Saturday, December 24, 2016

Best thing about break? Taking a nap!


I'm pretty sure the Marine Corps altered my DNA so I never get a decent night of sleep but I am an expert at napping. I just found this site/app on twitter to take my napping experience up to another level. I'm confident this would be perfect for the classroom as well.

Start by visiting defonic.

1. Click on the picture to turn the sound off and on. Use the slider to increase or decrease the intensity.
2. I added a little bit of rain.
3. I threw in some thunder.
This resulted in a beautiful background soundscape perfect for napping.
Scroll down to find more sounds. Check out the coffee cup, maybe great for adding a little extra noise to help with concentration. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

I wonder if...


So I was using the PhotoScan app to digitize some old Marine Corps photos and saw some artwork Aidan brought home. I thought that if the app worked on photos it would most likely work for paper things. Check out these results.

Before. Just a regular camera shot of the art.

After. Not too bad! The app copped it exactly to the edges, a perfect shot!

This solves that age old problem, do I save these projects or sneak them into the trash while no one is looking. (I'm sure I'm not the only one who does that!)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Google Photos - Maybe the best photo app of all.


What is Google Photos?
     A quick and easy way to backup and share your photos and videos.
     This app allows you to edit your images and add effects similar to what you see in many of the popular photo sharing apps available today.

Why should I use Google Photos?
     Digital asset management is hard! Think about your Google Drive or Shared With Me, are those easy to keep organized? We gather more digital files today than every before making some type of organizational strategy super important.
     Google Photos is a free and unlimited way to back up every single photo and video you have. Free and unlimited, need I say anymore?

First Steps
  • Download the app to your iOS or Android device.
  • Select how you want your photos to be backed up. 
    • The default is to backup over wifi. Be mindful if you pick cellular data as it will use your data plan. Videos tend to be massive files and will quickly eat up your monthly data allotment. (Unless your have an "unlimited" data plan.)

You will also be presented with two different backup options.
  • High Quality - Free but the file size is reduced. This may cause issues down the road if you want to print images larger than 12X14. It has little impact if you never print and just share what you upload online.
  • Original - The file size is not compromised in anyway.  Your district account has an unlimited storage quota. (I take a billion pictures. I opted to use my personal account and buy additional storage.)
Using Google Photos
You can access Google Photos through the web or the app on your mobile device.

App - Navigation
Top of App
1. Search for locations, items, dates and people.
2. Click the ice cream cone (three little dots) to select images or use the help feature.
3. Scroll down and see this date change. It makes it super easy to locate holiday and vacation images. 


Bottom of App
1. Assistant - Pulls up photos taken on this day, create collages, animations and movies from your images.
2. Photos - a continuous stream of all the images and videos in Google Photos.
3. Albums - created by you and Google.

App - Editing
Click on the image you want to edit.
Click the little pencil that will appear near the bottom.

1. Use these presets for quickly adjusting your image. This is a lot like Instagram, etc filters.
2. Click this icon for additional editing tools. 

Masterpiece! Aidan was super happy about accompanying me to the Alpine Shop in search for the perfect vest.

When you are editing your image you will notice a little letter i. Click that to see the meta data. I love the location information, helpful for remembering where I took certain pictures.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

How do I make a Google Form?


I'm sure you have all filled out countless Google Forms over the years. Curious on how to make one? Just keep reading this post, we will walk you through the basics.

Create the Form
To get started open Google Drive.
1. Click New.
2. Click More.
3. Click Google Forms.


1. Create an informative title. Using something like Quiz might not be super helpful to the end user, what is it a quiz about?
2. Add a description or directions under the title. This will be very helpful in the long run.


Creating a Question
1. Question title.
2. Short description or directions for this specific question.
3. Multiple choice questions.
4. Required question - you can't submit if you don't answer this question. Toggle it on/off.
5. I clicked this icon to add a description under the question title. Using a description under the title is a pro tip!

1. Click the plus symbol to add a question. Look to your right, you should see it there. For this example I choose Video.
2. The video is inserted. If you wanted to add some questions about the video, just click the plus symbol to add them below.

One you have all your questions, videos, etc in your Form it is time to share it.
Click Send in the upper right corner.


1. Click this if you want the student to be logged into their Google account and have the form automatically collect their email address. This is probably something you want to do, so you know who answered what.
2. You can also get a direct link or the embed code for the form.
3. Fill this out completely if you are emailing the form. Make sure your Subject and Message are informative.
4. Just click this. It make filling out the form about 48% easier.
5. Want a buddy to help you create this form? Just add them as a collaborate, kinda like in Google Docs.
6. All ready? Click Send.

