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Most Read Posts of the last month

Saturday, February 28, 2015


Good morning. I hope everyone has a restful and relaxing weekend. I had bronchitis last weekend so I'm hoping to have some fun this weekend with my wife and daughter.

Here are the most read posts from the last month:

Prodigy - free math game that helps students learn math while having fun

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Enjoy the weekend!!!


g(Math) - insert graphs and math expressions in Google Forms and Docs

Friday, February 27, 2015

g(Math)is a Google Forms and Google Docs Add-on that allows you to insert graphs and mathematical expressions into your Google Forms and Google Docs. This is very useful for math and science classes and allows teachers and students to better utilize Forms and Docs in class, and for classes using Chromebooks.

CK-12 has over 100,000 teacher created digital textbooks available for free


CK-12, a great resource for free e-textbook and curricular resources, has just announced that there are now over 100,000 teacher-created digital textbooks available online on their site. These new "Flexbooks" were created by the 30,000 schools that are using CK-12's free digital resources.


They also have some great physics simulations and other resources available, as well as new elementary math resources and PLIX (Play, Learning, Interact, eXplore) which provides an interactive and immersive experience where students learn by doing, allowing them to use critical thinking and creativity. 

All of these resources are free and easy to use. The FlexBooks are customizable by the teacher using them to fit their needs and the needs of their students. 

Many schools have adopted these resources to replace traditional textbooks, saving millions of dollars and using those saving to purchase technology resources and other needed items. 

CK-12's resources are excellent quality, easy to use, and pedagogically well done. 


What I use with Physics classes instead of textbook

Social Media in Education Resources and Guides

Social Media is an incredible resource for education. Educators can learn, share, connect and more with educators from around the world. They can collaborate and communicate with students, parents, and colleagues. There are many different social media networks, and lots of ways to use them.

Social media has been embraced by many educators, but many other educators, administrators and parents are concerned about using social media with students. Edutopia has a great article by Vicki Davis entitled "A Guidebook for Social Media in the Classroom" that goes over these concerns, myths about social media in education and some great tips and examples for using social media. It's a must read.

Here are some other great resources for learning more about social media in education:

Social Media in Education - connect, share, learn, communicate and more

Social Media Cheat Sheets - free tips and more for social media sites

PowToon Edu - create awesome presentations and animated videos

PowToon is a free web app that lets you create presentations and animated videos. PowToon Edu is a free Chrome app extension that does the same on Chromebooks and Chrome browsers. There is also an education page.

It's easy to use and there are some great resources on the site to help you learn how to use it. It can be used by teachers to make their presentations more engaging, and by students to create presentations for their projects.

Once your PowToon is created, you can export it to YouTube or download it. The Chrome extension connects to Google Drive.

There are some short video clips to get you started. It's easy to create a presentation using the build in tools and intuitive interface. Many users say it's easier to use than PowerPoint or Prezi. There are built in characters, props, images and animation tools.

PowToon is a free business animation software and PowerPoint alternative

Take a look and try it out.


Google Science Fair 2015 is now open - How will you change the world?

The Google Science Fair for 2015 is now open. This is a great competition for students from around the world to showcase their talents and creativity. It is open to students ages 13-18 years old.

This year's theme is "It's Your Turn to Change the World".

The site has some excellent resources for students and teachers, including lesson plans, ideas and tips and help. The Idea Springboard helps students come with ideas for their projects by asking them to complete the phrases "I love," "I'm good at," and "I want to explore." The site then generates a collection of resources, including videos and websites, to help the student come up with some project ideas.

This is a great way to get student excited about science and things that they are already interested in and there are some excellent prizes, including scholarships. Submission deadline is May 19, 2015.


STEM Resources for Educators


What's inside your laptop? Cool infographic

Laptops, among other technologies, are both cool and complicated. The infographic below helps people understand the basics of what is inside the laptop and how it works. It's a good starting point for teaching students about technology hardware.



Google's Own "Learn Google Apps" Site - great resource for Google Apps users

One of the great things about educators is that we share lots of resources. It's pretty easy to find tons of tips, helpful articles and tutorials out there, created by educators. There are a whole lot about Google Apps. 

But, Google has their own site to help you learn how to use Google Apps, Learn Google Apps.

The site has tips on switching from other systems, tutorials, articles, tips and tricks, videos, examples of using Google Apps and much more, You can also learn by each app individually.

