ViewPure – YouTube without the Distractions

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to show a YouTube video to your class without all of the adds, comments, and other distractions?  Well, it’s possible with ViewPure.

Look below at the difference of the same video viewed in ViewPure as opposed to YouTube.

You can even customize the url if you would like, password protect access to the video, and select specific start and end times to choose a sample of a video.

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 12.38.22 PM.png

It’s very easy to use.  You simply copy the URL of the YouTube video you would like to use and paste it into the search box on the ViewPure website.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about implementing any type of technology in your classroom, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly through email ( or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day.



Apple Classroom for iPad



Firstly, Apple Classroom is not Google Classroom.  Google Classroom is a service that lets you share materials and content with students and receive, mark and grade assignments.

Apple Classroom is a powerful new iPad app that helps you guide learning, share work, and manage student iPads.  You can launch a specific app, website, or textbook page on any device in the class, or share student work on a TV, monitor, or projector using Apple TV. You can even reset a student’s password, see which apps students are working in, and assign a specific Shared iPad for each class.


Classroom turns your iPad into a powerful teaching assistant, helping a teacher guide students through a lesson, see their progress, and keep them on track. With Classroom, you can easily launch the same app on every student device at the same time or launch a different app for each group of students. Classroom helps teachers focus on teaching so students can focus on learning.

20415-22154-15521-11872-Screen-Shot-2016-01-11-at-14830-PM-l-l.jpgWith Apple Classroom, you can…

Assign Shared iPads to students
– Once configured, Classroom connects to nearby student devices
– Classroom intelligently assigns students to the Shared iPad they most recently used
– Log students out of Shared iPad at the end of a session to prepare for the next class

Start, focus, or pause student work
– Launch any app, website, or book on student devices with a tap
– Lock devices into a single app to help students focus
– Lock screens to pause work or refocus your class
– Mute audio on student devices

See what your students see with Screen View
– See an overview of all student screens at once
– Focus on a single student screen
– Students are informed when their screens are being viewed

Share documents and links with your class using AirDrop
– Share to your entire class with just one tap
– Students can also share with you

Share student work on the classroom Apple TV
– Showcase the great work your students are doing to the class
– Use AirPlay to wirelessly present a student’s screen
– Students are informed when their screens are being presented


As always, if you have any questions or concerns about implementing any type of technology in your classroom, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly through email ( or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day.

The above information was adapted from…

  1. “Apple Classroom First Impressions — Fraser Speirs.” 2 Apr. 2016, Accessed 9 Apr. 2018.
  2. “Classroom on the App Store – iTunes – Apple.” 21 Mar. 2016, Accessed 9 Apr. 2018.
  3. “Getting Started with Classroom – Apple.” Accessed 9 Apr. 2018.


Google Drive is Dead! Long Live Backup and Sync!

Bad news, Google Drive fans…The Google Drive app is going away.  But relax, there’s a replacement.  Actually, it’s an improvement.  That’s right.  The old Google Drive app is going away, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to migrate off of the popular cloud storage app or move to a different service.


You might have seen the pop-up below, saying that Google Drive is going away.  Don’t fret!  It’s all going to be okay!

google pop up.pngGoogle Drive and/or photos are being eliminated and will be shut off completely as of May 12, 2018.  Don’t mourn their loss too much, though.  Both have already been replaced by a single app called Google Backup and Sync, which handles both photos and data at once.

dims.jpegBackup and Sync lets you, well, backup and sync photos and files from folders, USB keys and SD cards to the cloud, so they’re available anywhere.  The original Google Drive was not so convenient, as it required you to use two separate apps for files and photos.  That could affect your storage space dramatically — if you upload images to Drive, it counts against your space, but if you upload them to Photos (using the “high,” not “original” setting), it doesn’t.  At the same time, backups are now a more automated process.

If you’ve been unsure or hesitating, it’s perfectly OK to download these replacement apps.  It’s a positive change and both apps contain new features that will save both time and hard drive space.

The loss of Drive on your iMac won’t affect your life much, unless you really liked the old Drive logo, which has been changed to something that resembles Microsoft’s OneDrive icon.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about implementing any type of technology in your classroom, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly through email ( or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day.

