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 http://tekedcentric.blogspot.com/2014/10/cloud-printing-update.html 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