Welcome

Screenshot 2016-02-19 at 11.58.58 AMThis 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: Spice Up Your Pear Deck Presentation

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For those of you using Pear Deck, you are probably using it to “up” the engagement level in your classroom during those pesky moments of “direct instruction” when attention, interaction, and engagement seem to be at their lowest. So Pear Deck does a wonderful job bringing engagement back (or the “sexy” back) into your lesson.

What Pear Deck allows is a slide called “web links” where you can embed other edtech tools and websites WITHIN your presentation, never sending the students out to another site.

Tools to try:

  • Padlet (making for a great Do Now and/or Exit Ticket or Share Session)
  • Google Doc, Google Sheet, Google Map, Google Form, or Google Drawing (and Google Drawings can be interactive!)
  • NewsELA
  • Kahoot! (and never leave Pear Deck)
  • Desmos Graphing Calculator
  • PheT simulation
  • Quizlet
  • PollEverywhere

Here is how to get this to work:

  1. Access the page/tool you want to add to your Pear Deck presentation
  2. Find and copy the share link/URL of the site/tool you want to use
  3. Paste this link into your web slide in Pear Deck

Simple AND engaging.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Helping Students Manage School with My Study Life

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Students have a lot going on in their lives and keeping track of it all is a skill in and of itself. So what if there was a tool to help them better manage their daily school lives? My Study Life is an app that can be accessed via the web, on their phones via the app, or through an extension in the Chrome Web Browser. With the onset of the holiday season and winter break shortly upon us, now is a good time to introduce this program to your students and help them get (re)organized and maintain that organization for the stretch run.

This program offers kids a “digital” planner, where they can set up their classes, and manage tasks/exams/quizzes/projects, etc. It is easily adaptable to ANY school schedule (you can introduce it to your own kids), and even if you access it in one place (on your iPhone), you can get to it in Chrome. Whats great- is students have this planner with them at all times. They just have to be taught how to BEST utilize it and get it up and running.

Check it out, then introduce it to your students. If you have any questions- feel free to reach out to me!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Spice Up Your Schoology Materials with Images and Animated Gifs

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There is a lot of leeway in Schoology to be creative and personalize the look and feel of your courses, folders, assignments, and materials. One way to really enhance the overall feel of it is to embed images and animated gifs (animated/moving images) within your materials. Take a look at a few examples of things I have done in the past:

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Here’s how you can do this with your courses:

  1. To add images to folders/assignments/materials: Click to edit the material itself using the “gear icon” –> click the “insert content” button –> “image” –> “upload image” –> “Attach file”. NOTE: I find it quite easier to download the image you want beforehand. This way you can edit/crop/manage the photo prior to uploading it. Once you do this, the image will be embedded within the material you selected. Click on the image, and click the “image icon”. In the box that opens, you can edit the image dimensions, or add a border/frame. Enter a “1” or “2” into the border box to see a border appear around the image. I’m a fan of “2” here.
  2. To add animated images to folders/assignments/materials: Find the animated image you’d like to embed online. You can do a Google Search for the image followed by the words “animated gif” and this will usually bring up something that you are looking for or similar. Once you find the image you want, right-click on the image and select “copy image address”. Now, go to your Schoology course and click to edit the material you want to add the animated gif to using the “gear icon” –> click the “insert content” button –> “image” –> “From the web” –> then paste the link we copied from the image into the “Link” box and click “insert media”. Just like above, you can then edit the animated gif dimensions or add a border if so you choose.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Make Your Spreadsheets AWESOME

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Are you looking to spruce up your tables/spreadsheets and a better way to display the content? Check out Awesome Table. Awesome Table is a free web program/app that takes information in a Google Sheet, and displays it in a variety of new ways. You can take your information and instead of boring cells, show the data/information off in a card view, maps, images, etc.

So what if you used Awesome Table . . .

  • to display SGO content in a visually impactive way
  • to create a student, club, team, personnel directory
  • to create a video gallery of student created videos
  • to create an image gallery . . .
  • to get students visualizing data in a more creative and engaging way.

Awesome Table recently updated to being able to display images saved from your Google Drive, which is a GREAT addition. It can even be embedded into other websites like Weebly and Google Sites. For examples of what Awesome-Table can do, check out this link.

Tech Tip Tuesday: A Google Refresh!

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You may have noticed within the past week or two that there have been some updates to the Google Suite. Some may still be rolling over through our district, so if you do not see any of these changes, it may take a little bit more time to receive them.

So what are the recent updates?

