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Showing posts from December, 2015

6 New-"ish Features for Google Classroom

Click the link below for more details. This was a post from one of my favorite EdTech blogs.
http://www.alicekeeler.com/teachertech/2015/08/24/6-updates-to-google-classroom-for-fall-2015/

6 new-"ish" Google Drive features

http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/new-google-docs-features/

These features were released around the start of the school year. However, if you haven't noticed them by now, go ahead and check them out.

Voice Typing (In Docs) Further evidence that in the future, kids will no longer need to learn to type.

Templates Finally some pre-designed templates like good ole' Word used to do.

Our Kids are not inherently Good with Technology

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/03/02/u-s-millennials-post-abysmal-scores-in-tech-skills-test-lag-behind-foreign-peers/

This article offers evidence of something I have long since suspected of students when I was teaching. School-aged kids are not automatically "good" with technology.

In this report presented by the Washington Post, tech literacy test scores are shown. It appears this report was designed to compare how US kids rank against foreign kids, something our standardized test scores are often subjected to.

I believe it also challenges a preconceived notion many educators have that, kids already know this "tech stuff" so there is no need to teach it. Teachers should blend in some instruction on how to use the tech tools properly (not just operationally, but appropriately as well).


Mr B Tech Blog Hits 2000+ Views

With my 100th blog post, this blog hit 2000+ views


Thank you for 2000 views!

This is one way that all of our lives intertwine.


My 100th Blog Post

In April 2014, I started this blog as a requirement of one of my Master's Classes. The first post I made was part of a social studies lesson designed to prompt student discussion through a blog.
The first post
I was still teaching social studies back then, but shortly after I was reassigned to our technology department to assist with teachers integrating technology. Ironically, the blog went silent.
I revisited the blog again that fall, as part of another Master's course, posting my responses to professional journal articles and responding to my classmates' posts.
The MOOC Revolution that Wasn't Post
The following spring, I had a thought. I was always sending out emails to staff and techies about new tools or lesson ideas or tips for technology integration, I decided to start posting interesting things I found to this blog to reduce the staggering amount of emails I was sending out. I never would have thought that 7 months later I would be reaching my 100th post!
Than…

Where to go for Tech Support?

Before going to hire an IT professional or your go-to tech genius, here are some places to check for tech support. You might be surprised that many tech issues can be solved, simply by searching the internet with your questions. There are also many helpful tutorial videos on YouTube and other video sites.
Consumer Reports  Consumer reports put out a guide of where to go for your tech support. There is some good advice in this guide, but none for specific problems.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/05/computer-tech-support/index.htm

Ask the "Tech Guy"

https://techguy.org/

This is a totally free website, supported by ads and donations, where you can post a question and get it answered by colleagues or tech professionals.

Geek Squad's Do-It-Yourselfhttp://www.geeksquad.com/do-it-yourself/

Not a bad general help guide with some good instructions on how to do some tech support yourself.

Where do the "Tech people" go when they need help? I have signed up…

The Interplanetary Phone Call

Old habits are hard to break. As a teacher of social studies, I often looked for videos that would spark interest in the students and start conversations in relation to the course content. This video can prompt a discussion in almost any classroom setting our course discipline, here are my ideas for lessons below:

Science: Astronomy/Physics terms are mentioned...what is an AU? Orbit? Radio Waves?Social Studies: What are impacts of scientific research discussion, various forms of communication throughout history. Exploration, why are we looking at distant frontiers?Math: Example problem, If it takes 7 minutes for a radio signal to go from Earth to Mars (225 Million Km), how long would it take to send a signal from Neptune to Earth? Conversion  equations, convert AUs to Kms when 1 astronomical unit = 149,598,000 kilometers.English: Our Future in Space, lesson plan; How has science fiction of the past viewed the future?Business: Career Lesson plan What is it like to be an astronaut? , Mu…

Need to Make an App? There's an App for That!

Many of us do not have computer programming or software engineering degrees nor the time to learn various programming languages. For those of you that are interested, here are some programs that make the app building process much simpler.

Chrome/Chromebooks
Chrome App Builder

Chrome App Builder is a utility that allows you to easily create Chrome Packaged Apps without needing to type any code. With the Chrome App Builder, you simply define a few settings such as navigation controls and a home button, type in the app URL and finally choose whether you want it to be enabled for use in Kiosk Mode. Once the app is exported, you can test it out locally or upload it to the Chrome Web Store.

Android/iOS/Windows Apps
Buzztouch - I have used this in the past, but it used to be free for limited features. Appypie - Also can build apps for other platforms.
Microsoft App Studio (Beta) - Create Windows 10 apps.


Sticky Notes: For Chrome and Chromebooks

Google Keep is a very useful tool, but for those of you that love the old Sticky Notes on Windows devices, you may prefer this instead.


Sticky Notes Chrome App
Video Tutorial & Overview

7 of the Best Apps for Learning Human Anatomy

http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2015/11/7-of-best-ipad-apps-for-learning-human.html


I recently forwarded this list to our Anatomy/Bio teacher. These are great apps that could be used with a classroom set of iPads OR a single iPad on a projector.

Adoption and Effects of Gamification Reported

As reported by Tech&Learning
http://www.techlearning.com/blogentry/9986

Original Report
http://www.capterra.com/learning-management-system-software/lms-gamification-research



Key Takeaways include:
Gamification and learning games already have widespread adoption, with 83% and 90% use, respectively70% of respondents claimed gamification led to an increase in student scores83% of LMS users reported their students retained course content better using gamificationThe most popular gamification features were points (85%), progress bars (78%), and levels (76%)Social gamification features like activity feeds (16%), avatars (24%), and leaderboards (26%) were desired the least by users

FOG: A Free Desktop Cloning Solution

From Fog Wiki
What is FOG? FOG is a Linux-based, free and open source computer imaging solution for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Linux (limited) that ties together a few open-source tools with a php-based web interface. FOG doesn't use any boot disks, or CDs; everything is done via TFTP and PXE. Your PC boots via PXE and automatically downloads a small Linux client. From there you can select many activities on the PC, including imaging the hard drive. Also with FOG many network drivers are built into the Linux client's kernel, so you don't really need to worry about nic drivers (unless there isn't kernel support for it yet). FOG also supports putting an image that came from a computer with a 80GB partition onto a machine with a 40GB hard drive as long as the data is less than 40GB. FOG supports multi-casting, meaning that you can image many PCs from the same stream. So it should be as fast whether you are imaging 1 PC or 20 PCs.

How should FOG b…

Vlogging and Its Potential for Learning

Vlog = a blog in which the postings are primarily in video form.


The following are from the School Library Journal Vlogging, Teens, and Literacy: Engaging Youth
Educators and librarians should be paying attention to vlogs and what this new platform means for our understanding of literacy. For many teens, vlogs are the medium of choice when it comes to gathering information on popular culture and the latest news and trends. (read more)

25 Vlogs for Teens and Teen Librarians Vlogs are broken down into categories of Gaming, Beauty, Books & Lit, Celebrity Personality & Comedy, and Science and Tech.

Best Mac Apps for Teachers

http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2015/08/a-collection-of-best-mac-apps-for-teachers.html


We have a small amount of Macs in our district. I found this list to be helpful. There are also resources for other tools on this site.

Comic Strip Designer App

https://www.graphite.org/app/strip-designer


From Graphite.org

PROS  Oodles of customization options empower kids to play with color, font size, stickers, words, and more.

CONS  Kids may not discover all options or may get overwhelmed by them; a video tutorial or in-app prompts would help.

BOTTOM LINE  Strip Designer is a versatile media-creation tool that can support a range of learning goals for any subject of interest.