Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Want to learn about Artificial Intelligence? Try Finland's 6 Week Crash Course

Finland is offering Elements of AI free online course - https://www.elementsofai.com/

To read more about this - click here on the link below.

Take care,

Use the paint roller to apply formatting from one area of text to another

If you have different formatting from one area of text compared to another in a Google Doc here is a simple solution to copy it entirely.

  • Select the area of text that has the formatting that you like.
  • Select the paintbrush (upper left near the print and zoom icon)
  • Highlight the text you would like to have the same formatting - done!
Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 33 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Simple shortcut to increase the size of your text in Google Docs. (ctrl/cmd + Shift + .)

If you are looking for a shortcut to increase the size of your text in Google Docs try the following:

  • Hold down ctrl or cmd (depends if on a Windows or Mac)
  • Hold down Shift
  • select the period (.) as many times as you would like and watch the size increase
Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 16 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Skip cutting and pasting in Docs - highlight the paragraph and drag with your mouse or...

If you use Google Docs a lot, shortcuts will save you time and you will soon be editing like a pro.

One tip I found to be very beneficial is the ability to highlight a whole paragraph, click and drag the paragraph to where you want it to be placed (you will see a blue cursor).

Another tip is to highlight the paragraph, hold down Alt and Shift together and use you arrow keys to move the paragraph where you would like.

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 31 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Friday, December 27, 2019

Getting a ton of email from mailing lists? Don't just delete - click to unsubscribe if you do not want to see that sender again.

If you are getting a ton of emails in your inbox don't forget to select the Unsubscribe option. Many will have this at the top of your email on your phone, on device, or scroll to the bottom of the email and select unsubscribe.

Embedded below is a GIF showing the process in Gmail.

Take care,

Thursday, December 26, 2019

How to share your ETA in both Apple and Google Maps

Happy Holidays everyone!

With the holidays a lot of travel is happening. A solid way to share your estimated time of arrival is to use either Apple or Google Maps.

In Apple Maps, make sure to select your destination, select Go and then share your ETA.

In Google Maps select your destination, select start, from the bottom (see the estimated time) make sure to pull the lighter area up, you can then share trip progress.

Embedded below is a 1 minute and 5 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Learn about Holiday Traditions (as well as coding lesson plans, family guide, etc) using Google's Santa Tracker

Google's Santa Tracker has so much more than just tracking Santa includes coding, traditions, lesson plans, etc (see blog post here).

A fun part of the site that people of all ages can enjoy is that of learning about traditions from all over the world.

Embedded below is a GIF showing you a brief look at the traditions from around the world.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

How to share an article from your phone on Facebook to people who do not use Facebook

If you want to share an article directly from your phone (in this example I am using an iPhone) to someone who does not have Facebook you will need to:

  • select the article
  • select three dots in the upper right
  • select open in Safari 
  • you can then select the share icon (square with up arrow)
  • share in the app of your choosing

Embedded below is a 35 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Monday, December 23, 2019

Probability of a White Christmas

Curious if you are in store for a white Christmas? Check out NOAA's Probability of a White Christmas. Thanks to Richard Byrne for posting about this website.

The map is covered in tiles that you can click on to see your chanced of having a white Christmas (based on historical data).

Sadly, we will not have a white Christmas here in southeastern, Pennsylvania.

Embedded below is an example of the map.

Take care,

Sunday, December 22, 2019

See instantly in a Google Doc when changes have been made in a shared document.

A nice newer feature in Google Docs is the instant "alert" when changes have been made in a shared Google Doc. When you open the shared Doc you will notice a blue See new changes to the right of Help (see below)

When you select See new changes you will be able to see all new changes to the document as well as an option to see the version history.

Embedded below is a 47 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Saturday, December 21, 2019

On FaceTime - choose Animoji or Memoji so the caller will see that effect! πŸ·πŸ¦’πŸ­πŸΆπŸ±

The other day I was talking to my wife on FaceTime and tapped the screen and to my surprise found a whole bunch of options. The two I want to point on are the Animoji and Memoji (in the example below I used the Animoji).

All you need to do during your call is tap the screen and then choose Animoji and choose your selection and your Animoji will do the talking!

