Sunday, June 14, 2009

Build Your Own Browser Toolbar

Yesterday, I put together a custom browser toolbar for Free Technology for Teachers. The toolbar includes a search box and drop-down menus where you can find links to presentation tools and alternatives to YouTube. The toolbar also allows for instant access to the most recent posts from Free Technology for Teachers. And the final component is a chat room for readers of Free Technology for Teachers. You can download and install the toolbar here, it works in Firefox, Safari, and IE. I'm still working on adding more options to the drop-down menus, but those updates will automatically be pushed out so that you won't have to re-install anything.

Here's a look at what the Free Technology for Teachers toolbar offers.











Building the toolbar was actually much easier than I thought it would be. I started with a simple Google search for "building a browser toolbar" and one of the first results linked to Conduit. Conduit is essentially a drag and drop toolbar builder. To make a toolbar for your own website signup for Conduit (it's free), enter some basic information about your site, and begin selecting the components you want in your toolbar. Once you've selected the elements you want, you can edit what each element contains.

Applications for Education
Conduit makes it fairly easy to create your own custom browser toolbar for your students and parents to use. A custom toolbar could be a great thing to install on the computers your students use at school. Your toolbar could include links to websites that your students will need to use frequently. Your toolbar could also include an RSS element for students and parents to quickly access the latest news from your school's website. A chat element in your toolbar will give your students a way to quickly get in touch with you.