available here.


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