Tip 20 – Tabs & TAbs & TABs & TABS!

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Does the image above look familiar?  You’ve just shy of a hundred or so tabs open and running all at the same time because, well, that’s just how y0u roll.  I might have some Google extensions that will help you in your quest to conquer all of the interwebs in one single internet browser window.

Tab Suspender

Automatically suspend, park, hibernate inactive tabs and save up to 80% of memory, reduce load on your device, battery and heat.

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If you like to use many open Tabs at once – this extension will help you and automatically accelerate your browser and purge the memory.

Tab suspender hibernates inactive tabs and save up to 80% of memory.  Unloading tabs will free memory and reduce load on the device by saving your battery and putting off less heat.  This extension catches inactive, idle or forgotten tabs and suspend / park them with the freeing 80% memory, device resources and battery life.  When tab became a visible again, it would be automatically restored to initial.

Tab Scissors

This extension splits a window into two at the selected tab.

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If you have at least two tabs in the selected Chrome window, it will split that window into two smaller side-by-side windows. All the tabs on the left side of the selected tab will stay in the left window, and the rest will move to the window on the right.

It is especially helpful for those who have lots of tabs opened at a time.

Tab Glue

This extension glues windows together.  unnamed (1)

This simple organization tool puts all of your Chrome tabs together into one window with a single click.  The new window has your tabs arranged in the same order your windows were, and makes the selected tab in your current window be the new selected tab, so you won’t lose track of where your tabs were or what you were doing.

Tab Resize

Split Screen made easy.

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Resize the CURRENT tab and tabs to the RIGHT into layouts on separate windows. w/ Multi Monitor Support.

The selected/highlighted tab along with all tabs to the right of it will be considered. Whether you have more or less tabs than are needed the extension will resize only the available tabs.

Undo button will undo the previous layout resize. You can only perform undo once at any time.

In ‘single tab’ mode, only the selected/highlighted tab will considered. Only the current window/tab will change in size, all other tabs to the right will be ignored.

In ’empty tab’ mode, new windows with empty tabs will be created if there are not enough tabs to fill your selected layout.

You can select left or right alignment for your resize

You can create your own custom layouts within reason and reset to default configurations if desired. Layouts are sorted most recently created on top right.

Click and hold on any layout and drag to rearrange order to your liking

Tab Cloud

Save and restore window sessions over time and across multiple computers.

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Tab Cloud allows you to save any window session and restore it at a later date or on another computer.  Effectively allowing you to sync open tabs between multiple computers.

To use you simply click the TabCloud icon on the menu, you will then see your current open windows and previously saved windows, you can save open windows, or restore saved ones.  You can also delete previously saved windows.

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 (lawsonj@talawanda.org) or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!

Tip 19 – What is PhET?

PhET provides fun, free, interactive, research-based science and mathematics simulations.  They claim to extensively test and evaluate each simulation to ensure educational effectiveness.  These tests include student interviews and observation of simulation use in classrooms.  The downloadsimulations are written in Java, Flash or HTML5, and can be run online or downloaded to your computer.  All simulations are open source.  Multiple sponsors support the PhET project, enabling these resources to be free to all students and teachers. (1)

To help students engage in science and mathematics through inquiry, PhET simulations are developed using the following design principles: (1)

  • Encourage scientific inquirymasses_springs.v3
  • Provide interactivity
  • Make the invisible visible
  • Show visual mental models
  • Include multiple representations (e.g., object motion, graphs, numbers, etc.)
  • Use real-world connections
  • Give users implicit guidance (e.g., by limiting controls) in productive exploration
  • Create a simulation that can be flexibly used in many educational situations

Several tools in the simulations provide an interactive experience:

  • Click and drag to interact with simulation features
  • Use sliders to increase and decrease parameters
  • Choose between options with radio buttons
  • Make measurements in your experiments with various instruments – rulers, stop-watches, voltmeters, and thermometers. (1)

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As users interact with these tools, they get immediate feedback about the effect of the changes they made. This allows them to investigate cause-and-effect relationships and answer scientific questions through exploration of the simulation. (1)

 

You can search through different simulations by topic, subject, or even grade level.  There ais a broad range of levels of simulations so that most grade levels should be able to implement the simulations in some way.

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Best of all, there is no cost.  All the simulations are free for you to use in all your classes.

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 (lawsonj@talawanda.org) or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!

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  1. “PhET Interactive Simulations Reviews | edshelf.” https://edshelf.com/tool/phet-interactive-simulations/. Accessed 13 Mar. 2017.

