Tuesday, September 27, 2016

How to Use VoiceOver on the iPad and iPhone

Yes, the iPad and iPhone can speak to students. The accessibility feature called VoiceOver can be activated and used by students with reading accommodations. The presentation below shows you how to use VoiceOver and gives several useful tips.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Quiz Feature in the New Google Forms

You can now grade a quiz using Google Forms without using any add-ins. This makes it so that anyone can create a self-grading quiz which can be embedded into Google Classroom, a blog, website or sent by e-mail or QR Code to your students. While you can still use the Flubaroo add-on to make this magic happen, the new Quiz feature is well worth looking into. This video tutorial shows the feature in action, step-by-step, and it also gives you a look at some of the other features included in the new Google Forms.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Eno & Easiteach Workshop

Eno & Easiteach Workshop
(2 Parts)

Links, Handouts and Tutorials

On Tuesday, July 19th and Thursday, July 21st, I will be leading sessions at the McKinley Administration Building on Eno Whiteboards and RM Easiteach Next Generation, the whiteboard lesson-creation software.

Downloading & Creating Whiteboard Lessons with
RM Easiteach Next Generation






Advanced Use of the Recordex Document Camera and XSight Software


Advanced Use of Recordex Document Cameras
and XSight Software (Pictures and Video)




How to Use YouTube Video Editor (links to more videos at the end)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

5 Useful Web Tools for the Summer Vacation

Working hard or hardly working? If you ask yourself this question and are not sure what the answer is, it’s time to take a break. The summer has started and we are all slowly getting ready for that deserved vacation. Before we go lay down on a beach somewhere, there are probably some things that we need to finish at work. When we leave for our vacation, we will still receive emails, meetings will be held and business will keep on rolling as usual. Luckily, there are some useful web tools that can help you wrap up all necessary tasks so you won't have to worry about anything. Here are five favorites.

1.    Google Drive

There is an expression - you shouldn't keep all your eggs in one basket. Well, with Google Drive it is actually quite the opposite. All you files should be in one place, easily accessible at your convenience. You can store documents, keep photos, songs, videos – anything. Also, it is more than useful since files can be reached from any device. When you go somewhere, your files are going with you. And you don't need to pay a ticket for them too, as the tool is free.


Task management tools like this have been here for some time, but their popularity has grown in the last few years. Todoist is perfect if you need to manage tasks and projects remotely. If you are on vacation or somewhere else offline, this tool lets you organize tasks in a manner that you find best suitable. Todoist is available for every platform, including web, desktop, mobile, add-ons and more. If you need to take your work to the beach, let it be with Todoist.


One neat tool that you will love for sure is Investintech’s PDF OCR Converter. Why, you ask? It can prepare you for the summer, as it can convert your scanned PDF documents to completely editable Word files. The features that set it apart from other PDF to Word tools are that it converts both scanned (image) and native PDFs to Word, there is no need to buy or install anything on your computer (no limitations), and all file sizes are supported. This is the PDF converter you've been looking for.


Don't get this tool confused with Google Drive. Google Keep is a basic note taking application. Maybe you didn't hear about it, but it's actually a great tool for writing and saving notes and lists. It connects with Google Drive, so it is perfect if you want to keep your photos or any text notes in one place. Everything is synchronized across all your devices, including the cloud. Now, that is really useful, don't you think?


Before going on summer vacation, you need a good trip planner. Search no more. Trip Hobo is the world’s largest platform for planning and creating your own itineraries. Also, you can use existing travel plans since it provides information for over 50,000 attractions to help users plan their trip. Planning is everything, so you should definitely check this tool.

With tools like these, you can rest assured that when your vacation arrives, you will be fully prepared. The only thing that is left for you is to pack and enjoy your holiday. Just don't get any sunburn. We didn't cover any tools for that.

Friday, May 27, 2016

5 Google Search Easter Eggs

I subscribe to BetterCloudMonitor Academy newsletter, and they recently uncovered a nice list of 5 Google Search Easter Eggs. Most of these are well-known, but there were couple that I didn't know about. Either way, it's nice to have all five here for future reference. 

As a tech teacher, this is a nice way to spend a fun class session at the end of the school year seeing what Google programmers create in their spare time.  Also, make sure to watch the video that accompanies this article.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Managing Your Passwords, Downloads and Logins in Google Chrome

Looking for another organizational tech tip? Today I take on Google Chrome and wrestle it into submission. Learn how to manage your passwords, downloads and multiple Google logins inside of the world's most popular browser, Google Chrome. Gone are the days when these things managed you.

