Monday, December 29, 2014

Printing Images From Your iPad

Recently, several teachers asked how to print images to EWG printers from an iPad. The video below should help you get started -- and finished.

If you discover an easier way to print to an EWG printer from your iPad, please tell us about it in the comments.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Comments in Google Classroom - Google Docs

A number of teachers using Google Classroom have observed that students cannot see the comments left in their Google Docs by their teachers. Here is why, and here is what to do about it.

It is important to understand that when a student submits an assignment via Google Classroom, you (the teacher) become the owner of the document, and the student is demoted to a viewer of the document. Document viewers cannot see comments, and can only see the finished, printable document. In order for students to see comments you leave in the document, you must elevate their privileges above viewer. There are two easy ways to elevate their privileges.

When you are leaving comments, simply click the blue share button, click advanced, and change the student's rights from view to comment, or edit. Or, from within Google Classroom, you can accomplish the same thing for the entire class with just a couple of clicks. From the assignment select the students you want to see your comments. The check box at the top of the page will select all students. Then, click the return button. All students will become owners of the document, and will be able to see your comments and make improvements to the document.

The video below demonstrates how to make this happen.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Macbook Wireless Issue

Some Macbook Air laptops are failing miserably trying to connect to EWG_Staff. The connectivity issues are hitting users who upgraded their Macbooks to OSX Yosemite. Colleague Marc Hamlin researched a fix that improves WiFi connection issues for all the users who have tried it. The fix, which brought my own Macbook back from brick land, is easy to implement, takes just 60 seconds to apply, and will help affected Macbooks connect more quickly and reliably. Note well: This fix is for Macbooks having WiFi connectivity issues and running Yosemite. If your Macbook is working well or not running the latest OSX updates (Yosemite), stop here.

Here are the steps to implement 'the fix'.
  • Open terminal (Terminal can be opened by clicking the search icon called spotlight in the top right menu of your mac and typing terminal, or by using finder to locate Applications / Utilities / Terminal.
  • Enter the following command into the terminal:  sudo ifconfig awdl0 down (that is sudo ifconfig awd ell zero down) and press enter.
  • Enter your Macbook user password and press enter. No characters will display when you type in your password.
  • Press the up arrow on the keyboard to reenter the command (just to make sure it sticks...).
  • No message should display. If the command is successful, no error message (or any message at all) will display.
  • Close the terminal.
  • Done!
The video below demonstrates the steps to implement the fix.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

9282+ Google Documents In One Week

Recently, I was able to view a couple of statistics from EWG's Google Apps management console. I was surprised by the statistic showing the number of Google Documents created by EWG users in the last seven days; well over 9,000. Apparently, the system works and a lot of users are creating content.

How students can view comments in documents submitted through Google Classroom

A sizable number of Google Classroom teachers have mentioned that students can not see comments they added to a Google document, spreadsheet, or presentation. It is important to remember that when a student submits a document through Google Classroom, that they are demoted to viewer status. As a viewer of a document, a user can not edit, suggest, or (drum roll), view comments. If you want students to see comments you add, you must elevate their privileges to at least Can Comment. There are two easy, quick ways to accomplish this.

While commenting on a student's document, click share, advanced, and elevate the student from Can View to Can Comment. You'll have to do this for each document.

Or, to enable viewing comments for an entire class with a couple of clicks, go to the assignment in Google Classroom. Select the assignment, click the students for whom you want to enable comment viewing, then click return. All selected user privileges will automatically update.

The included video demonstrates both methods to enable viewing of comments.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Better conversions to Google Docs

Converting word documents to Google documents has been a horror show for a long, long time. Recently, Google announced some improvements to the conversion process, so I decided to put the new converter to the test. While not perfect, the new process is light years ahead of the dreadful conversions of last week that mangled every document containing a complex table, text box, or word art. Here are some conversion samples.

Converted Google Document
Original Word Document Version

Engage NY Math worksheet converted to a Google Document with excellent fidelity.