The above information was adapted from…

  1. “Google Drive on PC/Mac is dead, long live Backup and Sync – Engadget.” 7 Sep. 2017, Accessed 3 Apr. 2018.
  2. “The Google Drive App is Going Away. But Relax — There’s a Better ….” 2 Mar. 2018,–the-google-drive-app-is-going-away–but–there-s-a-replacem. Accessed 3 Apr. 2018.

Bring That Tab Back

commandshiftt.pngDid you ever want to reopen a tab that you had previously closed, but couldn’t remember the site?  Worry no more.  If you’re using the Chrome Web Browser, type command shift t (control shift t for PC’s) and the last tab you closed will reopen.  You can continue to reopen multiple closed tabs.  You’re welcome.

Google ‘Keeps’ You Organized

What is Google Keep?


Google Keep is an organizational tool in which you can quickly capture what’s on your mind and share those thoughts with your students, co-workers, friends, and family.  It basically provides digital sticky notes you can access from anywhere!  It is part of the G Suite Apps for Education and integrates with Drive and Docs.

Features that Assist Students with Organization

You can create a to-do list with or without checkboxes.Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 11.00.20 AM.png

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Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 11.07.17 AM.pngKeep will remind students when and even where to turn in a homework assignment or project.

You can color code notes to organize a class or project.

You can use labels to organize a class or project.

Check out Mario Anima’s (Google Keep Product Manager) favorite Keep tips below.

1. Record voice notes.

For recording thoughts on the go, you can record voice memos within Google Keep on your Android or iOS device. Open up the Keep mobile app, click on the microphone icon at the bottom right of your screen and record your message. When you’re done talking, the recording will automatically end and a new screen will pop up with the text of your message and an audio file.

Record GIF

Click on “title” at the top of your audio file and name your note. Your note is automatically synced with the web app, too, so you can access it from any device.

2. Transcribe notes from pictures.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Using Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Keep can transcribe text from pictures for you, so you don’t have to worry about typing up notes from a meeting or whiteboard session (you can also use Jamboard for that).

Just take a photo, select “Grab Image Text”  and Keep will transcribe your note.

OCR gif

3. Create drawings and even search handwritten notes.Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 11.10.45 AM.png

You can sketch images in Keep. Select the pen icon at the bottom of your mobile screen and a bunch of options will appear. Play with colors, shades and more. Once you’re finished with your drawing, you can share it right away with coworkers. Or, you can come back to handwritten memos later by searching for what you wrote.

Speaking of search, you can also find images by searching for words contained within them. Say you snap a photo from a whiteboard and the image contains the word “Proposal.” Just search Keep for “proposal” and your image will appear.

4. Drag and drop notes from Keep into Google Docs.

Now you can use Keep directly within Docs—take notes you’ve created in Keep and drag them into client proposals and more.

If you’re in a Doc: click “Tools” on the menu bar, and then “Keep Notepad.” A sidebar will pop up with all of your note options. You can scroll through the list or use the search bar to jump right to the note you need. Once you’ve found it, drag-and-drop the note into your doc.

If you’re in the Keep app: select the note you want to send, click the three dots menu and click “Copy to Google Doc.”

You can also create notes in the Keep notepad while viewing a Doc. One bonus is that when you create a note in Docs, Keep creates a source backlink—so you can access the note in Keep and it will link back to the source document where the note was created.

Keep GIF

5. Use the Chrome Extension.

Create notes while you browse the web by downloading the Chrome Extension. One cool thing is that when you create a note using the extension, it saves the site URL with it. So if you browse back to that same URL, the extension will show your note in context.

Chrome Extension

6. Send notes from Keep to other apps you use.

Some teams save content from other messaging or social media apps in Keep to reference later. Or, vice versa, you might use Keep to draft emails or social media posts on-the-go. Click on the three dots in the bottom right corner of your Keep app, select “send” and choose the app you want to share your note with.

7. Color-code or label your notes to find them quicker.

To organize your notes by color-coding them in Keep, at the bottom of a Keep note, select the three dots menu and choose from several colors to help you quickly identify a note. You might consider color-coding by task or deadline. If you’re working on your desktop, you can also use the Category Tabs for Google Keep Extension in Chrome to assign category names by color. It will look like this:

Changing colors in Keep

You can also add labels to your notes. Another way to locate your information in Keep is to add and create labels using #hashtags. When you create a note in the Keep app, you can type #label-name and Keep will prompt you to either apply a label if it already exists, or create one if it doesn’t. It’s a pretty handy shortcut.

