5 Useful Addons to Improve Your Browser as a Teacher

Raise your hand if you like using addons in your browser 🙋🏻‍♀️ I know I do and they can be an excellent way to improve your experience on the web. In this post, I’ll share 5 useful addons to improve your browser and make your work-life easier.

We all know the world wide web can be a total jungle. Luckily there are tools to help to navigate this sea of information and protect your time and focus from mindless scrolling.

Protect your passwords!

If you haven’t already gotten yourself a database for storing your passwords, this is something I strongly recommend! After working for a few years, or even just a short time, you tend to have a lot of passwords you need to keep track of. And we all know how useful and safe passwords like password1234 or qwerty are right? If not, trust me on this and get yourself a better place to store safe and secure passwords. Your IT-department will thank you as well. The best part? You don’t need to be an expert in IT to use this.

There are many different password managers out there and they vary a lot in terms of how easy it is to get started. Some work excellent on their own, some need a bit more time to get set up properly. On the top of my head, these are the password managers that come to mind:

  • 1Password
  • LastPass
  • KeePass together with Keefox/Kee
  • Dashlane

The password manager KeePass is a free and open-source password manager first released in November 2003 and developed by Dominik Reichl. This is the password manager I’ve had and used for years, and it does take a moment to set up – but works like a charm once you’ve done this! I use this password manager to create and store my database of passwords, as well as letting the program create new and strong passwords for me when I need a new one.

But wait program? Wasn’t the topic browser extensions? Why yes it is, and the part I’m getting to here is that I use KeePass together with different extensions depending on the browser I use. In short: KeePass stores my passwords, while the browser extension lets me log in to the different accounts I use without having to remember the password for it.

Nowadays I use different browsers for different accounts and reasons, but for all browsers I use (Firefox, Chrome, and Edge) I use the extension Kee. As soon as I reach a page with a login prompt, Kee will let me choose passwords that match the page from my password manager.

Remove clutter when reading

Another annoying thing when browsing the web is when you come across content that is excellent, but difficult to focus on since the site you’re visiting is full of different ads, popups, and so on. Fear not! Get the right extension for focused reading!

As mentioned above, I use a range of browsers daily and the feature for focused reading is already built into Firefox nicely from the start: Firefox Reader View. True, it doesn’t work on every page but in many cases, a simple click is enough to remove unnecessary things from the page such as ads, pictures, and so on. I can also change the background color, font, font size, and line width. I can also let the computer read the article back to me, which can be very useful for both teachers and students alike. The text will be read back to you using speech synthesis and it’s not perfect, but it can still be helpful and you can adjust the speed.

If you prefer using Chrome or Edge, I recommend downloading the extension Reader View which does pretty much the same thing as the built-in focused reader in Firefox. Edge also have immerse reader as a part of the browser itself, and it does the same things as the reader view included in Firefox. One difference is that the immersive reader in Edge has more voice options and feels more natural and pleasant to listen to if you listen to a longer text.

Speaking of reading…what about saving things for later use?

A lot of times I find myself finding good material that I want to look more into at a later time. To avoid the hassle of e-mailing myself links, I have two extensions to share here:

  • OneNote Web Clipper
  • Pocket

One addon to save them all! – meet OneNote Web Clipper. This browser add-on works together with your OneNote notebooks and lets you save articles, parts of pages, bookmarks, and more straight to your notebook and it works with both Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. The only thing you need to do once you have this extension installed is to log into the account you use for your OneNote notebooks. If you’re like me and have one account for personal use and another one for work, my tip here is to actually not stay signed in and instead sign in to the right account when you clip an article, product, or bookmark something for later use. You can choose to capture a full-page, a region, the article text, or save as a bookmark.

Sample of OneNote Web Clipper (sorry for the Swedish 😅)

My new found favorite when it comes to saving articles, videos, and more from any of my browsers is the addon Pocket from Firefox. You will need to create an account for this, a free one works well for my needs, and once logged in you just tap this icon to save the article or video to your Pocket.

The icon for using Pocket in Firefox.

You can view your pocket list and even give the item you save a tag to make it easier to use. By default, Pocket saves all your articles in one list and your videos in another. If you download the app on your phone and tablet, pair it with your computer, and log into the same account then you can browse on one device and either save it to Pocket and open it on the next one, or you can send it from the browser of one device to the next one. I have only tried sending a tab from Firefox on a mobile device to Firefox on my desktop, but this worked even when the computer wasn’t on. Love this little extension!

If you prefer Chrome or Edge over Firefox then you can find the extension here. You will still need an account and pair your devices if you want total freedom to move seamlessly between them.

And for printing articles?

The last extension I’ll bring up in this article is one I’ve tried and used for many years: Print Friendly & PDF. This addon is one that helps you to print articles without getting a lot of data that you don’t want or need. Compared to when you try to hit your browsers print function for an article, this addon first brings up a preview of the page where you can remove undesired elements. Once you’re done you let the addon generate a pdf and then you print as you normally would from there. The addon works in Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Safari, and surprisingly, even for Internet Explorer!

A quick recap

A quick recap of useful addons/extensions that we’ve covevered today:

  • KeePass – a password manager for all your passwords
  • Reader View – enjoy reading your articles in a more focused manner
  • OneNote Web Clipper – save your articles and ideas for later
  • Pocket – save articles, videos, and more for later and more focused reading or send a tab from one device to the next
  • Print Friendly & PDF – make any article print-friendly and save paper in the process!

Which browser addons or extensions do you use daily? Sharing is caring – I would love to hear which ones are your must-haves!

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