You might be wondering why Google's conversion update is important. First, it alleviates a lot of misery and agony. For the most part, conversions work a whole lot better with only occasional, minor tweaks necessary. But a bigger picture benefit is that now teachers can share math worksheets (and others; let your imagination run) directly using Google Docs, Google Classroom, Edmodo, or the LMS of their choice without having to resort to PDFs and their notoriously arduous editing hacks. Having good conversion fidelity means teachers can share, distribute and collect with greater ease than ever before. Students are no longer burdened with uploading to tools like PDF escape. Even sixth graders are finding it easy to work with the equation editors, drawing tools, and text tools built right into Google Docs. Could Metcalf's sixth graders be pioneering EWG's paperless math classroom?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Audio Out To An HDMI Projector

Metcalf School has some awesome projectors that work well through HDMI connections. In addition to video capability, HDMI is nice because it can also carry audio to the projector's speakers. Recently, teachers have asked how to get the audio playing from their Macbook's somewhat diminutive speakers to play on the projector speakers. Macbooks are not smart enough to know that you automatically want to play through the projector's speakers, so you have to tell your Macbook to play the audio through the projector. The video below shows how to make a sound choice.  ;-)

Friday, November 21, 2014

iPads and your files in a multiuser environment

iPads are super awesome devices. They have a reputation for being content consumption devices, but they are serious content creation devices, too. Expect students to use them to create powerful content. From their inception, iPads were designed as personal devices. They are typically used by single individuals in a 'single user', personal way or by students in a one to one school with an iPad program like the junior high's. Users typically take pictures, capture video, load apps, subscribe to content, game, learn and enjoy the iPad experience without a lot of worry about someone else picking up their iPad and accessing personal information or worse, deleting important content.

 EWG is deploying some iPads in a multiuser environment where that 'personal device' paradigm doesn't exist. Here's a scenario that is about to replay over and over. A student or teacher might sign out an iPad from the library or lab, create content through a really powerful program such as Explain Everything, or capture video and images for use in a digital story. At the end of a block, the student or teacher returns the iPad to the cart. The very next block, or perhaps the next day, another learner signs out the same iPad. Where does the first user's content end up? Is it stuck on the iPad? What prevents the second or any subsequent user from accidentally - or maliciously - deleting great content? How can the loss of users' content and angry students and teachers be prevented?

Google Drive to the rescue. You can use Google Drive to quickly and easily backup the vast majority of your iPad content. It takes a few seconds to sign in, a few seconds (ok, a few minutes for gigantic projects) to send content to drive, and a few seconds to sign out of Google Drive. Before you start a project with your students on shared, multiuser iPads, please familiarize yourself (practice) and your students with the steps to send projects to Google Drive. You'll be happier, your students will be happier, and we'll have pulled a fast one on the tech gremlins.

An additional bonus of backing up iPad content to Google Drive makes it possible for a wide array of devices to access the content. For example, students might capture video and images with iPads for a sueded video project, and then edit the video on their Chromebooks or on an iMac in the television studio. And, many other iPad apps will let you backup content directly to Google Drive.

The video below provides a brief demonstration of how to sign in to and sign out of Google Drive on an iPad. Sending photos taken with the iPad to your Google Drive is also shown, and is representative of the process one might use with other iPad apps.

Monday, November 17, 2014

WeVideo Impresses

Two years ago when first dabbling with WeVideo, a browser based, online video editor, I walked away from the experience thoroughly unimpressed. WeVideo was slow, clunky, and frustrating. During the last few weeks, I had the chance to work with or observe students, some from grade 6 and some from grade 12, as they edited video projects using WeVideo. What a difference a two years makes! WeVideo is a fairly responsive video editor that left me pleasantly surprised.

Make no mistake, WeVideo will not currently replace Premiere, Sony Vegas, Final Cut, or consumer grade video editors like iMovie. But it does fill a niche with fairly powerful tools, and a responsive interface. I particularly like the way WeVideo removes "Tech" from the video making process and integrates with tons of social media resources.  It seems that whatever media format gets thrown its way, WeVideo assimilates it, and works with it. Students can start a project at school, and pick up right where they left off on a machine at home, library, or friend's house. Happily, the "save and backup your work" song doesn't need to be sung during the last ten minutes of every class.

