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.


Tech Tip Tuesday: New Zoom Updates

Zoom recently released a few more updates and features to Zoom. The most recent version is 5.4.4. To check that open Zoom –> with Zoom open click Zoom.us in the top left of your Mac bar –> click about Zoom.us –> then check for updates. Enter your password (same as your school google account) and update.

So the first update with Zoom’s newest version allows you to revoke/suspend all participant activities. This will mute all participa,nt audio AND video, stop any screensharing, end all breakout rooms, and pause any recording. You can access this by clicking your security button on your Zoom toolbar. See the image below:

The next feature allows you to screenshare multiple programs at once. Other programs will NOT be shown to participants. This allows you to not have to share your entire desktop. To do this simply click screenshare –> then under basic click a program (this can be chrome, another web service, powerpoint, a mac app etc) –> click one of the programs and then hold shift and click another. A popup will appear telling you to do this as well as grey out those programs that you can’t dual share. See below:

Finally, you can also stack your chat window with your participant window! Simply click chat, then click participants without closing the chat out and see them stack in the right side! See below.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Convert a Word or Google Doc Quiz to Schoology

I’ve posted about this in the past but with recent updates to both Schoology AND the third party website we used to create the file needed for the conversion to Schoology, I decided I needed to go through the process again.

Watch the video below to learn how you can take an old Word or Google Doc test/quiz, and convert it to Schoology without having to retype everything in!

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: New Padlet Premium Service

So we finally and officially have a premium Padlet service. I am excited about having this one. Many of you have been asking for it and I am glad to finally bring it to you! This premium version will let you create as many Padlet boards as you want without deleting any, AND will let you share them with classes and fellow teachers!

First, here is how you can get the premium service and merge your older account to the newer one.

  1. Go to our new designated district URL for Padlet that was sent out in our weekly tech tip newsletter. You will no longer go to padlet.com!
  2. Click Google to register/sign-in with your school Google account.
  3. You are now logged in to Padlet Backpack, the new premium version of Padlet. It will also merge your old content with the new database. A popup to do this will follow.

Select the items you want to bring in, then click the button to import. Here are the steps
● Log in with Backpack account
● Click avatar >> Settings >> Import
● Log in to your basic account
● Choose padlets to import >> Import

That’s it! You’ll have access to the premium version and can begin making new Padlet boards to enhance student engagement and interaction in your lessons. Any issues, please let me know!

Hope this helps.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Upload Videos to Edpuzzle or Appsmash With Other Tools

Edpuzzle is a great way to build and design asynchronous learning activities, to differentiate, or to help facilitate student learning by extending it with video tutorials and extra lessons.

One of the benefits to doing this is to use Edpuzzle with another tool. Edpuzzle recently (not sure exactly when) started integrating with Google Drive. So now, when you create your video lesson, you can select to upload a video, and Edpuzzle will give you an option to select from Google Drive and pull a video file from there directly into Edpuzzle. Pretty cool!

Another benefit is the ability to App Smash with other tools such as Screencastify, Explain Everything, Notability, or the iPad’s Markup and Screen recorder. Creating your own flipped learning video and pushing it out to students to watch and verify whether or not they actually did, really personalizes the learning more than a youtube video. When you are done creating your Screencastify video, simply select share, and Edpuzzle is an option to push out your video to a particular class of your!

With Notability, or the iPad’s Screen Recorder and Markup, you can simply record what you are doing using the particular app, upload the video file created and saved on the ipad to your Google Drive, and then back in Edpuzzle simply click to create a video –> upload –> and choose from Google Drive!

Hope some of these ideas come in handy!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Zoom Closed Captions

Another useful tool within Zoom that goes unnoticed is closed captions. This might be useful for ELL students or just to gather a transcript of the verbal discussion from your Zoom meeting.

To use closed captions, first you need to enable this feature in your Zoom settings. Go to Zoom.us –> log into your account –> then access the settings from the left navigation. Scroll down to “In-meeting Advanced”. Find “closed captions” and toggle it on.

Then, start a Zoom meeting and you will see a CC button in your Zoom dock/menu. Click on that to start closed captions –> then click “enable auto-transcription”. From there, as you speak, you will see the captions appear on your screen. This is pretty fluent and for the most part, does a nice job transcribing your voice. From here, you can also click the arrow next to the CC Button to open a sub menu. If you choose “view full transcript” a side window will open with everything that has been transcribed. Once you save the transcript, a copy of it will be saved to your desktop/computer.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Let Students Choose Their Own Zoom Breakout Rooms

With Breakout rooms in Zoom, you were able to either A) pre-assign breakout rooms when scheduling a meeting, or B) manually assign students to breakout rooms during a meeting on the fly. However, now there is a NEW option. You can also let students choose which room they want to join on their own!

To do this, you need to first make sure you and your students are currently on the latest version of Zoom. Joel will be pushing this out to everyone (students and staff) but if you would like to verify, you can check your version by opening Zoom, selecting Zoom.us from the top Mac navigation bar on your screen –> and selecting About Zoom. The most current version is 5.3.2. Once you have that, you can create a meeting as normal. Then simply select Breakout from bottom Zoom navigation bar and you will see an option that now says “let participants choose room”. (see below)…

Just generate as many rooms as you’d like, then click on that setting and you are set to go! Great for jigsaw activities, or letting students pick their own group mates.

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Force Google Jamboard Copies

If you took any of my summer workshops this year, I mentioned a few times a little trick about how to force copies of Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings to people so that they no longer have to go to FILE –> MAKE A COPY.