  • Gmail has recently added “add-ons”. If you are familiar with add-ons, these are extra tools that connect to various Google Apps like docs, slides, forms, etc and increase the productivity of what you are doing, or enhance the capability of the app. So Google has partnered with other applications such as Trello, Asana, and Docusign (coming soon) which can all be activated right from within your Gmail.
  • Google Calendar has undergone an overhaul. It should look entirely different (more like the new Google Sites). The entire design is bigger, bolder, and more colorful. They have also added more calendar “views” as you can select a daily schedule view or up to 1 year. The new “day” view can actually show colleagues calendars side-by-side with yours. Want more? Calendar also updated their editing window. You should notice that they added a rich-text editor to event creation window which allows you to insert links, attach files, and format text. Finally, they also enhanced the built-in search field. Just like a regular search on google.com, you can do an advanced search now and break down what you are looking for!
  • First there was “Google Hangouts”, now there is “Google Meet.” You should be able to see the new Google Meet app by selecting the Google “Rubiks Cube” in the top right corner of your Chrome/Drive window. Meet is similar to hangouts, with a few small twists. It’s more like Skype, and allows up to 30 people to join the chat. Unlike Hangouts, which is fully video supported and more for on-air broadcasting, Meet allows for text chat as well, as well as dial-in meetings similar to GoToMeeting.
  • Toward the end of September, Google released a Slides update. If you’ve been in Slides lately, you should have noticed a slight change to the toolbar look and feel. The toolbar is a little more streamlines but may take some getting used to. They added ‘diagram” integration which comes with a few templates that you can insert into a presentation. They have also added a “skip slide” feature which is quite useful when you want to tailor a specific presentation for various audiences but do not want to actually “delete” the slide. Just do a right-click on the slide you want to skip and select “skip” from the list. There are new add-ons in slides that include: Unsplash Photos, Pear Deck, LucidChart, and Flat Music Notation to name a few. There is also Google Keep integration, similar to how it works with Google Docs.

I also wanted to share an article that was shared to me by Jutta about Google Workflows. Check it out here!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Free Stock Images

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We are always looking for free images. Unsplash has always been the favorite of mine (and still is). However, I came across another useful site called Pexels, which is very similar.

What is great about all of these sites, regardless of the one you choose, is the opportunity to teach students HOW to properly search for images. It should become best practice to understand copyright regulations, and which images they CAN use when they are working on a presentation. I also like seeing students use these sites because it enlightens them to be more creative and enables me time to work in presentation skills.

Pexels offers free, hi-def images, that are copyright free under creative commons. You do not even have to include attribution to the source image.

So what if students used Pexels:

  • To create a blog or website
  • To put together a formal presentation
  • As a “picture-book”
  • To summarize a reading with images
  • When creating background images to use with Thinglink

Tech Tip Tuesday: Printing Student Quiz Results in Schoology

Sometimes it can be useful to be able to print student results of a quiz. For example, a student with an IEP might need/expect a copy of the quiz they took on Schoology, a parent might request a copy, or you might be looking for a way for students to learn from their results and make the necessary changes. Whichever it is, there is a pretty straightforward way to print the individualized results of a Schoology quiz.

To do this, open your Schoology course and select the quiz you want to print the results from. Once inside the quiz click RESULTS –> click VIEW ATTEMPTS next to the student’s name –> and next to the attempt click on the little GEAR (settings) icon. Then select VIEW/EDIT. The student’s responses should load with correct answers. To print these results, simply do a web print (right-click print).

Tech Tip Tuesday: New Google Slides Update

Google Slides recently updated to offer some new robust tools that might just come in handy and make your presentation even that much more professional.

First, Google has integrated Google Keep into Slides. This is a fantastic addition. I wrote about what you can do with Google Keep and Google Docs before. This will add the same features to Slides and open the possibility for conducting research in a more meaningful manner while designing presentations.

Second, Google now lets you link and sync slides from multiple presentations with the click of a button. This allows you to maintain a single source of truth and easily update linked slides to match the source. This is awesome if you continually update presentations.

Third, there are SO many new add-ons that you can attach to Slides. You can get images with the Adobe Stock or Unsplash Photo add-ons! There is an AWESOME Pear Deck add-on that lets you add question types to an existing Google Slide presentation or present the presentation with Pear Deck from your Google Drive. Looking for more icons? There is even an icon add-on to add hundreds of new icons to your created slides.

Finally, there is an updated toolbar look, the ability to insert diagrams (even from Lucidchart), and a new grid view for how you access and change your slide layout/order.

You should already see these changes on your personal gmail account. Look for these to roll out soon throughout the district.

 

 

Tech Tip Tuesday: Week of Respect Resource

This week’s tip is more of a resource. Since it is the week of respect, I wanted to share a resource that I came across. I remember this video floating around a few years ago. Originally a poem by Shane Koyczan, the To This Day Project was started to mark the anti-bullying initiative “Pink Shirt Day”- which aims to highlight the effect of long-term bullying on students in school and to help schools better deal with this situation.

Shane Koyczan later released an animated video set to his poem. I remember showing this to my English class when I was teaching and remember the impact it had and raw emotion it drew from my students.

Take a minute to check out the video below.

Back Up Your Images

Mac doesn’t make it easy to locate photos/images on your Mac. You’ll notice that they show up in “iPhotos” but not in a folder on your hard drive. To backup images follow these steps:
  1. Create a folder on your desktop and title it Photos
  2. Open iPhotos
  3. Select all of the photos that come up (tip: select the first image, then hold shift –> scroll to bottom and select the last image)
  4. Then click FILE –> EXPORT –> EXPORT # PHOTOS
  5. Leave the pop-up settings as is –> then click EXPORT
  6. Select DESKTOP –> then find and select the folder we created –> then click EXPORT
  7. All of your images will then be dropped/exported to this folder (it will take a while depending on how many images you have exporting).
  8. From here you can drag this folder to an external hard drive/flash drive OR upload this to your Google Drive.
  9. To upload to Google Drive make sure you open Google Drive on the web: drive.google.com as the Drive App tends to sync and download copies BACK to your hard drive. Some people are getting messages that their drive is full. In drive select NEW –> FOLDER UPLOAD –> select the desktop folder with the images and let it upload to drive. (Note: You MUST be in Chrome Browser to see folder upload, otherwise you will see file upload (which will take A LOT LONGER)
Hope this helps!