There's even an weekly episode of the "Apps Show" where you can learn about new tips and features.

If you use Google Apps, this is a great place to start.


Google Apps for Education Resources


Thinklink for Education - create interactive images

Thinklink is an online, free, app that allows you to create interactive images. It works on all modern browsers, iOS, and Android. You can upload photos and images, create image collages, and more and then add tags with information and links.

You do have to sign up for the free education account, as either a student or teacher, and it allows logins by Google, Facebook, Twitter or email.

It's pretty easy to use and can allow students to demonstrate learning with some fun, creative projects.

Thinklink also has a contest, called Creative Challenges, where you create interactive images based on the theme and you can win Amazon gift cards. The current challenge is Technology and Engineering, and runs until March 10th.

Join us in creating and curating the best STEAM related images focusing on Technology and Engineering. Tap into your creativity and explore the endless possibilities. Be sure to add an icon with your name and links to your social media contact informtion to credit yourself as the source of your ThingLink. *As a bouus we encourage you include arts integration in an effort to support STEAM (Science | Technology | Engineering | Arts | Math)

Here is an excellent blog post about using ThinkLink in the classroom:

Use ThingLink to Power STEM or STEAM Projects

It has examples, tutorials and much more. 


Google Accessibility Features in Chrome (OS and Browser)

Google Apps and Chromebooks, and the Chrome Web Browser, offer a tremendous amount of accessibility features to help vision and/or hearing impaired students. 

Google Accessibility, Using Google Products, http://www.google.com/accessibility/products/, contains a wealth of information and resources, along with apps, that can help students, and teachers. 

Chrome Toolbox http://www.chrometoolbox.com/ - This collaborative space was created to celebrate the many Apps and Extensions made by developers which serve the accessibility needs of individuals with disabilities. 

Accessibility Options on Chromebooks   http://www.chromestory.com/2013/02/accessibility-options-on-chromebooks/

Some of the main features:

Google updates Drive and Docs with improved screen reader, Braille display, and accessibility phone support

Speech to Text and Text to Speech
    Introduction to Read & Write for Google http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPqbk7TJKLo&feature=youtu.be
    • Boost reading confidence. Make the web and Google Docs accessible to students with learning difficulties, dyslexia or ELL/ESL.NEW! FREE for TEACHERS! Teachers get a FREE subscription to Read&Write for Google. To register and activate your premium subscription, go to rw.texthelp.com/freeforteachers after installing Read&Write for Google. Read&Write for Google™ offers a range of powerful support tools to help students gain confidence with reading and writing. • Hear words, passages, or whole documents read aloud with easy-to-follow dual color highlighting • See the meaning of words explained with text and picture dictionaries • Hear text translated into other languages • Predicts the next word as you type • Highlight interesting or relevant text and collect it for use in other documents Read&Write for Google™ is a friendly browser add-in for use with PCs, Macs and Chromebooks. It works with web pages and common file types in Google Drive, including: - Google Docs - PDF - ePub - KesSpeech Input, Simplify and Summarize Now Part of Read&Write for Google!

    Increased accessibility with Braille display support for Google Docs, Slides and Drawings
    If you use a Braille display, you can now enable Braille support in Google Docs, Slides and Drawings to read and enter text. This option is currently available for Google Chrome and Internet Explorer.


    Evernote - another great, free application - also has some accessibility features and extensions for Chrome.

    Evernote Clearly - one click for distraction free online reading - Clearly is a browser extension that eliminates ads and other parts of a web page and just shows the article. This eliminates distractions, helping students read the article. It also has text-to-speech capabilities to read the web page to the user. 

    Edchat Interactive - a new type of free, online PD that is relevant, timely, interactive and social

    Thursday, February 19, 2015


    Edchat Interactive is a new type of free, online PD brought to you by some of the same folks who created #echat twitter discussions, including Tom Whitby and Steven Anderson, who are both friends of mine and in my Personal Learning Network and great educators.

    This new form of PD is relevant and timely for educators, and made to create a discussion that is engaging and helps you learn new skills and information. The online format allows for interaction, reflection and social learning.

