Tech Tip Tuesdays!

Check back every Tuesday for a new tech tip. These tips come my own experiences, or I may share tips from a variety of sources, who will be credited when used.

May 21, 2019: More Chrome Extensions

Chrome extensions can be found at the Chrome Web Store, and some will really help you with everyday tasks, as well as help students too! We are going to recommend some more here:

  • Save to Drive and Share to Classroom: Both of these will allow you to bypass the often challenging task of having to download websites or images that you find online. Usually, you have to right click, download, then go into your drive and upload it. When you are on a Chromebook, that doesn’t work. This extension will allow you to click the image or website and save it directly to your Drive so you can use it in fliers, projects or anything. The Save to Classroom will allow you to share information directly with your students through classroom.
  • Eye Dropper allows you to match any color you find online, then use the color in additional projects. This is nice if you have to create an addition to a slide deck or PDF.
  • EquatIO lets you write Math “text” in Google programs. You can write with pre-selected formulas, draw numbers and symbols and it will translate it into text, it even allows voice to text for math!
  • SmallPDF will convert a PDF document to a Word doc, or to a Slide deck, or some other editable document – it will do many different types of conversions.

May 14, 2019: ColorPick Chrome extension

Are you looking for a very specific fill color for a shape or textbox? If you can find an example of the exact color you want, the ColorPick extension for Chrome browser will match it for and give you the code for that precise color.

  1. Install the extension
  2. Open the extension
  3. Hover over the color you want
  4. Copy the code
  5. Go back to your document and open the tool for the fill or item color. Go to “customize” so that you can enter your own color.
  6. Paste the code you copied earlier.

colorpicker

May 7, 2019: Two tools to consider for classes

This week’s tip also comes from San Juan Unified School District Instructional Technology TOSA, Jenifer Cox.

Today we have two fun tools that may make your day better and can be great as we head into May! The first is a website tool called Remove that will remove any background from any image. So if you have a photo that you would like to remove the white square background and just use the image itself, or you want to do a “green screen” effect of student photos but don’t have an actual green screen, this will do it for you – automatically for free. The website is quick, accurate and has recently been updated with improved navigation.

The second tool is called GooseChase. It allows you to turn your curriculum into a scavenger hunt format, which allows students (or staff) to complete tasks for points, and gives people options of what tasks to finish and how many points to earn. It is free, the tasks are completely customizable and you can create teams to work together for credit. Each team will need access to a smartphone or tablet, but the whole process is free.

April 30, 2019: Classroomscreen.com

This tip comes from San Juan Unified School District Instructional Technology TOSA, Jenifer Cox.

Sometimes when you are teaching, you need a timer.  Or a clock. Sometimes you want to pick a name at random, or know how loud your class is being.  There is a great website, classroomscreen.com, that will do all that and more! It will let you choose a background, write text, roll dice, put up symbols about volume, and even use your screen as a drawing tool!  Super simple, so many options…. Just bookmark it to your toolbar and use anytime!

April 9, 2019: Digital Citizenship

We all know that Digital Citizenship is important. We also know that we are stretched thin with the multiple and increasing demands placed on teachers. As a result, adding “one more thing” can seem impossible. The good news is that Digital Citizenship is a compilation of many ways students consume, create, communicate, collaborate and share in digital spaces, so there are a lot of opportunities to infuse opportunities for students to practice “good” Digital Citizenship in the work you and your learners are already doing.

Check out “Three Ways to Make Digital Citizenship Part of your Everyday Teaching” from Common Sense Media.

If you would like to see an alignment of your content standards to Digital Citizenship principles, check out the files in this Google Drive folder.

April 2, 2019: Instant Google Searches

For many of us, not a day goes by that we don’t use Google to find some tidbit of information. But there are additional ways teachers can harness Google. See below for some examples (type the word or phrase indicated in the search bar in Google). Thanks to Instructional Technology TOSA Jen Cox for some of the suggestions below.

