Showing posts from May, 2013

About Gmail Shortcuts

Some people have expressed frustration to me because "things just happen" while they are in their email.  Typically, as we tend to be short of possessed devices, it is because they have unintentionally used one or more of the built in email shortcuts.

So, how do you know the shortcuts?  And, how can you turn them off (or on)?

Well, to know they are enabled or not, you need to check your email settings.  To do this go to the gear and select Settings:

Once the settings are displayed, make sure you are looking at the General Settings, and scroll down until you see Keyboard shortcuts:.  This will tell you if they are on or off:

Turn them on or off, as desired, and make sure to "Save Changes" at the bottom of the window.  You may go through these steps as often as you wish.
If the shortcuts are on, to see what shortcuts are available to you (and this is true in any of the Google Apps) at any time you can use the question mark to view them (hit Shift + /).  You may noti…

iPads in Education - Dink App Review

Dink - "Become a Master Animator"Basics: Dink is an app for creating animations.  The user creates the animation using stop frame (or stop motion) animation, allowing the user to customize on a frame by frame basis.  Creativity is only limited by the user, as the user creates all the content.

Educational Uses:  If you are looking for an app for animation that is easy for students to pick up and learn very quickly, this app may be the one.  I was able to create a simple 15 frame animation - with layers - in under 15 minutes.  That was without looking at any tutorials or examples.  Very easy to learn and use.  Overall, very powerful....however, you might want to read the drawbacks before purchasing for your classroom set of devices.

Drawbacks in Education:  The link to within the app is a serious concern - not the site itself, but that it connects to animations created by others and many of these are not appropriate for students (one of them even embarrassed me!).  B…

Enabling Mobile Secure Browser Using Configurator

How to Enable Mobile Secure Browser Using Configurator
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium provides directions for how to access the secure testing environment on individual devices. They even provide a pdf document specifically "About the Secure Browsers for iPad and Android Tablets."  
But what about if you manage your devices using Apple Configurator? Here are the directions for setting it up using Configurator - and the beauty is you don't have to touch each device individually!
First, the device must be supervised for this to work.  If it isn’t, you will first need to supervise it.  Please remember - that when you supervise a device it is completely wiped to factory settings.
Setting up: Download AIRSecure Test Add AIRSecure Test to your apps list in Configurator Select the device(s) or the group(s) of devices Add AIRSecure Test as one of the apps on the device Apply
When you want to go into Secure Browse…

Interpreting the iTunes Terms & Conditions for Education

Let me begin by saying I am not a lawyer, nor am I speaking as a representative of Apple.  However, in my job I am consistently having to educate teachers on the how the terms and conditions apply in these situations:

how their personal Apple Accounts work with devices they own versus how their personal Apple Accounts work with devices supplied by a schoolhow a device is used personally versus how it is used in a school settingthe different rules concerning where apps can be downloaded, and how many devices a singly purchased app can be used on I've color coded the information so that green text is a direct copy/paste from the Terms and Conditions.  That is followed by my interpretation of the it, why it is important and how it might impact a teacher.
If you see any inaccuracies, please feel free to let me know as this is certainly a work in progress.

(Terms & Conditions Version - updated December 3, 2012)
APP STORE PRODUCT USAGE RULES: “(iii) You shall be able to store App Stor…

Moodle 2 for Teachers & Admin - Drag & Drop into Text Question Type

Unbeknownst to many, there are various question types that can be added to Moodle to make quizzes more flexible - and more like some of the question types students may see elsewhere (read that - national testing...).  I'm going to demonstrate various question types over the next several weeks.

Open University has created a whole host of question types.  Today we are looking at the "Drag and Drop Into Text" question.  
Here is a video overview of how to set it up and use it:

(This question types working on Moodle 2.1 forward; I am showing it running on Moodle 2.4. This addition must be added to your Moodle server by a Moodle Administrator.)
Moodle Plugins - Drag & Drop into Text Drag & Drop into TextDocumentation

Rubrics & Google Forms

This past week a thread went through the K12 Google Apps listserv about using rubrics within Google.  One post shared how Kevin Bookhouser - an English teacher - uses them to grade his students essays.

He has created a great video explaining how he does this:

This method could be used for any rubric you wanted to use, so if you have been contemplating this I would check it out!

iPads in Education - Haiku Deck App Review

Haiku Deck App - "Set Your Story Free"Basics: Haiku Deck is a FREE app for creating presentations very quickly and easily.   While only 5 of the themes are provided (others can be in-app purchased), they are very modern looking.  The app is very intuitive to use, offering easy to change layouts.  There are fewer choices than many other presentation creators, meaning the user stays more focused on the content.  Also, text space is limited forcing the user to focus in on the main ideas of their presentation.

You can either add your own photos or use the app to search a photo service where you can select a word/phrase from your slide and have it find  pictures that are tagged as such.  Some of the built in messages are quirky, funny or annoying depending on your sense of humor (such as: "Patience grasshopper downloading a large file").

Educational Uses:  This is a great free alternative to other paid presentation apps (such as Keynote).

Link to Websitehttp://www.haik…

Moodle 2 for Teachers - Some Updates with 2.4

Moodle 2.4 was just released, with several updates that teachers might find useful.  Some of the latest features include:

Ability to stream in outside calendars - my calendar of choice is my Google calendar for a variety of reasons; the ability to use this within a Moodle course instead of maintaining a separate calendar is a huge time-saver!Ability to view student submissions on the page I am grading and providing comments - in 2.3 this was broken; I'm glad to say the restored it so now I can be writing my comments in the same window where I am reading the student's assignment, allowing me to provide more specific feedback.Blind marking of assignments - teachers can now turn on blind marking of assignments so they do not see student names while grading, a great way to help ensure you are providing objective feedback and grades.Group assignments - if you use groups, you can now assign an activity to a specific group, even requiring all group members to have submitted prior to …

REMC Connected Educator Series

If you haven't checked these out yet, you really should!   The "Connected Educator Series" is a REMC project that "brings the ideas and practices of exceptional technology using Michigan educators right to teachers and administrators in an easy to access, easy to use, cost effective manner." There are multiple ways to access these short videos:

The REMC Connected Educator Project page: MI Learning within iTunes U or the iTunes Store: REMC MI Streamnet: REMC MI Streamnet Another resource that is free to all.

Moodle 2 for Teachers - Offline Grading

One of the updates to Moodle 2.4 was the ability to do what is called "offline grading."

What does that mean for a teacher that would like to utilize it? Well, this DOES NOT mean that you stay on your Moodle site in the browser and attempt to grade when you do not have Internet access.  Instead, it created a way that a teacher may download all submissions - whether they be uploaded files or online submissions - in a folder with a couple clicks, and read these when not on the Internet.

To use this feature, you simply:

Click on the Assignment nameUnder the Assignment Administration, select "Download all submissions"
A zipped folder containing all the submitted assignments will be created and downloaded to your computer.  You can unzip the folder and view all the assignments that were submitted at the time you downloaded them.

You will not have access to the gradbook (if you use it) when viewing the assignments, but you could put grades into a spreadsheet to quickly …