MiddSouth Innovates

Issue #11

Rather than highlighting a particular lesson or class, this issue is going to be focused on random ideas that you may or may not know about. As always, some are tech-related and some are not.

Extensions & Apps & Add-ons, OH MY!

So that the terminology is clear: an Extension is a program that installs in Google Chrome, an App is a web program that runs within a browser window (such as Padlet or Flipgrid), an Add-on is a program that runs within a Google Drive program (Docs, Sheets, etc.). I've mentioned some of my favorite Add-ons in other Issues so I am just going to focus on Extensions here.

Chrome Extensions

  • Tab Scissors and Tab Glue--these extensions are great for working in split screen on 2 different tabs. You must install BOTH extensions! Hit the scissors on tab 2 and it moves to the right side while everything that came before it becomes the left side of your screen. Hit the glue bottle when you are done working and everything merges back together.
  • DF Youtube--Distraction Free (DF) Youtube allows you to customize your YouTube Experience. You can eliminate Autoplay, hide related videos (great for when you are showing videos in class!) and even hide comments.
  • Keep Awake--showing a YouTube video in class and don't want the screensaver to turn on? Turn on Keep Awake! This makes your computer think you are actively using it so it won't turn your screen off. Great for Chromebooks, too! Just remember to turn it off before you walk away from your computer!
  • Print Friendly--this extension is great when you are printing from websites. It can remove all of the annoying parts you don't want and just give you the important text to print. Also allows you to save a page as a pdf for those times when you want the text, but are not going to print.

If you are looking for more resources, here is a presentation with additional information from the Garden State Summit.

Keyboard Shortcuts

There are a bunch of great keyboard shortcuts that you can use on both Chromebooks and non-Chromebooks to help you be more productive.

  • Ctrl + D => Copy AND Paste
  • Ctrl + X => Cut
  • Shift + Ctrl + T => Open the last tab you closed (great for when you accidentally closed a window and can't remember what site you were just on. Also works well when a student says they are doing their class work, but you know they closed a window right before you got there)
  • Ctrl + Alt + ? => Shows all shortcut key combinations on the Chromebook
  • Shift + Ctrl + V => Paste text only with no formatting (use this when copying text from a website and pasting into another document. It will only copy the text, and none of the extra formatting that comes on websites)
  • Shift + Enter => Moves down a line without changing formatting. Use this when you are in a bullet list and need to move down a line, but don't want to add more bullets.

Learning and the Teenage Brain

Many, many studies have been done about how adolescents learn. We have all see variations of the learning pyramid as shown below--the ones that show that we retain only 5% of a lecture, but 90% when we teach the material to others. However, as many teachers will tell you and as the research shows, students will retain more information if they find it meaningful and if the information elicits an emotional response. Does that mean you need to rap to get them to remember the information? No. Well, maybe. But there are other strategies that work too.

  • Make The Content Relevant--while we understand how individual lessons tie together for larger learning, we need to make that obvious to the students. Modify problems and real-world scenarios to include information about the students to increase emotional connection. Practice argumentative writing by having students draft letters to politicians about current events topics.
  • Take a Brain Break--no one will deny that recess is important to elementary students so why do we deny them to older learners? The typical teenager can focus their attention for their age +/- 2 min. That means most HS activities should last between 12 and 20 min. Give the students a chance to stand up and stretch or change seats. Setup stations so students can move to other areas of the room to do a new activity. Keep stress balls, small toys, or fidget cubes for students who need to keep moving, but can't leave their seats.
  • Strive For Inquiry--students retain more about an activity if they feel like they had a hand in developing the learning. Guided-inquiry lessons, where the students learn through discovery, puts the emphasis on learning through investigation. Since the activity will stand out in their mind better the students are more likely to retain important information later.
  • Create Positive Associations--'I've never been good at math' or 'I'm not an artist' are statements that come from negative experiences either with a class or with a teacher. Help the students find ways to reduce stress in their lives; reinforce positive behaviors and have students create positive actions for themselves; teach the students how to take pride in their work and demonstrate pride in others.

Bring Me Your Tired, Your Outdated, Your E-Waste.

Did you know that 20-50 million TONS of E-Waste (computers, phones, printers, mice, DVD players, etc) are thrown into landfills every year? The Media Center and the CRAfTLab are collecting your outdated and broken technology. If you have a device that you need to dispose of, bring it to us in the Media Center. We will strip it down and recycle it for you! If you have important information on a hard drive that you are concerned about, just let us know in advance and our techs will wipe everything clean for you. The following video inspired us to make this part of the May Media Center Challenge.

Also, if you are having computer issues on your personal devices, please reach out to Marc Seigel or Liz Casper. We have plenty of students in the Tech Tutors and Media Center Interns who will be happy to help however they can!