Friday, September 30, 2016

How to make a GIF (looping video without sound) to teach a quick lesson

Hello everyone,

In this post will be the following:

1. How to show why 2 times 4 = 8 in GIF form and YouTube form.

2. How to create a GIF and YouTube video.

The first GIF and video will show and example of what I would use to show a student or child why 2 times four is equal to 8.

The next GIF and YouTube video will show you how I created the GIF and video above using Screencastify.

Hope you enjoy! Any questions please let me know!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Need a story starter? Try Scholastic's Story Starter Adventure

If you would like to have your students try a site that will create some interesting and fun story starters - try Scholastic's Story Starter Adventure.

The site will allow the students to choose their theme, pick their grade level, and then it will create a prompt for them to write about. The students have the option of changing certain parts of the story starter to get it to their liking.

Once they have their prompt it will then prompt them as to how they would like to write about it. Te options are in notebook, letter, newspaper, and postcard.

It is a fun site to use and has some creative prompts.

Below you will see a GIF followed by the same 1 minute and 36 second video on YouTube with audio.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Looking for a "simple" way to take notes? Try - yes simplenote.

Simplenote is exactly as the name sounds - it is a simple way to take notes across all platforms. You can share your notes as a URL, share in e-mail, as well as print out all your notes. A "simple" tag allows you to organize your notes as well.

Give simplenote a look!

Below the screenshots of the site, you will see a GIF followed by the same video but on YouTube (with sound).
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If you have any questions please let me know!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

RAZ kids - great site for students to read at their reading level

Hello everyone,

In my neighborhood a number of parents have asked me about leveled reading and what program my wife and I use at home with our 7 year old daughter.

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We use a site that the district where I work uses (Razkids). Razkids is an online guided reading program that includes ebooks, downloadables, as well as quizzes. Students are rewarded each time they either have a book read to them, they read it themselves as their own pace, as well as when they take a quiz.

These points can then be used the build their "rocket" as well as their "robot". My daughter honestly just likes accumulating points and is storing them for a rainy day.

Below you will see a 5 minute and 36 second YouTube video of what the site looks like from the student's point of view and then what it looks like from the parent's point of view.

As always, any questions please let me know!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Annoyed by new iOS 10 unlocking? Go back to just using the TouchID

If you are not a fan of the new way to unlock your iPhone and you want to just go back to using your TouchID try the following.

1. Go to settings menu
2. Elect the "General" tab
3. Select the Accessibility" option.
4. Scroll down to find the new "Home Button" tab
5. Select the "Rest Finger to Open" option.
6. You are back to the good ole' days!

Below is a 27 second YouTube video I created if you would like to watch.

Any questions, let me know!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Want to take notes while watching a YouTube video?

Hello everyone,

If you are flipping a classroom or need to watch videos for a class you are taking, this post may help you out.

Richard Byrne's post back in April dealt with taking notes while watching a YouTube video. Videonot  allows you take notes, save and share them to Google Drive (or download to your computer, as well as copy the url so you can go back and finish taking notes in the future. There is no sign-up and it is 100% free.

Below you will see a GIF showing the basics and then a 2 minute and 21 second YouTube video showing how I used the site to take notes during a video.

As always, any questions let me know!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Import an Excel spreadsheet to a Google Sheet

If you would like to import an Excel spreadsheet to a Google Sheet simply follow these steps - or follow the GIF and same video on YouTube with audio.

There are two ways to do it.

The first way is
1. Log on to Drive
2. Select New and File Upload
3. Find and select the Excel Spreadsheet or Spreadsheets you would like to upload
4. Select Open
5. Google will automatically turn it into a Google Sheet

1. Log on to Drive
2. Select New and Google Sheets
3. Select File and Import
4. Then find where you have your spreadsheet stored and upload it
5. Don't forget to name it

As always, if you have any questions please let me know!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Columns in Docs

Yes you can finally add columns in Google Docs. Make sure to

select Format and then scroll down to columns.  If you would like to alter the spacing as well as insert a line make sure to select more options.

Take a look below at the GIF and embedded 20 second YouTube video showing the same as the GIF (but with audio).

As always, any questions please let me know!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Google Expeditions is here! Hear reactions from my 7 year old daughter as to how cool this is!

Want to use virtual reality to take trips all over the world?  How does going to the Caribbean, Hawaii, Yellowstone, Philadelphia, Gettysburg, or even to Mars sound?

If you think you and your class or family would like to take trips like this - try Google Expeditions.  Expeditions is now available on iOS to be downloaded on your Apple device.

If you are really interested in the 3-D effect - Google Cardboard is available for around $12 on Amazon. However, it is not needed.

Please click here to be directed to Google's Expedition website to assist you with any questions you may have.

Below you will see an embedded GIF looking at Mount Everest and then a 6 minute YouTube video of how the App works from a teacher/parent's point of view and hear my daughter Sydney's reaction to seeing Mars.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Want to create a poll? Use Twitter

Twitter makes it very easy to create a poll. Simply ask your question - then select poll and add the options.

