Welcome

logoThis site is home to Ramapo Indian Hills High School District Instructional Technology and Staff Development. Here you will be able to find resources and tools to help you become more comfortable using technology with your students and implementing innovative methods in your classroom. Use this website for numerous resources, coaching appointments, newsletters, and workshop materials. I am committed to showcasing some of the great work our staff is already doing while helping to make the technology integration in the classroom both seamless and virtually invisible.

 

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Tech Tip Tuesday: New Gmail Customization

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So by now you have witnessed the changes to Gmail. Some for the better and some for the worse. Here are a few things that you can do to help ease the change and make your Gmail do what you need it to.

  1. Configure Inbox Filters: Click on the GEAR (settings) icon toward the right of your inbox. Next click CONFIGURE INBOX and then check off any of the filters to add tabs across the top of your inbox that will help filter out social media, promotions/sales, etc.
  2. Access Snooze: When you hover over emails in your inbox, a few buttons will appear. The last one (a clock) is the SNOOZE button. Which temporarily removes emails and then brings them back as though they are new/unread. If you do not see the snooze button, click the GEAR (settings) icon and then click SETTINGS. In the GENERAL TAB,  locate HOVER ACTIONS and make sure they are enabled. Sometimes, you will also need to turn on CONVERSATION VIEW. Then scroll to the bottom and SAVE CHANGES.
  3. Set Unread or Important Messages First: If you want to set different emails (unread, important, starred, etc) to show up at the top of your inbox click on the GEAR (settings) icon and then click SETTINGS. In the INBOX tab, select the INBOX TYPE to what you want to show first in your inbox.
  4. Mass Delete or Select All Unread: To mass delete or select all unread, read, or starred messages click on the checkbox just above you inbox to select all or click the dropdown arrow to the right of it to select the type of messages you want to select.

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After you click the box, a message will appear above the inbox that says “all messages on this page have been selected”. However, you can mass select by click the message to the right of that (in blue) that says “select all conversations in …” By doing this you can do a mass delete of your inbox. Note** This popup message may not appear if you are using the inbox filters noted in #1 above.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Add What You Need to Your Macbook Dock

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It has come up a few times from various teachers (and students) that they are missing apps on their Dock, including the Applications App to open other apps on your Mac. Of course, you can always use Spotlight to do a search for the app on your computer and open it that way. However, if you would like to add an Application Folder to your Mac or a specific app, just follow these steps:

  1. Open Finder
  2. Find the “Applications” folder in the left navigation
  3. Click and drag the Applications folder to your Dock –> this will add it to your dock and keep it in Finder as well.
  4. Next, click on the Applications folder within Finder
  5. Find any app you would like to add to your Dock as well
  6. Click on that app and drag it to your Dock as well.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Try Out Schoology Badges!

” Badges? We don’t need no stinkin badges!” – Blazing Saddles

Ok, but for this tech tip you might want to try this out! Did you know Schoology has a built-in badge creator? For intrinsic motivation, this could be a need tool to include in your classroom, even if you aren’t attempting your hand at “gamification”.

If you’ve taken part in my online Schoology PD course, surely you’ve noticed how I have implemented a badging system. To see what badges you have earned, click on your profile name (upper right corner of the Schoology window) –> then click View Your Profile. Find where it says View Badges on the right-hand side, then click see all. This will list all badges you have earned to date, including the description for why you earned it. This is a powerful tool. Nothing is worse than getting an award (err badge) and not knowing the reason why, which is more important than the badge itself!

Ok, so now you saw where your badges are located. To create your own badges, go into the course you want to implement them, locate badges in the left navigation and click on it. To create a badge click Add Badge –> Create New Badge. Add a title, a description, choose a color and frame, and then upload and attach an image (Canva works wonders here, but you can also Google search for something, download it, and then upload it here). Once you are set, click Submit. The badge will now be listed along the top row. To award a badge to a student, simply locate the students name, then check the corresponding box, under the badge column to award the badge. A green checkmark will signify they have earned it!

This is a fun feature that adds another dimension to your classroom. Trust me… even High School students love earning badges! In the meantime, since you have done a lot of work in my online PD course, consider printing out your own badges and sticking them on your door! This is a great way to highlight all the work you’ve put in doing PD and show what knowledge you have. It would be great if we could get this District wide!!! 

 

Tech Tip Tuesday: Final Tip of the School Year and Ending it Right

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The end of the school year is quickly approaching and in order to end the year right, I wanted to post a few quick tips for wrapping it up.

