Episode 38 – Google Chrome Apps in PE

In this episode of The PE Geek Podcast, we explore the wonderful world of Google Chrome and an ever increasing collection of Chrome apps and extensions. We look at the opportunities they provide to the PE classroom and make predictions surrounding the future of the space.

Press Play below to listen or visit the podcast page.  Alternatively download a full episode transcript here


00:28 Jarrod Robinson: Hello everyone and welcome to episode 38 of the PE Geek Podcast, and as always, an absolute pleasure to be here. Now, a little fun fact about episode 38, or in fact I should say, a little fun fact about the number 38, is that there are actually 38 numbers on an American roulette table. It is the only number, well the only two-digit number that, when spelled out, “eg thirty eight”, has the same letters at the end and at the start of the letter. Now, it may sound terribly uninteresting like that, but when the number is reversed, as in 83 and spelled out, the first and the last letter, is again the same, and there’s no other two-digit integer or two-digit number that is like that. So, yeah, a little interesting insight into the number 38 there. Now in today’s episode we’re gonna be diving right into, probably one of the most used tools that I use on a daily basis, and in fact probably all of you as well, and that is Google Chrome.

01:43 JR: Now if you don’t understand what Google Chrome is, it is a web browser, and it is the world’s number one used web browser. It’s slowly, eventually taken over from Internet Explorer, over many, many years, and is now the number one web browser available across all devices and all platforms, and it represents some really exciting possibilities for the future of physical education, for the future of what you’re going to be able to do in your web browser, and I’m really excited to be able to talk about the things that are happening in the PE space, and sort of the attention that I’m putting into building stuff, specifically for Google Chrome, and more specifically the Google Chrome App Store. So, we’re gonna dive into it and have a look at what is available now and what you can go and download. And the best part about it is, the Google Chrome App Store is 100% free. You’ll get the occasional thing in there that’s paid, but the fact remains that this is all… In fact, all the stuff that I’m gonna be sharing today is free, which is really exciting.

02:45 JR: Now, as I briefly alluded to in the opening, Google Chrome is the world’s most used browser. Now, a lot of data about this, and a lot of different statistics surrounding the actual fact of the most popular browser, but the fact remains that this… The one thing that everyone agrees on is that Chrome is now the number one browser, by use, and it sees over 60%, upwards of 70% of all web traffic on laptops and desktops. Once upon a time this was the domain of Internet Explorer. I made the switch back in 2012 and haven’t looked back, because of a number things that really propel it forward. Second we have Firefox, which is considered a modern browser, and then we’ve got Internet Explorer lagging behind, followed by a couple of others making up the percentages, with Safari and stuff as well. So, this episode is focusing in and around the things that you can do when you have Google Chrome installed and you’re using that as your go-to web browser.

03:51 JR: Now in particular, one of the really exciting features of Google Chrome is the Google Chrome Web Store. Now, the Google Chrome Web Store is a space that you can go to, just search “Google Chrome Web Store” in Chrome, and you’ll see that there is, literally thousands and thousands of applications that you can click and install, usually for free, that add functionality to Google Chrome in itself. And this is, in itself, enough of a reason to make a switch from Internet Explorer and so forth, because of the rich tapestry of things that people are building and coding and making accessible to users, which ultimately makes the platform even more attractive and more people use it. So it’s a really smart thing that Google have done.

04:38 JR: Now, I’m really excited by what’s coming down the pipeline in terms of development in this space, and I wanted to put together an episode that showcased some of the different things that I myself am using, or I myself built, specifically for PE teachers, and how they could be used in a sort of exciting world that Google Chrome provides. So, I guess most importantly, if you are on a laptop or a desktop and you are not using Google Chrome, you really need to go and do it. If you’re using Mozilla, great, it’s a cool browser, but realistically a lot of stuff is happening on the Google Chrome platform, and you’ll see why after we go through the list.

