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Showing posts from July, 2016

Hit me up on Voxer!

We posted about Voxer a while ago but I wanted to encourage you to check it out before the school year starts. I used it the other day when I was having another tech issue with Aurasma. I reach out to Brad and we chatted in near real time on Voxer. That is when it hit me, have teachers reach out to us on Voxer!
Last year we helped a number of teachers through Facebook messenger, Twitter and email. I really liked using the social sites because it was just way faster than email. I find that Voxer is just about ten times faster than social sites. Super pumped about how this will play out for the 16-17 year.
How do you use Voxer? Think back to your golden years of your youth, do you recall how cool a walkie talkie was? Push and you talk, as simple as that. Download, install and hit us up! Really, just reach out and we will be there to help you out.
I just sent a quick message to Sarah by pressing the little orange button in the lower right corner. In seconds she will receive a short audi…

Discovery - Pokemon Style

I didn't think I would like Pokemon Go until I started playing it. One of the most amazing parts of the app hit me while walking in downtown St. Louis with the family. Most of the PokeStops are historical landmarks. Did you know there is someone famous buried under a parking garage? What about the Republican convention that happened in St. Louis over 100 years ago? These are just a few of ther things I might never have uncovered if I wasn't playing Pokemon. The discovery process was so fun that we couldn't wait to find the next thing. What if you could create a buzz like that in your classroom or building?

A week ago Dr. Parker tweeted me.

This tweet referenced a post by Dr. Brad Gustafson about creating a super engaging school tour in the style of Pokemon Go. He used Aurasma to create a series of posters that come alive in a way that kinda reminds me of the pictures in the Harry Potter movies. His idea was to engage new students when they come to the school for a tour. W…

ELMO - Quick Start and Image Mate

Get your Image Mate software up and running in a snap. This is the recommended method for using your ELMO in the classroom.
1. Power button. It will light up green or blue if the ELMO is powered on and ready to use. 2. Click the PC button to use the Image Mate software. Click the camera button to only use the ELMO without the laptop.

Is your projector ready?

The most used tool in the classroom is usually the projector. We created this post to cover two of the most used projector tools, the pens and Easy Interactive Tools. These videos will help you get up and running for day one.

Having a calibrated board is pretty fantastic. You and your students can interact right at the board without the need to hover over the laptop. Below are some highly produced videos from your instructional technology team to show you the calibration process.

Use the remote control images to identify which calibration process you need to follow.

We would recommend that you calibrate your board at the beginning of the year so your pens are 100% before the students arrive.

Easy Interactive Tools

Watch this basic overview for an understanding of how to use the interactive tools.

Google Forms + QR = Pretty Sweet

Only one short month until school is in session! We are wicked pumped up about that. This post shows you a quick and easy way to gather information from your new students using Google Forms.

Create a Form
Open Google Drive. 1. Click New. 2. Hover on More. 3. Click Google Forms.

1. Add a title. Below the title it is recommended that you add some directions or a guiding statement about the survey. 2. Click and you can change the question type. I picked Short answer for the last name question. I generally start with asking the survey taker their last name. I find it is easier to sort responses later on.
1. Click the + symbol to the right to add a new question. 2. Toggle Required if you need the kids to answer that question. I always make the name fields required to make sure that information is always collected. The survey taker can't submit until they have answered all required questions.
1. Right under the checkbox/rectangle are three little dots. Click those little dots. I sometim…

Pokemon Go has me thinking about...

Pokemon Go has me thinking about so many things. One story caught my eye and it started me digging through my Google accounts. The story talked about the permission you grant when you install any app. I usually just download and start using the apps with little thought to the overall security of my data or device. Take a look into your account and see what level of permission your apps have. Not all apps will be listed just the ones with hooks into your Google data.

1. Click your image in the upper right corner of Gmail. 2. Click My Account.

Click Connected apps & sites.

Click Manage Apps.

A sampling of apps that are connected to my Google account.
I don't recall giving access to Kinja or The Teachers Guild.

I clicked on Kinja.
I could click on Remove if I didn't want to give the site basic access to my Google account.

I love talking to Alexa.

Click the mic and start talking.
We bought an Amazon Echo a while ago and using it is pretty epic. No more hassle of actually picking up my mobile and talking into that. I can just start talking and Alexa will hear me. Slightly amazed at how sensitive her mics are.

So I started looking around to see what voice commands were available for my phone. I know I just said it was pretty inefficient but I was going on a road trip and there was no room in the car for my Echo.

Sunsets on Lake Michigan are pretty impressive. We always eat ice cream then walk down to see the sky and water slowly change as the sun sinks below the water. It is wicked important to time it just right, missing the sunset would be devastating. I guess I could have typed it out but talking just seems faster.

Opening an app or website is wicked easy. Just say open and then the site/app. You could just wait for the thing to open or click the little check mark to open it right away. This might be my favorite voice command …

Road Trip? Check this out.

As I am preparing to get on the road to drive home I had to share two apps with you. I'm sure some of you already know but if not you are in for a treat!

Google Maps
Open the Google Maps app on your phone. Click the hamburger icon in the upper left corner.

Click Traffic. Return to the map.
I zoomed the map over to near Chicago to check out the flow of traffic. If highway 80 was green it would be smooth sailing. The section I highlighted above shows me in real time that this section of the road is very congested. When I am driving I appear on the map as a little blue dot. Real time navigation like this is fantastic.
Waze is a community-based navigation app. It gives you alerts about hazards in the road, stalled vehicles on the shoulder and where the speed traps are. I am pretty sure I have avoid a few shredded tires and maybe a ticket or three while use the app.

This is pretty close to the same section of highway 80 as shown above. What Waze will do is put these little icon on …

No more remembering passwords!

I struggled for years to remember all these passwords. From banking, investing, Moodle, various cloud tools, a few emails and so many social sites. I know I was supposed to create a different password for each one but that was kinda impossible. 
I was listening to a podcast that forever changed my life. They were talking about this extension called LastPass. The theory was that you would only need to remember one master password to log into the extension and LastPass would remember every password after that.
I tried it out. I created an account with a strong password (a combination of letters, numbers and symbols). Every time I came across a site that needed a password LastPass would pop up and ask me to enter the password. Once I did that it was saved so every time I visited the site LastPass would automatically fill in the password for me.

I have been using LastPass for years and have never looked back. I even upgraded to the premium version for only $12 a year. That is worth every…

Calming Waves Opens The Mind

It is amazing what a little background noise will do. The hum of a fish tank, the dishwasher or the waves on the beach of Pentwater can be awesome when you need to really focus on something. Check out this app/extension to help create background noise for your home and classroom.

The Noisli appssuper inexpensive and a worthwhile investment. Maybe have an iPad in a writing center, this background noise could just be exactly what some of the kids need to help them focus. Why not try out the Chrome extension now. Using the extension is completely free. Check it out!

Install the extension. 1. Click the extension to launch Noisli. It looks like a little green button with a wavy line on it. 2. I would recommend clicking on the g+ SignIn button. It uses your Google credentials to create an account. 

I started using this site by clicking Add Combo. 
A new window will appear. 1. Settings. 2. Preset buttons. One click and the sounds will start playing. Too much wind? Keep reading to lear…