Showing posts from 2012

Five Friday Finds - May 18, 2012

So, this Friday Finds is a little different.  Today's finds are the opportunity for free educational posters for your classroom or school.


"What is Microbiology?" poster from the American Society for Microbiology - the poster is designed with middle school students in mind.


Electoral College Map poster - you can get a 40" x 40"wall poster by signing up on the CSpan classroom site (free); if you don't want to create an account you can still get an electronic version and access to some lesson plans and activities.


Science & Technology of WWII - poster for the classroom; there is also an electronic download.


NRICH posters - monthly printable poster with posed math problems that push students to critical thinking.


Cabot Cheese Nutrition & Fitness posters for schools & cafeterias - five posters to choose from for display at your school.

Moodle 2 for Admins - Customizing Existing Themes

Isn't it great?  With Moodle 2 people can now submit customizable themes!  Now (if I have one of these themes) I might be able to: easily change my logo, change some of the color choices, or even some additional changes.  What is available depends on the theme.
Here's the video (if you prefer written instructions, they are below):

Suggestions of actions to take first if you are planning on experimenting with this: Turn ON "Theme designer mode" in the Theme SettingsMake the theme you are experimenting with the set them in the "Theme Selector" so you can see your changes (of course, if your site is live, so will everyone else) Click on the name of the Theme you wish to customize (here I'm picking Afterburner... because it is at the top, not because it's any better/worse than any of the other themes)
Make the desired changes, "Save changes" at the bottom.  Refresh the site to see the changes.
Some notes: If it allows for custom CSS, you can ch…

iPads in Education - App Suggestion Photo Transfer App

Photo Transfer App (Currently $2.99)
Basics: Photo Transfer App is just that, an app to transfer photos AND videos between devices.  I have tested transfers between: two iPads or iPhones (and each other)iPad/iPhone & pc computeriPad/iPhone & Mac computer (The site says it will work with Linux, as well.  And there is now an Android app out. I have not tried those.)  
Some points: you can transfer up to 200 photos (I did over 2000 one day, and it is a firm 200 at a time)it transfers the full resolution videos, not compressed video of reduced qualitypreserves photo metadataboth devices need to be on the same wireless network (I did note that the new version says you can use bluetooth to transfer photos between iOS devices)Educational Use:  As I have seen more iPads go into classrooms, one of the big questions has been the ability to share or move photos between devices and the teacher's computer.  I know there are other solutions out there for total content movement, but this is …

iPads in Education - Apple's Configurator Overview

A week ago I spent 5 hours at one of our local schools playing with Apple's new tool for managing iPads - Apple Configurator.  I have to say that it was time well spent - I can see this being a viable tool for school districts struggling with managing large numbers of iOS devices.

Some of the pros & cons (as some people might see them) to using this:

ProsCloning devices is easier to do using this tool than iTunes, especially as it is easier to do multiple devices at the same time.Devices can be uniquely named very quickly & easilyUpdating can range: now you can fully restoring all the devices, make smaller updates, just add a profile, or even simply rename themChanges can be set up in the tool, and will be applied when/as the devices are connectedCan manage multiple groups of devices in a more visual easy to see wayVPP redemption codes can be managed via the tool - codes can even be removed from one device and loaded on anotherProfiles can be "silently" installed…

Five Friday Finds - May 4, 2012

Here are this week's Five Friday Finds!  As always share with others as we are all smarter when we collaborate :-)


TED-Ed - "lessons worth sharing;" create customized lessons using video with the new "Flip This Lesson" feature from TED-Ed.  "[u]se, tweak, or completely redo any video lesson features..., or create lessons from scratch based on a TEDTalk or any video from YouTube." It is still in beta, but check it out!


Storyline Online - "an online streaming video program featuring SAG members reading children's books aloud.  Each book includes accompanying activities and lesson plans."

Math: - Random number generator and a host of other things... flip virtual coins, roll virtual dice, shuffle cards, randomize lists, etc.


The Scale of the Universe 2 - Zoom in and out for comparisons of various items; ranges from molecular level to universe.

Social Studies:

The World in Panoramic - find panoramic (360°) pictures of …

Moodle 2 for Admins - Creating Custom Site Headers/Footers

Another easy customization that can be added to your Moodle 2 site is header/footer information specific to your site.  Again, prior to Moodle 2 you had to hack into a theme and add this information (requiring knowledge of PHP, HTML, and CSS).  Now, it is a customization that can be added to any of your themes using the web browser and logging in as the Moodle Administrator.  Unlike creating a custom site menu, if you do want to "pretty it up" you do need to know (or lookup) some HTML.

Here's the video (if you prefer written instructions, they are below):

To add a custom header and/or footer to your site, login as the Moodle Administrator.  In the Site Administration area, click on the Appearance link, then select Additional HTML.