Using Doctopus and Goobric to Manage Assessment in Google Classroom: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published in March 2016, this is one of my favorite posts from our Port Huron Schools EdTech Weebly blog.  What is a Doctopus, you ask? And for that matter, what is a Goobric? I'm so glad you asked. I took a lengthy look at both tools and put together this step-by-step guide/article that I hope will help teachers tie together three great Google student assessment and management tools: Google Classroom, Goobric (a Google online rubric) and student assignment submissions (linked through Doctopus) all in one place. 

Here is the article:
 ift.tt/1QVW54z
  http://fb.me/7DQ2ITOYU

Screencasting on a Chromebook with Snagit for Google Chrome

Today's tip shows how to create screenshots and video tutorials directly from a Chromebook, using the Snagit for Google Chrome extension. Just one more great application from TechSmith, out of Okemos, Michigan, my home state.

 

Yes! There Is an Advanced Search in YouTube

Who knew? Well, you will know how to do an advanced search in YouTube after you watch this video. Then, your obsession with watching YouTube videos will become even more specific and specialized. Just the thing we all need, right?

Peer Editing within Google Classroom

Today's tip looks at a method of using Google Classroom and Google Docs with students to peer edit a writing assignment. The video takes a look at the full process of getting the document from within Google Classroom, and then students share the document to allow peer editing comments. Yes, this video is already found below, but I thought you might like to see it on Screencast.com, where the viewing experience is a bit more pleasurable. 

A Crash Course in Bookmarks and Shortcuts

I've decided to pull some of my tech tip videos from the archives and post them here, just in case you missed any. This tip offers my method of computer desktop organization, focusing here on shortcuts and bookmarks.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Resources & Tools for Creating a Free Business Logo

Desktop Apps to Use:

  • In Google Docs (docs.google.com), use the Add-In called Open ClipArt.  This adds ClipArt to your Google Docs.
  • In Google Slides (slides.google.com), go to the Insert menu and insert WordArt, Line, Shape and Image.
  • In PowerPoint, go to Insert>>Pictures or Insert>>Shapes.  Use a different slide for each of your logo designs.
    Note: Upload to Google Drive when finished.  

Legal Image Search Tips:

  • In Google Slides: If you go to Insert>>Image, use the Search tab.  It searches only images that are free and legal to use to use (not copyrighted).
  • Creative Commons (CC Search): What makes CC Search so great is that it is more than just an image search. Search 12 different media sites from within one page (including Flickr, Google and YouTube). It searches music and video sites as well as images.
  • Pixabay.com: Free high-quality images. Only requires a login if you want to save the images to your account. Otherwise, you can download to your desktop, and upload to Google Drive. 
  • If you use a Google Images search, click on the Search Tools button, then Usage Rights.  Click on "Labeled for Reuse."


Design Your Logo Online (Online Resources):

Note: First you need a Company Name.  Then you can use any of these resources to help you get started. Most of these are perfect for creating business cards:
  • Canva: lets you create a logo design from their various templates at which ever size you need, including the correct social media formats. Canva is a designer, a canvas and a photo editor, so you can do all of your designing in one place. You will need to set up a free account at the Canva site.
  • Freelogoservices will offer a step-by-step with various options to choose from.  Use it only as a starting point to help you create your own ideas. Includes a business card creator and you get 50 free business cards. 
  • LogoGarden: Easy pick-n-click tools to help you design a logo. Starts with just a business category and a symbol. 
  • DesignMantic: Just enter your company name to get started. Creates several logo design variations with one click. 
  • VistaPrint: This not only helps you design a logo, but it also lets you make a batch of free business cards.
  • LogoMaker: Takes you step-by-step through the creation of a logo.  Requires an account, but you can step through it without one.  
  • Google Drawings: Google's design canvas tool. Drag or insert images and text, and then design your logo, which can be saved directly to your Google Drive or go to File>>Download As  and choose a format like PDF, PNG or Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).
Saving Your Images and Designs:
  • When finished, make sure you log in to your Google Drive (drive.google.com) and upload your designs.  
  • Pictures should first be downloaded to a desktop folder you create, called something like "Logo Images." As you download your photos, right-click and choose "Save Image As" or "Save Picture As" and store them on your classroom computer. 
  • When your images are downloaded and collected, upload them to Google Drive, and delete the Logo Images folder from your classroom desktop.
  • Note: To save your designs online all in one place, try Canva.com and sign in with your Google account.
    --You must have an account to save your designs. You can also use pre-created designs that are already pre-formatted for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other online platforms. 
Free ClipArt, Logo and Text Generators:
  • Cooltexta free graphics generator for web pages and anywhere else you need an impressive logo without a lot of design work.  Simply choose what kind of image you would like. Then fill out a form and you'll have your own custom image created on the fly. 
  • SoftIcons: Allows you to download free icons, icon sets and icon tools, at least for personal use. 
  • OpenClipArt: Free ClipArt on a variety of searchable topics. 
  • Clker: Free ClipArt you can use for anything you like.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Clearing Your Browsing History for Quick Chrome Logins