    Here are some of the free sessions coming up next week:

    Seeing a Different Reality, Feb 24. 8:00 PM Eastern

    Discuss the use of Augmented Reality in class. Katie Ann Wilson founded the Augmented Reality for Educators group as well as the Global Digital Scrapbook project. She has reached over 100,000 educators with her blog, The Diary of the Techie Chick.

    Learn how to take an original student or teacher piece of work and turn it into a mind blowing interactive augmented reality project in just a few clicks. Register and/or learn More...

    Customized, Personalized Learning: Is it Inevitable? Feb 26, 8:00 PM Eastern

    Join Milliken Award (2007) winner Sherry Crofut in a rousing discussion on personalizing student learning in the era of test score madness, tight budgets, and education technology transformation.
    Some of the question we will be discussing:
    • What does personalized learning mean? 
    • What are the benefits; and what are the risks and disadvantages?
    • Does personalized learning mean more work for teachers?
    • What are some quick techniques teachers are using to hone their practices?
    Register and/or learn More...


    Prodigy - free math game that helps students learn math while having fun


    There is no doubt that math is a difficult subject both for students and for teachers. As a student, the idea of math can be daunting, as the subject often requires practice to refine skills and grasp concepts. However, as a teacher, coming up with ways to encourage math practice is difficult. Engagement has emerged as a buzzword, which is often thrown around as a solution to this problem. While engaging activities often make learning more exciting, they do not always translate into increased practice and improved skill development.

    Game-based learning, however, has been proven to engage students in a way that encourages increased practice. This is especially true of digital games that take an adaptive approach to learning, which allows students to learn at their own pace. There are some great adaptive games out there, and when used as a supplemental teaching tool, can have a profound impact on student learning.

    One program that is doing an unbelievable job of gamifying math is Prodigy Math Game. Prodigy is a free, adaptive math game that integrates 1stto 7th grade math into a fantasy style game that students absolutely love playing. Prodigy’s math content is completely curriculum-aligned and covers standards from the Common Core, MAFs, and TEKS curricula depending on your location.  Prodigy takes game-based learning a step further and provides teachers with a powerful set of reporting and assessment tools that allow them to easily identify trouble spots, differentiate instruction, and better manage classroom time.

    Over 1,500,000 students and 50,000 teachers use Prodigy for free math practice and it’s easy to see why. Here’s what teachers we spoke to had to say about the program:

    “The Prodigy program has been an invaluable tool to my students and me. My students are motivated to practice their math skills in a fun and interactive way both at school and at home. The greatest benefit for my students is that they are able to work on skills currently being taught in class and Prodigy automatically adapts based on their performance. The progress reports highlight individual strengths and needs. This helps with my planning and differentiation for my students.” – Ivan Dublin, SERTBrimwood Blvd. Jr. P.S.

    “What I really love about the Prodigy program is the feedback that I get in terms of what the students know and where they need to improve. I also love the fact that I can see what questions were difficult and how the students answered them. I believe that students have improved their confidence in all areas of the math program. They are so excited to play and learn!” – Sue McCullochGrade 3/4 Northport Elementary School

    Prodigy is extremely effective at engaging students using an adaptive technology to cater to each individual. Prodigy’s personalized approach quickly identifies gaps in students’ understanding and works with them by pulling them back to prerequisite skills and then scaffolding them forward through more difficult concepts. As a web-based game, Prodigy can be accessed at school and at home on virtually any device. And speaking of engagement, Prodigy’s user data reveals that for every 30 minutes a student uses Prodigy in school, they will go home and play for 60 minutes voluntarily!
    You can Sign-up your class for free in less than 2 minutes, and see why teaching math will never be the same! 

    Disclosure - Prodigy is a paid advertiser on Educational Technology Guy.

    Gen Z: Growing and Learning with Mobile (Infographic)

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015

    Gen Z infographic title

    Mobile technology is huge - smartphones, tablets, laptops, Chromebooks - and provides some great learning opportunities. 

    itslearning has gathered statistics from sources like the “Harvard Gazette,” Ambient Insight, and PBS regarding the effect of mobile devices on the education of Generation Z. The findings have been
    summarized in an infographic titled “Generation Z: Growing and Learning with Mobile”
    (http://www.itslearning.net/gen-z-growing-and-learning-with-mobile-infographic), and they reveal that incorporating middle school students’ mobile habits into classroom instruction can have a profoundly positive influence on their learning.