05:16 JR: Now, the very first app or extension that I wanna mention is one that I built last year as a little bit of a weekend project, and it’s called “Move It”. Now Move It was designed, literally, as a bit of fun. It was something that I thought my students could get a little bit of a kick from. And the way it works is, you install the Move It extension into your browser, it’s like a one-click option. Now once it’s installed, you literally enable the feature, automatically that interrupts you while you’re surfing the internet. Now, you can imagine you’re browsing along and all of a sudden this pop-up comes on your screen, but the pop-up takes up a whole tab in your browser, and it cannot be switched. You can’t go to another tab. You can’t do anything until you read what’s on that particular screen. And the whole idea of Move It is to give you a really clear reminder to get up and do some activity. And the Move It pops-up, and underneath the heading it says, a little quick physical activity that you can do, like 10 sit-ups, or five star jumps, or something along those lines that you do; and then you click the button that says, “done” and you can return to browsing.

06:38 JR: Now, the Move It app I released, literally not knowing what people would think about it, but it’s gone mental, it absolutely has gone, pretty much viral in the education circles, and Google classrooms, and you’ve got teachers who are using them for professional development brain breaks. You have students who are using them to remind them about being physically active, and it’s got to the point where there is well over 100,000 people who have downloaded and used the Move It app, and they’re considered active users. So there’s probably more people who have downloaded it, but these are the people who are using it regularly, which is really, really awesome from something which is a free app, and basically interrupts people as time goes on and designed to get them physically active and talking about movement.

07:29 JR: So, really impressed with that, so if you want to check it out, head along to thepegeek.com/moveit, and it’ll redirect you to the store where you can add it to your Google Chrome. Now, if you’re in a Google Apps for Education setting, as in a school that has a Google apps domain, your domain administrator can install that across all of the student devices which have been managed by that domain, which means that technically, every kid could have Move It installed, and quite simply, everyone would be physically active, or would have that reminder to be physically active coming on their devices whenever they’re using their computer, which is great.

08:12 JR: Now the other app that I wanted to talk about, which I am a massive fan of, as of recently, is MakeGIF Video Capture, and if you head along to pegeek.com/GIF, which is G-I-F, it will redirect you to the store where you can download and install this extension. Now this extension is really cool. Now if you’re familiar with the term GIF you will realize that they are animated images which basically fuelled all of the early internet. They were what videos were before we could really do video in our online spaces, and you would’ve seen them at websites. They’re like images that just play, and they loop, and they just go over and over. You’ve probably seen a cat doing something silly in an animated GIF, or you’ve seen some sort of dancing animal in an animated GIF. But they are really easy to make with thanks to the MakeGIF Video Capture extension.

09:10 JR: So, imagine you’re watching a YouTube clip, and you see some sort of discreet skill that would make really good example situation for your students to identify how to do that. So let’s say it was a high-jump technique, or it was maybe a discus throw, or some sort of throwing technique, catching technique, whatever, find the video on YouTube that you wanted to turn into a GIF, and then quite simply in the extension bar, at the top right of your screen, you simply hit the “MakeGIF Video Extension”, and then you click “start”, and then you click “stop”, and it turns that specific segment that you were watching in a video into an animated GIF. And then you can download it, and then share it however you like. Now, me personally, if I’m about to teach a new skill or a concept, I’ll often go to YouTube and find a specific example of that skill, find the part in the video that I want to turn into an animated GIF, and then click start and stop in the extension, and then all the sudden I’ve got this cool, looping, animated GIF, that I can play up on the big screen, and people can watch over and over and over for that reinforcement. Now, as I mentioned, if you head along to pegeek.com/GIF, G-I-F, you’ll get to see that in more detail, including a video tutorial about how I use it in my PE classroom.

10:35 JR: Now the third Google Chrome app that I really love is Vitalise Replay. Now, I’m a little bit biased, ’cause I did build this one. But it comes from the idea that there is such power in being able to see a performance over and over, and particularly a replay of something that’s just happened. Now, as you all know, I’m a massive fan of BaM Video Delay, as in the iPhone, iPad application that lets you time-shift video up to two minutes, massive fan of it, talk about it probably every episode, and you’re probably sick of me, but there’s a real reason why I talk about it because it’s incredible. And anyway, I thought that there needed to be an option on Google Chrome, for free, that people could use to enable the same thing as BaM Video Delay, but obviously without the iPad, without the iPhone, so I built [11:32] ____ Vitalise Replay.