This will give you and area to type in the information you want in the header, body and/or footer area on your Moodle site.  (For most if not all themes, the BODY information is displayed immediately after the HEAD information.)
Simply type wha…

Moodle 2 for Admins - Create a Custom Site Menu

One of the easiest ways to get common links onto your site (and force them on every page) is creating a custom site menu.  Prior to Moodle 2, this meant either creating or customizing a Moodle theme with activity that required a steep learning curve unless you had prior experience working with HTML and CSS.  With Moodle 2, an area has been added where any site administrator can create a custom menu for the site simply using the web browser - no HTML or CSS knowledge required. 

Here's the video (if you prefer written instructions, they are below):

To create a custom menu for your site, login as the Moodle Administrator.  In the Site Administration area, click on Appearance link, then Themes, then Theme Settings.  Look about 3/4 of the way down the page - you will see a paragraph entry box on the page.

Create your menu!

Some items of note:
for each item in your menu:the only required piece is the text that appears in the menuthe first optional piece is the URL that the tex…

iPads in Education - Change Payment to None (iTunes)

If you have an existing account and would like to change it so it is not connected to a credit card, you can do this by accessing the payment information on the account.  To do this in iTunes:
On a computer, go to the iTunes Store in iTunesClick on the account name in the upper right corner Select to display the account information Click on Edit Payment Information Select None Click Done at the bottom of the page

iPads in Education - Change Payment to None on Existing Account (iOS Device)

If you have an existing account and would like to change it so it is not connected to a credit card, you can do this by accessing the payment information on the account.  To do this on an iPad:
Go to the App Store, scroll to the bottom of the screenClick on the left box showing the Apple ID, a pop-up should appear Click on View Account Click on Payment Information Click on Credit Card and choose None Click Done

Five Friday Finds - April 20, 2012

Here are today's Five Friday Finds!  Have a great weekend :-)


50 Awesome Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom: links to a variety of ideas, how-tos and examples of using Skype in Education.


124 Sites for Free Children's Books Online: "[A] listing of 124 sites that legally offer free ebooks for children to read."


STEM Collaborative: "Make the math connection with four interactive online learning adventures for middle school classrooms."


Nature Works Everywhere: "The Nature Conservancy and its 550 scientists have created [this] new initiative to help students learn the science behind how nature works for us…and how we can help keep nature running strong."

Social Studies

HIstory Engine: "[A]n educational tool that gives students the opportunity to learn history by doing the work—researching, writing, and publishing—of a historian."

Moodle 2 for Admins - Theme Settings

I'm finally back to some of my Moodle work.  Currently I'm working on creating a video collection for Moodle 2 Administrators that will be housed in iTunes U.  This series is focused on all the customization that can be done on the web browser, so no server access is required.  It just makes sense to blog about the features at the same time I'm creating the videos...

Theme Settings in Moodle 2 The theme settings can be used to set some limitations on your themes, as one would expect.  However there are a couple other items in this area that bear some noting as it is probably not intuitive to look for them here; I've colored them in orange below.  Here's a short run down of what is here and what it does (if you prefer the text version, I've included it below...).

Theme List - too many themes on your server? or some themes not working correctly? Limit what themes are actually available to your users here.  List the theme names, separating them with commas (n…

iPads in Education - App Suggestion Coach's Eye

Coach's Eye (Currently $4.99)
Basics: Coach's Eye is an app to use for recording video... but it takes your video way beyond simple playback.  What makes this app exceptional are what you can do to the video AFTER the recording.  You can: use a flywheel to inspect the video frame-by-frameadd annotations in specific locations of the videoadd voice overshare the video with others, either via YouTube or TechSmith's server space
Educational Use: This app was developed for coaches - as in athletic coaches - to use with their athletes. However, the number of uses for educators is very large.  Just think of the material you can provide for students that are absent or need to see something multiple times.  OR think of the power of it in student's hands, where they can self-assess their own or each others work.  I see applications in all curriculum areas.  Here are my brainstorms on ways Coach's Eye could be used to record/annotate: by/with/for students:demonstrations - by stude…

iPads in Education - New Apple Account, No Credit Card Payment Selection

Do you want to use an Apple account without a credit card (only going to use fee apps or apps redeemed from the volume purchase program)?  You can either create a new account OR modify an existing account so that no credit card is listed as a form of automatic payment. This can be useful if it is in the hands of children (it is how we set up the account we use on our own kids' iPod Touches) as there is no fear of them "accidentally" purchasing apps and charging it back to a credit card. 

Set up a new Apple account not associated with a credit card:
On a device,go to the iTunes Store and find a free app (this is while the device does not have any account signed in)Click on the free button next to the app Click on Install App Select Create New Apple ID Select your Country, then accept the User Agreement Fill out the information for the new account (name, password, birthday, etc) The next screen will have Billing Information.  If you click on Visa (the default choice), you wil…

Five Friday Finds - March 23, 2012

Here are today's Five Friday Finds.  Have a great weekend!


