Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

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Miscellaneous Educational Resources 12-31-12

Monday, December 31, 2012

Educational Web sites and great web 2.0 sites
Interactive math problems - lots of them!

Educational technology cheat sheet for teachers: 

The World Wonders Project is a Must-Bookmark Site

The Best Bits Of Bing - Google may be the king, but Bing has some great tools too! Greater Than Google: The Best Bits Of Bing

2012's Top Educational Tools

Animaps - Create Animated Google Maps 

30 Great Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers

InfuseLearning is a breakthrough virtual learner response solution.

A Digital Citizenship Guide from Edmodo and Common Sense Media

The Best Sites For Online Photo-Editing & Photo Effects 

Many Books - 29,000 Free eBooks 

Google Apps and tools

gClassFolders will automatically set up a Class Edit, Class View, and Dropbox folder for your classes. Excellent for using Google Apps in your classroom! 

No phone needed: Make calls from Gmail or Hangouts

IOS (iPhone and iPad) programs and tips!
50 Of The Best Resources For iPads In Education - Amazing lists!

Scrollshow - A Nice Free Alternative to Keynote for iPad

Use Little Story Maker to Create Custom Books on Your iPad (A nice free app!)

Quick iPhone Tips for Google Maps 

Snapguide is now available on iPad: iTunes link. 

10 Great Apps for a Teacher’s New iPad 

Android tools and Tips

Google Play Books Update Includes a Read Aloud Feature

Edmodo - one of the best classroom tools available for free. 
Edmodo just went from good to really good. Workflow & the iPad classroom

Free video editing service in the cloud for teachers.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Here is a great option for free video editing in the cloud. No software to install!
Video Editing Service Pixorial added more storage and now offers teachers their pro accounts for free. Here is the article about this.  Follow the link in the article to request the free edu pro account. (Student can get the normal account with 7 gig of storage and basic video tools for free as well.)

There is a Chrome app for this as well: Pixorial Chrome App

Thanks Pixorial for a great product and allowing teachers to use the Pro-Version for Free! This is a win-win situation, where schools can afford and promote their product to their future audience! 

Another option for video editing in the cloud, but free version is limited: 
The other cloud video editing service I have mentioned in the past, wevideo integrates with Google Drive and seems to get good reviews and is easy to use.  The problem is the limitations of storage and export times of the videos.  Here is a link to their Chrome app: WeVideo Chrome app.

Miscellaneous Educational Resources 12-19-12

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Web 2.0 tools and sites:
Student portfolios have been staple of many classrooms for years, iPads have not. This great solution for student work and portfolios works for iPads as well as computers and other devices. Uses Google Drive!   Read more about it here. 

Great List Of Web 2.0 Tools By Task:  <----- I love this list. 

Wow! Research and citing resources doesn't get any easier than this: Be sure to watch the video.

Create Digital Magazines With Glossi

Do you use Google Tasks? Check out this video on viewing tasks in Calendar and a special wide view called "Canvas" -  (Tip from this video: Want to see Google tasks in a full page view? Type: )

IOS (iPhone/iPad) free apps and tips: 

How to Use the Google Drive iPad App to Create Student Portfolios

Use this trick to Get Siri To Give you Directions via the new Google Maps app

Google releases YouTube Capture for IOS. Nice app - about time.

Old Video PRO - Free IOS app for a limited time. Make your videos look old.

Android apps and tips:
Peter Pig’s Money Counter Helps Students Learn About Money

Enjoy TED Talks Offline on Your Android Tablet

Free Holiday Music from Amazon!
Five more free Christmas songs available for download from Amazon:  (I liked 4 of them... but not sure about Twisted Sister doing a Christmas song. Call me old fashioned.) 

Miscellaneous Educational Resources 12-17-12

Monday, December 17, 2012

Some Miscellaneous web sites and tools: 
A resource from one of my Twitter lists: Nine grammar games that are really addicting -  (Erskine's Note: Not all of these web sites work on iPads, due to flash and java script requirements.) 

