Monday, November 23, 2015

Spotlight Apps: Point Students in the Right Direction

When projecting websites or slideshows to students, sometimes you need to make something stand out.  Some of you may have seen me use a spotlight tool to draw attention to specific parts of the screen in my PD Sessions or on screencasts.  I have been using Mouselight for my Mac for a few years and just finally found a PC version of a mouse pointer/spotlight.

Unfortunately, these tools are not free. I have found that spending that little amount out of my pocket has been worth it, for the amount of times I have used it, with students in class, as well as with teachers in PD workshops.  

Here are two different versions of a spotlight for each operating system.  (Sorry, there is nothing that I know of that works with Chromebooks, yet.)

Mac:  Mouselight $0.99  

PC: $9.95  (You'll get a free 10 minute trial to test it out)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Research in Google Docs - Using the Research Tool and Easy Bib Add-on

Did you know that your students can research their topics without leaving their Google Doc, using the Research Toolbar?  And it will even add in citations in MLA, APA, or Chicago Style?  

Or, if you want a bibliography, students can cite their sources using the Easy Bib Add-on?Easy Bib is an amazing tool to help you write bibliographies.  The free Add-on integrates into your Google Docs.  Once you install the Easy Bib Add-on, you can use it in each of your documents to help you create a perfectly formatted bibliography in hundred's of citation styles.  It even indents the second line!

Here's a video on how to use the Easy Bib Add-on as well as how to use the Google Research Tool to find sources, insert them into your document, and cite the sources as footnotes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Copy and Paste - Using Your Clipboard History

Have you ever needed to copy and paste more than one thing at a time?  I am usually working with multiple tabs open on my Chrome Browser, and many times have multiple links or names that I am trying to paste into one document at the same time.  And it drives me nuts when I "lose" something in my clipboard when I copy something new. 
The clipboard is the place where the things you copy are stored.  You can add things to the clip board by pressing Control C on a PC, Command C on a Mac, or right clicking on something and choosing Copy.  To paste what is on your clipboard you will press Control V on a PC, Command V on a Mac, or right click and press Paste.  
I'm sure you are used to people saying "There's an app for that"....  Well, now there's an extension for that!  Clipboard History is a great Chrome extension that stays up next to your Omnibox (URL address bar) and keeps a history of all of the things you have copied.

This is a list of things I have "copied" and I can click on any of
these to bring it back to my clipboard to paste into a document.
To Use Clipboard History:
  1. The first thing you need to do to use Clipboard History is download the extension.  Click on the Clipboard History link and click on the blue "+Free" button.  
  2. After you have installed it, all you have to do is click on the icon of the green (it used to be orange, like you see in the GIF below) clipboard up on the right of your screen, next to the Omnibox (address bar).  
  3. Then click on the information you previously copied and want to use again, and it brings it back into your clipboard and allows you to paste that information into whatever you are working on.

You will love this extension.  It will save you lots of time and make things just a little bit easier for you!  Just to write this blog post, I used the extension three times!

Note:  You do need to be signed in to Chrome (not just signed into your Gmail account) for this to work.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Lesson Crashers Episode 1: Psychology - Functions of the Brain

I must admit, sometimes I watch a little too much TV, especially when I should be cleaning my house, preparing a lesson, etc.

But some TV can be a good thing - educators can get some great ideas for lessons based on TV shows.  There are hundreds of Jeopardy style review games and templates on the web.  The Exploratorium Teacher Institute runs an "Iron Science Teacher" web show each summer based on Iron Chef where teachers create science lessons using a secret "ingredient."  Jennifer Kloczko, an administrator from Natomas, got inspiration for the Professional Development she leads from Food Network's "Chopped."

Yard Crashers
This summer, I watched a lot of HGTV and one of my favorites was Yard Crashers.  The main premise of the show is that some home owners are shopping at a Home Depot type store, in the garden section, and the host sneaks up on them, volunteering to design and landscape their yard.  The show provides the designer, supplies, and a construction/landscaping crew, and the home owners pitch in too.

Lesson Crashers
This gave me the idea to create my own spin on the show called "Lesson Crashers."  The idea behind "Lesson Crashers" is that I would help a teacher reinvent a lesson, integrating technology.  I'd meet with the teacher, we'd discuss a lesson or project that they have used before, and figure out what new goals they have or hopes for improvement.  Working together, we'd then brainstorm some ideas on how we can meaningfully integrate technology to enhance the lesson.  When the teacher then teaches the lesson, I can provide support if needed (ex. coteach, observe, etc.).  Then, we'd debrief the lesson, and come up with next steps.

Here is the first Lesson Crasher lesson.  Michelle McKee, a psychology teacher at Carlmont, graciously volunteered to test this out with me, and we wrote up a description of the process.  I am hoping that this lesson will spark some ideas that you can use in your own classes.  If you would like to be on the "next episode" of "Lesson Crashers", please book an appointment with me and I'd be happy to help you integrate instructional technology in your curriculum.