Research papers, lab reports, and the infamous five paragraph essay can all be pretty challenging content for students. And they should be, because it’s a great way to learn document formats that will be useful in a big variety of professional and academic settings.
But some aspects of creating great classwork aren’t part of the lesson plan, and those annoyances can really get in the way of students creating their best work. With that in mind, the GoGuardian team scoured the Google Add-ons Store and found five great add-ons to help empower your students to write their best pieces of content.
As a writer here at GoGuardian, I use a thesaurus ///all of the time/// frequently. Whether a student wants to boost their vocabulary by trying out new words, or can’t quite think of just the right word for a sentence, a thesaurus is an important tool in the writer’s toolkit.
The Google Docs Add-on Thesaurus Pro is a great tool for students, especially when they need to focus on writing and don’t have access to a physical thesaurus or websites like thesaurus.com or the Oxford Dictionary’s thesaurus.
Another favorite Google Docs Add-on of mine is the Consistency Checker. Although it has a basic spell check function, Google Docs itself already has a great one. The real strength of Consistency Checker is being able to very quickly find out whether or not you’re using similar words consistently throughout the entire document. For example, in a recent piece written for our blog, I used the word “unbox” a handful of times. After running Consistency Checker, I found out that I had accidentally used “un-box” once, something that I would have easily missed without this add-on.
It’s also super useful for professionals in technology, as different companies maintain different style guides, which means that certain words are formatted differently. What one company calls “email,” another will call “e-mail.” “Internet may have been capitalized in some situations at your old company, but your new company never capitalizes “internet.” While Consistency Checker won’t fix your style guide errors, it will make it a lot easier to catch them.
EasyBib Bibliography Creator
The EasyBib Bibliography Creator add-on may not be useful for your class, especially if a focus of your current lesson concerns learning how to cite research sources correctly. However, if your current lesson focuses instead on simply finding good research sources and making solid arguments with those sources, then EasyBib Bibliography Creator can be a great, time saving add-on.
It works easily, and from our testing, has a great search component. Adding citations is a matter of a search and a handful of clicks, and you can search by title, ISBN, or even keywords. My personal favorite feature is that you can select one of quite a large number of different citation methods, and even specify if the citation is a book, journal article, or website.
If your students are doing pretty much any kind of work that need diagrams, Lucidchart Diagrams is going to be exceptionally useful to them. This extension has two main components: a fully featured diagram editor that works somewhat like Photoshop, and a panel in Google Docs that lets you choose from saved diagrams. Lucidchart Diagrams includes a bunch of different templates, and resizing, formatting, adding, and removing content is a breeze.
One cool feature: if you decide that a diagram needs to be tweaked, you can return to the editor, make your changes, and choose Update Inserted Diagrams, and the diagram will be updated to reflect your most recent changes.