How often does this happen? You try to log in to Gmail or Google Drive, but someone else is already logged in. As hard as you try, you cannot clear his or her login information. Need a quick solution? Try this keyboard combination: Ctrl, Shift, Delete (press all three keys at the same time). This brings up the "Clear browsing data" window. All you need to obliterate is the past hour. Then, click the "Clear browsing data" button at the bottom and try to log in again. Your login screen should be cleared out and ready to go.
 

























There are a lot of good keyboard shortcuts for Google, but if you share a computer with another person, or multiple people, this is one to keep posted to your wall, file cabinet or desk, for easy access, because you will need it again. The reason why we recommend the keyboard shortcut is because, otherwise, you would have to click on the Google Chrome Settings button, go to Settings, then click on "Show advanced settings," then scroll down to Privacy, then click on Clear browsing data and, finally, click the Clear browsing data button. A keyboard shortcut is much faster and does the very same thing. Give this tip a try and you are guaranteed to breathe a sigh of relief.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

5 Things You Should Do After Upgrading to Windows 10

I am now a fan of David Kimball and his Windows 10 video tutorials, his Twitter posts and his Beyond Twitter podcasts. In honor of his new website: http://www.davidvkimball.com/ I wanted to include a very helpful video that he made on the 5 Things You Should Do After Upgrading to Windows 10. I found the tips on how to customize Microsoft Edge particularly valuable. Who knew you had to go into the Advanced Settings just to change the Home page? And I never thought of completely eliminating all of the tiles on the new Start menu, making it look more like Windows 7. Great tips, David, and good luck on your new site. We should talk sometime. Enjoy the video, everyone. If you have upgraded to Windows 10, it will be a great help. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Peer Editing with Google Classroom and Google Docs

I created this video to show how students can use the commenting feature of Google Docs to edit a partner's writing. This Google Classroom workflow shows the writing, the editing, the commenting and the revising of the student writing sample.
 


Friday, November 13, 2015

Scheduling Parent-Teacher Conference Slots Using Calendly




 Scheduling Parent Teacher Conferences Using Calendly

Many schools are holding Parent-Teacher Conferences in the month of November. This year, I wanted to find a tool that would help teachers schedule blocks of time in the most efficient way possible. I heard about a free tool called Calendly and spent some time with it recently. I wrote this blog entry on a different website, and I hope it helps you learn how to use it before conferences start. Several one-minute video tutorials are included. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

15 Blab Tips for Marketers: Ultimate Guide to Blab.im



Image result for blab.im

I'm making a tech prediction today. A year from now, millions of people will be talking about Blab. If you want to be "in the know" right away, check out this excellent article. What a great tool to video broadcast anything you want to present (from a mobile device or computer), and so far it is free. 

Right now it is just a great beta, but watch it catch fire over the next several months, and I think it will.

Tame your Gmail: 30+ Tools & Resources by Takis Athanassiou

Headline for GMail Tools & Resources

I follow Listly (list.ly) regularly, and if you're a list-maker like I am, you should too. For example, here are some of their trending lists. This week, an eye-catching list came to my email inbox titled "Tame your Gmail: 30+ Tools & Resources" and it is the most complete and updated list of Gmail tools and resources I have found yet. Well done, Takis Athanassiou, the writer of the article. Some of these add-ons, sites and extensions I already use (like Unroll.Me and Sidekick), but most I had not even heard of. The article is worth reading, even if it's just for #29: Become an Email Expert with these 151 Tricks

I get these articles and tips in my inbox every day, and I like to share the best ones with others. #32 on the list is 100 Email Hacks: Become an Inbox Zero Superhero! and where else but Listly would you find a set of tips like this but within another list all its own? Let me know if you find something you can use every day. I know I did. 

