Monday, March 30, 2015

Happy 100th Post

Yes, I finally reached a milestone. 100 posts! It has only taken about 14 months to reach 100 so not too bad of an average per month. It has been an interesting experiment to see if blogging is for me. Hint: some days it is and some days it isn't. I started out like gangbusters, fizzled for a bit, and lately have picked up the postings. Many of the items I post are my take from other blogs or Twitter posts I read. I have no real idea how many people regularly follow my public blog or if anyone actually reads it. Thanks to some stats from Google I can see the number of the views for my posts.

So here are my top 5 posts so far, thanks to you.

#5 - Twitter for School Communication - with a great tip to communicate to people who don't want a Twitter account.

#4 - The Utimate Pi Day - a recent post giving tips to celebrate 3/14/15 9:26:53 AM.

#3 - TEQ-Online - several resources from the TEQ website

#2 - iMovie for the iPad - a post over pretty much what the title states

And the number 1 post that has the most views with 384 views is...

#1 Online Classroom Timers

I can't really explain why the interest in this post. It has more views than the other 4 combined. Teachers do like timers for a variety of reasons for classroom use, so I guess that is it.

So there you go. 100 posts. I hope you continue to enjoy and gain use from this blog. Here is to the next 100!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Education on Air

From Google for Education comes a free online conference for educators, Education on Air. The two day conference will be on May 8 & 9, 2015. You can register on their site

One of the confirmed speakers will be Kevin Brookhouser, Director of Technology at York School. You can keep up with the updates from the Education on Air site or from the Google for Education plus site.

Even if you can't attend every session, they will hopefully be recorded for later viewing. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Facebook and Twitter

I currently work for Lubbock ISD as a Technology Deployments Specialist, a division of our Technology Support department. Recently, my coordinator and I decided to start a Facebook and Twitter account for the benefit of our LISD staff members. These are public pages so really anyone can join, but some of the posts may not apply to everyone outside of LISD. We do post quite a bit on Google and iOS so maybe that will draw you in. Check us out.

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Great Stock Photos

One of the harder things to do for a presentation is get good royalty free photographs to display in your presentation. Sure it is easy to just google a topic and use the photo that comes up whether it is free to use or not. Sure there are ways to search on Google for Creative Commons images you can use. But you might still not find what you are looking for. The Stocks comes in to save the day. Advertised as "the best royalty free stock photos in one place", The Stocks features many sites that do offer high-resolution photos free for you to use.
As always I offer a word of caution before using these type of sites with students as the pictures do update. So just because you didn't find any inappropriate pictures today doesn't mean there might not be some tomorrow.
Give The Stocks a try.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Slides Carnival

Google Slides is a great tool for creating, sharing, and collaborating presentations. The presentation is stored in your Google Drive so it can be access anywhere, anytime. Google Slides does have a few templates for users to work from, but not many.

That is where sites like Slides Carnival come in. This site has many templates you can download to use with your Slides presentation.

Just download the slide deck, open the presentation in your google Slide account, go to the File menu and select make a Copy. You now have a copy to the document in your google drive and you will be able to edit, add, or delete slides as needed. The second slide in the template has a good explanation on how to use the template.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Photos For Class

Photos for Class allows users to search and download properly attributed, Creative Commons photos for school. One of the issues with using photos from the web in a school project is copyright. Photos for Class searches Flickr for images licensed for a creative commons school use. According to their site they meet the needs for images by providing:
  • Safe G Rated Images - All images are appropriate for school setting thanks to Flickr safe Search and our proprietary filters
  • Automatic Citation - Downloaded images automatically cite the author and the image license terms 
  • Creative Commons - All photos shown are to the best of our (and Flickr's) knowledge Creative Commons licensed for school use

With each picture download the citation is automatically added to the photo at the bottom in the black area as seen in the example below.

As with any picture search, the teacher should first search for terms the students would search for their project to determine the "Safe G Rated Images" the website boasts. But this site should help with the question, "Where did this photo come from?"

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Ultimate Pi Day

On March 14th, 2015, the Ultimate Pi day will be celebrated. Why the Ultimate? Because the date and time will line up to match the first 10 numbers of Pi. 3.141592653. So March 14, 2015 at 9:26 and 53 seconds.
This is on a Saturday and on our Spring Break holiday, but many teachers will hopefully celebrate on Friday.

Several resources for good activities to do that help celebrate Pi Day.

Handout for an Activity to find 3.14 by measuring the Circumference and the diameter.
Where does Pi come from Lesson Plan

Pi Lesson handout - the handout for the students

From Mathy Cathy her Thinklink for her students.

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi

Using Google Slides to Organize Research

One of the hardest things to get students to do is to cite their research. Where did that picture or article come from.

The following video from Richard Byrne, from Free Technology for Teachers, is a great example of using Google Slides and the research tool to help search for and cite their findings.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Force Google Users to Make a Copy of the File You Share

Often, people will share a Google file, like a document, spreadsheet, drawing..., and for one reason or another it may not be shared correctly and everyone actually edits the original document and basically makes a mess of it. What the person really intended was for the user to go to the File menu and make a copy of the document for their own editing.

Well with this tip you can force the users to make a copy of the document.
Get the Sharable link for the document you are trying to share. At the very end is probably the word "edit". Before you share the link, replace the word edit with the word copy. When the user opens the link they will be prompted to make a copy of the file to their Google Drive. The really nice feature of this is your sharing setting will still apply

For more Amazing shortcuts for sharing a Google file, please check out these tips from Shake Up Learning

How to Preview

Turn into a Web Page 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Google Drawings and Graphic Organizers

As our district dives further into GAFE this year, one of the more overlooked applications is Google Drawings. Under the NEW button in your Google Drive, past Docs, Sheets, and Slides, is the ability for students and teachers to create their own drawing. Drawings gives the user a blank canvas to add to, similar like a desktop publishing application. Users can add text, shapes, lines,images, word art...
Users then can save their work as a PDF or an image file and then add those images into their own docs, blog posts, slides or spreadsheets.

One way teachers can use the Drawings app is to create graphic organizers to share with students through the share feature or through Google Classroom. Students can then fill it out online and share back or turn in through Classroom.

I came across this site that has posted several graphic organizers including Venn, KWL, Timeline, Word Web and more. 

Teachers and students can open the document that is there, click on the File menu, and select Make a Copy to move the document to their own Drive account. All of the drawings would then be editable so you can adjust it to your lesson.

I am also sharing a Google Drawings Cheat Sheet from Kasey Bell at Shakeup Learning. Take a look a the PDF she created.

Take a look at Google Drawings and see what you can create.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Google Listens

So it looks like those feedback forms and surveys actually do work. Google has changed the name of the "Incoming" folder back to the descriptive "Shared with Me". To me it did not really matter, just as long as I knew where my documents were, but it was a big deal to many. Enough so Google changed to a past wording.

Also on the Google news today, Google may be doing away with their Google+ product as it is now. Google+ is the Google answer to Facebook. It looks like they may be changing it in place of Google Photos and Streams. Not sure how that will affect Hangouts either. I have a G+ page that I rarely use except as a newsreader, but I am sure there are people out there that may not like this announcement. I still haven't gotten over their shutdown of Google Reader!