  1. Clean and Organize Your Google Drive: Make sure everything has a folder at the top level. Put everything in a folder. Delete duplicate files. Color-code folders. Take “shared with me” and arrange where necessary.
  2. Back Up Your Files: If you use your MacBook hard drive extensively, I would consider utilizing Google Drive and backup everything there. Cloud storage is key as you can then access anything, anytime, anywhere. You can also consider transferring everything over to an external hard drive or flash drive.
  3. Clean Your Desktop: Organize everything into folders. Create clear names and select to arrange your desktop in a particular order that suits you!
  4. Clean Your Harddrive: Similar to your Google Drive- make sure everything has a folder. Delete duplicate files.
  5. Unsubscribe from Unwanted Email: This takes some time, but can be quite useful. Take the time to open emails you no longer want to receive, scroll to the bottom, and find the “unsubscribe” button. It’s usually hidden in the fine print somewhere. This will save you so many headaches later on.
  6. Clean and Organize Your Email: Throughout the year your inbox gets flooded. Delete unwanted messages, unsubscribe from things you no longer want to receive, create “labels” for things you want to save and organize for later.
  7. Store Images in Google Drive: Images don’t take up that much room until you have compiled hundred or thousands. Set your phone to save images to your Google Drive, or upload all of your images on your computer to your Google Drive.
  8. Update, update, update: This might require you to reboot your computer. DO IT! From an outdated MacBook to outdated Chrome/Safari, etc, take a moment to actually set these things to update and then reboot the computer for a fresh start.
  9. Save Your Schoology Course Material to Resources: Take advantage of Schoology’s resources and save everything there. Next year, it will save you so much time to just copy things over to your new classes.

Tech Tip Tuesday: End of Year Schoology Tips

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Now’s the time to begin taking a moment to make sure you have all of your Schoology materials/courses in order for the end of the year. Here are a few tips to consider to help make a smooth transition through the summer and into next year.

  1. Create and use folders: The method is simple- create a folder for every unit you teach, then within that folder consider using other folders to organize daily/weekly lesson, types of assignments, or self-paced activities. This is easier for students to manage, and makes it easier for you to save everything to your personal resources (to be discussed next). Pro Tip! Go to your personal resources (click resources –> personal –> then ADD new folder) Title the folder the name of your courses. This will help with step #2.
  2. Save all of your material/content to your resources: This is imperative! If you followed tip #1, this step becomes a cinch. Go into each of your courses, then next to the folder/material you want to save, click on the little gear icon to the right of it, then select SAVE TO RESOURCES from the drop-down menu. A pop-up window will appear. You can select a collection from the drop-down at the top (I recommend leaving this with HOME) and then underneath designate a folder to organize it to (select the course folder you just created if you followed the pro tip above). Do this with everything. This saves everything in case your courses get deleted. PLUS- next year you can just go to your personal resources, select the course folder, then copy entire folders/individual assignments over to your new courses! Even quiz questions stay.
  3. Check out this document/Schoology Help with more tips to end the year right!

Tech Tip Tuesday: End of Year Google Cleaning

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The end of the year is quickly approaching. With that, I wanted to share a few tips for cleaning your Google Drive, Gmail, and Calendar.

  1. Make sure everything has a home in Drive: This is key. Google Drive works from the top level down, meaning, if you can get everything in your “My Drive” folder in a folder, then cleaning up the things within these folders will be SO much easier.
  2. Color-code or star your Drive folders: If you right-click on a folder in your Google Drive, a quick menu will appear. Click on or hover over “Change Color” to pick a color for your folder. This makes it easier to locate specific folders in thumbnail/tile view. Also, in the quick menu is an option to “Add Star”. Starred folders appear in your drive drop-down menu, separating them from everything else for quick and easy access. It’s a good idea to update this yearly with your most used folders (especially if you have folders for specific classes). If your classes change, then you can just right-click on the folder and “Remove Star”.
  3. Create an “Archive” Drive Folder: One good idea is to create a yearly “Archive” Folder. Then, drag everything from this year into that folder. This is great if you have a lot of student work that has been shared with you, that you don’t want to clutter up your drive or get mixed up with your own personal resources.
  4. Archive old Email: This is a quick and effective one. Check the box next to an email message, then choose the “Archive” button at the top. This will clean up your inbox, but still make it where all of those archived emails are accessible/searchable.
  5. Hide Old Calendars: In Google Calendar, you can easily hide from calendars you no longer want to see in your dropdown list. Simply hover over the calendar, click on the 3 dots (more option), then select “Hide Calendar”. This doesn’t remove you from them, just removes them from the list!
  6. The dreaded “Shared With Me” Drive Folder: This one is a pain. But simply, just go in here and look for things you want to keep. If you want it, click and drag it to the folder you want to organize it in. As far as everything else? Don’t touch it. The same goes for your “Recent” folder. I wouldn’t try to clean this out.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Having Issues Using Schoology with Safari or Firefox?

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Recently, a handful of teachers have come to me about issues with Schoology when using Safari or Firefox. One of them being embedded content (like a Google Doc or Slide presentation) not loading properly or just getting empty content. Here is an example of one of the Schoology PD modules:

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The image above shows an error in Schoology with an embedded Google Doc that is not loading properly. When you get this you can click the little box and arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and it will open a new tab to the Google Doc. However, this shouldn’t have to be done.

The way around this is quite simple. Simply make sure you re logged into your Google account! To do this, just go to gmail.com –> login with your school account. Then reload the page or navigate to the Schoology page you are trying to access. Once you do that, this is what it will look like:

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Notice the embedded Google Doc that can you interact with right within Schoology. Simple and effective. So if you or your students ever have this issue, just make sure they are logged into their school Google account.

Hope this helps!