Twitter Brings Aviary-Powered Photo Filters To Its Android And iPhone Apps 

3 great webmaker tools:  (I think this one may be one of the best on the list for the week. Amazing web 2.0 tools!) 

10 Tools for Getting the Most from Dropbox

Quickly Edit Audio With the Online Audio Cutter

10 Cell Phone Apps for Teachers

Quick & Free Screen Sharing - From Quick Screen Share. To use Quick Screen Cast just go to their website, select share your screen, and enter your name.

Webtools, no registration required. Great for students and staff alike!  A long list of some web 2.0 tools! 

Google tools
Get started using Google Drive for document sharing via TechRepublic (If you have not started, now is the time! A nice tutorial on Google docs and file sharing.) 

Working with the Bookmarks Bar in Google Chrome - Ghacks Technology News

Need some images and/or clip art?  Google just added 5,000 Stock Images for Google Drive Users

22 Useful Google Forms for Teachers and Principals

IOS (iPad and iPhone) apps. 

via (@tonyvincent) Pic Collage for iOS is updated. Combine images and text. It's one of my favorite free iPad apps:

Vocabulary & Spelling City for iPad  (This is an amazing website, and now it's power is finally available on the iPad. I know a ot of Norris elementary staff use the SpellingCity web site.) 

A great list of iPad apps for language arts.

Host iPad-based book discussions using free app Subtext

A New Place To Find Educational iPad Apps 

Introducing: Gooru Collections

Gooru, is a free add-in to Google apps that is available from the drop down menu once you have added it to your Google apps domain.  (If your school They just released a free iPad app, so I figured I would drop out an email to everyone letting you know of another great resource.

iPad app: Gooru Collections

'Tis the Season for iPad Apps! We're so excited to introduce Gooru Collections, our very first Gooru iPad App, just in time for the holidays. Showcasing a 5th-12th grade math and science library, the app makes it easy to study beautiful, curated collections of resources on your iPad, whether you're in the classroom, at home, or on the road.  As always, we encourage you to share your feedback and ideas for improvement as we continue to work on future versions.

The best part? Just like, it's completely free.  Download it now from the App Store or watch the video to get started.

OK, not education related, but really cool!  (Thanks to @jamenhall of ESU 6 for these cool things.)
  • Kind of an amazing product.... You can control your light from the Internet for less than 50 bucks. Kickstarter ends but Spark lives on! Pre-order your Spark Socket now for $49 at
  • Want to monitor things and environments remotely without a nerd degree? Maybe you want to get a tweet when your laundry's done, an email when the basement floods, or a text message when you left the garage door open. Check outTWINE
  • SmartThings adds intelligence to everyday things in your world, so that your life can be more awesome.

Some great educational apps and resources for the science teachers.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Some highly recommend science apps: 

Science 360 App Access videos, images and news on a variety of topics.

iSeismometer Converts iPhone or iPad into a seismometer. Created for fun and educational uses.

The Elements: A Visual Exploration: Not free, but worth the money. Described as "A Visual Exploration is not a reference app, it is a rich and engaging love story of the periodic table, told in words and pictures."  For just a reference app, you may want to check out:  Quick Periodic Table of the Elements By Quick Learning LLC Open iTunes to buy and download apps. With this application, one can look up information on 117 different elements.

TinkerBox HD By Autodesk Inc. TinkerBox is a fun, free-to-play physics puzzle game. While it is full of interesting science facts and teaches basic engineering concepts, TinkerBox is more than just educational!

Leafsnap is the first in a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Miscellaneous Science web resources

Animated Science Lessons for Children via Richard Byrne's Blog.

A few Science resources from my other blog postings: 
Symbolab is a science and math search engine that's great for teachers:  (Worth checking out if you are a higher level science or math teacher!)  