Take care,

Friday, December 20, 2019

Free logo/text generator with great fonts - try textgiraffe.com

If you are looking for a simple free logo or text generator - check out the website textgiraffe.com  Below is an image from the site as well as a 1 minute and 14 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Star Wars, Minecraft, Frozen, 3D Snowflakes! ❄❄ + Snowflake Bentley

Click below for the post revolving around 25 creative snowflakes:

You can also find the links by clicking on the picture below (opens up a collection in Wakelet).

As many of us spend time with family this week and may need a fun activity to create - here is an option that I did every year with my 4th grade classes.

I read the 1999 Caldecott Medal winning book - Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. Below you will see a nice summary of the book on Amazon.com.

From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley's enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist's vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. 

If you would like to see the story on YouTube please click on the embedded 7 minute and 7 second YouTube video below.

After I read the story to them - the students would then pick out a snowflake design that I had for them.

A friend of mine shared this site where you can create your own snowflake on the computer and choose to share it with the world (or not), as well as download a copy for yourself. . The site is available by clicking herehttp://snowflakes.barkleyus.com/

Embedded below is a GIF showing what the site looks like.

I hope you enjoy!

Want a distraction-free reader mode in Google Chrome - enable Reader Mode

If you want to read an article with no distractions, make sure to enable Reader Mode in Google Chrome.

To do this make sure to follow these steps:

  • chrome://flags/
  • search for enable reader mode
    • select disable and make it enabled
  • relaunch Chrome (bottom right of screen)
  • select what looks like three dark grey lines next to the website's URL
  • enjoy the article
Embedded below is a 38 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Emojis!!!! πŸ˜€πŸ˜πŸŽ„πŸŽ… Right-click inside any text box in Chrome and have emojis available for use. Bonus - where to find emojis in a Google Doc.

Want to insert an emoji quickly while you are using Google Chrome? All you need to do is right-click inside any text box in Chrome and you will have access to a gallery of emojis (if using a Windows device you can also select the Windows icon and then a period).

If writing in a Google Doc simply follow these directions:

  • select Insert
  • Special Characters
  • Click on where it says Symbol and change to Emoji
Embedded below is a 47 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Monday, December 16, 2019

How to look up your saved passwords in Google Chrome.

Just yesterday I could not recall a password to a specific website. In order to find it

  •  open the Chrome menu (three dots upper right)
  •  choose Settings 
  •  Passwords
  •  click the eye icon to reveal the password
One thing I want to remind you is to also make sure you is to make sure you also use 2 step verification. Click here for a short blog post from a few years ago.

Embedded below is a 39 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Sunday, December 15, 2019

You can now add captions to your images in Google Sites

A nice update in Google Sites is the ability to add captions to your images (image carousel).

In order to do this simply

  • select image carousel from the insert menu 
  • add at least two images 
  • hover over an image and select the add text icon
  • add the text you would like to add
Embedded below is a 1 minute and 46 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Saturday, December 14, 2019

How to start or stop certain apps from running upon startup on your Windows device.

This was one of those minor irritants that I just kept pushing off. My Skype for Business kept launching automatically when I turned on my Windows machine.

I finally stopped it from launching by doing the following:
  • select the Window (startup)
  • select the gear
  • select apps
  • select Startup
  • Toggle off the app
Embedded below is a 32 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Friday, December 13, 2019

New font (Lexend) developed in Google Docs designed to boost reading fluency and comprehension.

In a recent Google EDU in 90 video (see below) they discussed a new font (Lexend)
that has been developed to boost reading fluency and comprehension. In fact, in a
recent focus group with third graders, students showed a nearly 20% improvement in
WCPM (words correct per minute) when reading in Lexend versus Time New Roman.

To add the Lexend family, select font>more fonts>search Lexend> add the ones from the
Lexend family you would like to add (there are 7).

Embedded below is a 59 second YouTube tutorial as well as Google's EDU in 90: Keeping up with Docs. The segment about Lexend begins at the 2 minute mark.

Take care,

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Google Doc Update - See the number of words in a Google Doc while typing.

In the past you could see the number of words in your Google Doc by using Ctrl + Shift + C - this also shows the number of Pages, Characters, as well as Character excluding spaces.

A new feature is the ability to display the word count while typing. Just make sure to check the box to display the number of words (see below).

Embedded below is a GIF as well as a 48 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Flipgrid - 6 new updates + The MET and Epic! in the Disco Library

Flipgrid released 6 new updates - click here for their blog post or see the embedded Tweet below from 11/25/2019.