11:33 JR: Now, you can head along to thepegeek.com/replay, and it will forward you to the App Store where you can find out a little bit more about it and install it. Now once you’ve installed it, you get presented with the screen where you can select from either one delay, as in one video screen delay, or you can have up to four. And you basically put in your delay value. So let’s say you wanted to delay your webcam by 10 seconds, you would select 10 seconds, and then hit the start button, and what’ll actually happen is, you’re gonna see what happened 10 seconds ago from your webcam. So, let’s say your students have their Chrome-books or their laptops on the side of the gym, and they’re doing some juggling, perhaps, or they’re learning to do a cricket bowling action, they could do that, and then they would have 10 seconds before they actually see what they had done. So, you’re enabling the exact same features as this BaM Video Delay, but you don’t need the iPhone or the iPad to do it.

12:40 JR: Now, as I mentioned, you can do up to four screens simultaneously, and each of those can have a different delay value. So, really excited to get that out into the public for people to use, and everyone’s really been excited by the fact that, regardless of what they have, they can get access to those features. And the reason it’s possible is because of the fact Google Chrome is so amazing. Literally we’re just making tools now that are only possible because of the fact that we’re using Google Chrome. So if you’re not using it, this is a serious, serious peer pressure moment, head over there, download it, it’s free, and start exploiting some of these possibilities in your classroom.

13:20 JR: Now aside from Vitalise Replay, I am also a major fan of the app, TechSmith, or… Sorry, not the app TechSmith, the app Snagit, by the company TechSmith. Now, TechSmith do video screen-capture software, and they’ve done that for a long time, a really powerful application. And basically what it’ll let you do is, you click the button in your browser, and then you can just start talking, and it will record everything that’s happening on your screen, along with your voice, along with your mouse clicks, along with your navigating through a website, or drawing on your computer, all of that stuff will get captured into a video and then saved to your computer. So, you could, as a teacher, open up a presentation file, like a PowerPoint or a Google Slides, or anything like that; or a Prezi, and you could simply hit the record button and start explaining and teaching it, and turning that into a video. And that video could be passed on to your students so that they could technically review you over and over and over, very much in line with that flipped -classroom idea.

14:26 JR: Conversely, you could have your students install the Snagit extension, and this is free, and then they can do the same thing. So you could set a project where they have to, maybe make up a game play, and they’re gonna show the diagrams of different positions on a court, and then they hit the Snagit button, and they have to record their voice over the top and turn that into an instructional asset. So, lots of opportunities there. The cool thing I like about Snagit is, it replaces software which was once quite expensive, and still is available, and still is something that you can purchase and spend a lot of money on, but it gives that feature-set to everyone; students, teachers, etcetera, from your browser, without needing to install anything, and you’ll get lots of opportunities to use that.

15:17 JR: Now, I built my own version of a screen-casting software, which does the exact same thing. It’s called the Vitalise Screen Recorder, and it’s specifically been designed for people who were using Vitalise, my video analysis platform. But it’s basically the same concept, it lets you record over the top of whatever it is that you’re looking at, and then it saves that video and sends it across to wherever you’d like to look.

15:42 JR: Now, a couple of other little extensions that I’ve been playing with over the years, include Gain Fitness. And you head along to thepegeek.com/gain, as in G-A-I-N, and you’ll see that when you get there, this is a really cool little web app that basically allows you to create little workouts, or workout programs, and you go through and you select the muscles and the different actions, and the intended training focus, and it’ll generate these little workout programs that you can focus on, which is really cool. So, I’ve had students in the past use it to get ideas for their training programs that they do in senior PE, and it’s just a great way to know that lots of the things that were once specific apps on specific platforms are now available through the internet, in ways such as Google Chrome.