Tip 18 – No Need to Recreate the Wheel

giphy (1).gifDon’t get caught up in that vicious formatting nightmare.  You’re trying to create a document and line up the text with the two images you’ve imported.  You move one thing and the whole document is out of whack, and so on and so forth.  BLAH!!!

Google has tried to help you and your students with these types of issues by providing templates for Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms.  They’re super easy to access and implement.

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1. Go to your Googe Drive.
2. At the top left, click New.
3. Next to the type of file you want to create, click the arrow and then click “From a template” as shown to the right.

If you are already in a Doc, Sheet, Slide, or Form you can also access the templates by clicking “File”, “New”, and then “From a Template” as shown below.

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Once you’re inside the template gallery, you can choose from many different types of templates in the General gallery as shown below.

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You’ll also notice that there’s an option to click on “Talawanda School District” within the Template Gallery.  This is where you will find templates that were created and shared within our school district.  You can add to this list of templates simply by clicking “Submit Template” on the top right of the screen (see below).  This might be a great way for buildings and departments to share letterhead, data collection sheets, or any other type of template that could be useful to us in our work.

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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 (lawsonj@talawanda.org) or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!

 

Tip 17 – Explore!

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Did you ever notice this little icon at the bottom right of your Google Doc, Sheets, or Slide Document?  Well, one little click on that guy can make both your life and your students’ lives a lot easier.

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-11-28-19-amExplore in Docs makes researching and writing reports on the go a whole lot easier because you’re completing your research directly within your document.  Whether you’re writing about mobile retail trends or planning your next team offsite, you’ll get instant suggestions based on the content in your document. Google will automatically recommend related topics to learn about, images to insert and more content to check out in Docs on your Android, iPhone or the web. (1)

It’s helpful to refer to other content when writing an analysis, summary or proposal. That’s why we’ve also made it easy to find a related document from Drive or search Google, right in Explore. Less time spent switching between apps more time to polish your ideas. (1)DE-Docs-Final-Social.gif

Explore in Slides makes design polishing simple.  As you work, Explore dynamically generates design suggestions, based on the content of your slide.  Simply pick a recommendation and apply it with a single click — no cropping, resizing or reformatting required. (1)

Google says that they have seen that people save over 30% of the time they would have spent on formatting when they use Explore.  So even if design isn’t your style, rest assured you’ll have a beautiful presentation to be proud of.  Instantly. (1)

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Explore in Sheets help you decipher your data easily, whether you’re new to spreadsheets or a formula pro.  Just ask Explore — with words, not formulas — to get answers about your data.  You can ask questions like “how many units were sold on Black Friday?,” “what are the top three items by sales price?,” or “what was the total cost of jackets last month?”  Less time crunching numbers + crafting formulas = more time to find key insights and use them. (1)

They’ve also added new formatting suggestions to help make your data pop.  Explore in Sheets is available on the web, Android and now on iOS, too! (1)

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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 (lawsonj@talawanda.org) or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!

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  1. “Google Docs Blog: Explore in Docs, Sheets and Slides makes work a ….” 29 Sep. 2016, https://docs.googleblog.com/2016/09/ExploreinDocsSheetsSlides.html. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Tip 16 – Flip Your Classroom on it’s Head!

What if I told you that you could have more time with your students during the school day 635455476346463139_the.simpsons.s17e16.jpgto focus on their work and their learning?

What if I said that this time could be spent working with students individually or in small groups?

What if all this could happen and you would never have to get in front of students to give a lecture again?

If you answer in the affirmative to any of the previous questions then you just might be interested in flipping your classroom.

The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed.  Short video lectures are viewed by students prior to the class session, while in-class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions. (2)  You by no means have to be ready to completely flip your classroom in order to utilize today’s Tech-Tip.  Either way, Today’s Tech-Tip will certainly provide you with a very easy way to use your device to record videos for whatever reason you may choose.

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Screencast-O-Matic is a handy tool for recording screenshots and sharing them with friends or colleagues for a number of different purposes.  With just a few clicks, you can start recording your screen, and once you’re satisfied with your video, you can download it directly from there. (1)

To start a recording, all you have to do is open the program, position the recording window, and press “Play.”  When your recording is complete, just hit “Done” on the small control bar located below the bottom margin of the recording window.  You can also Pause in the middle of a recording and then resume using these controls. (1)

When you finish a recording, you’ll automatically be taken to a preview screen where you can watch your recording and see what you think.  If you’re satisfied, there are several saving and publishing options listed along the right-hand side of the screen.  For instance, you can upload your video directly to YouTube or to the Screencast-O-Matic website, or you can save it as a video file to your computer in either MP4, AVI, FLV, or GIF format. (1)screenshot-screencastomatic-1.jpgScreencast-O-Matic is a handy utility, and its free version only has a few limitations.  The straightforward mechanics make it a snap to use for even the least computer-savvy, and direct publishing options give you a great way to share anything you need with students and colleagues.  The Pro version removes a small watermark on published videos and enables editing tools.  It costs $15 per year. (1)

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 (lawsonj@talawanda.org) or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!