Science resource for the primary grades:
Children's University of Manchester has animated lessons covering seven science subjects for primary students:  (I noticed these animations can go full screen too, but a few error on the full screen view... I am sure that is on their fix-it list.) 

Fabulous online chemistry periodic table reference:

The Physics Front is a free site that contains teaching resources on Physics and Physical Science:

Make our students (and teachers) holiday wishes come true. We need your help!

Google recently opened up a grant program making Chromebooks available to teachers for the reduced price of $99. (These Samsung Chromebooks originally sold for $449.) Teachers were required to select their devices and prepare a grant proposal for funding.  Once selected, the proposal becomes available for public donation/funding.  Google selected the organization to administer the grant selection and funding process. As an added incentive, donations within the first seven days are doubled, so these projects become very affordable and make a huge impact within the classrooms. So early donations are actually purchasing a Chromebook for $50 for our students to use. In order to get matching funds you need to use the code INSPIRE.

Norris School District teachers were successful in having seven projects selected.  These projects are now available for pubic donations.  Once enough donations are received for a project, that project is then funded and becomes a reality for the teacher and students.  These donations are drastically subsidized by corporations as well as the foundation.  Donations are tax deducible and can be placed by a variety of means including credit card.

As the technology coordinator an Norris Schools, I am very proud of our staff taking the time and interest to submit these proposals for funding.  Our teachers responded swiftly to be fortunate enough to get their requests approved.  The grants were announced one day,

About Chromebooks:

Below is a listing of the Norris projects.  We would appreciate any support you can give to make these dreams for staff and students come true!

 We need your help, please donate! 

Cloud Learning with Chromebooks in Social Studies Project home (30 Chromebooks)Mr. Murtaugh's technology project at Norris Middle School in FirthNE 

Connecting with Chrome Project home  (30 Chromebooks)
Mrs. Coady's technology project at Norris High School in FirthNE  UPDATED 12-17-12 - No more donors needed- Project has been funded! 
Making Plants Come to Life Project home ( 20 Chromebooks) Donation matches up to Dec 20th! (Using the Inspire code.)
Ms. Harms's technology project at Norris High School in FirthNE  UPDATED 2-11-13 - No more donors needed- Project has been funded! 

Chrome Book Request Project home (30 Chromebooks)Donation matches up to Dec 20th! (Using the Inspire code.)

Mrs. Spilker's technology project at Norris Middle School in FirthNE  UPDATED 2-1-13 - Project expired without funding.
Modernizing Music Makes Musicians Merry (with Chromebooks) Project home (12 Chromebooks) Donation matches up to Dec 20th! (Using the Inspire code.)
Mr. Lee's technology project at Norris High School in FirthNE 
Chromebooks for Norris Middle School Band Program Project home (30 Chromebooks) Donation matches up to Dec 20th! (Using the Inspire code.)
Writing in the Real WorldProject home (30 Chromebooks)  Donation matches up to Dec 22nd! (Using the Inspire code.)
Mr. Cullison's technology project at Norris Middle School in FirthNE UPDATED 12-27-12 - No more donors needed- Project has been funded! 

Some great web tools, tips, Google tools, free IOS and Android apps, and more!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Some great Web 2.0 tools and web sites: 
Aww App - A Collaborative Whiteboard that You Can Add to Your Site

The Physics Front is a free site that contains teaching resources on Physics and Physical Science:
Free Technology for Teachers: Three Free Text to Speech Tools for Schools Reads a web page to a student in various languages!  (These are some great adaptive technology tools too!)

7 Services for Sending Group Texts to Parents and Students
Another nice service for sedning Group texts. Sendhub.

Archive your favorite tweets using Diigo:  (Diigo is a great tool for bookmarking  and highlighting web sites. It's great for student research use as well. (Keeping track of resources during research, etc...) 