  • Type: Roll a die
    • Generates a die for use with randomization activities. Click on the die to “roll” it.
    • Also works if you type “Flip a coin.” In this case, it will provide a coin and animate flipping it when you click on it.
  • Type: [animal’s name] sound
    • provides an audio of the sound the named animal makes
  • Type: Calculator
    • brings up a multi-function calculator
  • Type:  Earth Day quiz
    • Provides a 5-question quiz to find out which animal you are (like one of those online personality quizzes). The result tells you a little about the matching animal, and then provides a link to search for more information. This could lead to ongoing research or be the start of a writing prompt
  • Type: I‘m feeling curious
    • Generates a random educational question, and provides a brief answer, as well as a link to go learn more about the topic. You can use these for writing prompts, research prompts, class discussion starters, or just to encourage all students to learn something new!

March 26, 2019: Making Digital Citizenship part of your everyday practice

We all know that Digital Citizenship is important. We also know that we are stretched thin with the multiple and increasing demands placed on teachers. As a result, adding “one more thing” can seem impossible. The good news is that Digital Citizenship is a compilation of many ways students consume, create, communicate, collaborate and share in digital spaces, so there are a lot of opportunities to infuse opportunities for students to practice “good” Digital Citizenship in the work you and your learners are already doing.

Check out “Three Ways to Make Digital Citizenship Part of your Everyday Teaching” from Common Sense Media.

If you would like to see an alignment of your content standards to Digital Citizenship principles, check out the files in this Google Drive folder.

March 19, 2019: Too many extensions running in Chrome?

Too many extensions running at once can really slow down your Chrome browser. Unless you really need every extension at every moment, you might want to try Extensity. This extension makes all of your extensions easy to find and easy to toggle on and off.

Get Extensity in the Chrome Web Store.

Once you have installed Extensity, you just click on it to see all of your extensions and Chrome apps. One click on an extenion turns it on or off–it’s basically a toggle.

Pro tip: in the settings in Extensity, set it to

  1. Group apps and extensions
  2. Show enabled extensions at the top.

March 12, 2019: Go Incognito

If you are on someone else’s computer OR a student or colleague is going to use your computer for some reason, it can be frustrating when they also want to open their Google accounts while yours is open, especially if they don’t sign out when they are done. But there is a better way that will allow someone else to temporarily use your device without being added as a user and without forcing you to quit everything you are doing. Use the “incognito” feature in Google Chrome, which was created for this exact purpose.

  • CTRL or Command, Shift, N (all at the same time)
  • This will open a new, separate browser window that looks like this:
    screen-shot-2019-03-12-at-2.28.39-pm
  • None of your saved logins will transfer to this, nor will you need to sign out or “add user” if the person is trying to access their Google Drive files on your device.
  • When you (or the person using the incognito window) is done, simply close it. You can’t “log in” to it, so there is no need to log out.

March 5, 2019: Send a post/announcement/question/resource to multiple classes at once in Google Classroom

Many teachers who use Google Classroom everyday don’t realize that it is possible to send the same post to multiple classes with just one click.  Check out the image below to see how.

Selecting multiple classes in GC

 

Feb 26, 2019: Learn what you want, when you want

With our district days off last week, I actually wasn’t available last Tuesday, but now we’re back! Here is this week’s tip:

This tip is mostly for those of you who haven’t yet explored Twitter. You can have an account on Twitter and learn and follow great thinkers and organizations doing great work. You don’t personally have to share anything!

The simple truth is, Twitter is as good as who or what you follow. And more and more educators are turning to Twitter for just-in-time professional learning. People aren’t just saying pithy things and sharing gifs on Twitter; they are sharing student activities, authentic resources/primary source documents, lesson plans, and sharing out slide decks from the conferences they attend!

