Microsoft Excel – The Swiss Army Knife of Office Applications

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Jan 302014
 

Permalink: http://goo.gl/uJesuq

Thanks for joining me today to learn how to use Excel for more than just a list manager. Everything you’ll need is in the hand-out below:

Excel Handout PDF

We also covered the topic of Mail Merging to print form letters and labels with information from an Excel Document. View how to do a Mail Merge here (YouTube)

Feb 092016
 

Permalink: http://goo.gl/d4GUZP

Thanks for joining me today at the SEDC Secretaries Conference. Below is the presentation in PDF form – all of the links are live!

Here are the links included in the presentation:

Notebook 15 for Iron County

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Jan 212016
 

Permalink: http://goo.gl/kIFb0A

Today, we will focus on some of the great new features included with Notebook 15. Since SMART started charging for upgrades to Notebook, most of you are probably coming to this new version from 11.4. A LOT has been added since then, especially with the “Interactive” part of this interactive whiteboard software. Take a look at this post if you are looking for basic tips and tricks, or this post from my site for some more advanced things that Notebook can do for you.

I will screencast this presentation, so come back soon to view that recording here.

Today, we will investigate:

  • The place EVERY teacher should start when starting to use Notebook, the SMART Exchange Website where you can find lessons and activities pre-built and ready for you to use or adapt for your needs. The Exchange is accessed through the Gallery tab on the left, the blue “X-ish” icon in the toolbar, or at exchange.smarttech.com. You will need to create an account to take full advantage.
  • Notebook Maestro. This feature has been the most requested since the iPad came out. In conjunction with the iPad Notebook app ($5.99), you can use this add-on to connect to your computer and control Notebook wirelessly! Great for untethered teaching or for allowing students to interact with your lesson from their seats. Learn more here and download the Maestro add-on (use your school information when asked, you don’t need to put in the Tech Director’s name, etc.)
  • Lesson Activity Builder (LAB): Access this from the “Magic Hat” button in the toolbar.
    • The LAB is a collection of different templates to help you quickly build interactive activities
    • Demo a Parts of Speech activity
    • Experience a “Mobile Enabled” activity called Shout It Out!, answering the question, “Who will win the SuperBowl?” If you are not into pro Football, choose from the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals or the Carolina Panthers
  • Other New Add-Ons
    • SMART Blocks – blocks that will do different simple math with number given to it. You can interconnect the blocks to build live equations.
    • Lesson Recorder vs. SMART Recorder
      • Lesson Recorder: Records actions and writing on a Notebook page, and save those actions within a Notebook page.
      • SMART Recorder will record all of your actions in Notebook or anywhere on your computer as well as  your voice (with microphone connected) and will create a video file that you can post to a Web site or upload to YouTube.
      • Show how to add SMART Recorder and other shortcuts to toolbar)
    • GeoGebra for Math Teachers
  • New Tools and Pens
    • Cover the math tools
    • Review other tools
    • Text Pen
    • Creative Pen
    • Magic Pen
    • Shape Recognition Pen
  • Gallery Review
    • Gallery Essentials
    • Lesson Activity Toolkit
    • Adding to “My Content”

6-Word Memoirs Project with iMovie ’11

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Jan 142016
 

Permalink: http://goo.gl/GIdXlK

A teacher emailed me to ask how this 6-Word Memoir project was created so that she could do the same thing with her classes. I instantly recognized it as an iMovie project, and one that would be simple for this teacher to compile from the text and images that her students provided.

The rub is, she has not made a video with iMovie since the complete interface redesign (and a true downgrade in features) of iMovie ’08. I, too, had a hard time adapting to the new interface, but with subsequent updates and improvements from Apple, the new iMovie is once again a great tool for easily editing and creating video projects.

Due to the different Mac OS versions installed in this district, I won’t be using the latest version of iMovie. iMovie 11 is the last version to come out with iLife and is comparable with a wide variety of Mac OS’s.

Let’s take a tour of the iMovie ’11 interface:

A couple of tweaks:

  • Since I spent SO MUCH time in the old iMovie interface, I still like to have my timeline on the bottom and clips above. To switch this, click the up/down arrow button next to the video camera button on the left of the Toolbar. You can’t move the Preview window to the left, but we will make due. You don’t have to make this switch, but that’s the view I’ll be presenting with :D.
  • Unless you are on an iMac with a giant screen, you’ll probably want to use iMovie in Full-Screen mode. View –> Enter Full Screen (control+command+F) or the expanding arrows button on the upper right of the window will get you in full screen. If you click the green + button on the upper left, you’ll still have the top menu and Dock taking up screen space.
  • As suggested in the interface tour, make sure to turn on the Advanced Tools. iMovie top menu –> Preferences… Then in the General tab check the Show Advanced Tools box. Close the Preferences window.

Before we get started, we need some source material to make a very brief version of the project. Since this project will most likely end up published on the Web, we REALLY should be considerate of the copyright and use licenses of the creator of the images and music used in this project. When students are trying to find appropriate images to use from the millions out there, here are a few tips:

  • Use the Google image “Search tools” to make sure that students are finding images large enough (Size option of larger than 1024 x 768, which is an HD image) as well as the appropriate “Usage rights”, which should be “Labeled for noncommercial use with modification”
  • The Creative Commons Search tool (https://search.creativecommons.org) is also very useful to find images with the proper copyright licenses. Uncheck the ‘use for commercial purposes’ box at the top.