A Vimeo vs. YouTube Comparison/Contrast Article by TechSmith

 A Vimeo vs. YouTube Comparison/Contrast Article by TechSmith
I have been looking for a good head-to-head comparison between the two video uploading powerhouses: YouTube and Vimeo. While I may be partial to Vimeo in many ways, I often upload my video tutorials to directly to YouTube or Screencast.com and totally ignore Vimeo altogether. Why? Probably just laziness on my part, and because I know that many people have never even heard of Vimeo, much less go there to find videos, the way that they do liberally with YouTube, without even so much as a second thought. 

TechSmith, makers of my personal favorite screencasting software, Camtasia Studio, as well as SnagIt and Jing, put together this great comparison article. The article compares and contrasts Vimeo with YouTube and does so objectively. Ultimately, TechSmith has now made it very easy to upload finished screencast videos directly to both Vimeo and YouTube, as well as Google Drive for that matter, so they are not partial to any one product. The article, however, shows that Vimeo does have its advantages in more than one area. Read their findings to learn more. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

EdCamp Bluewater and Coffee Hour 2015 Presentation Slides


Yesterday I attended EdCamp Bluewater. This year, the camp met at the Pine River Nature Center. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Jeff Dahl, teacher and tech guru at Croswell Lexington Schools. Jeff has run a Coffee Hour session there, where he shares some of his favorite tech tools and practices. Judging by the amount of people who have been influenced by Jeff's tech knowledge, any time you can get him to pass on what he knows (for any amount of time), it is highly beneficial. He was nice enough to share his Coffee Hour 2015 presentation slideshow with me, and I am more than happy to share it with all of you. I hope you find something useful in this amazing collection of tech tools. 

MiGoogle Conference 2015 - Session Notes, Presentations and Resources

 MiGoogle Session Notes

On Monday and Tuesday, November 2nd and 3rd, I attended my second MiGoogle Conference, at Brighton High School in Brighton, Michigan. The conference brought in teachers, technology training staff, administrators and speakers from all over the state, as well as other states. If you missed out, here is a collection of all of my notes on the sessions I attended and all of the sessions I did not attend, as well. This is about as comprehensive a list as you can possibly get. If there is one thing I am good at, it's taking and compiling notes. :-)  By the way, all of this was done in Evernote Premium, so It guess it's a plug for them, too. 

Technology Integration Resources (Best Tools in Each Class)

Last week I met Franci Atcho, Technology Integration Coach for Hazel Park Schools, a Michigan school district that I once worked for long ago. In one year on the job, Franci has put together this excellent collection of Technology Integration Resources, organized by topic, in a Google Doc with a very nice Table of Contents included. It certainly saved me a lot of time, and I hope to refer back to it many times in the future. Posting it here will hopefully help all of you as well.

50 Free Apps to Make You an Incredibly Productive Person

 50 Free Apps to Make You an Incredibly Productive Person

If becoming a more productive person using technology is a goal in your future, I found this excellent article posted by Doug Aamoth on Fastcompany.com. These are 50 free apps to make you an incredibly productive person. Just as interesting is how I found this amazing article.  I found it while inside of my Evernote Pro account. While looking at one of my notes, this article popped up at the bottom. Being an inquisitive person, I clicked on it and found it very useful. So, here it is. I think it will definitely update you on what productivity tools are the best in each category right now.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Using Voice Typing in Google Docs

Google Apps are changing daily, and if there is a missing feature you've been looking for, you may just want to re-check, to see if it has been added recently. For instance, I just found out that Google Docs now has the capability of voice typing, found within the Tools menu. All you need, of course, is a microphone.

Teachers with a document camera in their classrooms already have a microphone built right in. On the Recordex model, to enable the microphone, simply open the XSight software and go down to the toolbar at the bottom. Click on the Options button in the lower left-hand corner (see below). Then, in the Options window under the Device tab, go down to the Audio section and click next to Audio device. Select Microphone Array (RecordexUS). Finally, click Save.



To use the Voice typing feature within Google Docs, open any Google Doc and click on the Tools menu at the top. Select Voice typing. Now, you can use your voice to type a document. This enables the microphone from within Google Docs, and make sure you're using Google Chrome to access your Google Docs. 


Docs also supports voice dictation from the Docs app on iOS or Android now as well. So now, you can dictate an entire document while on your computer or mobile device.