by Mike Kang, Downingtown Middle School Science Teacher
Sometimes I’ve struggled with the best way to give student teachers access to our tech-based school environment. First, it was Moodle. Now it’s Schoology. With an incoming student teacher, how do I deal with giving her access to my courses without compromising my digital privacy?
People outside our district cannot currently create accounts within the schoology.dasd.org domain for security reasons. However, Schoology is available outside of DASD using schoology.com. So, I can have my student teacher make her own Schoology teacher account, create her own Schoology course and then share it with me. She can create assignments, articles, discussion forums, quizzes and I can quickly pull them onto my page. With her Schoology account, I can even make her an administrator in my course if it’s appropriate.
For our elementary teachers, a colleague suggested student teachers can make a google site and then the teacher can link to it.
Problem solved! An almost seamless integration for the student teacher into the digital class. Now … onto helping her deal with classroom management.
by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Blended and Cyber Learning
It’s tempting sometimes when we’re creating a presentation, writing a digital newsletter, or enhancing a document to cut and paste an image from the Internet. Remember that digital images are someone’s artwork just like a painting or a book. We want to be good models for our students by using images with proper attribution!
For a good explanation of image attribution, check out this article called “How to get and use free images the RIGHT way in class” by Matt Miller.
You can also look at some previous articles on this blog, including “Prevent Copyright Violations with Images” or “Finding Images in Google That Are Safe to Reuse.”
By Lois Grasso, Marsh Creek Sixth Grade Center Instructional Coach
Do you want your students to visit new countries, explore historical landmarks, or swim through a coral reef? Then Google Expeditions, a virtual reality teaching tool, is for you.
Google Expeditions was mentioned in this blog over a year ago; however, at that time it only worked with android devices coupled with Google cardboard viewfinders like the ones in the pic below.
I am happy to report that as of September, 2016 Google Expeditions now works with iOS devices.
If your school has a cart of iPads or is 1:1, you can use them for Google Expedition tours. The app is free and has already been pushed out to the middle school iPads. The Google Expedition iPad app allows students to move the device around in the air to explore a tour in 360 degrees without the cardboard viewfinders. All the while the teacher directs the tour using the talking points provided by the app. Note: you can also purchase google cardboard viewfinders that attach to mobile phones for a more immersive tour.
The flow for iPad Expeditions is as follows:
- Download the app onto the teacher iPad
- Download the app onto student iPads
- Make sure both teacher and students are on the same Wi-Fi
- Download the expedition from the app that you want to use in the class
- Launch the Expeditions app on the teacher tablet and set it up to wait for the clients to connect (lead an expedition)
- Start presenting the selected Expedition to the students
There are about 200 expeditions available for download using the app. The Great Barrier Reef, Buckingham Palace, Rio, Mount Everest and Sharks for instance. Better yet, the teacher tour comes with talking points. Take your class on a virtual tour soon.
Teacher how to video Google Support
by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning
Thank you to Dosie Rutkowski, blended English teacher at Downingtown East and West, for today’s useful tech tip.
She showed me a great Google extension (with a not-so-great name) called “Print Friendly and PDF.”
Add the extension to your Chrome browser. When you find a website that you’d like to print out or to make into a pdf, you click on the extension. It will remove all of the ads, navigation, and other unnecessary material.
The best part of this extension, however, is that it lets you easily pick material that you want to delete. Does the page have an image that may not be age-appropriate? You can delete it. Have a paragraph that you don’t need your students to read? Delete it. You can even make the text larger, which is useful for students who may have visual impairments.
Do you have a technology tool that you think others would find useful? Let us know at email@example.com.
by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning
Last week I participated in #edtechchat on Twitter. The discussion was about using assistive technology for students with special needs. One teacher in particular tweeted about how much she loved Announcify.
Announcify is a Google Chrome extension that reads aloud any website that you open with Chrome. It’s particularly useful for students with special needs because it amplifies the text being read and grays out the rest of the text on the screen, including ads and other distractions.
Keep in mind that Announcify’s voice is computer-generated, so you don’t want to use this tool for reading fluency. However, it is a very easy text-to-speech tool!
by Nicole Stulak, DASD K-5 Instructional Coach
Managing a class set of iPads and assigning students a designated device is as easy as creating a custom wallpaper design to set on your lock screen. The design can be student or teacher created by taking a photo or uploading pre-made wallpaper designs.
Many educators are creating their own classroom themed or color coded iPad wallpaper designs, which you can find all over Pinterest and Instagram. This can be done in PowerPoint, Google Slides or Keynote to name a few. However, if you are looking for a super time-saver, Pat Carroll, the Library Media Specialist at Shamona Creek Elementary School, taught me about Tony Vincent’s already created and ready to use numbered wallpaper images. On his site, Learning in Hand, you will find detailed directions on how to download and use any of Tony’s wallpaper designs.
Follow these steps to add a custom wallpaper design from your iPad Photos:
- Go to Photos.
- Select your image.
- Select the Actions Icon.
- Select Use As Wallpaper.
- Choose Set Lock Screen, Set Home Screen, Set Both.
Reach out to your Instructional Coach if you are interested in learning more about how you can manage and identify your devices easily with custom wallpaper numbering.
by Kristie Burk
Don’t ever walk away from a logged in computer. It’s just too big of a liability. Someone could send an email in your name, access your files, get private student data or worse.
Today’s tip is a quick and easy trick if you need to leave your laptop quickly. To lock your PC, press the Windows + L buttons simultaneously. Your PC will immediately lock and require a password.