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Showing posts from August, 2015

Blogger

It is no secret the Blogger makes for a great communication tool. In fact, I've posted quite a bit about using Blogger as a teacher website over the last couple years. I'm revisiting it for a few reasons. One being my videos I made to get started with Blogger were incredibly too long. :) I decided to revamp them so that they didn't take up as much time. The second reason is because I'm working with a brand new staff that may or may not be utilizing Google Sites for parent communication. So I am proposing that Blogger be an alternative to Google Sites.

Blogger meets a different set of needs than a traditional website. The purpose of using Blogger is for regularly updated information. Much more like a continuous newsletter than a static website. So as a teacher, Blogger can be used to update the community or any passerby about a class event, field trip, exciting lessons, projects, or even just random images of what happened in the middle of the school day. It doesn'…

Chromebook Orientation 2015

School for MSD of Steuben County started last week and since then I've been getting students quickly oriented with their Chromebooks for the first time. It has been great meeting many teachers and students throughout the district. The students are excited for the opportunity to dig into their new device and try things out. 
Chromebook kickoff with third grade at Carlin Park today! #msdsc#msdsafaripic.twitter.com/xtVWWfa2fV — Lance Yoder (@Mr_Yoder) August 24, 2015
To get students to understand the purpose of the orientation, I make the comparison to learning to pound a nail into a board with a hammer. Most students identify with the fact that pounding a nail with a hammer is actually a difficult thing if you've had little experience using one. You bend a lot of nails, have nails fly right off the board, or even miss the nail altogether and smash your thumb! The point is, we need practice. In order to efficiently and effectively use a Chromebook, the students need to know how …

Explain Everything for Chrome

Explain Everything has been a popular iPad app for several years now. Students and teachers love it because of the flexibility of the tool. You can import pictures, videos, and websites all while recording your voice and drawing/typing over these items. Users can also pause, create another slide, and then continue their recording. Explain Everything gives students a lot of opportunity to express their learning in a fun and creative manner.

Recently Explain Everything was added to the Chrome Webstore. Students in school districts with Chromebook initiatives can now take advantage of the recording power within this tool. Right now it is free. How long that will last I do not know as the iPad app does cost money.

The video below features how to create a video using Explain Everything. I do not cover every tool that is available for the sake of time. However, it should give you and your students enough information to get started. There is a bit of a learning curve with this tool. I recom…

Google Keep

Teachers are always looking for good ways to "keep" students organized. Google Keep provides a platform by which students can do just that. Looking for a place to take quick notes? Need to import images and jot related ideas? Try Google Keep for those quick notes and checklists.

A couple years ago when Keep was first launched, I enjoyed using it to keep track of lists of tasks. It worked great as it synced directly from my Android phone to my Chrome browser. I also frequently used it for taking notes during a meeting. These notes typically weren't items I was going to keep in the long term. Otherwise I would have just used a regular Google Doc. I really enjoyed the simplicity of Keep since I was already a user of more robust note taking tools (Evernote and OneNote).

Google continues to add to and improve features, but not to the point of the more feature-rich note taking applications out there. Since it has first launched, they have added the ability to add collaborator…

Google Classroom: Annotate a PDF with DocHub

Today, as I was training teachers on various tech tools available on Chromebook, several questions started to popup about Google Classroom. (My best ideas for training come from random conversations such as these.) For many teachers at MSD of Steuben, this will be their first experience with Google Classroom and Chromebooks. The question arose about how students can annotate a PDF in Google Classroom. The solution I explored is DocHub which is a Google Drive add on. So while everyone was in a training for various webtools, I did a little screencast so that I could post about using DocHub in conjunction with Google Classroom on my blog. 
When a student clicks on a PDF document assigned to them in Google Classroom, it will pull up the PDF viewer in Google Drive. At the top of the screen, the user has the option to choose "open with" and a drop-down menu appears. Here, the students can add DocHub to their options by clicking on the Chrome Web Store icon. 

Using Doc Hub, the st…

Google Photos

The separation of Google Photos and Google+ happened awhile ago, but I have found it to be extremely useful to the point that I think it is a necessity for teachers. Google Photos is now clean and very user friendly. Not being mixed in with Google Plus will help me as a technology integration coordinator provide a location for teachers to house images and share with community members. There is no better way to communicate what is happening in your classroom than through images and videos.
Google Photos also has applications available for Android as well as iOS. The apps are easy to use and have some features that the web-version doesn't have. For example, users can create slideshows with their images and put them into a movie format. This was already possible with tools such as Youtube, but the clean interface streamlines the whole process as the videos can later be exported to your Youtube account.

Uploading Photos from Your Mobile Device and Sharing
Create a Movie with Your Mob…

Hangouts Chrome Extension

Google Hangouts is Google's messaging and video conferencing tool that is available for free to anyone that has a gmail account. It has been around for a few years and there are many cool things you can do with it. A few years ago, I did a Hangout with a few of my friends and we shared Youtube videos with each other while sitting in the comfort of our own living rooms. Regardless of the numerous uses for Hangouts, I want to focus specifically on the Hangouts extension for Chrome. 
With using the Hangouts Extension, a user stays logged into Hangouts while using their Chrome browser. There is no need to be on gmail or Google+. As long as Chrome is open, users can send messages to one another as well as video conference. Users can also add multiple people to a conversation just by searching their email address. How to install the extension and strike up a conversation can all be found in the following video. 


Now that I'm a part of MSD of Steuben County, I envision Hangouts as a …