Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

Welcome to my technology blog.
Follow me on Twitter, @noelerskine
Noel's Home Page

💥Tech tools - Free Kindle Books, free services, and more.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Web & Tech Tools

101 Videos | National Geographic - Lots of science and social studies,  but a little bit of everything. Thanks to our very own Jessie Aundre @jessiesandre 

U.S. Constitution Day Is On September 17th – Here Are Related Resources 

8-BIT project: A fraction, decimal, and percent HyperDoc

Free credit monitoring services
With the data breach/hack of Equifax - I thought I would include a couple personal recommendations.  (This loss of data affects over 1/2 of the people in the US and it involves a lot of personal data!) 

If you have a Discover Card - they are offering a credit monitoring service for free to their card holders.  This site will offer more info about the deal.  You can set email and text alerts. 

If you have insurance through the Nebrakaks BCBS for schools - remember they have a free credit monitoring and repair/fix (In case you do get your identity stolen.) service for free to all employee's.  See your school district central office for more info.  (Kim and Linda here at Norris.) 

Make Paragraphs Pop with Borders and Shading in Google Docs

G Suite Tips | Paragraph borders and shading in Google Docs is a little-known feature that can bring your document to life. Check it out here.

Free Kindle eBooks:

💥 tech tools - Killer deal on Amazon Echos, free music, free app, some great tech tools!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Misc: Web sites and tools
Do you want to be a Google search pro? - 41 Pro Google Search Tips for Research, Marketing, and Fun

How to Add Filters to Your Images in Google Slides 

The iPevo Whiteboard Chrome app is worth taking a look at!  The awwapp site is still great too, but this one may add a few things to your tool belt as well. 

Customize Google Drive With Drive Apps - Short 2 minute video.  (This video shows Pixlr Express... I love the PicMonkey add-on for Drive as well.) 

Killer Deal on the Amazon Echo! 
AMAZING deal on Amazon Echo - $75 and 3 free audio books. j  I LOVE these things! Ordered 1 more for my place. (I have way too many of these already, LOL.)  

6 Android Apps to Try on a Chromebook - Check it out
New Staff - HS and MS staff - your Acer Spin units already support Android!  More Chromebooks will be supporting Android soon.  
The Google Classroom app allows easy markup/drawing on assignments, 

Google Sheets -

Create Dynamic Dropdown Menus in Google Sheets - 3-minute how-to video

Free Music
Nature Sounds Collection: Sea Waves, Vol. 1 (Ocean Coast) -Not sure this is music, but it may be relaxing.  On Amazon  and also Google Play 

Free App - IOS and Android:

Runtastic Mountain Bike Pro (Android )
Both were free for a while... the Android onestill is!  

Free eBook - PDF 
Not sure if this thing work a cent... but hey it's free so I tossed it in our list! 

The free PDF eBook (a direct download, no registration required) is now available in English or Spanish. The Kindle version (English only) is now even cheaper (only a $1). Thumbup

FREE - Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day [] (PDF, 1st Edition, ENGLISH)

GRATIS - Bueno y Barato: Aliméntate Bien a $4 al Día [] (PDF, ESPAÑOL)

💥 This week's tech tools - Free Music, Free Apps, and more.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Misc. Web and Tech Tools:

minutephysics - A really nice YouTube Channel with some cool short videos that.... well... involve physics.  pretty cool! 

Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week – A Summer of G Suite Updates – A Handout

Google for Education Training Center. FREE resources from Google. Check out the tutorials, downloadable guides, tips, tricks, and more!

Looking for a new way to share information with families? You can create a class website using the free, easy-to-use Spark Page. Perfect for teachers on Chromebooks, laptops, iPads, and iPhones, this simple website creation tool is a fantastic choice for creating a classroom website.

Free IOS App:

Stage Pro: Interactive Whiteboard/Document Cam - Free (Reg. $4.99)   

Free Music from Amazon:
Amazon Music via has Garth Brooks: The Chase/In Pieces (Digital MP3 Album) for Free.

Wow - Phishing and ransomware at it's worst! 
This is why we are wanting users to always be careful on what they click on in emails! (Phishing) - CBS report - Inside the New York Hospital That Was Down for 6 Weeks Due to Ransomware 

Lynne Herr's tech resources from our Bootcamp sessions:
Tech Roundtables (all ideas collected in one file, K-4 and 5-12)

Google Classroom

Welcome to your first day of Classroom Google Classroom saves you time, keeps you organized and helps you communicate with your students.  Great resource from Google

10 ways Google is making Classroom and Forms easier for teachers this school year - Yesterday, Google announced 10 updates to Google Classroom and Google Forms to help teachers save time and stay organized. Some updates include a new single view of student work and the ability to reorder classes.

