Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

My Google Docs Won’t Connect to the Internet

I am online but my Google Docs are offline! Help!! Explore troubleshooting solutions for the 'Google Docs Offline' issue.
My Google Docs Won’t Connect to the Internet

I found myself grappling with a perplexing issue while I was traveling and relying on public Wi-Fi. I was clearly online, able to visit various websites, but Google Docs kept indicating that I was offline. This is extremely frustrating as I am not able to access certain features of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides when I am offline. Particularly, I was collaborating with someone in real time on the document which obviously I cannot do when it thinks I am offline.

Troubleshooting the “Google Docs Offline” Issue

Since I actually was connected to the Internet I was able to attempt multiple Google searches to try to troubleshoot. I tried adjusting the WiFi settings and deleting and putting back the DNS. No avail.

Working offline is an often under appreciated feature that offers considerable benefits, especially for educators. It provides the freedom to work on your Google Docs irrespective of the internet connectivity, a real boon during travels or in areas with spotty internet connection. However, when I am online I would like to use all of the features.

Unmasking the Real Culprit: Chrome Extensions

After much troubleshooting, I discovered that the problem was not due to the network but was related to my Chrome Extensions. While these extensions often enhance our browsing experience, they can also interfere with the normal functioning of certain applications. By systematically disabling my extensions, I was able to resolve the issue and bring Google Docs back to normal.

Disabling Chrome Extensions is a common way to fix Google Apps challenges.

Awhile back I had a weird thing happening when I gave students feedback in Google Classroom. The cursor would keep going back to the beginning of the paragraph in the middle of my typing. I contacted Google about this, frustrated with this odd glitch. However, it turned out not to be a Google Classroom glitch, but rather an effect of a Chrome Extension.

Uninstall and Reinstall One at a Time

Right click on a Chrome extension and choose “Manage.” There you’ll be able to remove the Chrome extensions. Make a list of what you are uninstalling! Remove all your extensions and restart Chrome. Add back extensions one at a time to determine which extension was the culprit of your glitches.

Chrome Extensions Are Helpful

As we navigate through the digital landscape, browser extensions that can be installed in Google Chrome can significantly enhance our experience. These tools can add functionality to our Chrome usage, improving our efficiency and convenience. However, as is the case with any tool, Chrome extensions come with their own set of pros and cons.

The primary benefit of Chrome extensions is the added functionality they bring to your browsing experience. They can boost your productivity, simplify complex tasks, and streamline your digital workflow. For instance, an extension can help you block ads, manage your tabs, take screenshots, and much more.

Chrome extensions provide seamless integration with Google Workspace apps, such as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, enhancing their capabilities. For instance, a grammar checking extension can proofread your Google Docs in real-time, or a project management extension can help organize your Google Sheets. I particularly like the Mote Chrome extension as it allows me to add audio to my Google Slides, Forms, etc…

Extensions allow you to tailor your browsing experience to your unique needs and preferences. Whether you want to change the aesthetics of your browser or need specific tools for web development, there’s likely a Chrome extension that can cater to your specific needs.

The Challenge of Extensions

Chrome extensions can slow down your browser. Each extension runs processes in the background, consuming your system’s resources. Having too many extensions active simultaneously can therefore bog down your browsing speed and overall computer performance.

Extensions can sometimes cause unexpected glitches or conflicts with websites or other extensions, causing them to malfunction. For instance, some extensions can interfere with the proper rendering of websites or disrupt the normal operation of your Google Apps.

Finally, and most importantly, Chrome extensions pose potential security risks. While Google does vet extensions in the Chrome Web Store, rogue extensions can sometimes slip through. These malicious extensions can steal your data, inject ads, or even install malware on your computer. Always be sure to investigate if you trust the creator.

Recommended Chrome Extensions for Teachers

Despite the potential for conflicts, many Chrome extensions are incredibly useful, particularly for teachers. Here are a few that I highly recommend:

  1. Mote – Record audio notes to paste for feedback or add audio elements to your Google Apps.
  2. OneTab – Collapse all of your open tabs into a list to speed up your browser and to revisit the sites later.
  3. Bitmoji – Personalize your digital resources by adding a cartoon you.
  4. QuickShare Screenshot – Take a screenshot of student work. Saves to Google Drive. Copies link to the screenshot to your clipboard.
  5. EquatIO – Add math symbols and notation to Google Apps: Docs, Forms, Slides, etc…
  6. AnyoneCanView – Changes Google Doc, Sheets, Slides settings to anyone can view and copies the link to your clipboard.
  7. Slides Timer– Adds a countdown (or up) timer to your Google Slides presentation.

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