Cool #Chrome Extensions: Turn Off the Lights

I am privileged to have been invited to serve as a facilitator and presenter at Harvard University's Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Institute. My posts this week will focus on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework.

This afternoon, I presented 9 Ways Google Addresses Learner Variability to show how teachers can use free tools to address the needs of students. While I was teaching, one of our participants suggested that I take a look at the Turn Off the Lights Chrome Extension.

What is it? 

When you are showcasing a YouTube video in class, students can often get distracted by the advertisements appearing on the side of the screen. Turn the Lights Off will darken your screen and leave the video on your screen. 

It works with other sites as well. You can darken any website that you visit, so that students cannot see content, pictures, etc. until you are ready for them to do so. The extension gives you the opportunity to customize how dark or light your information appears. For example you have the option to change the black opacity to 100% or less.

How do you customize? 

Right click on the Turn Off the Lights icon on Chrome's omnibar (where URL's are entered).  Here are other great customizations:

  • Autoplay feature will automatically darken advertisements when you play a YouTube video
  • Atmosphere lighting places a glow around your YouTube video
  • Several awesome mouse features like spotlight and select custom areas
  • Dynamic backgrounds
  • Eye protection that automatically dims your screen at 9 am


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