💥 Free apps, tech tools, free tool for the Alexa, tips and more in this weeks tech tips.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

QR & Barcode Scanner PRO for Android is FREE for a limited time.  Reg $3.99 

Web sites and tools:
iOS 11 will render older iPhones, iPads and apps obsolete  - Just like the older iPad 2 units will not update beyond IOS 9.3 .. some devices will now be stuck at IOS 10.x ... But it also means that for users of Apple’s newer smartphones and tablet computers, including the latest iPhone 7 and iPad, some apps that are 32-bit-only and not coded to operate in a 64-bit system will cease to work once their devices are updated to iOS 11. (Hopefully most developers will update their apps to work!) 

How to search Google: 10 advanced tips and tricks 

How Many Words Can You Type Per Minute?  Via Ratatype | Test your typing skills and learn how to type faster.

Create Fillable Text Boxes in Google Docs - How to article here. 

2 handy yet hidden Chromebook security features - Unlock with a Pin or even with your Android phone automatically when you are close! 

Optimize Your Chrome Browsing Experience With These 13 Extensions  There are several of my favorites in this list... LastPass, OneTab, Magic Actions for YouTube, and more... 

Explore in Docs, Sheets, and Slides makes work a breeze — and makes you look good, too -Not a new feature... but one many do not know about or use!

NEW - Smarter Google Forms to save you time -  Google Forms makes it easy to collect information, plan events, solicit feedback, and more. Today, we’re adding new features and using machine learning to make Forms work better for your business. Read on for more details.

MindMup 2.0 Includes Vertical Mind Mapping - MindMup is a nice mind mapping tool that can be integrated into your Google Drive account.

Google tools for Kindergarten and young learners: 
On this episode of the TechEducator Podcast, we welcome Kindergarten teacher Christine Pinto on the program to discuss tips, tricks, and strategies for helping our youngest learners master Google Apps and other G-Suite tools. (Check out the links to resources on this podcast on the page above - Some great templates for the elementary teachers!)   Visit her website for templates, inspiration and more! 

Do you have an Echo or dot - Then you may be interested in this:

Google Sheets -
5 Tricks to Boost Your Productivity in Google Sheets - an AWESOME 5-minute video is a must for some great Google Sheet tips. 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has created Spacecraft 3D, an augmented reality (AR) app for iOS - Free.  (This is a cool app!) 

Some great sites built on the top of Google Maps:

Smarty Pins - A great educational and fun game! 

Goolge\s own Tour Builder is awesome! 

Amazon - Inspire Beta -  New program from Amazon for free teacher resources.

Hey- it' a beta, so it will be getting better... but it's from Amazon!  Check it out here. 

Remember - If the resources are in Microsoft format - just upload to Google Drive and Convert!

Here are a few ways to start exploring the Amazon Inspire Beta: 

  • Discover: Easily find helpful resources from other educators and organizations, such as The National Science Foundation and Buck Institute for Education. Try searching by title, subjects, grade levels, resource types, publishers, standards, or keywords.
  • Download: When you find a resource you like, download it to your desktop to use in your classroom or read later.
  • Share: Find a lesson plan a colleague might find helpful on the Amazon Inspire Beta? Share links to the content you love so that other educators may benefit from them.
  • Give Feedback: You’re the classroom expert and we want to hear your thoughts! Click on the support icon in the upper right-hand corner to share your ideas with us.

Have you been Smished???  (No not phished... but similar!) 

‘Smishing’ Is Internet Scammers’ New Favorite Trick.  

"Bad guys are increasingly targeting you through your smartphone. They send texts that trick you into doing something against your own best interest. At the moment, there is a mystery shopping scam going on, starting out with a text invitation, asking you to send an email for more info which then gets you roped into the scam. 
Always, when you get a text, remember to "Think Before You Tap", because more and more, texts are used for identity theft, bank account take-overs and to pressure you into giving out personal or company confidential information.  Here is a short video made by USA Today that shows how this works:
Obviously, an end-user who was trained to spot social engineering red flags <-- Check it out. (PDF) would think twice before falling for these scams.

💥 Free kids movie, Great new Sketup program, tech tools and more in this week's Tech tools email

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Web & Tech tools:

3 Reading Resources for Your Classroom 

Make your own data GIFs with Google's new tool - Simple... and a picture does say a 1000 words! is offering A Stork's Journey (Digital HD Movie) for Free.

Google Hangouts
Have you enabled the Google Hangout's tool? If not... it's really handy for chatting. My how-to doc will get you started. 

Google Slides:

Top 10 ways to use G Suite to Give effective presentations. Via the GSuite Learning Center. 

We have added Google Sketchup to our Google Apps Domain.  A great drawing/3D modeling tool.
Have your Google Gsuite administrator add this to your domain. 

Great online drawing tool to use with students! This one is online... so it works on Chromebooks too! (You can even download the SketchUp and use in the desktop program too. We have the full desktop program available for use too.) 

Announcing Sketchup for Schools - More info here
Oh... it’s free!!

💥Tech Tools, tips and more in the last tech tips email before summer!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Web sites and resources:

This amazing online resource (Form Elem & MS)  will have your students begging to practice their math skills every day. And did I mention that it’s free? -Check out this article here.

