5 Chrome Extensions to Boost Student Writing
As internet usage is becoming more and more ingrained in the writing classroom, students are finding that constant access to information can be a help or a hindrance during the writing process. With the clever use of a few Google Chrome Extensions, student writers can maximize the usefulness of internet resources while minimizing unnecessary distractions. Here are the top five helpful Chrome Extensions for student writers.
Ideal for research papers, Zotero is a free Chrome extension designed to collect and organize references. The Zotero extension automatically scans content from sources such as JSTOR, national newspapers, and online books from a university press, and collects information such as the author, title, and publication date. To save an online resource and its publication data, click the “Save to Zotero” extension in the top corner of your toolbar. You can view all saved resources by visiting your Zotero account at zotero.org, and you can organize saved resources into different project folders for when you have multiple assignments. Zotero can also use the publication information it collected to generate citations in APA, MLA, and Chicago style, among others, which you can use on your “Works Cited” page. Zotero keeps your research in one place and helps you avoid using multiple tabs on your browser.
Tempted to spend your time checking Facebook or watching YouTube videos rather than writing your English essay? Use the Website Blocker extension to keep you focused on the task at hand. You can specify which URLs you want to block and the times of day you want to block them. After the time has expired, you can reward yourself for your hard work by watching a cat video or posting a picture of you with your A+ paper on Instagram.
For English language learners and students who prefer to listen while they read, the Text-to-Speech extension provides audio for written text on a website. Highlight the desired text with your cursor, and click the Text-to-Speech extension on your toolbar to begin listening. Settings for this extension include choosing between a male or female voice and setting a reading speed, which ranges from slow to fast. Text-to-speech is particularly helpful for students who are still learning English as well as students who want to learn the correct pronunciation of new vocabulary words.
All writers come across words they don’t know, especially while doing research or reading academic work. Rather than copy and paste an unknown word into an online dictionary or consult a paper dictionary, Google Dictionary enables users to double-click on a word on a website and instantly see a short definition pop up in a box next to the word. Clicking the “More” hyperlink at the corner of the definition box will open a new tab with Google results for “Define ________.” This extension helps not only with writing, but also with reading comprehension.
If you find yourself using the same words throughout your essay and need a little vocab variation, download the Power Thesaurus extension. The extension stays at the top of your toolbar and acts like a mini search function. Type a word into the search bar, and the thesaurus will offer some suggested synonyms and antonyms. Like Google Dictionary, Power Thesaurus works best with words you encounter while doing online research. Thesaurus also has the added benefit of improving your vocabulary as you use it, so you will rely on it less often over time.
Share other Chrome extensions with us that have helped you with your writing.
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