If you lack access to dedicated workstations with locally installed video editors,-Chromebooks come to mind-  and if you are looking for a free tool to empower students in digital storytelling activities, consider WeVideo. It may impress you, too.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

Marc Hamlin, here. I've been using a neat trick that Mr. Searle showed me. It involves using our archaic ExamView Pro test banks and Google Drive to administer formative and summative assessments to students.

What you'll need:

  • ExamView installed on your Macbook Air
  • Or
  • A VirtualBox installation on your Macbook Air and...
  • A virtual appliance running Windows XP 
You might not have either of those elements listed above, but see either myself or Mr. Searle and we can help you get those pieces installed. It's easy, and nothing to shy away from.

Once you have those pieces in place, fire up your Windows XP installation, then find the EV Pro program and open it as you normally would and create a test or quiz. Then, watch the video below.

NOTE: When you try to view this video from within the walls of the EWG campus, you may be met with the prohibition that you cannot view this video because YouTube is in Safety Mode. You may have to go into your settings and de-select Safe Mode.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Aspen Videos

Recently, a colleague asked for the whereabouts of the Aspen gradebook videos we created a few years ago. Since the videos were created through and hosted on resources that required Java to run, watching the videos on various devices was a major hassle, and on some devices like Chromebooks, downright impossible. Over the last few weeks, I converted the videos to a format that works on Youtube so viewers should be able to watch them on any device. Keep in mind that some of the videos are three or four years old. Menu options and things to click on may have changed or been revised. However, the gist of each video is still reasonably relevant. Links to the videos are listed below, in no particular order.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

If your MacBook breaks, do you know where the files stored on it go?

As wonderful as Google Docs and Spreadsheets are, they're not perfect. Sometimes document layouts are too intense to be easily managed with web based tools. Sometimes people have a lot of time and intellectual capital invested in formats that don't play well with web based tools, so programs like ExamView, Word, Numbers, Pages, Excel, and others continue to fill an important roll. Sometimes people just hate Google Docs and want to use Word. In my travels throughout the district, I've seen just how important some of the applications that run on faculty MacBooks are. To varying degrees, teachers are productive with local applications that run on the Mac, and for some, there are no practical 'Google' or other online alternatives. There's no shame in using a legacy or local application if it is helping kids learn or helping you do your job.

About a week ago, it occurred to me that within this district, there is a problem with using local applications, though. Late one evening, I exchanged a flurry of emails with a teacher who lost her Numbers gradebook. Keep in mind that Numbers and other programs that run directly from your MacBook typically save files to the local drive on the MacBook. Something had gone wrong with her Mac, and the Numbers file was simply gone. Was there a backup? No! Later that same week, I helped another teacher rescue content -years of content, in fact - from a flash drive that was about to go the giant flash drive pile at the central landfill. Fortunately, we were able to rescue her files. For the teacher who lost her Numbers gradebook, the outcome was not a happy one. She'll be reentering a lot of grades from memory or paper.

You will never, ever regret having a good backup of your data. But who among us is interested in taking the time to back things up on a regular basis, or ever, for that matter? Crickets....

I encourage you to consider your use of local 'on the MacBook' programs and am suggesting that you use Google Drive to painlessly, effortlessly, and automatically backup your local data to the Google Drive cloud. Should disaster land on your MacBook, you can simply pick up the next available device and your files will seamlessly restore from the Google Drive backup.

Please consider the directions in the embedded presentation. Between the presentation and PD opportunities, EWG should be able to meet a goal of No Teacher Ever Losing Data. Don't wait until next month. Don't wait until April, May, or June. Don't wait for your MacBook to break, get lost, or fall victim to some rare computing malady. Set up Google Drive to work for you today. You'll be happy knowing that a backup of your content is happening automatically. If after giving the directions in the embedded presentation a try you still have questions, please contact me.