2 more items to point revolve around the Disco Library (which is short for discovery). You can read about the updates here as well - http://blog.flipgrid.com/

The 2nd is that Epic is available as well where students can reflect on what they have read.

Take care,

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Bar chart race animation showing the best selling videos games since 1989

The other day I saw a post revolving around video games and the best selling games since 1989 (thank you to Crazygammer for sharing). It is fascinating to see the data and to see how long Tetris stayed #1 and what finally overtook it.

Embedded below is a GIF as well as a link to the video itself (3 minutes and 26 seconds).

Here also is one revolving around the best selling Music Artists (1969-2019)

Finally, watch the rise and fall of the 10 biggest cities in the World since 1500.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Sign-up for (free) - Make your own apps, 3D printing, Coding + Drones, Draw Own Icons, and more

Richard Byrne's free Practical Ed Tech Creativity Conference starts tomorrow (December 10th). You can register here.

This is an amazing opportunity to learn from experts and all for free.

The following presentations are available (taken directly from Richard's website): - https://www.freetech4teachers.com/2019/12/practical-ed-tech-creativity-conference.html

  • Easy Ways to Make Your Own Apps
    • December 10 at 3pm ET – Richard Byrne
      Not that long ago creating a mobile app required extensive coding skills and knowledge of programming. Today, there are many tools that make it possible for educators and students to develop their own functioning apps without any prior programming experience. Come to this presentation to learn how you and your students can develop  simple apps to use on your phones or tablets.

  • 3D Printing Solutions to World Issues
    • December 10 at 4pm ET – Jeremy Rinkel
      With an emphasis and focus on the UN Sustainability Goals, students were challenged to create prototypes or products that would be beneficial in assisting communities and countries in reaching the UN Sustainability Goals. Our first year of 3D printing has brought challenges, but we are learning a lot through problem solving and design. I’ll discuss our journey into 3D printing, the excitement of students in learning about “real-world” challenges and how 3D printing could play a role in solving these issues. Take ideas from our experience, make them your own and help save our world one 3D print at a time.

  • Coding + Drones= 100% Engagement
    • December 11 at 4pm ET – Karin Knapik-Cloutier
      Create multidisciplinary projects that teach students coding as well as the 4 C’s of critical-thinking,creativity, collaboration and communication. Using TELLO drones and free apps that run on IOS, Android and as a Chrome extension you can teach coding to students in elementary through high school.

  • Simple Wearable Electronics
    • December 11 at 8pm ET – Denise Wright
      This presentation will show you how to create some simple wearable electronics. Wearable electronics can include pedometers, smartwatches, or even a jean jacket that can play music. Everyday people use some sort of wearable electronics. Check out this jacket made with ada flora. Microbits can even be used to create watches.

  • Taking Shape: Drawing Your Own Icons
    • December 12 at 2pm ET – Tony Vincent
      Icons are an extremely effective form of communication. They are simple pictures that are immediately recognizable and universally understood. Icons tend to be simple drawings and are typically one color, making them easy to design if you break them down into shapes. Sure, there are millions of icons you can download, but there are advantages to making them yourself. When you draw your own, you can fill it with any color. And, you can customize your icon—you can change it to exactly meet your needs. Plus, it feels good to be creative with your visuals!

      In this webinar, Tony Vincent will demonstrate techniques for constructing icons by combining shapes in Google Drawings. The techniques work in any graphic design app. After learning to make your own icons, see how you can put them to work. Get ideas for using icons in your newsletters, flyers, slide shows, bulletin boards, videos, 3D prints, and documents. Teachers will be excited to put students on the path to drawing their own icons as well—kids love the challenge of drawing with shapes and enjoy using their own creations in their projects.

  • Using Makey Makey to Create Assistive Technology
    • December 12 at 3pm ET – Art Spencer
      For the past 3 years I've had 4th, 5th, and 8th grade students design and build assistive technology devices using Makey Makey boards for students with special needs. My students learn the design process, then work in groups to create buttons using cardboard, aluminum foil, and conductive clay. Special needs students then have success using a computer despite any physical limitations. This session will give an overview of that project and give tips on how do so something similar in your school setting.