Google Classroom does this automatically, giving people individual copies of these documents and Schoology has the new(ish) Google Drive Assignmens feature (when it works). To do this simply open your Google document (again this can also be a sheet, slide, or drawing. Look at the URL and locate the last backslash. After that is usually the word edit followed by some letters and numbers. Delete the word EDIT along with everything after it and then type in the word COPY. Highlight this NEW URL and post it as an assignment or share it with your students/colleagues so that it forces them to make a copy of that particular document and get an individual copy they can work on.

This same trick applies to Google Jamboard but looks slightly different. When you open your Google Jamboard file and look at the URL, locate the word VIEWER. Replace that with the word copy. Then simply copy this NEW URL and post it as an assignment or share it with your students/coleagues so that it forces them to make a copy of it and have their individual Jamboard file!

Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Recording Breakout Room Discussions

Zoom can be a great place to facilitate discussions, jigsaw activities, Socratic seminars, and group work with their breakout rooms. However, managing them and knowing that students followed the rules and acted appropriately is difficult to do. Holding them accountable with recordings and using a grade, might do the trick!

As the host, you can grant a participant in a breakout room permission to record the activity in that specific breakout room. Follow along below on how to set up a participant to record a breakout room when you are not in that room. NOTE: You must follow this procedure for each meeting in which you want to record breakout rooms.

I also recommend setting ground rules for students ahead of recording. Make note that everything that happens in the “virtual” classroom follow all school rules. Also, prepare the students who are initiating the recording in the breakout room so they know what to do; how to press record and what to do after (I recommend having them upload the video to Google Drive and then sharing it with you).

  1. Initiate a meeting with your students via Zoom.
  2. When all students have joined, click the Breakout Rooms button on the Zoom taskbar along the bottom of the screen.
    The Breakout Rooms button in the Zoom interface.
  3. A prompt displays asking how you want to split up your participants (automatically or manually), and how many breakout rooms you would like.
    1. Adjust the numbers and students.
    2. Click the Create Rooms button in the prompt. Students will receive a popup asking them to join the breakout room. When they accept, they will be taken to their assigned breakout rooms.
      As the instructor, you will remain in the main meeting room while the rest of the participants are in their breakout rooms.
  4. The Breakout Rooms – In Progress window opens, displaying the open breakout rooms and giving you the option to join. Click Join, next to your first breakout room in the prompt, and then click Yes.
    The Breakout Rooms - In Progress window.
  5. On the taskbar at the bottom of the window, click the Manage Participants button.  
    The Manage Participants button in the Zoom interface.
  6. A side panel opens on the right-hand side of the window with your Breakout Room Participants. Hover your cursor over the name of the participant you want to allow to record the breakout room and click More to open a drop-down menu.
  7. In the drop-down menu, click Allow Record. That participant can now record the breakout room. NOTE: The participant to whom you allowed the permission must click the Record button at the bottom of the window to initiate the recording.
    Allow Record in the Breakout Room Participants panel.
  8. Click Leave Breakout Room in the bottom right-hand corner of the window to return to the main meeting room.
  9. Follow these for other room!

Tech Tips Tuesday: Create HomeScreen Bookmarks on iPad

Sometimes, it becomes useful to create your own apps/icons that bring you to websites you have bookmarked. This would currently be ideal with Schoology. The Schoology app hasn’t always worked as planned, especially recently with it redirecting users to the wrong web address. So instead, what if you could create an app icon on your iPad that when touched, opened up Schoology’s full website? Here is how to do this…

  1. Use Safari to navigate to any web page.
  2. Tap the Share button at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap Add to Home Screen. …
  4. You can now edit the name of the page. …
  5. You can tap Cancel to leave this interface without sending the bookmark to the Home screen.
  6. Tap Add to complete adding the icon to the Home screen.
  7. An icon should appear on your iPad homescreen with the name you entered, sort of like a hyperlink.

That’s it! Hope this helps!

Tech Tip Tuesday: Back Up Your Files to Google Drive or External Hard-drive

With the advent of new Macs and iPads there is a need to make sure you back up all of the files on your Macbook, prior to exchanging it in. To back up the files on your Macbook, do this:

  • Go to your Google Drive on the web at drive.google.com. (This is different from the Google Drive app on your Macbook. Honestly, I DO NOT recommend using that app. Between it making inadvertent copies of files or not syncing the files directly to your drive on the web, I feel like this is more of a hassle).
  • When on your Google Drive online (this is the official full platform) click NEW –> FILE or FOLDER UPLOAD –> select the file or folder from your drive you want to upload –> then click OPEN.
  • This will upload the file or folder to our Google Drive. If it is a folder, everything inside the folder will be uploaded as well.
  • TIP: This does not necessarily make those files Google Docs. If you want it to convert to Google format, then you’ll need to check your Google Drive settings BEFORE uploading. To do this go to your Google Drive online –> click the settings gear icon in the top right –> click settings –> and check the box next to convert uploads.
  • TIP: If you want to speed up the process, drag everything on your hard-drive to one folder, then just upload that one folder to your Google Drive and title it BACKUP. Spend time organizing it after the fact.

If you want to backup your hard-drive files to an external hard-drive like a PassPort do this:

  • Plug in your external hard-drive
  • Go to FINDER –> then select the files or folders you want to move over to the hard-drive.
  • If you have a lot of files select the bottom file then hold shift and select the file at the top to select all of the files in between.
  • Drag the files over to your hard-drive listed in FINDER. A clock with then appear with the backup time. Note: This does NOT move files. Instead, it makes a copy of the file on your external hard-drive. You can then delete the original version from the Macbook.

Hope this helps!

~ Nick