UPDATE:  11/24/2014
Even Apple Fans are cautioning against MacBook hard drive failure, and are exhorting users to have good backups.

Is it broken for me, or everyone?

Monday, during several demonstrations with faculty using Google Drive, Google Classroom, and Google Presentations, the 'network' seemed to be performing more slowly than usual. We noticed the slowdown seemed to be pronounced with Google products. Whenever Google Drive, or other Google tools break, seem slow, or are simply not behaving the way I think they should behave, I head on over to the Google Apps Status Dashboard. The Apps Status Dashboard lets users see if various Google services are experiencing disruptions, outages, or if they're operating normally. A quick look at the Apps Status Dashboard yesterday confirmed that something indeed was amiss. Knowing that there is a problem can help you make informed decisions about options for lesson and classroom activities. While there's nothing that we can do to help effect a repair, knowing that some of the brightest, most capable geeks on the planet are hard at work resolving the issue as we consider plan B is somewhat comforting.

Other tools for checking a site's status include and Both will give you a good idea if a site is down, or if it's an issue with your computer or network. 

Consider using these tools before reaching out for help. If a tool hints that there are issues with a resource you're trying to use, your local IT gurus probably can't help. If you find out it's just you, then an SOS to IT makes sense.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Using Google Calendar to Reserve Computer Lab Time at Wawaloam

Pat shared a calendar with you for reserving computer lab time with your classes. Unfortunately, teachers are having trouble reserving dates and times through calendar. The reserved times just do not show up for other people with whom the calendar had been shared. Here's why. When you create an event in calendar, the event is, by default, created in your own personal calendar where it is visible to you, but to you only. To overcome this default behavior when you attempt to reserve computer lab time, you must tell calendar to post your reservation (event) on the Wawaloam Computer Lab Calendar. Click the calendar drop down and select the appropriate calendar *before* creating the event.

The video below demonstrates one way to successfully reserve time in the computer lab.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The First Eight Weeks In Review

Sometimes it is hard to recognize our collective progress unless we take a step back and reflect on where we started and where we are. Bear with me for a few minutes as I take a look back at the first eight weeks of school.

Everyone at Metcalf and a lot of teachers at Wawaloam saw this message every time they tried to project their computer to a screen or whiteboard:

Teacher's at the senior high had no projection options at all! Remember that mess, the aggravation, and the frustration that went along with it? A bulk purchase of dongles and wires fixed the vast majority of projection issues. At this point, teachers are projecting seamlessly, reliably, and with ease. If you're not, please contact me.

No look back would be complete without mentioning wireless. Wireless connectivity certainly caused its share of pain during the early weeks. And while no wireless system is perfect, and even the best wireless systems will experience interruptions and sporadic drops, EWG started off the year in pretty rough shape primarily because the vast majority of devices were trying to connect to the old wireless network. In an earlier post, I provided some directions on how to make sure you were connecting to the right network. Faculty and staff should be connecting to EWG_Staff. EWG_Secure is an older network which, at this point, has more aggressive filtering restrictions in place. You should avoid EWG_Secure at all cost! Use it as a fallback network for when all else fails only. If your MacBook, iPad, or other device is still connecting to EWG_Secure, (or if you're not sure how to tell), please contact me.

The third and final leg in my commentary on improvements is about printing. 

Hold on. Before you skewer this messenger, hear me out. Cloud Printing is not everyone's favorite, and perhaps it's no one's favorite. But in replacing the aged, monolithic system of previous years, Cloud Printing provides a solution for many devices; Macs, PCs, Chromebooks, iPads, iPhones, and the Android family of tablets and mobile devices. Is Cloud Printing perfect? No chance. Is Cloud Printing the most elegant printing system? Nope. Does Cloud Printing solve all of your printing needs or whim? Probably not. Is Cloud Printing a step toward an open, easily supported printing for all devices? You bet. If you are having issues printing with your device, contact me. I like an easy challenge.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cloud Printing Update

UPDATE:  11/5/2015
Skip this mess and jump right to the newest update.

