Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What I learned in Las Vegas ... MASKING!

This past weekend I had the opportunity to present in Las Vegas!  The Nevada Google Apps for Education Summit!  It was another one of those times when I am reminded that we are leaders!  We ARE ahead of the pack!  We are digital pioneers!

Many of the teachers that were there were using personal GMail accounts to share documents, create forms, contact parents, manage calendars, etc.  Mary Ellen Sauser and I were doing that "Before Matt" and  WAY before we were 1:1.  I can't imagine going back to those times!  We are fortunate, really, we are!

But on to what I learned!  One of the things I learned more about is the poor, forgotten child of Google Drive - DRAWINGS!  Oh, what I learned!  I learned how to make banners for web pages, interactive buttons, use masking to give images a shape, and even how to create digital handouts like Venn Diagrams!

I can't wait to share more on this ... but here's one little snippet.  I'm sure some of you know about this but it was new to me this weekend!!

So, you see, what happens in Vegas doesn't all have to stay in Vegas!  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chromebook Tips & Tricks

I'm just back from my monthly TIES KIC meeting where I was co-presenter on Chromebooks:  Tips, Tricks, Apps & Extensions.  Chris White from St. Paul Academy and I presented.  I think the handout that we used today would be of great help to the staff at Pine City Public Schools.  I'm going to share parts of it here.  I'm happy to talk with anyone about some of these things AND/OR come into a classroom to share them with students!

1 ~ Keyboard Shortcuts - These are awesome and show just how versatile the Chromebook can be.

2 ~ Trackpad Gestures - The trackpad on a Chromebook is just as useful and versatile as the trackpad on a MacBook.  Try these out!

3 ~ Apps/Extensions - The Chrome Web Store has lots and lots of worthy apps and extensions.  Check some of these out.  Chris talked about these - some I know about and some are all new to me and are on my "to be checked out list" ...  I've already added the Incredible Start Page!  I can't wait to share it with you at some point!  Some of you will LOVE it!

Enjoy and happy CHROMEBOOKing!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy New Year! Cold, flu, germs and SUB PLANS!

It's that time of year where many of us are planning for subs ... with our technology infused curriculum and classrooms we need to make certain that subs are well-informed.

First and probably most important:  Please make sure that this document is printed out and readily available to the sub.  It contains up-to-date information on how to log in as a substitute in all of our buildings.  I would recommend checking back quarterly to see if any information has changed. 

Second:  IF you are a 1:1 laptop teacher and have your laptop at home, please email or contact someone in your building to help the substitute to get a Chromebook.  I'm happy to be a contact person at the High School and Jeanne Lundholm should be the person at the Elementary as MJ is not in daily.

1:1 laptop teachers who have planned absences should make a decision based on the technology needs of the substitute whether they should leave the laptop and take a Chromebook for their use during their absence.  It may be necessary to leave the laptop so that substitutes have software available to them that is not available on a Chromebook (DVD player, IWB software, etc.)  

Third:  Email your lesson plans to the appropriate sub email per the instructions.  If you are sharing them to that account, please go into that account and make sure that they are viewable in Drive.  This might entail you making a folder with your name on it - you will see that some are already made.  If you have questions on this, let me know.

Finally:  IF at all possible make your lesson plans tech-friendly for your sub.  Do your best at instructions and make sure to point out who can be their go-to helper.  I can be reached at 3148, Jeanne Lundholm is at 5150, Matt is at 3237, and Tom Mitchell is at 5126.

And ... IF you know of any subs who are having regular difficulties with accessing our technology, let me know and I'll attempt to meet with them on their next time here.