  • Using Video as a Reflective, Collaborative, and Data Collecting tool
    • December 12 at 4pm ET – Brian Heyward
      Video can be used to reflect on process/progress, collect data for informal/formal research, and to collaborate synchronously or asynchronously on the same tasks. Video tools and other considerations will also be presented.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

How to create address labels with a Mail-Merge with Excel and Word

With the Holidays right around the corner, many people have asked the quickest and easiest way to generate labels is to use a mail merge with Excel and Word.

If you create your data in an Excel sheet - remember to use the following in each cell:
  • First name 
  • Last Name
  • Address
  • City
  • State
  • Zip Code
From there you will need to open up Word and follow these instructions:
  • Mailings - Start Mail Merge - Labels (choose your Vendor and product number (I am using Avery 5160 labels)
  • Select Recipients - Use an Existing List - Choose your Excel Sheet - then select ok
  • In 1st "open" field select Insert Merge Field
  • Here is where you select your cells - remember to put a space between First name and Last name - enter - Address - enter - city - space - state - space - zip
  • Select preview results (here is where you can adjust size and style of font and anything else you would like to chance
  • Select update labels - and you will see all your labels appear
  • Select Finish & Merge - Edit individual document - Merge records - All - ok
  • Save your doc and print away!
Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 2 minute and 11 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Hour of Code 2019 resources (December 9th to 15th, 2019)

It is that awesome time of year again – Hour of Code. https://code.org/.
December 9th  – 15th.

If you are interested in trying this with your class - I have created a guide
and Google Drive folder  that I hope will be helpful.

Prior to having the students logging on for Hour of Code – a great resource
to use is a Slide that was created to kind of teach students what code really
is. The Slide and attached worksheets are available by clicking here. The
sheets describe what an algorithm is as well as what programming really is.

I recommend logging on to the site and familiarize yourself with it. Take a
look especially at the STATS page – the fact that there are currently
517,393 open computing jobs nationwide and last year, only 42,969
computer science students graduated into the workforce is

While you do not have to Sign-in,  I strongly recommend it. You will be
able to see students statistics as well as have access to many lesson
plans and additional resources.

Below is a YouTube video on how to sign your class up on Code.org.

When you sign-in, scroll down to Teacher Home Page and click on it,
select Manage Students, select Add Multiple Students.
** If you used CODE last year, you may need to update your list of
code 3.PNGcode 2.PNG

code 4.PNG

When you add your students, you will then be taken to a page
with all of their passwords. You must select “Show Secret” to
see the password.

At the bottom of the page you will see a link for your
class’s CODE page. All the students will need to do is
click on their name and type in their password. This
simplifies things a lot. Great to put on Google Classroom.
You will also see a link to print out all usernames and passwords.
The site is very similar to previous years with characters from
Star Wars, Minecraft, Disney Infinity Characters, as well as
the ability to code with Anna and Elsa (Frozen), Flappy, as
well as with wayfinding with Moana. You can even code your
own dance party - maybe I will finally be able to floss or dab -
No-one wants to see that! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Click here (or embedded image below) to be taken to the site
users will be interested in the most (see inserted picture below).
Here users can select their interests, filter searches by grade
level, educator experience, student experience, as well as
what type of classroom technology is available. There is a
very nice video tutorial for users to watch (typically around 2
minutes) prior to the start of coding.

Here are two great videos  to introduce or re-introduce your
students to CODE:
Video #1 – a little under a 6 minute video – inspiring and informative
Video #2 – about a 2 minute video – with a little introduction and
then a quick bit about basic concepts of programming
I hope you and your students enjoy this site. Remember, this site
can be used throughout the year.

If you have any questions, please let me know.
Thanks so much!


Friday, December 6, 2019

Google Drive File Stream Microsoft Outlook Integration

Google's Drive File Stream is a quick and easy way to access your Drive files from your computer (see Tweet below - or click here for blog post).

2 nice features for those who use File Stream and Outlook (click here for post from Google) are the abilities to

  1. save attachments from an email directly into Drive 
  2. add attachments as a file or link
Embedded below is a 1 minute YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Cool web fluid simulation (also works in mobile browsers)

WebGL Fluid simulation provides users with a cool web fluid simulation. The vibrant colors and residual effects are mesmerizing. While very cool, I could see this also being used with specific students or children that may need to calm down, reset, etc.

This was shared by a friend of mine on Twitter - thanks Kathi!

