Monday, August 25, 2014

Spot the Spyware

Photo from: edtechnologyideas
 


There are quite a few virtual clicker systems out there. I have talked about Socrative and Infuse Learning before and find both resources to be very useful for collecting data, assessing, and student engagement.

Kahoot is a unique experience as it really beings out the competitive spirit as it totals points based upon speed and accuracy. It even announces who is in the lead after each question. It reminds me of being in college and playing the trivia games that were available at Buffalo Wild Wings. Each person had their own response system and users answered sports trivia while waiting for your food.
You can create and access a teacher account at www.getkahoot.com. There you have the ability to create your own Kahoot! game or you can search their archives for others that are made by other teachers. Students will have to access through www.kahoot.it.

Thus far, this post hasn't matched the title at all. I actually am posting this because I created a Kahoot game that I titled "Spot the Spyware." Through it, I show various pictures of screens that may appear on student computers depending upon the level of downloading activity the students engages in. This is a major concern for our Lenovo PC users as students are not quite as keen on what is legit on the Internet and what is a potential threat. By showing the images of these screens in a Kahoot game, I am hoping to create a great dialogue with students about the dangers of downloading, and how to think prior to clicking on a box that pops up on their screen.

If your students are using a PC laptop, feel free to use it how you wish. You can access my game here.

Outlook 2013 - Advanced Rules

To add to my collection of Outlook 2013 tutorials, I decided to go a little more in detail with rules that you can create to better organize your email. I will warn you that it can get overwhelming as there are a lot of options to look at while setting up more advanced rules. However, becoming more familiar with rules will ultimately save you time as you can better organize your inbox.

In this example, I create a rule based upon the sender and subject line combined. Based upon those conditions, it will create a copy of the email, put it into a specified folder, add it to my task list, and play a sound to alert me that it has arrived. Please notice that I said that it would make a copy of the email and put it in the folder. That means it will not be removed from your inbox. This is significant as many teachers utilize mobile devices. One of our biggest problems with utilizing rules to move specific messages to another folder is that users on mobile devices have to consciously find the folder that was designated without any warning that it was moved. This sometimes causes one to miss important emails that are time sensitive. Copying the email to a folder will eliminate that issue.

Like I said previously, there are many rules you can apply. This is just one combination out of hundreds. The one I performed here might just be more significant to the majority of users' needs.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

No More Newsletters!

Teachers are short on time. It is difficult to keep up with writing a newsletter. It is hard to keep up with the upkeep of a website. (Hence the reason we have moved East Noble elementary teachers to Blogger...it is easy!) Thanks to www.printfriendly.com, you can save tons of time by posting everything on your Blogger site and making a PDF copy of it without using tons of ink making color copies.

Before I get into using the tool, here is a list of tips I would consider when preparing your Blogger site for Printfriendly:

TIPS

1. Add a Heading above your text. Print friend does not seem to recognize your titles. So you may have to add an extra heading above each post. Here is how you change text to a heading:

2. Treat each post as newsletter information. So things like including links into your post. The readers need to be able to see the entire address in order to utilize it. For example: www.biguniverse.com 

3. Clean up your post by deleting excess. I had a teacher ask me about removing posts you do not need in your newsletter to go home. Printfriendly actually lets you delete extra text you do not want. So don't worry about repeating news. You can clean it up later.

4. Find out from parents how many actually need a paper version. They have access to the website. Why send repeated information if they do not need it? Have parents opt-in on newsletters.

Here is how to use Printfriendly in more detail:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Outlook 2013: Tasks and Quicksteps

There are so many "ins and outs" to Outlook 2013 to increase productivity. The average person may not even know that these tools exist to help them better organize their work routine. In this post, I'll talk about the benefits of utilizing tasks as well as quick steps. These tools will help avoid the dreaded overflow of email in you inbox.

