April 7, 2021

Kincaid IT’s Cloud Specialists Explain How to Make the Most of Chrome Web Store Extensions

Wike Wallace

Kincaid IT’s Cloud Lead

Cody Rozell

Kincaid IT’s Cloud Deployment Specialist

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Just like websites, Extensions should be investigated to meet district standards.

Chrome Web Store Extensions

Educator:

Extensions from the Chrome Web Store are useful tools that can individualize the digital work experience for individuals. Some of my favorites are CraftyText, Eye Dropper and Sir Links-a-Lot. There are excellent Extensions for students too. Why would these be shut off?

Cloud Specialists:

Just because an Extension is listed in the Chrome Web Store doesn’t mean it was created to be used by students in schools. Just like websites, Extensions should be investigated to meet district standards. Some Extensions interfere with other applications and cause issues for the user. There’s really no way of knowing which ones will do this. When there are too many being used and multiple issues being reported, it’s just easier to block Extensions from being added and start over with an approval process.

Laptop on table half open

Just like YouTube, there is a way to divide permissions in the Chrome Web Store to allow teachers access to explore and use any Extensions while only giving students access to approved Extensions. For the Extensions that are not appropriate for the school setting or those causing other technical issues, Tech Admin can use the black list method to block all users from accessing. 

In addition to safety concerns, more issues seem to arise with teachers and Extensions affecting their teaching peripherals, such as SmartBoards, document cameras, etc. When an Extension is added, there is no way to tell if it will interfere until it’s used. Because of this, one troubleshooting suggestion is to shut off or remove recently added Extensions. 

Educator:

One thing I hear you saying is when the Chrome Web Store is open to all, it causes those managing the Admin Console a lot of headaches trying to keep up with the “free-for-all” downloading of Extensions. This not only causes more work with the increase in technology help tickets, but it also makes all staff and students vulnerable to their login information getting into the wrong hands. Is there a good solution to this issue? 

Cloud Specialists:

Yes. The solution is simple: 

  • Black list all inappropriate or problem-causing Extensions.
  • Open the Chrome Web Store for teachers to find and use the Extensions that help them do their job. There are many productivity tools for adults that students may not have any interest in using.
  • Create a Student Chrome Web Store for your district that becomes the only area students can access. 
  • Use a request and approval system for Extensions to be added to the students’ Chrome Web Store.

Free Resource: Digital Clean Up of Extensions for Students 

It is relatively easy to find Extensions that catch our interest. However, we are sometimes slow to remove the ones that didn’t work out. Teaching students how to clean up the clutter of unwanted Extensions is a life-long digital skill. 

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