Below are a sample of student memoirs with a link to an appropriate accompanying image, as well as some background music you can use from Soundzabound from Pioneer Library:

  • Opening Credits:
    • A long, long time ago… The students in my Language Arts classes were challenged with the task of creating their own memoir… in exactly 6 words. These amazing students came up with equally amazing memoirs, and pairs them with a photo they believed would fit the tone of their piece. Although brief, these memoirs took time, practice, and patience; and ultimately, they came out great!
  • Finishing an illustration is incredibly satisfying, image
  • Skating is a way of life, image
  • DC comics over Marvel any day, image
  • Cherish every piece of your childhood, image
  • Definitely born in the wrong generation, image
  • Salty air, sand in my hair… image
  • Background music: Beginnings, Ambient Audio from Soundzabound, which is a great source of royalty free music provided to Utah schools by UEN
    • Head to pioneer.uen.org, choose Soundzabound. On the left, click ‘Category’ under the ‘Browse by…’ box, then I chose Ambient, but feel free to explore the many category options here.
  • To save time if you are already comfortable with gathering images and downloads from the Internet, here are all of the images and music:

Quick video tutorial is below. I’ll write out the steps in detail soon!

  • Create new project
  • Set Project Defaults
  • Import photos
    • Add folders to photo browser
    • Drag and drop straight into the project
  • Add scrolling “Star Wars” title
  • Add 6-Word Memoir as a title on top of each image, format as desired
  • Drag in background music as green block behind clips, or add music from iTunes music browser
  • Watch your final project full screen
  • Share with the world!

 

Google Classroom & Interactive Whiteboards for Minersville

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Jan 112016
 

Permalink: http://goo.gl/2z8nu0

Below you will find additional resources from my site on the topics we will be covering today:

An Early Christmas Gift For Anyone With Too Many Emails

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Dec 162015
 

My wife always accuses me of not telling her about all of the great apps and tech that I come across. It’s probably true, but I don’t want to fill up her phone with a bunch of stuff that she may or may not find useful. It’s my job to try out new things and share the best with the teachers I work with, not hers.

Well, the tables have turned! She told me about an amazing app that she just loved and has saved her a lot of hassle and time dealing with the LOADS of email offers that clutter up inboxes of us all on a daily basis. I thought that it was easy enough in Gmail to just choose all of the unread messages, scan through them, uncheck those that I might want to maybe look at, and delete the rest. I put off giving the app a try for a few weeks. It was a mistake. I was wrong.

Once I tried her suggested app, it liberated the amount of “Bacon” (not really spam, just email offers that at one time I signed up for) in my personal email account to the point that I actually didn’t DREAD logging in to see the one or two emails that I wanted to read. Honestly, I went from 50-70 emails a day down to just a handful.

So, THANK YOU Kelly for introducing me to Unroll.Me!

Here’s how it works. Sign up for this FREE service at https://unroll.me, or download their app for iOS (Sorry Android folks… Use the web interface or hold out for the app). Then, add one or many email addresses to your Unroll.Me account – most major email platforms are supported. I started with just my personal Gmail account. Then, Unroll.Me scans your inbox(es) for any potential messages and then prompts you to do one of three things with those messages:

  • Unsubscribe from the source (and the unsubscribe actually works!)
  • Keep messages from that source in your inbox, and continue to receive them as usual
  • Or, choose to “Roll Up” messages from that source into one daily digest email from Unroll.Me where you can view all of your rolled up messages for the day.

So, instead of 50 or so messages to sort through each day, you have one message with all of your offers that is easy to quickly scan through. The roll up includes a thumbnail of the message with the title, so you can easily tell what the content is. You can open any offers in the roll up with a click, or just delete the one roll up message and be done. The original email of any messages that you choose to roll up will be sent to an Unroll.Me folder in your email client.

It took a day or two for the volume of email coming in to go down, and every few days I open the app back up to “train” it for additional offers and messages that were not in the prior groups. But, just to show you how much this app has reduced my inbox clutter, take a look at the number of messages I’ve taken care of with this service:

UnrollMe Stats

Over 120 different senders. Almost 70 I’ve unsubscribed to. Only 5 that I actually want to see individually. The remaining 55 rolled up into a single daily message.

Bliss. Pure bliss. And I hope that you can start your New Year with the same feeling with all of your email clutter. Again, a big thank you to my brilliant wife for sharing this with me!

Now, I just need to add my 14 other email accounts and start training them as well… First World problems. Merry Christmas to you all!

 

Chrome & Chromebook Apps for Depth of Knowledge (DOK) Levels

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Nov 192015
 

Permalink: http://goo.gl/XhMFhN

Links for the apps and extensions highlighted can be found here (Google Doc). This presentation was developed using the DOK levels and descriptions on this document.

Google Drive, Docs and a LOT More at Delta Middle School

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Nov 102015
 

Permalink: http://goo.gl/fyyUrE

I’ve been asked to cover a LOT of ground today. I’m not sure that we will be able to pack it all into an hour, so let’s take a look at the options and prioritize what to cover. Head to www.govote.at and enter the code 41 68 96 when asked:

How Teachers Around The World Are Using Google Classroom

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Nov 042015
 

With 50 Million students and teachers using Google Apps for Education, and now 10 Million of those actively using Google Classroom, teachers are finding amazing ways to teach and interact with students in Classroom.

Learn more about how teachers are effectively using Google Classroom as an extension of their physical classroom.