Why would you want to setup Cloud Printing on your MacBook? Two reasons. First, Google Cloud Print is the printing system being used at our schools. Second, files uploaded to Google do not always convert or preview cleanly. The layout on a Google Doc imported from a complicated Word document is often a mangled mess. And, files from some programs like test generators will not convert at all. Cloud printing will allow you to print to district printers like Sharp Find Me from applications like Word, Excel, ExamView or your favorite equation editor that makes math problems look just right. In an earlier post, I described how to setup cloud printing on your MacBook. Admittedly, the solution was not for the tech averse. The directions included lots of steps through unfamiliar terrain. Recently, I had the chance to simplify the directions to setup cloud printing on your MacBook. Setting up Cloud Printing is not too complicated.  Don't panic, or worry about breaking anything. The worst outcome is that Cloud Printing won't work right, but the most likely result is a better printing solution for you. Try it!

Update, 10/10
Although Cloud Printer offers in-app purchase options, you don't need to purchase anything to print to Sharp Find Me. If you want to cook up an extra batch of nerd zen, go for the optional purchase, but it is really not necessary. Choose Sharp Find Me, then click Submit Print Job.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Printing to the Brother Printer in J206

The color printer in J206 does not support Apple's Air Print, nor does it support Google's Cloud Print. However, iPads can still print to the printer with a helper app called Brother iPrint&Scan, available at the App Store. The video below takes you through a the basic installation and setup.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Google Tutorials

Richard Byrne blogs at is a great site for educators seeking free tech based classroom resources. Recently, Richard put a lot of Google tutorials he created into a Youtube playlist. I visited the playlist earlier this week, and found it contains high quality videos that may help you with a problem you've been having, may provide inspiration, or may simply give you courage to attempt something new. The playlist is worth a few minutes of your time.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Notability Auto Backups

Notability is a most impressive iPad app for organizing information and marking up documents like PDFs. Its integration with many and varied file formats and every major cloud based storage service is remarkable. However...

Sometimes even iPads break, or updates to the OS go awry as happened to a dozen students this week. When bad things happen to iPads, Notability notes can land in a digital void, never to bee seen again. One feature Notability has that every Notability user should turn on right now is the Auto Backup feature. Take 60 seconds to make sure Notability's Auto Backup feature is setup on your iPad. Follow the steps below to make sure your notes are backed up!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Connecting your MacBook to a projector with a cable?

Many teachers in the junior and senior high schools are connecting their MacBooks to projectors using cables. Mr. Hamlin and Mr. Anthony each sent emails detailing steps to configure the MacBook so both it and your projector have a reasonably good image. I would like to build on their work with a video that demonstrates the process. If you are having trouble getting a good image out of your projector when it is connected to your MacBook, take a look. The video has some tips that may help improve the viewing experience for your students and for you.

Heads up! If you're watching this from Metcalf, you might need to unblock Youtube first.

Metcalf Spreadsheet Gradebook Question

Mrs. Gross asked a question about retyping the names in the Google Spreadsheet she is using as a gradebook. She wanted to know if she had to retype the names for each of the ten other sheets contained in the spreadsheet. The simple answer is, no, you don't have to retype the names. Typing twenty three names 11 times would not be a fun way to spend an evening! Fortunately, you can enter a simple formula, and with a couple of clicks, quickly fill in all sheets in your gradebook with student names. The video below demonstrates the process. Try it!

Heads up! The video is a Youtube video. If you're watching the video inside Metcalf school, you will need to unblock Youtube first.