Email Looks Like


Data From Form
To find your results, return to your form.
Click Responses.

1. Toggle between summary and reading each individual submission.
2. Scroll down to see more responses.
3. Click the green flag to see the traditional Google Sheet for a single view of all the answers.

Additional Support

Monday, December 19, 2016

blogger app - blogging from your Android device


Have an Android device and looking to post to your Blogger blog? Why not check out the official Blogger app.

Open the app.
Click the pencil icon to create a new post.
You can also click Draft if you started to write but never published a post.

1. Create title for post.
2. Main body of you post.
3. Adding a photo. It appears to place the image at the very bottom of the post.
4. Click save to create a draft of the post.

Click the arrow to publish the post.

Creating a new blog


blogger is available to all staff and students in grades 9-12.

This post will show you how to set up a new blog using blogger.

Start at blogger.com
Click Sign In

You may have to create a profile.
1. Click Create a Google+ profile.
2. Click Continue to Blogger.

Fill this screen out.
Click Create Profile.

Continue to Blogger.

1. Click Create New Blog.
Don't see the orange button? Click the downward facing arrow by number two.

1. Create a title. Think of this like a book, the title is usually directly related to what the whole story is about.
2. Address - no spaces or punctuation is allowed. Try using the title of your blog as the address.
3. Pick a template. You can always pick a different one later.
4. Click Create blog.

Click New post to begin writing.

1. Title for your post.
2. Editing tools. You can embed videos by toggling HTML, add images to by clicking the little picture icon and more.
3. Where you post will go.
4. Click publish when you are ready to make it public.

Click View Blog to see your blog live on the web.

blogo - blogging from your iPad/iPhone


There are plenty of blogging apps for the iPad but none are as simple as blogo. Follow these simple steps to get your iPad synced up with your existing blogger blog.

Note - The official Blogger app for the iPad/iPhone is no longer available.

Download the blogo app on your iOS device.

Fastest way to connect to your existing blog is to click on the Google button.
Log in with your school Google account.

1. Type in your existing blogger address.
2. Click Add Blog.

1. Fill in your title and body of the blog.
2. Click on the three dots to add images.

Click Library to search your device for an image to add.

The app will allow you to adjust the image a bit before adding it to your post.

Click Publish when you want the post to be seen by the public.


Have a question? Why not check out the blogo help site.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

12 Minutes - Problem to Solution

Have you ever been too close to a problem that you keep circling it until all your energy is drained? Ever feel like that same issue keeps running you into a brick wall?

If that is you, keep reading because we have stumbled upon a solution!


A few of us attended an event put on by Connected Learning the other night. The idea of the Ed Pitch session was to crowdsource your issue and have those who came generate new ideas and solutions. 

The format was pretty simple, you had two minutes to describe the issue and the crowd was give exactly ten minutes to ask questions and offer ideas. Everyone was given a stack of Post-It notes to jot down additional thoughts allowing everyone to have a voice. Those notes where handed to the person/team who pitched the room once their time was up.

In twelve minutes you have a stack of new ideas to spark your problem solving efforts. All of this could take place during a plan time, lunch or those few minutes before and after school.

Why is this so amazing?
  • It was just about 98.7% positive. No one was dwelling on why something wouldn't work. All that positive energy was infectious.
  • Solutions were discovered.
  • No problem is impossible when you have the room helping create new pathways to success. 
  • 12 minutes. Just takes 12 minutes.
  • It could be used with staff.
  • It would definitely work wonders with kids. 

Sound like something you want to try out? Why not shoot us an email. We will help you bring this to life.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Don't forget the black & white images.


There are a million photo apps but this is currently my favorite. I know you can tinker with the photos after you take them but Lenka does black and white so well you don't have to do anything once you take a picture. Lenka is available for Android and iOS.


This image serves two purposes. First, I wanted to show you what this view looks like through the regular camera app. The second purpose was to document how clean my work area is. 

This picture was taken with the Lenka app. It gives the whole image a totally different feel.

The app interface is very simple.
1. Click the yellow button to take a picture.
2. Toggle these two buttons off/on to show/hide the sliders. These will allow you to create a cool or warm image depending on how you make your adjustments.

Example Image
We went to see Samantha the swan in Lafayette Park. Yep, she has a swan named after her!

Sometimes I just don't want to read books.

There are times when I just can't read another book, audio or physical old school paper. There are times when I read online and that ...