Monday, October 5, 2015

September Crunch

I don't know about you, but I am so glad September is over. September is the start of school, the start of routines, the start of new programs. To ensure a smooth start for the students everything has a sense of urgency. I have spent the last month developing workshops, creating accounts, fixing accounts, creating schedules, revising schedules, cataloging new library books, planning library lessons, preparing for clubs, arranging one-on-one sessions with teachers, reviewing curricula and standards, developing tutorials and support pages for the staff intranet, preparing school sites and classroom pages, visiting classrooms, updating library links and resources, making sure technology is available and working, and so many other little things to help teachers teach and kids learn.

Outside of school I am taking a course on multi-media design through Rutgers. I also volunteered to support my state organization; I now chair the Website Committee of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians.

I don't do all of this on my own; I support and am supported by a fantastic network of professionals. We have all felt the September Crunch in our own way.

All of this is a lame attempt to explain why the blog has only had one post in September. Now that schedules have settled and routines are in motion I look forward to sharing great resources, tools, books, and media through this platform.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Video: Flash Mob "One More Day" (Les Mis) - West Des Moines Schools

One more day, GTSD!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Video: Key & Peele - TeachingCenter

This video is making the rounds among educators...have you seen it yet?


Monday, April 27, 2015

Google Apps: How to Search | Gmail, Drive (Video)

The Google for Work YouTube channel recently published a great video showing how to use Google advanced search operators to quickly find messages and documents. In short, those same operators you use in search work in Gmail and Drive!


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Digital Spring Cleaning

We talk a lot with our students about how they present themselves online. But what about us? Family Online Safety Institute created a checklist to help adults stay safe online. Below are some additional resources to help in cleaning up your digital footprint.

Check your Passwords
The best password is one that you can easily recall and type, something that an acquaintance could not easily guess. is a neat tool to help create a stronger password.

Check your Privacy Settings
Quick links to privacy settings information for popular sites and tools:

Check your Posts
Remember that privacy does not exist on the internet, even "private" accounts. Also remember that just because a post or image is deleted does not mean that it is really gone forever. I recommend reading FastCompany's article "How to Avoid Social Media Regret" which includes some great tips for ensuring your online presence reflects your offline professionalism.

H/T to +Kasey Bell and +Tracy Buchanan

Friday, April 10, 2015

Quick Tip: Search a Timer in Google

Looking for a simple countdown timer? Google has you covered! Go to Google and search for "[time] timer". "Time" can be entered as an amount of time (minutes, seconds, hours), or an actual time (4pm). A timer instantly appears at the top of the results. A chime will sound as time expires (this can be disabled). Go full screen for a less cluttered display. Stop, reset, and start as often as needed. A warning box appears if you try to navigate away from the page, reducing the chance of accidental closure.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

TechSmith Snagit (Google Chrome Extension)

TechSmith's Snagit is a Google Chrome extension that allows users to share what they see on their screen. Capture by selecting a portion of the screen, current browser tab content, the entire page (scrolling capture), or video screen cast. All captures are saved to Google Drive for easy access and sharing. While there are alternatives that offer more features, Snagit's Chrome extension is free, easy to use, and will travel with the user's Google Chrome account (school, home, any computer with Chrome installed).

There are a lot of ways that Snagit can be useful in the classroom for both students and teachers. Some suggestions:
  • Teacher or peer visual and audio feedback on projects.
  • Students capture an image of the results of a quick assessment or game (helpful for sites without class management tools).
  • Create a screencast demonstrating how to complete an action, share with students or colleagues.
  • Demonstrate an action or process, share with others (students, colleagues, families).

Image capture options:
  • Choose an area of the browser window to capture: user drawn region, visible browser window, or scrolling capture of the entire web page.
  • Add text, arrows, circles, or squares to highlight or draw attention to specific areas of the image. The color and size of these elements can be defined by the user.

Video recording options:
  • Video recording is not limited to capturing only the content within the browser.
  • Choose which window to record: full screen or a specific window.
  • Enable or disable the microphone.
  • Files are automatically saved to Google Drive (larger files will take longer).
  • Create an animated gif (video must be less than 20 seconds). Alice Keeler's Teacher Tech blog has a great tutorial.
  • Publish directly to YouTube.
  • Capture a direct link to the Drive file.

Quick note: Some recording and annotating features do not work on certain types of web pages -- but there will always be an option to simply capture a still image of the screen.