Here is a great post from Nicole Mancini (The Teaching Channel) to help you get started. And if you do decide to take the plunge, or even if you already have, here are some of my recommended hashtags:

  • ANY conference! Get conference highlights, slide decks and resources. In this example, you would see everything posted for the 2019 ASCD conference by searching that tag. PRO TIP: you may also want to “follow” the handles of the organizations who offer the conferences, such as @ASCD. Here are some conference hashtags to help you see the pattern:
    • #ASCD19 (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development 2019 conference)
    • #CLTA19 (California Language Teachers’ Association, 2019 conference)
    • #ISTE19 (International Society for Technology in Education, 2019 conference)
    • #CUE19 (Computer-Using Educators 2019 conference)
    • #NCTE19 (National Council of Teachers of English 2019 conference)
    • #NCTM19 (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics 2019 conference)
    • #NAEA19 (National Arts Educators Association 2019 conference)
    • #NSTA19 (National Science Teachers Association 2019 conference)
    • #NCSS19 (National Council for the Social Sciences 2019 conference)
  • #sbgchat (standards-based grading chat group)

Feb. 12, 2019: another way to share without giving everything away

Last week, I shared two ways to make your content viewable without allowing viewers to make their own copies. Here is another way, and this is particularly useful if the file is something you regularly update and also if you would like to embed your Google Doc, Google Slides or Google Sheets into a website so that is it viewable within the site, rather than having to be clicked as a link.

In Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides, go to the “File” menu and then choose “Publish to web.” Then, check the settings in case you want to adjust anything and copy the link you are provided. When you give that link to people, the page opens in a display view only. There are no file options provided, nor is there the option to print. I use this not only to share documents, but to make it easier to update my pages on the internal district web site: instead of dealing with the clunky editing interface in Sharepoint (the program we use to edit our website), I just update my Google Slide for the various pages (see screenshot below) and, like everything Google, it is automatically updated for everyone. This also means I can update much of the content on my website from any device and anywhere with internet access, whereas Sharepoint can only be edited on a computer, only using Safari browser and only while I am at a site within my school district.

How to get to “Publish to Web”

Publish to web

What it looks like with a Google Slides File:

Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 3.28.54 PM.png

Feb. 5, 2019: Sharing without giving everything away

When a Google Doc, Slides file, or Sheet is shared with you, it may be in “view only.” If you make a copy for yourself, the copy is not shared back with the original creator AND it is editable. This can be useful. For example, when attending a conference, some people like to make a copy of the presenter’s slide deck so that they can take notes in the “speaker notes” section of each slide while the presenter is talking. But this also puts intellectual property at risk. One way to protect your work (or for your students to protect theirs) is to download as PDF. Then upload the PDF into your Google Drive, get the share link for that and provide that to others.  Another option is available right within the sharing settings of a Google Doc, Google Slides, and Google Sheets: Click on “advanced” and at the very bottom is a check box you can select to prevent viewers from making copies.

Stay tuned – next week’s Tech Tip will provide an even better option!

January 22, 2019: Formative assessment matrix

Would it make it easier to choose the right formative assessment tool for the type of activity and  data you and your students need if you could see the features of several formative assessment tools in one spot? Would you love that spot to also include some “help” resources to get you started with the tool you selected? Then look no further: this matrix has what you need and as I learn about new tools, I will add them–whenever you check back, you will always have the most updated version!

You can scroll the image below or click here to access the web version (feel free to bookmark and share it with others!).

January 15, 2019: Drag and Drop in Google Classroom

Google Classroom just got easier to organize. Say goodbye to “moving up” repeatedly in order to move an item or a topic on your Classwork page, because you can just drag and drop now. Drag an item to another location within a topic or to a different topic altogether. You can also drag entire topics to a new order on the page.

January 8, 2019: Get a handle on the plethora of formative assessment tools

Have trouble selecting between all those online formative assessment tools? Maybe this  formative assessment matrix can help!

December 18, 2018: toggle between open tabs

Do you have a LOT of tabs open? Here’s how you can quickly move from one tab to another using your keyboard instead of your mouse:

  1. To toggle through open tabs in your browser from left to right:
    • PC: CTRL + “page up” key
    • Mac: “control” (NOT “command”) + Tab
  2. To toggle through open browser tabs from right to left
    • PC: CTRL +  “page down” key
    • Mac: “control” + Shift + Tab

Dec. 11, 2018: Go Visual!