Follow-Up Flags/Tasks


Ever notice in Outlook when you hover over an email in your inbox that a little flag appeared? Maybe you are already using it, but did you know you could flag according to time span of when you want to follow-up on the item? You can even create a reminder on a specific day so that you do not forget to get started on the task. Using the flags will help you keep track of the tasks you need to accomplish.


Quick Steps

Want to clear out your inbox a little? There are quite a few different "quick steps." I encourage you to experiment with them a little. However, I will be focusing specifically on the "flag and move" quick step. With a single click, you will flag an email message for a specific time span, move it to a folder, and also save it as a new message. Not only that, but it still appears in your tasks on Outlook. This could be very handy for emails sent by your principal/boss. That way you can set the time span that you need to complete something and move it out of your inbox. After they are moved, you can still add a reminder to them if you'd like. You enter your saved location and right click on the messages that require reminders. 


Friday, August 8, 2014

Office 365 - Student Orientation

If you as a school district have adopted Office 365 in Education, then this post is for you. As students received their laptops with Windows 8.1 for the first time today, we realized a couple things: The students did not have a OneDrive for Business sync on their computer, and they needed an overview of the many ways to save their files.

(Please keep in mind that this post directly to relates to teachers and students within East Noble School Corporation. The methods by which your school district would like for you to save may differ.)

The OneDrive for Business sync is a must. Initially I had attempted to just log into it as it is part of Windows 8.1, but the students couldn't log into it. After speaking with a member of the tech department, we came to the conclusion that it needed to be downloaded. This requires quite a bit of time, but it is absolutely necessary if you desire for students to be able to access their files very quickly. In the long run, the sync will save time.


Students can create, move, and save files in Office 365 by many methods. This tutorial gives students an overview of accessing them through the file explorer (must be installed by the process in the video above), any Microsoft Office product, and the Office 365 web version. 


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Outlook 2013 - Calendar Edition

Today I had a teacher stop me in the hallway and mention that it would be really helpful if I could make a quick tutorial on how to navigate in Outlook calendars. It is really, really handy when a teacher makes these specific requests so that I can best meet teacher needs. So if you are noticing that teachers need some guidance on a specific tool, please speak up so that I can get on it.

Calendar Navigation

This video is for those of you that are unfamiliar with using multiple calendars in Outlook. Here I will show you how to view your calendar in different ways as well as how to overlay the calendars on top of each other so that appointments are easier to see. 




Adding Appointments, Reoccurances, Reminders, and Invitations

One great feature about the calendar in Outlook are the reoccurances. You can make an appointment and choose the frequency at which it appears on the calendar. That way you do not have to repeatedly add the same event to the calendar. Another must have is the invitation feature. Here you can invite individuals by email address. It automatically adds it to their calendar, and if you change anything about the appointment, it will send them a notice. These features could even be used with students so that you can keep them informed of the classroom events. 
  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Outlook 2013 - Conditional Formatting

Yesterday I posted about creating email groups and rules in Outlook 2013. These are necessary methods to use for organizing the large amount of email that teachers receive.

Another great way to stay organized, which I probably should have included in my previous post, is to use conditional formatting. This allows you to have emails from specific individuals stand out among the vast amount of email you receive. You could use this for emails from your superintendent, principal, or even parents of students.


If you are interested in utilizing conditional formatting in Outlook 2013, view my video tutorial: 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Email in Outlook 2013

With the beginning of the new school year here, one of the common questions I receive is about email, creating groups, and creating rules to manage email using Outlook 2013. So to help cover those questions so that all the content is in one place, I will be covering those details.

Creating a Contact Group

Creating a contact group is good for staff emails, collaboration with small groups of peers, distributing content to students, or contacting parents. Before I send you though the tutorial, we need to first make sure you can find your "People" tab in the navigation. It may not be visible by default.



Creating a Contact/People Group: 


Email Rules

Another handy trick for keeping email organized is creating email rules. By creating rules, you can have all emails from a select group or by subject content be rerouted into a folder so that your inbox does not become too full.