Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Keyboard Shortcuts on a Chromebook

November14

There are many things that we automatically know how to do on a laptop or computer; however, when we are on Chromebooks things can feel a little different, and our “go to” keystrokes and methods don’t seem to work.

For example, I have people ask me a lot: How do I copy and paste on a Chromebook? How do I take a screenshot?

At this point, I switch between so many devices that I don’t have everything memorized. Therefore, a little Google search yielded some resources for all of us. Here is a link to some popular keyboard shortcuts for Chromebooks… and yes, screenshot key combinations are listed! Another resource I found is a little more comprehensive.

The coolest find: when you are on a Chromebook, press these 3 keys: Ctrl+Alt+/ .

An interactive onscreen keyboard will appear. Now, press on the Shift, Ctrl, Alt or Search keys (either separately or even various combinations on your physical keyboard), and the onscreen keyboard will display a menu of different tasks that can be performed when combing with other keys. I love that there is a built-in reference right on the Chromebooks! This is a must try!

 

Use the Google Classroom Reuse Post Feature to Share Assignments and Resources with Colleagues

November7

Google Classroom’s reuse a post feature is very handy. With the start of the new school year, teachers have to make an important decision. Do they keep their last year’s Google Classrooms and remove former students? Or should they archive the old Classroom so it can be referenced and start a fresh one for new students?

Once I tell teachers how easy it is to reuse and modify an old post from an Archived Classroom, usually the decision is easy. After all, who wants to reinvent the wheel? Teachers spend a lot of time finding great resources, designing templates and crafting spot-on directions. These items can be tweaked and used in whole or part at another time with students… perhaps, during this new school year?

Likewise, that stellar assignment that you posted in your current Google Classroom(s) or archived one(s) can be shared with your colleagues as well.

Here’s how:

  1. Make a Google Classroom for your group.
  2. Invite colleagues to be co-teachers (About page).
  3. In the stream of that Classroom, click on the + and choose “Reuse post”.
  4. Select the Class where you made your great original post (announcement, assignment, etc.) for students.
  5. Click the Reuse button.
  6. Unless you want to add any other info, click Assign.

The post will appear in your group’s Google Classroom for all of your co-teacher’s to see. (Bonus! Since you are teachers with active emails, everyone will receive an alert that you added to the stream. This notification is perfect since most of us get so busy we forget to go check things out… without a nudge.)

And it gets even better… people can comment or ask questions below your post in the stream about what you’ve shared. You even could add additional information, such as tips about prep work, or maybe, other possible modification ideas that you may have.

Wait… it’s not over yet… because you posted it to this shared Google Classroom, now your colleagues can reuse your post in their own Google Classrooms!

Here’s how:

  1. Colleague (co-teacher) goes to his/her own Google Classroom(s).
  2. In the stream, clicks on the + and chooses “Reuse post”.
  3. Selects your shared Class for your group where you shared your great post (announcement, assignment, etc.) with colleagues.
  4. Clicks the Reuse button.
  5. Colleague modifies/adjusts/adapts the post for his/her students as necessary.
  6. Clicks Assign (if ready to give to students… or Draft or Schedule).

“Give a penny, take a penny” throughout the year: Sharing your posts to the shared Google Classroom and then reusing other colleague’s to your own.

This method seems like a great fit for Personal Learning Communities, grade level teams and departments. What do you think of this use of Google Classroom?

Science is IN!

October31

In 2015, Meghan McCrorey and I had an idea… let’s figure out how to take the trend of interactive notebooks from messy & time consuming to more practical & engaging in her classroom in order to achieve her science learning objectives. We wrote an Innovative Grant proposal for the Westford Education Foundation and were awarded funding to give it a go! Last year, Mrs. McCrorey and I implemented the project and were so pleased with the results that we presented at the 2017 MassCUE Conference this month.

Here is our presentation with lots of resources! And the beauty of the whole thing… any subject, not just science can be addressed. All you need is an iPad station and the Book Creator app… both of which every classroom at Abbot has!

I hope you can take a moment to check our work out! I’d love to answer any questions that you may have.

AssistiveTouch – A Great Demo Tool for iPad

October17

Being able to demonstrate where to go and what to do on an iPad is essential. Even if you are plugged into a VGA cable projecting your iPad on a screen, the audience (your students) can not see easily where you are tapping. Often where you are only appears for a split second with a slight color change, depending on the app you are using.

AssistiveTouch to the rescue!

Turning on this accessibility option on an iPad can make directions crystal clear for your students.

Watch this video to see what I mean.

Go to Settings on your iPad. Then go to General and scroll to Accessibility. Under that category, choose AssistiveTouch. Toggle the feature to On.

You will notice a spotlight-like circle will appear on your iPad screen. You can move that spotlight circle anywhere on your screen. Moving the spotlight as you model directions on your iPad is like “watching the bouncing ball”. (Remember following that object as you sang along to words on a screen?) When your iPad is plugged into a projector (or AirPlaying) and you move the AssistiveTouch circle to the parts you want highlighted, students will see everywhere you go!

Of course, there our other reasons to use AssistiveTouch (go here to learn more about this powerful tool and its intended uses), but it works as a visual movement tracker beautifully for us with students.

Demonstrate away!

(This tip is compliments of an Apple Update iPad Workshop that I attended this Fall. It’s the little things that really can make a difference!)

Massachusetts Digital Literacy and Computer Science (DLCS) Curriculum Framework

May30

I took some time today to review the Massachusetts Digital Literacy and Computer Science (DLCS) Curriculum Framework.

I know at this point in the year, many teachers have full plates wrapping up their school years. I get that you probably don’t have the time or energy (perhaps, if we’re really being honest here- even the desire!) to read a Framework. So here’s a very, quick run down…

This Framework created in June 2016 takes a critical leap from the past, recognizing that students most be both consumers (users) AND creators in our global community when it comes to technology. The four Strands are Computing and Society, Digital Tools and Collaboration, Computing Systems, and Computational Thinking. The Framework outlines a real balance with understanding the impact of technology and one’s responsibilities as a  digital citizen while still getting the nuts & bolts. A key emphasis also is on students being problem solvers.

How will this weave into the rest of our curriculum? That’s where some thoughtful investigation needs to take place. The progressive skills should not be out of context or add-ons.

I am looking forward to my work on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s DLCS Implementation Panel that begins tomorrow. I’m sure there will be plenty of good conversation there as well as with my district colleagues over the next year. Stay tuned.

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