Chromebooks in action, 9/29

Monday, I watched colleague Kristen Allen lead a class of sixth grade health students in their initial foray into Google Classroom. After the class, I remarked that for the fist time in recent memory, the technology did not get in the way of any learning objectives. It is really amazing to watch kids open Chromebook and login. The device is ready almost instantly. Once students enter their credentials they are off and running. The days of ten minute, hour glass infused logins will not be missed! Am I endorsing a product? Yes. The Chromebook does what it is supposed to do. More importantly, it does not get in the way of students or teachers.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Animoto & Foundations of Wrirting

Earlier today, a colleague asked what I thought of Animoto for a foundations of writing project. I had not used Animoto in quite some time, so I thought I would revisit it. In a few minutes, I was able to create a short video. I really like that Animoto is a tech tool that does not get in the way of the project. It's simple, quick, and easy to use. The free version allows videos of up to 30 seconds in length, and if you need to create a longer video, you've probably outgrown Animoto and will be looking for something more capable. Here's a quick sample.

Pronoun Pro

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Make PDF Files from Copies

Earlier today, our colleague Bob Quindazzi shared a video detailing how to use the copy machine to make PDF documents. Last week, when Bob mentioned that he was going to make a video detailing the process, I wondered aloud, "Why would anyone want to do that?" Here's one reason why. Let's suppose you have a paper copy of a document that you would like to distribute to your students, but you do not have the digital file. You can simply run the sheets through the copier, which, with a few clicks, can send the scans to your email. If you've got a stack of notes, worksheets, or other documents to scan, the process works particularly well, and is a blazingly fast. Bob details how to save the scan to your drive, where it can easily be stored, printed, or shared with students via the LMS of your choice. Thanks Bob!

If you are at an elementary school, the video below is probably blocked. To unblock the video, please reference an earlier post on using your override to unblock videos.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Unblock Youtube at the Elementary Schools

The district content filter blocks Youtube and Vimeo videos for teachers at Metcalf and other elementary schools. (My understanding is that this situation will be rectified with the arrival and installation of a new content filter.) If you are trying to play a video from your own web site or any other web site that links to or embeds Youtube or Vimeo videos, the videos may show up as blanks, or have error messages. To fix the problem, you need to override the district’s content filter. You may watch the brief video below, or click this link for step by step written directions.

Ironically, the video that shows you how to override the filter may itself be blocked. If the video is not showing up for you underneath this text, uh... you can watch it from home until you're comfortable using the filter override. ;-)

Printing Word Documents From Your MacBook

UPDATE:  11/5/2015
Skip this mess and jump right to the newest update.

There are newer, improved directions at which supersede the steps outlined below.

You might have Word documents with complex layout that include word art, tables, images, graphs or other items that get completely mangled when you upload them to Google Drive. No matter what you try, it seems like the result is always a complete mess. Though you can export Word documents to the PDF format where document fidelity is much higher than Word documents viewed in Google Drive, PDFs come with their own hassles. Happily, there is an excellent, free application that will help you print local Word documents - and other proprietary documents - from your MacBook directly to EWG's Sharp Find Me printers. That free application is called Cloud Printer. Even though you will have in-app opportunities to purchase optional services, you do not need to spend any money on the app. The video below shows you how to install and use Cloud Printer. In my testing, it seems to work quite well. Let me know if you have any troubles installing and using it.

Youtube was having fits earlier today, 9/16. If the embedded video below does not play, click this link to play it.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Chromebook Rollout, Senior High

Chromebooks were distributed to freshman and sophomore students today. Here are a few images of the deployment. Stay tuned for success!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Aspen Horizontal Scrolling Fix

As the your Aspen gradebook grows and fills with assignments, you might experience trouble scrolling horizontally with your MacBook through assignment view. The inability to scroll makes it tough to see all the assignments or add new assignments and grades. Here are the steps to fix Aspen's issue with horizontal scrolling.

  • Click the apple at the top left of your screen
  • Select system preferences
  • Select the General icon
  • Locate the option Show Scroll Bars
  • Select Always
  • Close system preferences
Now Aspen's horizontal scrollbars will display on your MacBook.

This video demonstrates how to make the adjustments.

Friday, September 5, 2014

WiFi and Your MacBook Air

Some teachers have experienced flakey wireless connections with their MacBooks. If your MacBook frequently drops its wireless connection, or it seems to take a long time to make a connection, a ten second adjustment demonstrated in the video below may be just the thing you need to send your wireless connection woes to digital oblivion. Try it!