    Among the facts that the infographic shares are the following:

    * The small screens of mobile phones allow dyslexic students to read
    faster without sacrificing comprehension.

    * Studies show standardized test scores are higher in courses where
    students use mobile devices than in offline classrooms.

    * Of the middle school students using mobile devices, 78 percent use the
    devices for checking grades, 69 percent use them for taking notes and 64
    percent for writing papers.

    See more in the infographic below.


    New Dropbox Extension for Chrome adds a new feature to Gmail

    Thursday, February 12, 2015

    Dropbox has released a new extension for Chrome that adds a nice new feature to Gmail. It's call Dropbox for Gmail. It allows you to more easily share files within Gmail. You can quickly add a link to a Dropbox file from within Gmail, just like you can link to a Google Drive file. There will be a Dropbox icon in Gmail's compose window that you click to browse and select files.

    This is a great resource for people using Gmail and Dropbox. Check it out on the Chrome web store.


    Dropbox adds new features - document preview and photo sharing

    Lots of Great File Sync/Backup/Share services


    Google App Kickstart Guides - help learn how to use Google Play for Education Apps in your classroom

    App Kickstart Guides from Google Play for Education

    Google has created App Kickstart Guides for Google Play for Education apps to help you build your "Android app-titude" for some specific apps in Google Play for Education.

    The guides include videos, best practices, how-to's and more. They help you learn about the app's functionality as well as how to use it in the classroom and can be used by individual teachers, edtech specialists or in a PD session. They are easy to use and very helpful.

    The guides are built in Google Slides with embedded videos and are very well done.

    Currently, they have App Kickstart Guides for the following apps, with more to come. There is also a section for feedback (request more guides for more apps) and links to other resources.

    1 Book Creator
    2 ClassDojo
    3 Comic Strip It!
    4 Drawp for School
    5 Explain Everything
    6 Nearpod
    7 SketchBook Express
    8 Slice Fractions
    9 Socrative
    10 Tynker
    11 WeVideo

    Take a look and learn how to use some new apps in your classroom.


    Google for Education Resources

    Android for Education Resources


    Annopad - free notepad/bookmark tool for your browser

    Annopad is a free extension, described as a notepad/bookmark hybrid, for Chrome and Firefox that allows you to take notes while on any website. You can create, save, and export URL specific notes to save notes, reminders and more.

    Click on the extension while on a website and add notes about that site. It saves the URL of the site with the note. It's very easy to use and can be a great tool for doing research and for students to take notes while on a site.

    Other note taking tools like Evernote and OneNote capture the URL when you clip a webpage and you can add notes to that clipping later, but this is much simpler, quicker and easier to use while still on the web page.


    What can you do on a Chromebook? Pretty much everything.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015

    Chromebooks are getting more and more popular in education, the workplace and at home. They are very useful and capable, but I still hear "but they are only a web browser" "they can't do much" etc. when in reality, they can do pretty much everything.

    UPDATE: They also work offline, contrary to popular belief:
      Tips and Resources for Using Chromebooks offline

    Here is some proof:

    1. This is a great Google Doc from Peter Vogel with tons of resources in the format, "I want my students to ___" and then it links to the Google App or web app that allows that on a Chromebook. 

    2. Google Apps and Chromebooks Web App Recommendations - a whole lot! This has a huge list of web apps to use with Chromebooks, sorted by task and subject area. There are also links to other lists and suggested apps. 

    3. Official Google Find Apps for your Chromebook support page - great resource for any Chromebook user. Apps are listed as "If you want to..., On a Chromebook you could use", and then also has Comparable Windows and Mac app for comparison.

    4. Richland School District 2 1:1 Starter Guide - tons of great web app suggestions, organized well, from a school district with great success with Chromebooks.

    Take a look and start finding some great web apps to use with your Chromebook. There are even Android apps for the Chromebook too.

    Google for Education Resources - tons of resources, links, app suggestions, and more.