8. Set reminders for yourself.

Notes matter only if you can execute on what your record. Keep lets you set up reminders which can help.

Select a note and click the finger icon at the top right of your screen in Keep (it has a string on it). When you do that, a pop-up window will give you options to set reminders. The great thing about this is that these reminders will alert you in other Google tools, like Calendar, Chrome or on your Android device.

Note: make sure you have Reminders enabled inside your Calendar app in order to see them. You can check out how to do that on Google Keep’s Help Center under the “Don’t see your Reminder” or “Switch between Tasks and Reminders” section.

Try Keep today

Keep is a great way to keep track of your work tasks. Learn more about how you can get started on the Google Keep’s site.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about implementing any type of technology in your classroom, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly through email ( or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!


The above information was adapted from…

  1. “8 tips to help you keep up in Google Keep – The Keyword.” 9 Aug. 2017, Accessed 12 Mar. 2018.

20 Terrific Presentation Tech Tools for Kids

20 Terrific Presentation Tech Tools for Kids was a collaborative project headed by Laura Candler to compile a list of the very best presentation tech tools to use with upper elementary and middle school students. Some of the tools below are mobile device apps while others are web-based tools. Most are free, but some are subscription-based. The tools are listed in alphabetical order to make them easier to locate.



Type: Online, web-based tool

Description: Blabberize allows students to take any picture, record information, and make the picture “talk”.


Type: Mobile Device application

Description: This app allows students to create presentations using an interactive whiteboard format on the app. The students can “write” on the screen with “markers” or type. They can insert photos, and even take photos to insert in their presentation. Also, they can record themselves talking through the presentation!  Best of all it’s a free app!

Glogster EDU1385738671-large

Type: Online, web-based tool

Description: Glogster is an online poster maker. It allows the user to create an interactive poster with text, images, sounds, and videos. Teachers can set up their classes (there is usually a free 30-day trial you can use once per year) and will have access to student accounts and glogs. sent to the class. I did this project previously and my fifth graders raved about it!

Google Slides

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Type: Online, web-based tool

Description:  This tool is super easy to use and makes quality presentations that students can share with the whole class. Students can also share them with their parents – even better! It’s great that students can share their work with the teacher and the teacher can send them notes on what they need to edit. Students can add graphics, pictures, color, fonts… the list goes on and on! To get started, go to Google Drive, click the red Create link, and choose the Presentation option.

Haiku Deckcopy deck from playback page.gif

Type: Mobile Device application

Description: Similar to PowerPoint to be used on iPads. You enter text and it searches its amazing picture database and gives you choices of pictures based on key words. There are millions of pictures that are terrific quality! You can also search their pictures yourself. You can also use your own photos. You have some choices for text style. The “decks” you make can be shared via email, Twitter, Facebook and viewed on any browser.



Type: Mobile Device application

Description: Instagram is an online photo-sharing and social networking service that enables users to take pictures, apply digital filters to them, and share them socially. One way to possibly use Instagram is to visualize what story characters may take pictures of if they snapped pics on their mobile devices. This enables and encourages students to really get into the minds of their characters.


Type: Web-based tool & Mobile Device application

Description: This is a wonderful, free resource. It’s a mind mapping tool that allows you to map not only words but pictures, webpages, etc. Students can start with the main idea of their presentation and then link to the supporting details, whatever (and wherever) they are. (Example: a video they created and uploaded to YouTube, an online timeline to reference, a photo of a unique artifact, etc.)


Type: Online, web-based tool, Mobile Device application

Description: Popplet is an online idea brainstorming and collaboration tool. Poplet can be used as a motivational tool for students to create their own presentations. It has a short, EASY tutorial that students can watch on their own and can then begin creating.


Type: Online, web-based tool, Ipad accessible

Description: Prezi is a really neat presentation tool that is extremely accessible to students. This tool enables students to organize their information in a visually appealing way. They can add both text as well as graphics, and the complexity can increase as students become more technologically adept (also a great way to differentiate, all students can use but you can create more difficult outcomes for some students than others). Like with Google documents more than one student can work on it simultaneously, which is a great feature for group projects. Also, if students are already familiar with PowerPoint, they can create slides on PowerPoint and import them into a Prezi. The possibilities are endless!


Type: Online, web-based tool

Description: Screenr allows you to easily take screenshots of anything and voice over the clip. You can use multiple shots. It is very easy to do.  It takes minutes to do and is very easy. Students can make presentations using shots of things they are researching and easily include their voices.