Here is a direct link to the Tweet.

Take a look below at a GIF followed by the same 19 second video on YouTube.

Go Eagles!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Want to quickly see all your programs you have running on your Windows 10 machine?

If you have a number of applications or programs running on your Windows 10 device and you want to quickly find one - try using the Task View button.

The Task View Button (see below - right side of picture) is available on your taskbar (bottom of screen typically). 

If you select the button it will show you all the programs you have running at once and then select the program you would like to use.

Below is a GIF showing what the process looks like.

If you have any questions, please let me know.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Watching Monday Night Football tonight? Want to play along by predicting what will happen?

If you are going to be watching the Eagles/Bears Monday Night Football game tonight - check out an awesome app -Fanzcall! You can download Fanzcall by clicking here for the App Store or by clicking here for Google Play.

I previously wrote about this App back on Father's Day and All-Star Game Tuesday.

Below you will see a 1 minute video showing what the App is capable of. 

Fanzcall's announced recently the move to include NFL games (they have had MLB this whole season). 

If you are not familiar with the app for baseball - look at the screenshot below for How to Play as well as an explanation for their point system.

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You can either enter the game and join the public group - or you can create a private group so you can compete with just your close friends.

If you are going to be watching the Eagles/Bears game tonight - look for me - BradD - I will be rooting on those Birds!!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Want to prove to your friend that the lyrics are "Big ol' jet airliner" and not "Bingo jet had a light on"?

My brother years ago told me about his friend who swore that the lyrics to Jet Airliner included "Bingo Jet had a light on".

Well, that was years ago and now Apple has added to their music app the ability to see the lyrics to a song you are listening to.

Simply select the 3 dots on the bottom right of the screen and select lyrics.

Below is a a very quick GIF of my kids favorite song now, Hall of Fame by The Script, followed by an 18 second video that I created using QuickTime Player.

Any questions, let me know.  Enjoy proving you are right - or now finally figuring out what that artist is really saying.

Don't forget that you can also use Siri to listen to a song and tell you who is singing it. Click here for a post I created about it back in August.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

At a meeting and hear Edtech terms and wonder what they mean?

If you have ever been at a meeting as a parent or a teacher and certain EdTech terms are being tossed around - give the website Chalkup a look. They provide a quick definition and why it is talked about.

Take a look below for a GIF followed by the same 20 second YouTube video with audio.

Take care,

Friday, September 16, 2016

Free on-line mindmap for organizing topics

If you are looking for a way for you or your students to organize topics, give Text2mindmap a try. It is very easy to use. When the map has been created, users are given a URL for where their mindmap can be found as well as the ability to download as a .jpg or a .pdf file.

Below you will find an example I created (NFL Teams) as well as a GIF followed by the same 20 second YouTube video with audio. Under that you will find a 2 minute YouTube video with step-by-step instructions.

Created using color branches to easily see different branches.

GIF showing how map is created

The same video as the GIF but with audio

A 2:27 second detailed video (with audio)

As always, ask away if any questions.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Nice shortcut to get to... well.. your shortcuts (in Google Drive).

If you like shortcuts but can't remember where you put your sheet that you printed out - try clicking on the gear in Drive and then selecting shortcuts.

Check out the GIF below followed by the same video on YouTube (with audio).


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

In need of ideas for a Science fair? Try Science Bob

If you are looking for a fun resource for science related activities - check out Science Bob.

The site contains a number of science fair suggestions as well as a number of projects with videos and printable directions.

I really liked the build a hovercraft you can ride!

Below you will see a quick 1 minute YouTube video that will show a bit of what the site has to offer.

As always, any questions please let me know!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Have curious students? Want them to learn some cool facts about the World? Here is a cool site.

Wonderopolis is a fun engaging website that asks questions such as, "Ever wonder why flamingos are pink?" and will then answer the question and will support the answer with a related video.

There is a 'Wonder of the Day" on the home page as well as a simple search bar. Users can also send in a "wonder" that they are curious about.

Below you will see a GIF followed by a more descriptive 1 minute and 26 second YouTube video (with sound). 

Take care,

Monday, September 12, 2016

Google Scavenger Hunt and Checklist

This doc has been used at the district where I work for a couple years now. It was created by Brooke Mulartrick (follow her on Twitter).

It does a nice job of walking the students through Drive and all of it's components.

Please click here to access the doc.

As always, any questions please let me know!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Force a copy of a file in Google

This feature in Google is amazing and this can help you share what you have created, yet not allow anyone to change your work.

Below you will see a 1 minute YouTube video explanation as well as written directions below. The link is live so you can click on it and see how it works.

Remember when you share - make sure of a few things.

  1. Select Share
  2. Select Advanced (bottom right)
  3. Change link sharing to either Public on the Web or Anyone with the link
  4. When you are still on the file - check out the URL and change whatever is written directly after the last / to COPY.