Tom Barrett's Interesting Ways Series "[A] great example of crowdsourcing good quality classroom ideas... It is remarkable what can be achieved and created together if you give people the right way to do it."


The Center for Fiction "The Center for Fiction is the only nonprofit in the U.S. solely dedicated to celebrating fiction, and we work every day to connect readers and writers... We also feature workspace, grants, and classes to support emerging writers, reading groups on classic and contemporary authors, and programs to help get kids reading."


Math Concepts Explained Blog site maintained that explains various math concepts, number trivia and other math topics.

NBC Learn - Free Resources Several series of video (and sometimes other) resources NBC has put together to learn about science in real life application.
Social Studies
WorldMap "Explore, Visualize, and Publish Geog…

iPads in Education - App Suggestion Sketch Pad 3

Sketch Pad 3 - Unlimited Canvas
(Currently Free)
Basics: User is provided with a canvas to write & draw on.  What makes this app exceptional are all the advanced features.  You can also:
add a picture, resizing and rotating it to fit where you want on the canvasmake the background lined or graph paper, change the color of the backgroundadd typed in notesselect, move, layer and change the style of individual elements on the screenextend the canvas size as much as needed, using a tooled in scroll control to move in exactly where neededadd a size customizable palm rest to prevent unwanted marksability to export out in multiple ways (email, photos, print & app) and formats (jpg, png, pdf, file)
Educational Use: This is one of the most flexible "drawing" apps I have explored.  Because everything on the canvas is an individually controlled item there is a lot of flexibility in creating materials that can be used by students.  Additionally, the ability to send it via email or t…

iPads in Education - the Reflection App for the Mac

Last week at the MACUL Conference was the first I heard about the Reflection App.  Yesterday I downloaded the trail and played...10 minutes later I had paid for the app. All I can say is.... WOW!

Reflection App for Mac
What does the Reflection App do?
It finally provides a way to fully display your iPad2 (or iPhone 4S) on your Mac computer - NOT THE DISPLAY, BUT THE COMPUTER ITSELF!What advantage is this?
One can now create how-to or tutorial videos demonstrating exactly what they are doing on the iPad.  For instance, I run Jing while running Reflection and can record with my audio directions what I am doing on the iPad.One can also easily display the iPad onto a projector connected to the computer.  I have been in many classrooms where the projector VGA cable is wired into a large AV docking system and trying to tether the iPad in puts me in a poor location in the room.  Additionally, (if you are like me) your iPad - VGA cable constantly disengages just enough to lose connection as you m…

Book Review - Moodle 2.0 Course Conversion

As a Moodle champion, I am often asked if there are book recommendations I would make to those teachers just starting out with Moodle.  I did this in the past, but with so many institutions upgrading to Moodle 2.+, there were just enough differences between 1.9 & 2.0 that those previous resources were creating confusion for the new Moodle user.

Finally I have a resource that I can recommend to the new Moodle users I am working with:
Moodle 2.0 Course Conversion by Ian Wild
This book does a great job of introducing the brand new Moodler (person using Moodle) to the features and functionality available to them on a Moodle server.  It uses easy to understand examples, and incorporates hands-on practice exercises for the user to perform in his/her own Moodle course throughout.  Ian does a great job of incorporating tips and cautionary words for those pieces that might trip up the new user.  For example, after walking the user through uploading a file he includes a section on how to upl…

Five Friday Finds - March 16, 2012

Today's finds are all about some great tools provided by Discovery!

Discovery provides tools for teachers, students, parents and schools - this is beyond the videos (formally from United Streaming) that most of our local schools have a subscription to.  Here are five "tools" you might find useful.

As always, share and share alike as we are all more knowledgeable when we collaborate.

New Teacher Survival Central  Lots of resources for new or experienced teachers.  This site does not require any login.

Curiosity Discovery site encouraging interaction & exploration on various topics.

Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators Kathy's site is pretty comprehensive with some great finds for any educator.
Free Parent Resources Discovery even provides resources for parents!  (As well as students, teachers and administrators.)

Web2012 Use this site to learn about a variety of Web 2.0 tools & topics you might find of interest as you expand your use of technology, especially on…

iPads in Education - Verifying a Facilitator Account

Recently we have had to add another facilitator account for one of our buildings.  Unfortunately, when trying to get the account setup it snagged at the "verify" stage.

Essentially, after a new facilitator account has been created by the VPP Manager, the person acting as facilitator goes to the VPP store to login with the new facilitator account.  The first time the account is used, the password recovery process must be used to set the password for the account.  (This means you click on "Sign in," then on the Volume Purchase Program sign-in page select "Forgot Password" to set the password for the account.  The person gets an email with a verifying link to finish the password setting process.)  After the password is set, the user is required to provide additional security.
When clicking on this link currently, the user gets a "Secure Connection Failure" that prevents him/her from finishing this process. 

However, there is a work-around to finish…