Embedded below are two GIFs (and YouTube video) showing the site on a notebook followed by an iPad.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Decorate a Christmas Tree with Google Slides

Eric Curts has done it again. The creator of Build a Snowman and Build a Jack-o-Lantern has created Decorate a Christmas Tree.

Eric does an amazing job of explaining everything in his post; however, here are a few to point out.

  1. Open this link
  2. Make sure to share the slide with your class by selecting Share > Advanced > next to Private select Change > Make your choice (I chose anyone with the link) > Keep the sharing as anyone with link can view > SAVE > copy the link (highlighted in blue) > share with your class (Google Classroom)
  3. Make sure student select File > Make a Copy when they open the link
  4. Student can copy the images by using Control C and then Control V to paste.
    1. Remind students they can paste the same image more than once 
  5. Have your students write their story in a Google Doc and then pasting in the area Eric has for the story.
  6. Remember to download and print by selecting File > Download as > PNG Image
Embedded below is a 1 minute and 50 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Create a Google Earth tour directly in the Chrome Browser. Plus automatically saves in Google Drive!

In the past creating a tour in Google Earth used Tour Builder - see posts below

Google recently released the ability to create a tour directly in Google Earth's Chrome version. You can start a new project by selecting the project icon (2nd option from the bottom). You will also see all your previous files as well. One additional way to start a project is to type in a location and then add then select Add to project from the card.

You can then start your project. A helpful tutorial video is at the bottom of the screen as well. 

What is nice are the options you see below:

Embedded below is a 3 minute and 35 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Monday, December 2, 2019

Google Sites - How to add a favicon (shortcut icon) and how to show when your page was last updated.

In Google Sites you can add a shortcut icon (favicon) to your site. You can also show when the page was last updated.

To add your favicon:

  • select the three dots
  • select add favicon
  • upload or search for an icon
  • publish
You can also show when the page was last updated by:
  • select the three dots
  • site info settings
  • toggle on (Show page last updated time)
Embedded below is a 1 minute and 34 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Add images into your Google Site using Image Carousel

A nice feature built directly into Google Sites is the option to add photos directly into your site in a nice carousel fashion.

Simply select Image Carousel from the options on the right side of the site. You will then have the options to import or select (at least 2 images). You can search the web, your albums, or Google Drive. Once chosen you will see a settings gear which will allow you to choose whether you want your viewers to see dots (to know there are more images) as well as to Auto Start the carousel.

Embedded below is a 1 minute and 10 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Collapsible Text feature in Google Sites

A newer feature in Google Slides is the ability to add collapsible text into your website. This is a nice feature as in the past when longer text was posted in the site it would take up a lot of your page. Now, with the collapsible text it does not have to.

To access this feature simply select collapsible text from the insert menu.

Embedded below is a 59 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Friday, November 29, 2019

Create a Stop Motion video on your iPad easily with Stop Motion Studio (free - with in app purchases)

Stop Motion Studio is a very simple to use app to create a stop motion video. Other than the ease of starting, here are a few items to point out:

  • Add narration
  • Add images
  • Title and credits (ability to add titles, credits, theme cards is a $0.99 upgrade
  • Add clips
  • Change movie speed
  • change aspect ratio
  • add filter (upgrade for multiple options)
  • as well as a ? that pops up what each item does (very helpful)

Embedded below is a GIF as well as a 2 minute and 23 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving! 61 awesome facts in an infographic + see how the Macy's parade is put together.

Happy Thanksgiving 2019 to everyone. As a kid growing up my mom always made sure we watched some of the Thanksgiving Day Parade (switching back and forth between New York and Philadelphia). If you would like to livestream the Macy's Day Parade in New York make sure to click here.  You can also see how the show is put together, behind the scenes, plus see the parade through the decades!

On this link you can see 61 Thanksgiving Facts in an outstanding infographic!  https://wallethub.com/blog/thanksgiving-facts/28332/


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

How to leave feedback, change rubric, and send a reply to a student.

In Flipgrid, a valuable tool is the ability to leave feedback.
* Quick note you can now sort the videos by name (first,last) as well as by date.

  • Enter into your Grid
  • Select the topic
  • Choose a video
    • You can now reply to the student (you have up to 5 minutes)
    • You can also use an already created rubric, as well as alter the rubric to fit your needs
Embedded below is a 1 minute and 14 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,