Thursday, September 27, 2012

Paper Slide Videos?

Recently, a teacher stopped me and requested more information on Paper Slide Videos after she attended a presentation on it. At the time, I had never heard of it. I thought it was an actual Web 2.0 tool. However, I discovered it is just using a Flip camera to tape paper slides students have created as a student narrates. It's a nice concept, but it did not wow me. So, if you are interested in doing this, why not use some Web 2.0 tools that call for more collaboration?

Like these, for instance:


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Did you know?

You can search Google by images--not just text? Meaning, when you go to Google images, instead of typing in an image name, insert the URL of an image or upload an image.

To do it, just click on the camera picture in the far right of the search box. When you do, you get this nifty search box:

It will search by pages that have the same image on it and by pages that have visually similar images. However, be careful doing this in school as some images that appear or not school appropriate. It is just a neat thing to know exists. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Become a Google Power Searcher

Being a successful searcher is one of the keys to success today. In fact, I'd put it in the top five skills for all graduates. But, how can we teach students to be powerful searchers if we are not ourselves? Well, Google has a great course to prepare us for just that case. Check it out:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Embedded PDF issues in Blogger posts

I have been inserting embedded Google Docs into my Blogger posts for sometime. However, I recently tried to embed a PDF that I had uploaded to Google Drive into one of my Blogger posts. Unfortunately, it is not so smooth. 

Yes, the document embeds alright. The problem is that when you open the blog, it automatically jumps to the start of the embedded PDF and bypasses any text in front of it. So, if you add additional posts after your post with the embedded PDF, it will always jump to the top of that PDF. This is a problem. 

I have tried using my iframe code for known working Google Docs (that worked in my posts) and replacing the doc ID with my PDF ID; however, that did not fix anything. 

Though many may not try to do this, it is a bizarre problem to have. 

The search for a solution will continue! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Class Dojo--PBS brought 21st century?

During a recent needs assessment, a teacher mentioned wanting more training on Class Dojo, a classroom behavior management tool. At the time, I was unfamiliar with it. However, it is an extremely simple tool that may be great for elementary classrooms.

You can sign up as a teacher, student, or parent. After signing up (just your name, email address, and a password), You can create a class. Within the class, you add students. And, adding students is as easy as just typing in their name. Lastly, you can choose what negative and positive behavior rewards to give (i.e., team work, disrespect, etc.). Now, you have created your class.

To run your class, you can show your "class" via your projector. When you want to give a student a positive reward, you can. And, you can also use the negative marks if you want. You also have the option to run reports that show a student's behavioral report card where you can comments. These can be printed off and given to parents. Parents and students may also login and retrieve this info.

And, that's it. Simple, but a 21st century way of managing a classroom--elementary style. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Last week, I showed TYLA's rusafe video in order to show acceptable use policies. In doing so, I was reminded of the fact that we have always been citizens of a larger information network. However, a few things have changed since the propaganda of the Civil War and the biases spread during the Crusades.

  1. More people now than ever have access to the information
  2. There is still a large percentage of "uneducated" citizens
  3. Information spreads much quicker
  4. Anyone can spread information to ANYONE
So, how do we combat these new factors and ensure students are digitally literate and good citizens in a digital economy? Well, edutopia is a great place to start with their listing of digital citizenship resources. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Looking for a way to integrate Google Forms and Google Maps? Well, Batchgeo is your answer! Check out the Batchgeo how to below:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Another alternative to PowerPoint

I have had many teachers wanting to embed Youtube videos into a PowerPoint. Unfortunately, without downloading the Youtube video, you cannot "embed" the video. You can hyperlink to it, but not embed.

Of course, there is always the option to use Google Presentation, which has made a lot of improvements in functionality over the past year. And, in Presentations, you can embed a Youtube video, but you have to have an Internet connection to show the video/presentation.

So, what's another alternative: SlideRocket.

Check out this SlideRocket presentation on embedding Youtube videos into a SlideRocket presentation. Here, you can also download the presentation with the Youtube video.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mass text your students and parents? Easy!

Remind 101 is a great tool for classroom teachers and other educators looking for a free and safe way to send text messages to students and parents.

And, it's super easy!

Simply go to Remind 101's Website and sign-up.

Then, you are ready to add your classes. Your classes will be your sender name. For instance, if you create a class called Fenne's Fifth, your text you send to the group will come from Fenne's Fifth. When you create your class, you will be given a code for anyone who wants to be part of the text group. Members will be required to submit a text to the given address with the assigned code. Once they have sent the text, they are part of the group.

And, all you have to do, is type a message in the "send message" box. You can also select your recipient groups.

Standard text messaging rates apply. However, the actual service is free and great for educators wanting to send out notices and reminders to parents and students.

Check it out!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A nifty trick with Word and Google Forms

Have you ever wanted to transform an existing Word document (or old Word quiz) into a Google Form? Well, you can do it. It doesn't quite have the advanced features, but it can do it in a simple fashion.

Here's how:

  1. Type in your questions in a Word document. Each question should not be separated by a new line, but by a comma. 

  1. Save the document as a plain text file (.txt)
  2. Go into Google Drive and create a spreadsheet
  3. Select File-->Import and browse for that .txt file
  4. Select Import

  1. Select Open File (blue link next to file name)
  2. In your spreadsheet, click on Tools-->Create Form

  1. Now, your form will open and you can do any last minute editing on it. 
Though, this is an added step, it is helpful if you have existing Word quizzes that you want to make into a survey without retyping all of the questions. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Some cool Chrome applications

Though Google Apps for Education is nearly a complete package, there are several other applications available in the Google Chrome browser that are worth a look:

  • All are great tools for educators and most are free! Check them out!

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Moodle meets GAFE?

    As our district begins to create Google accounts for all students as part of the GAFE development, we look for ways to manage student activity, accounts, and learning. Hapara is one solution to that problem--the teacher dashboard. At the admin level, classrooms can be set up for teachers and students.

    Once the classroom is set up, school-level folders are created for student work. Teachers have the ability to oversee student email. And, teachers even have the ability to manage documents by class and by student and by recent modification.

    Teacher dashboard is a great blend of Moodle and Google--classroom management meets the Google Cloud via GAFE.

    It is an add-on to GAFE; however, it does cost $4 per student. Many districts start small with just a few classrooms. Though, if teacher classroom exists, I believe the capability to expand classroom management software to GAFE exists. So, if your district cannot afford the fee, keep looking--the technology is there!