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  1. “Screencast-O-Matic – Free download and software reviews – CNET ….” 15 May. 2015, http://download.cnet.com/Screencast-O-Matic/3000-13633_4-75734109.html. Accessed 6 Feb. 2017.
  2. “Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms – Educause.” https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7081.pdf. Accessed 6 Feb. 2017.

Tip 15 – Stop Typing That URL

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That’s right.  No more typing that http stuff.  Don’t worry about whether it’s a forward slash or a backward slash any longer.

Anymore, sharing a link to a Web page with a student, co-worker, or a friend is as easy as copying and pasting the link into an email or text and hitting send.  If that person is seated close to you, it’s now even easier with Google Tone.

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Google Tone turns on your computer’s microphone (while the extension is on) and uses your computer’s speakers to exchange URLs with nearby computers connected to the Internet.  You can use Google Tone to send the URL for any web page, including news stories, pictures, documents, blog posts, products, YouTube videos, recipes—even search results.  Any computer within earshot (including over a phone or Hangout) that also has the Google Tone extension installed and turned ON can receive a Google Tone notification. (1)

You need to be logged into your Google account to use Google Tone, and your Google profile name and picture will be displayed with the URL in a Google Tone notification. (1)

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cnet-google-toneTo receive a URL with Google Tone, you have to have the extension loaded on your device.  Once the site has been sent, the user would simply click on the box that pops up on your screen (pictured on the left).  Google Tone may not work in loud spaces, over a distance, with a poor Internet connection, or on computers without a microphone or with a microphone incapable of detecting sound broadcast by Google Tone. (1)

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 (lawsonj@talawanda.org) or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!

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  1. “Google Tone – Chrome Web Store.” https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-tone/nnckehldicaciogcbchegobnafnjkcne?hl=en. Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.

Tip 14 – Go Formative!

I’m not sure how much you can relate, but I can most definitely remember the anguish I would have when I walked into class and learned of tpop-quiz.pnghe “pop quiz” that I was about to undergo.  I never ever walked away from a “pop-quiz” and felt that I learned anything from that situation except that I did not enjoy being unprepared.

Formative assessments are not about gotcha-ing students.  They are about guiding where instruction needs to go next for each student.  We should use them frequently, while or after kids learn a new idea, concept, or process.  When you are on your way to the Big End Project (or summative assessment) and students have just learned a piece or a step toward the end, check to see if they’ve got it.

There is certainly not a shortage of online tools for distributing quizzes to students and watching their responses in real-time.  If you would like to avoid using the tired old quiz, check out today’s Tech-Tip for a few new ways to check for understanding. (1)

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Formative is a free, web-based student response and assessment tool for the classroom.  After a tutorial, teachers can upload or create assignments that let students type, enter numbers, draw (with a mouse or their finger, depending on the device), upload an image, or answer multiple-choice questions.  Teachers can create classes (manually or by filling out a template spreadsheet) and then distribute their assignments to students through formative-assessmentsclasses (including Google Classroom) or via an access code.  Students can use accounts (which allows teachers to track their progress over time) or choose to respond without logging in.  Teachers can watch their students’ responses arrive in real time via the teacher dashboard, and teachers can send back grades (manually our automatically) and also send longer narrative responses in reply. (2)

After teachers create an account, they receive an automatically generated email from the company’s co-founder and CEO (who is a former teacher) with links to a step-by-step walkthrough and a page of YouTube tutorials. A blog linked from the developer’s website offers further assistance. (2)

The best feature of Formative is the option to create “show your work” type questions.  “Show your work” questions enables students to draw responses and or upload pictures as responses to your questions.  When you use this question type students will see a blank canvas directly below the question where they can draw and or type responses. (3)

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The best part is…IT’S FREE!  Check out this short video for a bit more information.

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 (lawsonj@talawanda.org) or by submitting a Technology Integration Ticket on the Talawanda Web Portal.  Have a great day!

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  1. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/formative-assessments-importance-of-rebecca-alber
  2. https://www.commonsense.org/education/website/formative
  3. http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2015/08/formative-possible-replacement-for.html#.WIYCv7YrKF0