Check out these tools to help capture your students thinking by letting them draw it. The tools below serve different purposes, but all have a “draw” tool that students can use:

  1. Seesaw (http://app.seesaw.me). This is a digital portfolio tool, but one of the artifacts students can include is a drawing they do within the app. This tool also allows them to layer drawings over their other content, such as photos, videos, or text notes.
  2. Formative: (https://goformative.com/). This is a formative assessment tool. One of the response options is drawing.
  3. Interactive white boards aren’t just for teachers! If students have phones or tablets, let them use interactive white board apps such as Doceri or Educreations.
  4. Get them started #Sketchnoting. This page gives a nice overview and some tips to help you and students get started: https://www.verbaltovisual.com/what-is-sketchnoting/ and Sylvia Duckworth is considered by many to be the expert on sketchnoting, so you might check out her page. https://sylviaduckworth.com/
  5. Use Google Draw.

Dec. 4, 2018: Random Number Generator

Have you ever wanted to have a random number generator available without leaving the webpage you are on? Now you can! Install the Chrome Extension “Random Gen.” Whenever you want it, just click the icon and enter your minimum and maximum numbers. Then hit “Randomize!” as many times as you want to get different numbers.

random-gen

Nov. 13, 2018: Use this Chrome Extension to provide oral feedback

Would you like to just “talk” to your students to give them feedback on the assignments they submit in Google Classroom? You can if you install the Chrome Extension “WebCam Record” from Alice Keeler. With this extension, you can record 30 seconds of video using your webcam. The video is automatically saved to Google Drive and the link to the video is also automatically copied to your clipboard. This makes sharing the video extremely easy.

Here’s how it would work in Google Classroom: let’s say students submitted their assignments as a Google Doc in Google Classroom.

  1. Open the first submission through Google Classroom.
  2. Read the work, and when you’re ready to record, click on the extension’s icon–it will be in the upper right corner of you screen, next to the URL bar.
  3. Record your message, up to 30 seconds.
  4. The link to your video was automatically copied to your clipboard, so just click to add a private comment to the student’s work (in the right-hand side bar, next to their Google Doc) and paste the link to your video.
  5. Finish providing feedback with additional comments, if needed.
  6. Return the work to the student via Google Classroom.
  7. You did it!!

Be sure you are using Chrome browser and get the extension here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/alice-keeler-webcam-recor/ljkchdmiefjpclcpniabljokcaedooaa?hl=en.

Nov. 6, 2018: Keyboard Shortcuts, Part 2

Below are some more keyboard shortcuts you can use 

  • For Mac users: Command+Shift+Control+4 = take a screenshot that is automatically saved to your clipboard for immediate pasting.
  • CTRL/Command (on a Mac) + T: Open a new browser window
  • To select multiple items that are sequential in a list (for example, if you have blocks of text and/or images you want to cut or copy to paste elsewhere, or to select a sequential group of files to move into a folder):
    • Hold “Shift” while clicking items. OR click the first item in the list,
    • then hold “Shift” and click the last item. Both the first and last items and all in between will be selected.
    • Usually, they turn blue. At that point, you can move, cut, or copy them.
  • To select multiple items that are NOT in a sequence, such as files on your desktop or in your Google Drive that you want to put into a folder:
    • Hold CTRL (Command for a Mac): while you click each item. Then you can cut/copy or move those items.

Oct. 30, 2018

This tip was written by our Instructional Technology TOSA, Jenifer Cox (jcox@sanjuan.edu).

Have you ever used a Chrome extension?  If this is your first or 101st, please consider One Tab.  This is an amazing tool that lets you consolidate all your open tabs in Chrome, without losing any!  It creates a list view of all your open tabs, then keeps a record of your different sessions to make things easier to manage!  Remember; all Chrome Extensions ONLY work when you are using Google Chrome. If you are a Safari, Explorer, Firefox, etc. user, these won’t work for you, but some of these browsers have their own extensions that you can install.


