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Get More Done in Less Time with Google Chrome!

By Dani Kennis (danikennis.com or @kennisdani on Twitter)

In today’s fast-paced society, we strive to complete tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible. For many educators, Google Chrome and G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Education) helps us get more done in less time. To ‘level up’ your knowledge of Google Chrome, continue reading for tips and tricks for working faster and smarter while using your favorite web browser. For the full rundown of tips and tricks, tune into CTL’s Webinar series on Tuesday, November 29 from 4-5pm EST (1-2pm PST). Click here to register.

  1. Always be sure to sign into Google Chrome. Whether you are at school, home, or on the go, logging into the Google Chrome browser enhances the user experience. Automatically, users are logged into apps such as Gmail and other Google services, as well as YouTube. All browsing data, history, bookmarks, passwords and other user settings are automatically saved and synced to user’s Google accounts. This is one of the very first skills I teach my students at the beginning of the year as we dive into the 1:1 experience.
  2. While we’re talking organization, Google Keep is an invaluable tool for the Chrome user. It is a note taking and organization platform that is connected to the Google ecosystem. Think of it as a virtual combination of Post-ItsⓇ and “to-do” lists. The colorful yet minimalist look of Keep makes it easy to organize and share text, images, voice notes, and reminders on the go. Users can even set alert times for reminders. If you are looking for a similar app with additional functionality, Evernote is a great alternative to Google Keep.
  3. Extensions, extensions, extensions! Google Chrome Extensions offer users enhanced functionality at no cost. Who doesn’t love efficiency for free? Two of my favorite extensions are Google Mail Checker and OneTab. Mail Checker allows users to be signed into multiple Gmail accounts at the same time and provides alerts when a new email comes into a user’s inbox without the user having to open up Gmail – Definitely a huge time saver for those of us with multiple personal accounts or work e-mail addresses. By clicking the extension icon, you can preview or read emails right from the Extensions bar rather than going directly into Gmail. OneTab is my all time favorite app for those of us that constantly have more tabs open in our browser than we know what to do with. OneTab compiles all open tabs into a list of links in just one tab, helping users to save battery power and keep all tabs in one tidy place. To download these apps and more visit the Google Chrome Web Store,
  4. Keyboard shortcuts. Saving time by reducing keystrokes is my personal favorite way to increase efficiency. There are an endless amount of keyboard shortcuts and they vary depending on advice. Below are a few of my most frequently used and favorited keyboard shortcuts that simplify my Chrome experience.  
  • Ctrl + C = Copy
  • Ctrl + V = Paste
  • Ctrl + A = Select all text
  • Ctrl + K = Insert link
  • Ctrl + T = Open new tab
  • Ctrl + click = Opens a link in a new tab
  • Ctrl + = Zoom in
  • Ctrl – = Zoom out
  • Ctrl + shift + M = Log in with a new user or an incognito tab.

Depending on the G Suite app you are using, there are many other shortcuts available to users. When I am kicking off the school year with an intro to 1:1 etiquette, I provide my students with a checklist of skills, including keyboard shortcuts, they should know to make their lives that much easier.

  1. The power of the Omnibox. The Omnibox is the bar located at the very top of a website that contains the web address – but it is so much more than just a URL home. It can be used as a search engine without having to type in Google.com, or users can right click and visit the ‘Edit search engines’ option to search websites like YouTube, Wikipedia, CNN, or almost any website with a variety of search options. The Omnibox can also be used to search Gmail inboxes by typing ‘search Gmail:” to locate a specific email. For a complete list of Omnibar options, this website is a great resource for the superuser and for those really looking to ‘power up,’ this site explains how Extensions can be used to further enhance the Omnibox capability and functionality.

Time is a scarce commodity that we value and cherish, especially as teachers with only a few precious minutes in between periods, during prep time, or after school. Knowing how to utilize our favorite and most used tools, such as Google Chrome, can enable us to work smarter, not harder. For even more tips and tricks of saving time and being an efficient Google Chrome user, tune into my webinar on Tuesday, November 29th.

 

Dani Kennis

Dani Kennis

Dani is a high school Special Education Social Studies teacher and Technology Coach in the New York suburbs. She is also a Level 2 Google Certified Trainer and co-founder of The Education Calendar, a crowdsourced map and calendar of education events worldwide. Her blended classroom incorporates the use of G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Education) as well as other Web 2.0 tools in order to prepare her students to be successful 21st century learners in a global community. She blogs about her work and teaching at DaniKennis.com and would love to connect on Twitter (@kennisdani).
Dani Kennis
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