Update, 10/1/2014
If you are asked for credentials to EWG_Staff, please note the following:
  • Use the credentials you would use to login to a district owned windows computer or laptop. The format is first_last and then your password. Remember, this is the username and password you used for the older windows computers.
  • Don't use your Apple ID or password. It won't work.
  • Don't use your email address or password. It won't work.
You may also be asked to approve changes to your system using. Use the credentials that you use to login to your MacBook.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bias, Stereotypes, and Hidden Agendas

As a participant in URI's Summer Institute in Digital Literacy 2014, I collaborated with pretty remarkable people and was fortunate to have been paired with North Union Middle School (Ohio) teacher Tenah McMahon. We developed a project to help students recognize bias, stereotypes, and hidden agendas in popular media. Of course, the project encourages and works through the use of some cool tech tools. We think participation in our project will help kids to more critically evaluate the multimedia bombarding us. Tenah is interested in a cross country collaboration between her students and EWG students. If you would like to learn more about this opportunity, let me know. I'd be happy to facilitate.

Image: By Witzel (L.A.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Projectors at Wawaloam and Metcalf

It seems that Metcalf and Wawaloam have a number of Epson Powerlite 95 projectors that can connect wirelessly to the Macbook laptops. Unfortunately, the projectors need a tweak to connect with a revamped EWG wireless network. We're getting to them as quickly as possible. If your projector has been reconfigured, you can connect to it with your laptop by following the steps outlined in the embedded presentation.

I think you'll like the ability to push your laptop's screen across the room to your projector. I'm not sure how old or new the Epson projectors are, but they sure project a bright, crisp image.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cloud Printing Demo

The brief video demonstrating cloud printing at EWG might be helpful.

UPDATE, 9/4:  You can drag and drop most powerpoint and word files into a chrome browser tab and print directly from native word and powerpoint files without having to upload or convert the files. Watch the demo below.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Exam View Test Generator

Exam View Test Generator is available for your Macbook Air. Download and install it on your Macbook from You should be able to open previously created test packages on your Macbook using this tool once you have moved them from your old desktop/laptop/flashdrive. Let us know about your success (or problems ;-( ) by leaving a comment.

UPDATE, 8/26
If you have exam view test banks vintage 2001 - 2008 (not sure about the exact cutoff date), the test banks will not open with the new version of exam view. You can, however, open test files created with older versions. The test files can then be exported to test banks for remixing.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cool Tools

At the URI Digital Literacy Summer Institute, participants have the opportunity to attend "Cool Tools" sessions each day. One of the standout sessions I attended today was a hands on activity using Take a few minutes to practice with Vialogues is not entirely unique, but it is free and add free. It's built by Teacher's College, Columbia University. is an awesome tool for discussing and critiquing videos collaboratively with your students. It would be a solid resource for any media literacy class, critiquing sueded videos, or for engaging kids in current events. Actually, any time you want to empower kids to participate in media literacy and comment on or discuss a video, would be an awesome platform on which to build the experience.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Google Docs 101 Tips and Tricks

At this morning's Tech Tuesday workshop, I was asked for a Google Docs tips and tricks sheet. Here's a small list of resources you might find helpful.

Getting started with Google Docs (links to a comprehensive, text based tutorial)

Short video on sharing Google Docs

Publishing Google Docs

20 expert tips and tricks

An exhaustive list of Google Docs keyboard shortcuts


A colleague also asked what the f5 and f6 keys do. f5 and f6 dim and brighten the keyboard backlight feature. The library was too bright to really see the keyboard backlight effect. Try it in a room that is not so brightly lit.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Earlier today, a colleague asked me to recommend a good paint program for his MacBook. One of my favorite photo editors, and the easiest to recommend, is pixlr. It works on any machine with a modern browser, and also has apps for Android and iOS. An added benefit is that the same version of pixlr that runs on a MacBook will also run on the Chrombooks many students will use in classrooms next year. Photoshop enthusiasts and image pros will probably scoff at pixlr, but for the vast majority of work that enthusiasts do, pixlr really shines. It supports layers, a bunch of effects, and the typical contrast, cropping, text tools, saving, and more that you might expect to see in software costing big money. Pixlr can be used without creating an account, but pixlr files and images are easily exported to the cloud if you sign in. A vibrant pixlr community has filled Youtube with hundreds of pixlr tutorials, and Mountain Heights Academy has a robust pixlr series to get anyone started. Pixlr is highly recommended.