1. Open CHROME
2. Type CHROME EXTENSIONS into the search bar
3. Click on CHROME EXTENSIONS FOR GOOGLE
4. Search for ONE TAB
5. Click ADD TO CHROME
6. Once added to chrome, it will appear in the space next to the search bar.
7. When you have a whole bunch of tabs up, and you click this extension, it will put all of your open tabs into one place, and give them to you as a list.  IF you want to open one up, just click it and it will reopen!
8. The beauty of the One Tab is that it saves the list of things you have opened in prior sessions as well, so you have a clear history of what you have opened.
9. You can also save the One Tab as a webpage and share it with your class, through classroom.  There are lots of options from the One Tab!
10. Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2018-10-30 at 12.01.14 PM.png

Oct. 23, 2018

For Gmail users: Did you receive an email that you will need to address later, but you don’t want to forget? Install the Boomerang add-on to your gmail account to get options to have a message sent to you “again” at a later date. You can also use Boomerang to schedule an email you are writing to be sent at a later time–great for things you are working on during a late Friday afternoon and you know you want the message to show up in the recipients’ inboxes first thing Monday morning. Get more information here: https://www.boomeranggmail.com/

Oct. 16, 2018

Oh my goodness…the week got away from me!

Oct. 9, 2018

Digitize all those flipcharts!

You went to a training and there were flip charts with great information. Maybe you even created some of them. Or your students did gallery walks on butcher paper in your classes. And now, you don’t want to throw away those thoughts that were captured, so they sit rolled up in corners and under tables. No problem! Take a picture of them and upload them to Google Drive.  From there, you can rename them, organize them in folders, etc. Check out the slide shot below to see how it can be done from a phone (install the Google Drive app on your phone first). Screenshots are from an iPhone.

digitize flipchart paper.png

Oct. 2, 2018

This tip comes to us from ed tech guru and Math teacher Alice Keeler. By just switching your view of a Google slide deck from its default of thumbnails to tiles, you can see how your whole class is collaborating and the progress they are making in the work they will later be sharing! Check out the screen shot:

Google slides tile view.pngWant more details on how to do this or what this looks like in the classroom? Follow the link to learn how, and get a bonus tip on using Google Slides for student-created Frayer Model slides of content vocabulary:  https://alicekeeler.com/2018/02/15/google-slides-watch-students-collaborate/

Sept. 25, 2018: Bookmark your favorites!

Love a site? Go to it all the time? Sick of typing it in or searching for it? Bookmark it! Here’s how (in Chrome browser):

  1. Make sure you are signed into Chrome! This will ensure your bookmarks are available on any device, as long as you are signed in to Chrome.
  2. Go to the site you want to bookmark if you aren’t already there.
  3. Click the “Star” at the end of the URL bar (the white rectangle at the top where you type your web addresses). When you do, a window will open. You will see that the default is to save to the “Bookmarks Bar,” but that you can also choose to save bookmarks to the “other bookmarks” folder instead. Decide if you want the Bookmarks Bar or the “Other Bookmarks” folder (read on for the difference) and you’re done.

That’s it!! You have now bookmarked a site and you will be able to “click” to open it instead of typing the address.

So how do you access your bookmarks? If you only have a few, they will be saved under the URL bar in a place called the “Bookmarks Bar.” Once you have more than eight bookmarks there, you have to click to see to the rest: There is a very small symbol to the right of the eight bookmarks you can see. It looks like a tiny version of this: >>. Click on that and a drop-down will appear with your other bookmarks. To the right of that symbol, you also have direct access to the “other bookmarks” folder.

See the screenshot below:

chrome bookmarks.jpg

Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 9.58.45 AM.png

Sept. 18, 2018: Explore the “Explore” feature in Google Docs and Slides!