    Chromebook Deployment Help Resources

    Looking to deploy Chromebooks in your district or school? Here are some tips and resources:

    1. Read through the Official Chromebook Deployment Guide from Google first. There are also other links from there that are essential
    2. Check out these resources on using Chromebooks
      1. Google and Chromebooks Resources for Education  
      2. Resources to get Started With Google Apps and Chromebooks
      3. Chromebook Help Center from Google
      4. Google Apps Training Center from Google
    3. Get on Google+ and join the Chromebooks EDU community. You can find some great tips, resources, ideas and help here.
    4. Get all stake holders involved early on so they all have a voice and all potential issues and concerns can be addressed.
    5. Plan ahead before you deploy - here are some tips and things to consider: My Google Webinar on Going Google/Chromebooks includes some things to consider and check, for example your wireless capacity, before deploying Chromebooks.
    6. Decide which Chromebook you want to use. Consider screen size, battery life, durability, performance and cost.
    7. If the Chromebooks are going home with students, research cases for them. There are tons. I suggest asking other schools about what they use. 
    8. If they are going in Carts, check out multiple vendors to see which cart fits your needs. We use Ergotron, but LocknCharge and Earthwalk are also very popular.
    9. Join the GoogleSchools Google Group. This is an email based group and extremely helpful for any school using Chromebooks and/or Google Apps. You have to apply to the group, but as long as you are a school, you should be accepted.
    Chromebooks are an excellent educational resource, are easy to use and pretty easy to deploy and manage. There is also a huge community of schools and educators that share tips and resources and help each other.


    Google Apps Admin Console gets a new look

    The Google Apps Admin Console recently got a new look and layout to follow Google's Material Design concept. Some things have moved and/or changed how you access them. It looks great and is easy to use once you see the differences.

    Here are some resources to help you with the new layout:

    Google Apps Admin Support page on the new layout

    Comparison of Old and New Layouts (great resource - side by side views of old and new version)


    Engineers Week Resource - Remarkable Advances in Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Engineers Week is next week, February 22-28, 2015. As an engineer and science/engineering educator, this is a fun time for me. This is also a great time to expose students to engineering as a career and to incorporate engineering ideas and projects into your classes.

    One way to get students interested and excited about Engineering is to show them some cool things made by engineers. Below is a great infographic showing some very cool things that have been done in the fields of electrical and computer engineering.

    Out with the Old, In with the New: Remarkable Advances in Electrical & Computer Engineering 

    Advances in computer and electrical engineering have been revolutionary over the past few decades, changing the way we live, work and play. From new advances in medicine to automotive technology and biotechnology, electrical and computer engineering has made great strides when it comes to improving the overall quality of life.
    The advances in nanoscale devices have changed the game when it comes to diagnostics. In DNA sequencing, for example, advanced technology has created a cost effective means for diagnosing and treating neonatal patients in a clinical setting. This represents a huge breakthrough in the way that common conditions are diagnosed and treated. 
    Automotive Technology
    With the emergence and increased popularity of electric cars, there have been advances in electrical engineering geared toward making these cars more efficient. The current battery is less than optimal, limiting the usefulness of electric only cars. Tesla has been digging into the problem, and has created a new battery systems that recharge quickly and store more energy than their current counterparts.
    Medical Technology
    Electrical engineers have made impressive strides in improving the lives of those that depend on prosthetic limbs. Scientists are developing technology that syncs brain waves with the prosthetic. Now when a patient thinks he wants to move his arm, the brain sends the signal to the prosthetic which moves his arm intuitively. With more than two million Americans living with lost limbs–1,600 of them U.S. troops, this represents a major breakthrough in the quality of life of amputees. 
    Major advances in electrical and computer engineering mean a better quality of life and greater productivity across the globe. To learn more about recent electrical and computer engineering advances, checkout this infographic created by Ohio University’s Online Masters in Electrical Engineering degree program.

    Ohio University Online


    Grammarly - online grammar, spelling and punctuation checker and helper


    Grammarly is a free proofreading web application that finds and explains in-depth grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes online. Grammarly works anywhere you write online, including Twitter, Facebook, email and more. There is also a Google Chrome plugin that proofreads everything from your blog posts to tweets instantly. The Safari and Firefox versions will release later this year too. They also now have a plug-in for Microsoft Office. It checks for over 250 grammar mistakes, including contextual spelling errors, vocabulary misuse and more. It doesn't just high light the error, but gives you an explanation of why it tagged it as a mistake and how to fix it.

    This is great for writers and students as it helps them find mistakes before publishing and helps them learn from these mistakes so they don't make them again and learn the proper grammar.

    I've been using it for the last couple of weeks and it has caught some mistakes that I missed. It's easy to use and very helpful as a learning tool.

    Grammarly works with:



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