Tech Tips

April 2015: Volume 2 Number 12

April Showers

You'll find a wide variety of apps, articles, and websites in this issue.
The One Book

Zen Pencils

Zen Pencils: Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks

Cartoons created based on quotes.

“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that … that’s what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special. And if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself.” Amy Poehler


What is 21st century education?

How to Create a Video Interview with a Chromebook

How to Create a Video Interview with a Chromebook

"I heard it once too often: "You can't edit video on a Chromebook." Actually, you can.

With a built-in webcam, microphone, and access to YouTube tools online, a Chromebook provides everything you need to create a basic video.

There are limits, of course. Chromebook hardware determines what you can capture: webcam resolution affects video quality, and the microphone impacts audio accuracy. YouTube tools limit what you can edit: the online YouTube Editor supports a maximum of 50 video clips. If your needs exceed these constraints, you'll need a different set of tools.

J.J. Abrams isn't likely to use a Chromebook to record or edit Star Wars, but a Chromebook can capably capture a video interview. For example, a video might help introduce a new team member to an organization: a written biography establishes a person's experience, while a video conveys personality. In an educational environment, an interview project may help a learner improve media or journalism skills.

Here's how to record, edit, and publish a video interview with your Chromebook."


Chromebook: Video Creation

Classroom Newsletters

Classroom Newsletters

"As the parent of three elementary students, I get a lot of classroom newsletters. And every time I get one, I fully intend to read it. I know how important it is to keep track of school activities, to know what my kids are learning, and to support their teachers.

But I don’t always do it. I put the newsletter into a pile of important papers, and other papers pile on top of it, and far too often, I just don’t get to it.

My own disorganization can take some of the blame, but I’m sure my reading would be more consistent if the newsletters were designed differently. If you suspect parents aren’t really reading what you send home, see if your newsletter suffers from one of these five flaws."

Classroom News Video Example

How to Win at Rock-Paper-Scissors: Wolfram Style!

How to Win at Rock-Paper-Scissors: Wolfram Style!

"Rock-paper-scissors* isn’t obviously interesting to look at mathematically. The Nash-equilibriumstrategy is very simple: choose equally and randomly from the three choices, and (in the long run) your opponent will not beat you (nor will you beat your opponent). Nevertheless, it’s still possible for a computer strategy to beat a human player over a long run of games."


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Personalize Social Emotional Learning with Google Forms

Personalize Social Emotional Learning with Google Forms

"I’d love to boast about some brilliant, innovative new use of technology here, but, really, for most of these situations, we just use Google Forms. It’s a free tool and process that any teacher or school could implement almost immediately.

As part of our PLT curriculum, students fill in a “Digital Check-in” first thing in the morning once a week. The Digital Check-in is a simple Google Form that has a variety of fields that students fill out to give staff a basic “snapshot” of their current social-emotional world. I should say here that by no means are our Digital Check-Ins perfect or "finished," but they are working in their current form, and thus, worth sharing."

Social Media Abuse Rampant in Middle, High School

Social Media Abuse Rampant in Middle, High School

Five reminders for your kids

If you're opening a conversation with teenagers and those who are almost teens — or even offering reminders from earlier talks — about what's appropriate online and what's not, researcher Poco Donna Kernsmith of Wayne State University in Detroit suggests these five points.

• Remember nothing is private online

• Remember nothing online can be taken back

• Be aware of pressure and coercion

• Consider the reaction and feelings of others

• Remember nothing is truly anonymous

Simulating a Testing Environment with Google Apps

PARCC-Like Assessment

"Kids continue to struggle to get use to the harsh testing environment, so while many teachers have been turning to different websites to help them create PARCC-like assessments, I’ve turned to Google Apps for Education to make my own."

How Much Math/Science Homework Is Too Much

How Much Math/Science Homework Is Too Much

"WASHINGTON — When it comes to adolescents with math and science homework, more isn’t necessarily better — an hour a day is optimal — but doing it alone and regularly produces the biggest knowledge gain, according to research published by the American Psychological Association."


What Two Years of MOOCs Can Tell Us

What Two Years of MOOCs Can Tell Us

"The report reveals a dynamic and subtly changing situation, in which the numbers both of total participants and of unique participants are steadily rising, and the make-up of the population is becoming slightly older and more female.

Perhaps the most interesting finding from surveys of MOOC participants is that as many as 39% are teachers, and some 21% of them are taking courses in their areas of expertise, suggesting that there be a substantial multiplier effect in classrooms around the world."

How 3D Printing Curriculum Is Changing the Way STEM Is Taught in the Classroom

How 3D Printing Curriculum Is Changing the Way STEM Is Taught in the Classroom

"One student designed his own iPhone case and now wants to print it at school. "If you need something, don't just go buy it, you can make it. That 'sky's the limit' type mentality [is what] they're beginning to grasp."

Lawless was a math teacher for six years when she "got a wild hair" and decided to teach engineering instead. She had no idea what the curriculum would entail, but it sounded fascinating, so she attended a boot camp held by Project Lead the Way, a nonprofit that develops STEM curricula."

Google Keep to Organize Your Life

Meet Google Keep and 6 Ways It Can Help Schools

"Google Keep isn’t just a nifty Google tool. It can help teachers and students in so many ways:

1. Connect to-do lists with another person. Your sticky notes in Google Keep can be shared with others by entering names or e-mail addresses. Teachers can share important department notes. Students’ excuses of “My partner’s sick and he has all the notes” are eliminated.

2. Organize your life. Keep notes separated with labels. Check multiple notes and then apply a label to group them together for easy finding. Students can create labels for each class or extra-curricular activity.

3. Move big notes to Google Docs. Is one of your Google Keep notes getting too verbose? Check it and use the “Copy to Google Doc” option to save it to your Google Drive, opening up more formatting options.

4. Record inspiration when it happens. Google Keep is available on a variety of platforms, including Android devices, any web browser, and an extension for Google Chrome. When you need to jot down a genius idea, Google Keep is there. There are ways to access it for iOS devices like iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

5. Access that inspiration from other devices. Because Keep is connected to your Google account, notes can be retrieved from any device. Make a note on your phone at the grocery and flesh it out when you sit down at your laptop that night.

6. Get reminders when and where you need them. Add a reminder to a Google Keep note so it will call your attention to it at a certain time or when you’re at a specific place. Your device needs to identify your location with GPS for the location feature to work. It’s pretty impressive when it does — when you’re walking in the school and your phone buzzes with a timely reminder.

Google Keep has great practical and time-saving benefits for students and teachers. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest downloading the app or heading tothe Google Keep website now to start!"

Google's New Chromebook Is On a Stick

Google's New Chromebook Is On a Stick

"Now, Google has crammed an entire Chromebook onto a stick. Made by Asus, the Chromebit connects to any monitor through an HDMI port.

The Chromebit doesn't have an exact price yet, but Google says it will cost less than $100. Due out this summer, it has 2GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. In addition to the HDMI connector, the Chromebit has a USB 2.0 port and can connect to other peripherals over Bluetooth. It will come in a number of festive colors."




"Pics4Learning is a safe, free image library for education. Teachers and students can use the copyright-friendly photos & images for classrooms, multimedia projects, websites, videos, portfolios, or any projects in an educational setting."


What is a Makerspace?

Strongsville City Schools Instructional Technology Information

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