25 Essential Google Chrome Tips for Digital Learners

Google Chrome is an interesting Web browser that some are finding quite helpful. It was released last year to much fanfare, and has been gaining some measure of popularity since then. If you are into online and digital learning, and you want to make full use of Google Chrome, it can help to be aware of some of the interesting capabilities of Chrome, and how to tap into them. Here are 25 Google Chrome tips that digital learners can make good use of:

  1. GoogleChromeLogoSet up a tabbed home page: One of the nice things about Firefox is that it is possible to set up a tabbed home page. Google Chrome has this ability as well. Set up multiple tabs to your favorite open courseware libraries or other learning Web sites.
  2. Move your home page to the toolbar: Once you have your home page set, you can move it to your tool bar on the Google Chrome browser window. This makes it easy to go right to your digital learning information with one click, no matter where you are in cyberspace at the time.
  3. Use Blackboard with Google Chrome: One collaborative learning application being used by digital learners is Blackboard. The good news is that it is compatible with Google Chrome. Check out Blackboard on Chrome to see if it can help you organize assignments and materials, and interact with your instructors.
  4. Desktop and Start menu short cuts to Web applications: If you are using online learning applications, it is possible to have them open from the desktop or the Start menu using Google Chrome.
  5. Drag links to open new tabs: With Google Chrome, it is possible to simply drag a link to open a new tab. If you see an interesting link that you want to explore, you can drag it to between two tabs and an new tab will automatically open. It makes things much easier and faster.
  6. Custom search engines: Create your own custom search engines in Google Chrome. This is very useful if you are looking to target your search results to some sort of specific area of learning. It will also help you catalog interesting sites that you have visited before, and allow you to easily search them in the future if you want to revisit some information you have learned.
  7. Add Wikipedia search to Google Chrome: If you want easy access to the wealth of information from Wikipedia, you can easily add this search to Google Chrome.
  8. Simple calculations in the address bar: It is possible to perform simple calculations using the address bar in Google Chrome. You can convert between units of measurement, and also do simple math. It’s a quick and easy way to access a calculator immediately.
  9. Resize text area: In many cases, digital learners make use of comments sections and feedback forms to ask questions of their instructors. Sometimes, though, these forms are too small. You can easily change this in Google Chrome. The lower right corner has dragging capability and you can simply drag the text box to a larger size that easier and more convenient to use.
  10. Dual view: You can create panels in Google Chrome — even in one tab. The idea of dual view in the Google Chrome Web browser allows you to look at two things side by side. This is very helpful if you are comparing information that you are learning, or if you want to do a little multitasking.
  11. Drag and drop downloads: When you download something, it is possible to drag and drop it into what file you want, or move it to the desktop. You can do this right from the Chrome browser, making it easy to organize open courseware materials and other educational items that you might download from the Internet.
  12. Turn a tab into its own browser window: It is possible to easily peel a browser tab in Google Chrome away and turn it into its own window. This is helpful if you want to set something aside, or if you want to provide a new window for some piece of information or an assignment you are working on. You can also merge separate windows into one tabbed window. Using tabs can be almost fun in Google Chrome.
  13. Zoom in and out of Chrome pages: If you want a closer look at something, whether it is an image or text, you can use the mousewheel and the control button on your keyboard to do so. Just hold down control while spinning the mousewheel, and you can get a closer look at something in your Google Chrome browser window.
  14. Change your download location: If you do not want to use the “downloads” folder as your default, you can remedy the situation by changing it. Google Chrome has a feature in its “minor tweaks” lab that allows you to direct downloads to save in a different location. This can be helpful if you want to automatically keep your online learning downloads together.
  15. Search for digital learning keywords: You might be looking for a specific keyword related to an area of study or an assignment. In this case, it is possible to scan through and search for keywords with the control and K keys pressed together. It’s a quick shortcut that can help you find digital learning information quickly.
  16. Sort online page elements by loading time: If you want to load necessary information more efficiently, you can do so with a little help from the “Resources” tab. You access this tab by right clicking inside the page, and selecting “Inspect element” from that menu. You can see the scripts and the images available, and how long they take to load. This can also warn you of potential problem areas on the Web site.
  17. Use an incognito window: This is especially useful if you are doing some of your online learning on a public computer. If you don’t want others getting access to your accounts, you can press control, shift and N to open a new window that doesn’t appear in the history. Nor will your cookies be saved beyond the closing of the window. It’s one way to protect your privacy on a public computer.
  18. Find pages you visited earlier: If you know you visited some site, but don’t remember it offhand, it is easy to find information pages again. You can hold down the back button or right click on it to see online learning sites you have already visited.
  19. Bookmarking: When you are among the ranks of digital learners, it is important to have good bookmarking capabilities. You can do this easily with Google Chrome by clicking on the star to the left of the address bar. Create a folder for online learning, and you can easily save all your bookmarks in an easy to find place.
  20. Create a Google Toolbar for Chrome: Oddly enough, Chrome doesn’t support the popular Google Toolbar. This can be a handy tool for digital learners itself, offering easy search capability, and access to news, information and favorites. You can create something similar, though, by taking advantage of Project Fakebar.
  21. Undo a closed tab: Sometimes, a slip of the mouse closes a tab we were studying. If you weren’t ready for a tab to be closed, you can undo it by pressing control, shift and T. This will ensure that you don’t lose some valuable information or coursework you were using.
  22. Use the Google Chrome task manager: You can keep track of your digital learning tabs and information, as well as what you are doing, with help from the Google Chrome task manager. Better organize your online learning, and make sure you aren’t taking up too much space.
  23. Create multiple user profiles: This is a handy way to focus on your digital learning profile and keep it separate from your other Google Chrome user profiles. Tweak your online experience to the task at hand, and help you focus better on learning.
  24. Portable Google Chrome: One of the frustrating things about browsers is that when you have what you want all set up, you can’t take your settings with you. With Google Chrome, though, you can. There is a portable app that allows you to transfer Google Chrome to a memory device, and then install it, all of your bookmarks and preferences intact, to a different computer.
  25. Get an open source version of Google Chrome: Are you a tech geek? If you want even more options with Google Chrome, you can get the open source version. It’s called Chromium, and it doesn’t have the Google branding. Plus, you can build it on a Mac — something that Chrome doesn’t do yet.

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