Have you clicked on the “explore” button in the lower right corner when editing Google Docs or Google Slides? You should! In Google Docs, clicking here allows you (or your

students) to conduct research in a side pane without leaving their document. And, when they find something they want to cite, they can automatically add a properly formatted footnote to that source in their Google Doc by clicking on the  quotation symbol in the upper right corner of the source they want to cite. It is also possible to determine which style or formatting to use for the footnote: MLA, APA, or Chicago Manual of Style. Note, however, that there is no guarantee that formatting will reflect any changes these organizations may make to their formatting guidelines. Here is what the pane will look like when you click on the grey “explore” button on the bottom right.

Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 10.10.52 AM.png

Once you see something you like, you can choose to cite it by clicking on the quotation symbol in the upper right corner of that source. In the screenshot below, you can see the quotation symbol and above it, three vertical dots. Click on those dots to change the style of footnote (MLA, APA, etc.).

Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 10.12.10 AM.png

In Google Slides, the Explore button first suggests new layouts for your current slide based on the slide’s content. But you can also search web and images and add images, all directly from the Explore panel on the right to the slide. All images that come up when searching with the Explore feature will have use, editing and modification rights, even commercially. Here is what the pane looks like once you click on the grey button in the lower right. Note the layouts are defaulted to appear first, but there is a search bar right above the word layouts. Click there and type your search term. When the results appear, they will be “web” results first, but there will be an option to click on “images” in order to see image results.

Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 10.07.26 AM.png

Sept. 11, 2018: How get unstuck when your computer freezes

The program (or web browser) you are using has frozen. Nothing works. You don’t want to restart your machine, but you do want to quit that program. How?

  • PC users can hold down  CTRL ALT DELETE (all at the same time) when a program crashes to bring up the task manager, which will then allow to quit a program that is “not responding.”
  • The Mac version of PCs “ctrl alt delete” is “option command esc.” Hold these three keys down at the same time, and a window will appear with a list of open programs and invite you to quit a program that is “not responding.”

Sept. 4, 2018: “Talk” to your students when giving feedback in Google Classroom with the “WebCam Record extension

Would you like to just “talk” to your students to give them feedback on the assignments they submit in Google Classroom? Install the Chrome Extension “WebCam Record” from Alice Keeler. With this extension, you can record 30 seconds of video using your webcam. The video is automatically saved to Google Drive and (and this is magic for using with Google Classroom) the link to the video is copied to your clipboard. This makes sharing the video extremely easy.

Here’s how it would work in Google Classroom: let’s say students submitted their assignments as a Google Doc in Google Classroom. Open the first submission through Google Classroom. Read the work, and when you’re ready to record, click on the extension’s icon–it will be in the upper right corner of you screen, next to the URL bar. Record your message, up to 30 seconds. Remember, the link to you video was automatically copied to your clipboard, so just click to add a private comment to the student’s work (in the right-hand side bar, next to their Google Doc) and paste the link to your video. Note that you may want to start with a statement letting them know to click the link to see your video. Then move on to the next student’s assignment.

Be sure you are using Chrome browser and get the extension here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/alice-keeler-webcam-recor/ljkchdmiefjpclcpniabljokcaedooaa?hl=en.

August 28, 2018: Some favorite keyboard shortcuts

Did you know that keyboard shortcuts that you do (or hear that your PC friends do) with the CTRL key on a PC also usually work on a Mac by using the Command key instead of CTRL? Here are some favorite keyboard shortcuts:

  1. CTRL/Command F = “find” on any page: brings up a search bar, usually in the upper right corner of your screen. Great for those Google Searches where the preview looks like exactly what you wanted and when you click on the page, you can’t find what you saw in the preview in the Google search results screen.
  2. CTRL/Command Z = undo last action. Repeat to undo previous actions, one at a time.
  3. CTRL/Command Y = redo
  4. CTRL/Command shift T = reopen closed tab: great for you accidentally closed a tab on your internet browser that you didn’t mean to close
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