Type: Mobile Device application

Description: ShowMe is a free interactive whiteboard that you can write on, take pictures on, and record yourself teaching a concept on. You can use this for instructions for a small group, to add interest to your lesson, or to get the students to teach concepts for review. You can also upload your ShowMe presentation for others to use. There are so many ways to make and use a ShowMe in the classroom.


Type: Online, web-based tool

Description: Sliderocket is very similar to Power Point, but is completely web based like Google Slides, and can be used to collaborate between several students. Great for group projects without having to make students physically travel to each others’ homes. My students use it to create visual aids for their end of year projects, and they get super creative!


Type: Online, web-based tool

Description: Storybird is a way for students to make and create online storybooks. The website provides you with many art collections to choose from for your illustrations and with a template for students to write their stories on. Students can write on a topic of their choosing or they can write on an assigned topic. When students finish, they can publish their stories, adding them to the wider Storybird community collection, and giving them a URL link that they can share with family and friends.


Type: Online, web-based tool

Description: This tool allows students to create and manipulate their own timeline of events. They input dates with descriptions and TimeGlider plots it. You can edit text, add pictures, and manipulate the ‘points’ on the timeline. It’s free and easy to set up. It’s a great tool to help students understand the concept of time lapse.

Toontasticunnamed (2).png

Type: Mobile Device application

Description: Great app that looks at the set up of a story (setup, conflict, challenge, climax and resolution). It also focuses on character and setting. Students love creating a story and being able to animate it with characters they choose or draw. Then they can publish and share their story. The only drawback is that if you get a set number of characters and settings but then you are asked to purchase more. Students can draw their own (and often will) though.

Type: Mobile Device application

Description: Great tool for students to either take pictures and tell a story with the pictures or for students to video themselves telling a story. Great for book talks!! Very user friendly.


Type: Online, web-based tool

Description: VoiceThread is a great site for students to create a presentation using videos, docs, or images. Students can easily record their voices and use the pen to write within the presentation. The best feature about VoiceThread is the ability for class discussions. Students can write or record their voices to comment on a slide. Since there is an option for both, students can choose whichever they feel most comfortable with. This is a wonderful feature for shy students that do not usually speak up in class or for learners that have trouble expressing their thoughts in writing.

Vokimaxresdefault (2).jpg

Type: Web-based tool, Downloadable program

Description: Voki is a free website where you can create customized avatars and add voices to them. Kids love it because they’re able to hear their report through the avatar’s mouth. Excellent and a lot of fun! It’s extremely motivational to get kids to write a better report!


Type: Web-based tool, Mobile Device application

Description: Weebly is a website creation tool that is super easy to use! You can add photos, photo slideshows, YouTube videos, upload files, and so much more. You can even add a blog to the website that you create!. It is free to educators and comes with 40 free student accounts where they, too, can create websites without needing an email address, and over which the teacher has complete control.


Type: Web-based tool, Mobile Device application

Description: Students can enter any information and turn it into an animated video. Students are able to select and customize characters, scenes, sound effects, motions, and other features. My students used to present research in a fun creative way. They absolutely loved using it!

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about implementing any type of technology in your classroom, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly through email ( or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!

The above information was adapted from…

  1. “20 Terrific Presentation Tech Tools for Kids.” Accessed 5 Mar. 2018.


Google Tour Builder

Google Tour Builder is a web-based storytelling tool which lets you easily create and explore stories and places around the world. Based on the Google Earth plugin, you can create a tour of any subject of your choosing, zooming in to show the places where events took place, and easily integrating the story’s text, photos and videos. Your tour will fly users from one place to the next along the storyline of your tour, immersing them in the relevant places through Google Earth’s imagery and the custom content you provide.

Setup and Strategies for Classroom Usage


The best part of using gSuite apps is that they all play so nicely together. Never has it been so apparent than with the newest Google tool, Tour Builder. Using features from Google Earth, Google Drive, YouTube, Photos, and more, users can create an interactive timeline-like experience to share information. Originally, TourBuilder was developed to give military service men and women a way to share their experiences with their families. Right now, TourBuilder is in beta mode; this means that certain features may be added or removed before it becomes an official application.

Setup – Where do I begin?