Great crowd-sourced Google Doc of awesome teaching videos

Excellent, free, online keyboarding program for K-12 students. 

Exploring the History of Everything with ChronoZoom

Google Tip: Add Emojis to Google Drive Folders.  This 3-minute video will show you how.  (Could be about 1 minute... ☺

21 Tools for Conducting Digital Formative Assessments - This is a good list of tools! 

Need to edit audio --  This Online Audio Editor Is Beautiful.  TwitedWave is also another one to look at.

This Tool Makes It Super Easy to Create Interactive Simulations

Online whiteboard - Aww App - Check it out. I have mentioned this one before... but it's worth mentioning again. FREE, Easy, collaborative, etc... Check it out!

3 Quick Formative Assessment Examples for Teachers.

Google Assistant App now Available.
This is the same assistant that is a part of the Google Home device. (Similar to Amazon's Alexa. -Which I love.) Get it in the IOS store for your iPhone. (It's built into the Android phones. More info here on Android.)

Virtual Reality (VR) Resources:

Google Cardboard and VR (Virtual Reality) Resources - Checkout my doc of resources.  Also, visit with Shelly Coe in our middles School and our Google Expeditions setup! 

If you have not experienced 360 degree YouTube videos... this is a good one:  See beyond the walls of the Tower of London.  (Just click on the video and move around the screen in 360-degree fashion.) 

QR Codes:

Cloud QR Image, Video, and Audio QR Code Creator (Designed for teachers and students!)- It does QR codes... and Cloud QR lets you use the built-in microphone on your tablet or smartphone to record audio and narrate images. When you share the QR code with students they only see the video without leaving the Cloud QR app. This YouTube Playlist will get you started with the app.

Google add-on for graphs in docs:

Yob - Graph Editor, Check out the 2-minute video here, and install the add-on here.

Google Slides:

Streamline your inbox with these Gmail Gems and tips: 

Watch the latest episode of the G Suite Show to learn how to:
  • Use multiple inboxes
  • Automatically apply labels using filters
  • Use integrated search to share Drive files right from Gmail
  • Undo send

Awesome digital citizenship curriculum and tech curriculum available.  (From my last staff email.)   This one is for Norris use only - (since we purchased the KnowBe4 product): 

Kevin Mitnick Security Home Internet Course: 

This can also be used at home, with parents, etc...  If you are a Norris Staff Member, drop me an email to get the password for this great resource! 

Google training courses for students and staff
Video-based lessons for grades 7 - 12 - New 2017 

Check out my info doc to get you started.  If you have any questions or need help... let us know.

Some great resources from the National Archives!

(This segment was taken from a promotional email from the national archives.)
DocsTeach - Bring history to life for your students.

Analyzing Documents Tool with Lewis Hine Photograph
New Analyzing Documents Tool

We're happy to announce our first new activity tool since we launched DocsTeach almost seven years ago!

Create activities with the Analyzing Documents tool to teach students the process of document analysis:
  • Meet the document. 
  • Observe its parts. 
  • Try to make sense of it. 
  • Use it as historical evidence.
Analyzing Documents activities guide students through primary source documents for contextual understanding and to extract information to make informed judgments. Read more about this tool - or jump right in by creating a new activity and choosing Analyzing Documents as your activity type.
Managing Your Students' Responses

My Students' Responses
We listened to educators who told us they wanted to use DocsTeach with their students, but weren't interested in receiving an email every time one of their students completed an activity.

Now you can view your students' completed activities on the My Students' Responses page. You can even create groups to organize your students' work - students will choose from the groups that you set up when they finish their activities. And you can use the new My Response Settings page to turn off email notifications entirely if you'd like.

To test out this feature or change your settings, log in and choose My Account in the menu.
Document Search
Better Searches

We've drastically improved search functionality so that you can more easily find the primary sources and activities that you're looking for. Now when you search for Vietnam War, for example, you'll only get results that have both the words Vietnam and War. But we included other options, so you can pick the type of search that you prefer.

We also changed how our search works so that you get the most relevant results first. Searching Chinese Exclusion Act, for example, gives you the actual Act first, followed by documents related to the topic.
...and more

We've made additional behind-the-scenes updates to improve the overall DocsTeach experience. We hope these changes will make the site easier to use, and an even better tool for bringing history to life. But we always love to hear feedback - so let us know if you have an idea to improve DocsTeach!
Recently Added Documents

As always, we've been adding more primary sources - here are some recent highlights, documents from two Supreme Court cases:

Excerpt from Buck v. Bell decision
Buck v. Bell  - This newly digitized case file concerns the issue of involuntary sterilization and can help students learn about the eugenics movement in the United States. Read more about the case on our Education Updates blog.
Excerpt from Notice of the Supreme Court Opinion in Worcester v. Georgia
Worcester v. Georgia - This case established the principle of "tribal sovereignty." The Supreme Court ruled that states, like Georgia, could not diminish rights of tribes because the Cherokee Nation constituted a nation holding distinct sovereign powers as granted by Congress and the United States.