16:32 JR: Now beside from the fact that there is an enormous and ever-growing opportunity that Google Chrome apps have educationally, there are a number of utilities which I use on a daily basis that help my productivity, which basically find their way into my classroom through those sorts of areas, and the first one that I wanna share with you is called “Print Friendly”. Now Print Friendly, it is a website. You can go to printfriendly.com, even if you’re not using Google Chrome and paste in a web link. And what it will do is, it’ll turn whatever that web link is into a really easy to print document, and that document can even be downloaded as a PDF. So, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a news article before, and you’ve gone to print it, and you’ve gone to the printer and there’s pages everywhere. It’s printed bits on this side and bits here and bits there. Well, what PrintFriendly does is, it allows you to combine them into really one easy to print item.

17:37 JR: And the best part about it is, you can remove the ads, you can remove pieces of text, really easily, and sort of turn it into this really clean, neat, polished product, which is far better than if you try and print it just as it is normally. So, PrintFriendly, the Google Chrome extension, basically means that whatever page you’re on, all you need to do is hit the Google Chrome Print Friendly extension, and it’ll start that process for you, and you can save the PDF or start printing it, do whatever you need.

18:06 JR: Now, one of the only paid Chrome apps I’ve ever invested money in is AirParrot. Now, AirParrot is pretty phenomenal, and I use it on my Chrome-book, and on my… Some of my students have it as well. And what it lets you do is, mirror your Google Chrome browser, as in the browser that you’re navigating in, or your entire computer. You can mirror it to an Apple TV. So, this is really amazing to be honest, because for many years if you wanted to connect a Chrome-book to a projector, you pretty much had to plug in a cord, or maybe have a converter. It was pretty cumbersome. So, I’m pretty fortunate now to be able to take my Chrome-book to school, and wherever there’s an Apple TV I can hit the extension, which is called “AirParrot”, and I could find the Apple TV, and I can mirror my Chrome book up to the Apple TV, just as I would any other computer in my arsenal, or any other mobile device. So AirParrot is highly recommended. Obviously the fact that you can air-play means that you can wirelessly, and have lots of mobility as you walk around the room and focus on whatever it is that you’re doing.

19:21 JR: Now lastly but not leastly, this is a really cool extension which Google released over the weekend… Oh no, it took ’em a weekend to build. It’s called Google Tone, and it’s mental. I don’t know if you’ve been in a situation where you’ve gone and given a student a website that they need to visit, and you may have wrote up the link that they need to attend to, or whatever it may have been, and often you find that they have difficulty, they try and get there and they’ve typed it in wrong.

19:51 JR: Well what Google Tone does is, basically it sits up in the top of your browser and when you click it, it makes this tone sound, as in, like an actual sound, which when clicked is heard by computers in the general area, and basically sends them to the website. I don’t know if you can hear it, maybe this will give you an idea of what the Google Tone sound sounds like. But it’s pretty amazing, because any… Let’s say you had a class of 30 kids and you clicked the button, just like that, the web link has actually been sent to everyone who’s in the room, or who could hear the actual sound, which could be a whole class of kids. And basically they get a little pop-up, and then they just click the button, and they’re on the page. So they don’t have to type anything. They don’t have to do anything, and all of a sudden they’re at the exact spot that you wanted them to go, which is amazing. That’s called Google Tone, and if you type it into Google, you’ll be able to install it and see just how amazingly that would enhance your deliverability of content.

21:01 JR: And that brings us to the end of Episode 38 of the PE Geek podcast. I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at the power of Google Chrome in the PE classroom. And we’re gonna be adding a few more episodes as time goes on. As more and more apps come out in the space, I’m gonna be definitely publishing them on the blog and doing more content surrounding this particular area. So as always, you can head along to the blog at the pegeek.com/38 to get a full episode transcript, as well as the links to any of the resources and apps and materials mentioned throughout today’s episode. Now, if you haven’t done this yet, maybe you wanna head along to the webinar at the pegeek.com/webinar, where I actually talk about the various ways in which I’m motivating physical activity through the use of technology in my classroom.

21:58 JR: Okay, as always, keep listening. If you have any questions, send them over to me at [email protected], and I’ll be more than happy to answer them. And in fact, if you wanna be a feature on any episode, then you can leave a voice mail at the pegeek.com/voicemail, and I look forward to adding those to future episodes. Okay, see you later.



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