The easiest way to begin is to visit and sign in. Next, use the secondary menu to choose from the following options:

  1. “MyTours” – View or create your own tour
  2. “Shared Tours” – View tours that others have shared with you
  3. “Gallery” – See publicly shared tours
  4. “About” – Answers to some of your questions

To create your own Tour, select the red button labeled “Create a Tour”. It will ask you how you’d like for it to be named and how you’d like for your name to appear. Submit it to begin your Tour.

Create your Tour

Now it’s time to start creating! Once you’ve submitted your name, you’ll be taken to the edit screen. Let’s talk about the setup of your screen.


There are four primary areas:

  1. Google Earth Map Area – Displays the points along the tour; interactive
  2. Information Edit Area – Search for map areas, input text, input photos/videos
  3. Timeline Area – Clickable thumbnails to jump from one place to the next
  4. Settings – Find options for: Edit, Share, Save, Export, and Full Screen viewing

The very first slide available is your Introduction; so input information that lets viewers know what they are about to experience. This is the screen to choose what kind of map experience viewers will get with “Type of Story”, choose the color of the path, and advanced options like state/country borders and roads.

When you’re ready to start plotting points, choose the 8F_3ErlCh9uTdnOw-zVhzslskuCej8-w-nBM4amW2oaSexDGjK9-JZXP3LScHqwI-pnmsw=s2048.png button located in the Timeline area.

Build your Tour

After you have clicked the blue button, you now need to tell Google Earth where you want to drop a pin. You can do this on your own by clicking the button or by searching in the omnibox labeled “Start typing a location”. This will do it’s best to get as close to your point as possible. You can be as specific or as general as you’d like in your search. When you have completed your search, possible hits will populate the Information Area.

Choose the option that best fits by selecting the media-20180227 button. A map pin will now be dropped at the location you’ve selected and you’ll be taken to a screen that will allow for you to edit information about this point. Let’s pick apart the information area:

When you’re ready for another location, just press the 8F_3ErlCh9uTdnOw-zVhzslskuCej8-w-nBM4amW2oaSexDGjK9-JZXP3LScHqwI-pnmsw=s2048 button on the left.

sEH4CRSVRwWFmbUmhwILR7w.pngTips and Tricks

  1. Share your Tour with friends, family, and students by clicking the blue “Share” button in the top right hand corner of the screen.
  2. You can reorder the location thumbnails on the left with a click and drag.
  3. The Google Image search is somewhat limited because it only returns “free use” images; I was able to find much more in a traditional search and then pasting the URL in the “Image by URL” option.
  4. Photos/Videos appear in the order by which you add them
  5. Map location pins can be moved with a click and drag.
  6. In your map, drag the little person icon to get a Street View look
  7. Save often by clicking the button in the top right corner that says “Save Now”

Usage and Ideas

  1. Locate places from a novel to help tell the story
  2. Recreate historical events: The American Revolution, Tour Ancient Egypt
  3. Have students share vacations, family history, or food tours: Stark Ice Cream Tour
  4. Link up a Google Form at the end to check for understanding
  5. Try making a game out of  your tour: Super Sleuth
  6. Work on time and date skills
  7. Think of the dates like a number line and ask students to negotiate number change
  8. Describe technological or scientific change over time
  9. Take students to places they’ve only heard of
  10. Plan a road trip with activities at each destination
  11. Use other gSuite apps to boost a tour: Link Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, Drawing
  12. Create your own content to add in with YouTube
  13. Broadcast a news program and link videos through YouTube to show time passage
  14. Follow along with field trips; allow students to tell the story of what they see
  15. Organize information regarding trade routes
  16. Show migration of civilizations
  17. Map transportation routes and discuss numerical inefficiencies
  18. Write your own stories; use the map to set the scene
  19. Take a virtual field trip using Street View
  20. Virtual pen pals over long breaks
  21. Build a resource for practicing foreign languages (directions, transportation, etc)
  22. Map important places around town for special needs students
  23. Take a virtual art tour in the world’s most outstanding museums
  24. Explore the Hidden Worlds of the National Parks

Below is the link to the Official Google TourBuilder Tutorial

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about implementing any type of technology in your classroom, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly through email ( or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!

The above information was adapted from…

© 2017 – Matthew Mays,  @i_am_mays  

This document is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 United States license.  For more information about this license see (Essentially, you can copy, distribute, and adapt this work as long as you give proper attribution and do not charge for it.