Example -

As always, any questions please let me know!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Have a file in Google Drive that you want to share but don't want others to print, copy, or share?

If you have some sort of file that you want others to have access to but don't want them to print, copy, or share - you can easily do that in Google Drive.

Below you will see a GIF of how to do that along with the same video on YouTube (with audio) followed by 3 screenshots.

1. Select Share

2. Select Advanced

3. Select Disable options to download, print and copy for commenters and viewers.

As always, any questions let me know.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Want to record your screen or desktop? Try the Screencastify extension.

Screencastify is an outstanding and simple to use screen recording device. It will not only just record (audio and visual) your Tabs on Chrome - but can record anything on your screen (you can minimize Chrome).

Below you will see a 2 minute YouTube video that will show you the basics of the extension.

As always if you have any questions please let me know!

You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Issues with your Windows 10 machine not projecting properly?

Below you will find a one minute video on how to project your screen full size.

Thanks to a friend of mine for her work on this and figuring out that one last step! Thanks JHA!

Any questions please let me know!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Want to create a comic or a picture story? Try Phraseit is a free fun site to help create on-line comic books or picture stories in just minutes. There is no signing up and you can use your own pictures, pictures from Facebook, or use a random stock photo.

Below I have a GIF and a 1 minute 30 second YouTube video showing how to use the site.

As always, any questions please let me know!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Open House coming? Use a QR code to distribute contact info and a Form to gather info.

Inspired by Richard Byrne's blog, I am posting today about using QR codes to distribute your contact information for parents at Open House. Also included is a generic Google Form I created for families sharing information with you, the teacher.

While you do not have to use what Richard recommends QR Droid's QR code generator  it is a great resource.

Below is a quick video on how to create the QR code for parents. Below the video you will see an example of what the scan will create in the user's device.

Example of what happens when a parent (or user) scans the QR code created by this site.

Click here for a generic form I created using Google Forms (see embedded picture below). The form will be copied directly into your Drive and can be altered in any way you wish. Please let me know if any questions.

As always, any questions please let me know!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Want to create an opinion or reaction poll for your audience? Try Riddle

Riddle is a site that allows you to create polls of all kinds (including pictures), as well as ranking lists, surveys, and quizzes.

The site is fairly easy to do and if you are running a meeting or would like instant data - Riddle is a great site to use.

Below is a poll that I created - all you need to do is select where you would rather vacation and the site will keep track of the data.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Want to print from any device to your printer? Try Google's Cloud Print.

For those that are interested in printing directly from your device (phone, tablet, PC, Mac, etc.) try taking a look at Google's Cloud Print. Simply follow the directions - or read this link. It was stated that most newer printers will work. The one I have at home (Lexmark) is a little over 4 years old and works perfectly (even printing from my iPhone).

Please know that there are certain items (not Google related) that may give you some issues here and there with printing - especially on your phone.

Below you will see a 2 minute 30 second video from Google.

Below are a few screenshots, a GIF (same 20 second YouTube video with audio), and at the bottom a quick 36 second video showing how to print using your iPhone once it is set-up.
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Depending on your printer, you may want to select Add Classic Printer and then follow the directions from there.

As always, any questions let me know!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Want to talk with a friend, classroom, or family member for free and so much more? Use Google Hangouts.

So many uses for Google Hangouts... talking live with a family member (can talk to 10 members at once), have a speaker talk live with your class, have a meeting with your faculty and be able to share your screen with them. You can even talk to the tech person in your District and have them do a lesson remotely.

As an example, below you will see a 2 minute YouTube clip where I had a Hangout with my daughter and shared my screen with her.

Take a look... so many possibilities!

Yes, there is an extension for that - click here for the link to the extension.

Any questions, let me know!


Friday, September 2, 2016

Great way to visually show noise in your classroom (or home).

The other day I came across Richard Byrne's post about a site known as Bouncy Balls (shows the volume of noise in your classroom). As you can see in the embedded picture, GIF, and video (you will hear my daughter's voice) you can set the Bounciness, total number of items, as well as what MODE you would like (colorful plastic balls, Emojis, Bubble, or Eyeballs).

The microphone does need to be enabled (FYI when I tried using it in Safari it stated that I needed to use Google Chrome).

This would be good for showing appropriate noise levels in your classroom and give a nice visual for them to see. Plus, it is just kind of fun! 

As always, any questions please let me know!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Want to go tour "The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks", learn about Artists, Mediums, Historical Events? Try Google Arts & Culture.

"The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks" allows you to be taken to a select number of National Parks with a ranger.

Google Arts & Culture provides users with virtual tours of Yellowstone and Yosemite, as well as Redwood National and State Parks.  The site also provides users with detailed information about Artists, Mediums, Art Movements, Historical Events and Figures, as well as numerous Places from throughout the World.

Below is a small sample of what the site has to offer from the first GIF showing a ranger discussing National Parks to the 2nd GIF showing what the site looks like.