Tech Tuesday, Episode I.

This morning, EWG's IT Department lead a Getting to Know Your MacBook workshop. It was attended by nearly twenty teachers who spent the morning setting up and exploring their MacBooks. I am delighted and proud to see the emphasis on professional development enjoying such a prominent place in the minds of EWG's leadership. Awesome!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It's not about what you know

Earlier today, I was asked if there are any tools a student might use to create a video game as part of a senior project. I am beginning to sense that the next year will be less about what's stored in my noggin, and more about listening, deciphering, and locating resources. Incidentally, the tool Sploder looks worthy of consideration.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's not your old desktop

StolenAdmit it. You never thought about locking your school desktop. Neither did I. No one in their right mind would consider lifting it and running. It's too heavy, hard to conceal, and not worth the hassle. Widely coveted and easily whisked away, your shiny school issued MacBook Air on the other hand, could sprout wings and take flight in seconds. Here are some tips to keep it safe and secure.
  • Keep it with you at all times.
  • Since the former is not always possible, if you leave it, lock it.
  • Do not leave your MacBook openly unattended during lunch, other breaks, or copy room excursions. Lock or conceal it in a desk or cabinet drawer.
  • Take it with you on fire drills.
  • Do not leave it unattended on your school desk overnight.
  • Running an errand on the way home? Out of sight, out of mind. Store it in the trunk, or under the seat of a locked auto.
  • Install and configure the Meraki management tool when you receive your MacBook during the June rollout. (You will be guided through this process.) Meraki might aid recovery efforts in the result of loss or theft.

Image credit: Berishafjolla [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, June 9, 2014

MacBook Air Deployment to Faculty Begins!

MacBook Airs are being deployed to faculty across the district, and the senior high distribution is imminent. For those who have never used Apple OSX (the Mac operating system), Apple has prepared in-depth resources to help familiarize yourself with OSX at At a minimum, please consider watching
 this six minute video ( if you've never used a Mac before. Watching it will boost your comfort level and jump start your ability to become productive with your new Mac right away.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Ramping Up!

Whew! It's official. I start an in-district sabbatical at the close of the current academic year. In the coming months, I'll be working closely with students, faculty, staff, and administration as a technology integration specialist with a primary focus on technology for instruction.

I am thankful for the opportunity to learn and serve in such a capacity, and wish to recognize the foresight of Superintendent Erinakes for encouraging me to apply, and the school committee for recognizing the need for a technology integration specialist. Former colleagues like Norm Leveillee, standouts like Doc McArdle, who mentored me throughout the nineties, Marc Hamlin, Ron Rounds, others, and I had a dream several decades ago that we could better serve the school community inside the classrooms of content area teachers much more effectively than we could by contriving projects in isolated computer application classes. Happily, the dream and reality are converging.

What's on my mind lately? We are ramping up for one to one computing! That is what keeps me thinking into the evening. One year ago, the whisper of one to one computing in EWG would have elicited chortles and snorts of derision. How far we have travelled in one year! We might not yet be in technology Nirvana, but we are in a far better place and rapidly evolving! Amen!

Another pressing issue is that I need to write about my experience. I need to tell this story of what I imagine to be purposeful transformation. I need a platform to highlight and brag about excellence in your classroom, and to be, perhaps, a mouth piece for model classrooms and exemplary practices. And, Richard Byrne (author of, a blog you should subscribe to right now) repeats that teachers should blog here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and in probably a dozen other places. So, here it goes. If you're reading, awesome! And if I'm writing into the void of space, it sure feels good to be shouting.

Until next time...

Kind regards.