An Inside Look the New Snagit for Chrome!

As part of the Snagit for Chrome Beta testing group, I have had the chance to spend a few days with an early build of TechSmith’s latest product ahead of its official launch on November 19. I also attended a hangout with three of the developers yesterday as they answered questions and gave us a look at what to expect in the future. Here’s what we know so far!

Snagit for Chrome is based on the Snagit app for Windows and Mac that many educators know and love. It comes in the form of an extension and an app. The extension lives in your browser bar with the rest of your Chrome extensions, and is used to take screenshots of whatever you want to capture inside of Chrome. The app is launched as soon as your screenshot is captured and allows you the ability to add annotations or view previous captures.

Snagit for Chrome App

Annotation tools are a little basic right now, but they do the job, and a text tool is definitely in the works for a future release. Captured screenshots are automatically saved to a folder in your Google Drive called TechSmith, and to a Library view in the app itself. There is a share button in the bottom left of the screen that generates a link for you to share with others so that you don’t need to go to your Drive to get that. You can even go back and edit your annotations and the changes will sync to Google Drive automatically.

Snagit for Chrome Library

What else do you need to know? Snagit for Chrome will work in all instances of the Chrome browser, so that includes Chromebooks too, and it will also be free for all users. Paid upgrades may be available further down the line, but the core tool will always be free. Right now, it does not include the ability to capture video or audio. TechSmith say that there are just too many limitations on Google’s side to allow that to happen right now, but they will add that functionality as soon as it is made available to them. Another limitation right now is the ability to capture the omnibar, tabs and the bookmarks bar. You just can’t do that right now, but that may also be an option in the future.

Speaking of the future, TechSmith has all kinds of great ideas for future implementation, some of which includes the ability to collaborate on a shared screenshot, or the addition of a free draw tool. Better still, they are dying to hear what features educators want to see in future versions of Snagit for Chrome, so you can leave your best ideas over at http://feedback.techsmith.com and get notified when they are approved for inclusion in the next version.

Want to try out the new Snagit for Chrome Beta for yourself? You can! Sign up for the Beta test group right here, and take a look at the video demo below from TechSmith. It includes a lot of great discussion and has questions and answers from educators like me! 🙂 (The demo starts around the 12m 45s mark). Otherwise, the full launch is scheduled for November 19, so mark the date in your calendars!

Overall, I really like Snagit for Chrome. Right now it shares a lot of the same functionality with rival extensions like the Awesome Screenshot tool, but it is the potential of this product that excites me the most. When you have the backing of a company like TechSmith, you know that they will not be resting on their laurels. New features will be arriving thick and fast, and Snagit for Chrome will get better and better as time goes on.

Are you excited by Snagit for Chrome? What would you most like to see included in future versions? Leave a comment below, and be sure to share your feedback with TechSmith too.

Take Control: Customize the New Google App Launcher

App Launcher Customizer for Google

The famous black bar is gone, and has been replaced with a new icon based app launcher. Personally, I like it, but I know there are still some that are having trouble letting go of that iconic horizontal menu. However, there is a great Chrome extension that will help make that transition just a little bit easier – App Launcher Customizer for Google.

Once installed, you have the option of adding or removing any of the standard apps that appear by default in the new app launcher. You can choose from over 170 Google apps and services, and sort them so that they are organized just the way you want them. It’s as simple as dragging and dropping.

App Launcher Options

However, that’s not all. You can also add custom bookmarks so that you can save some of your most often used websites alongside your most often used Google services. Simply click the Add Custom Shortcut button and add the URL of your choice. Best of all, your settings are synced via Chrome sync so you can enjoy your new custom layout in any Chrome browser you happen to be signed into.

Essentially, App Launcher Customizer for Google does the same thing that Big G Black Bar Sorter did, (it’s now removed from the Chrome Web Store), but is still a very useful extension to have, and one that could make your life just a little bit easier every time you are online. The video below has a walkthrough of what you can expect when you install this new app.

5 MORE Chromebook Tips for Teachers

Lots of people enjoyed my previous post with 5 Chromebook Tips for Teachers, so I decided to follow it up with five MORE quick tips that will help you start the school year in the best possible way with Chromebooks. So, see the presentation below for more Chrome OS tricks.

Tips include…

  1. Taking Chromebook screenshots
  2. How to access your Mac or PC from your Chromebook
  3. Printing with Chromebooks
  4. How to connect your Chromebook to a projector
  5. The Hapara Teacher Dashboard

And, if you haven’t seen it already, you may want to check our a previous presentation I did that was a Chromebook 101 for Teachers. Feel free to leave any tips of your own in the comments below.

A Chromebook 101 for Teachers: What’s All the Fuss About?

iowa-mini-summit

Considering Chromebooks? You’re not the only one! The Chromebook in Education revolution is finding its way into more and more schools across the country.  So, in my third presentation at the Iowa Mini Google Summit I decided to do a session that outlined the basic pros and cons of Chromebooks in schools in order to help answer any lingering questions.

People have strong opinions on Chromebooks. Some dismiss them as nothing more than a browser, others herald it as a fast, low cost, easy to manage device of the future. But I think it is important we don’t get too bogged down with pitting one device against another (as I often see in Chromebook vs iPad Twitter or blog posts).

The important thing, with any device that a school chooses, is whether or not it will support and enhance student learning in your school district? Will it do what you want your students to do on it? Can it help move teacher instruction beyond its current limits? In the right environment, and with good professional development, Chromebooks are an awesome device for schools, of that I have no doubt. But there are a number of other devices that can be just as good, or better, given the climate and circumstances of your school district.

So, feel free to take a look at the slideshow below, and the resources that it has for using Chromebooks in education. If you have any questions, feel free to add them to the comments below and I will do my best to answer them in any way I can.

The Awesome Read&Write Chrome Extension

The Read&Write Chrome browser extension from texthelp.com is a great accessibility extension for Google Apps schools. It includes text to speech, a talking dictionary, a picture dictionary, vocabulary tool and study skills tools that collect highlighted selections of a Google Doc. Best of all, it is free! You can get the extension here. HT to the awesome @mmcowell.

The text to speech functionality is particularly impressive, and is reminiscent of the Speak Selection or VoiceOver features found on the iPad. It has a choice of voices, and is a great feature for students who need text read aloud to them, or who would benefit from hearing their typed work read back to them for proof reading purposes. The speech to text also works on dictionary definitions of selected words.

The Picture Dictionary will pop up when you highlight a word and activate the Picture Dictionary button. Even if a student has read the dictionary definition, or had it read aloud to them, the pictures can be great for helping put things in context and give some visual clues to the meaning of a word. You can even use the images from the Picture Dictionary in your Google Doc by simply copying and pasting the image.

Study guides can be quickly and easily created with the vocabulary tool. Simply highlight a number of key words in a document, click on the vocabulary tool, and a new tab will open with a vocabulary table that includes the word, a definition of the word, and a number of associated clipart images. It works best, or causes the least confusion, with words that only have one meaning, but it is still a great feature to have.

So, if you are a Chrome user, and you have not yet taken Read&Write for a test drive, you absolutely should. It sits, unobtrusively, in your menu bar and only leaps into action when you want it to. The video below goes over its capabilities in more detail. Feel free to leave a comment on how you could use this tool to help benefit the students in your classroom.