The group is now starting to make free iPad interactive iBooks too! CK-12 Biology Interactive Edition

Explore US History With the National Archives App 

Loopster is a good basic online video editor with a small library of sounds available:  (Notice this service is in beta)  I also recommend WeVideo that incorporates right into Google Drive. It does have a free version, but is limited. Check out the features here:

Probably the best tool that Erskine has not promoted for a while! 
Edmodo is a learning management system, that is almost to good to be true for it's price. (Free)   In fact it was so good, that three years ago after doing an in-service on it, I stopped promoting it figuring that it would become a paid service.  Boy was I wrong!  It' gotten even better, and we have missed out on a great tool!  No more baby... this guy is promoting Edmodo. It's billed as a secured social network for your classroom, but that does not do it justice. It's so much more than that.  Yes, we now have Google+ for our Google Apps, but Edmodo is what I would use with kids, combined with Google+ Hangouts.  (I am a big Hangout fan!) 
So, if I have peaked your interest.... this is a great video tutorial resource:
FREE step by step screencasts for EDMODO 
Our very own Jason Cullison @cully11 is using it, so you may want ot ask him more about it too. 

EasyBib anyone?
Here at Norris we have deployed the EasyBib add-in to our Google Apps, and it's a wonderful free tool. But here's another one that's worth a look from @rmbyrne  The EasyBib Chrome Extension Evaluates Source Credibility and Generates Citations 

Google+ Tips
Google+ Communities Makes It Easy to Create a Discussion Group 

Free IOS (iPad/iPhone) and Android apps
A really nice photo editor is free again!  Snapseed (normally $4.99) They have an Android app too! 

If you are not using Google Docs in education, you need to ask yourself... "Why"  The main reason I hear is, "Not sure".  Guess what, that's a bad reason.  Yes, there are some valid reason for a few specific files, or documents that you may choose another program to complete that specific task.  But for 95% of the time, Google Apps will do the job better. 

Google Spreadsheet tips and tricks:

Ever wanted to use the "Text-to-Columns" feature from Excel in Google Spreadsheets? With Apps Script, now you can -

Great tip for all Google Docs?
One Click Yields More Room to Work in Google Docs 

Some amazing photo tools for your Google Drive.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

With Google Apps and Google drive for schools, there are a ton of tools at your finger tips.  Google Drive gives you 5 gig of non-Google file storage, so it's great for storing a variety of files.

If you have a Google+ account (Now available for educational institutions!)  You have unlimited photo storage in Google+ and Picasa web albums are a great places for photo storage. Inside of the Picasa web albums, you are given the Picnik photo editor, which is a powerful photo editor that Google purchased and incorporated it into their Google+ and Picasa web products. Google+ and Picasa web albums allow you to place your photos into albums and manage sharing.

Today, I want to show you a great Chrome Extension that allows you to save files right to your Google drive, and then a couple great photo editing apps for those photo files that you save to drive.

Cloud Save - A Google Chrome extension. 
Right Click items on a webpage and save them directly to the cloud. Many cloud storage services are supported. Including Google Drive, Dropbox,, SugarSync and more. Great for Chromebooks!

Once a photo file is saved to your Google Drive, these photo editors allow you to easily edit the photo right from your drive.

Install Pixlr Editor and the Pixlr Express Chrome apps.  After installing these apps, follow these directions to use these apps for Photo edits to those files you have uploaded to drive.

Step 1: From your Google Drive account, right-click on an image, then go to Open with > Pixlr Editor or Pixlr express.  (Play around with both to see which features are offered in each product.)  If you have already opened the picture in your viewer, you can still do the "Open with" option.

Step 2: When prompted for permissions, click the “Allow access” button to let Pixlr integrate with your Google Drive account

Step 3: After your image is opened into Pixlr, edit your photo as you please. You can then save the photo back to your drive. 

 If you change your mind and want to remove the Pixlr app integration, go to the gears icon in the upper-right-hand corner, then choose “Manage apps.” You’ll be able to remove your third-party apps from there.

Remember, many of you may just want to upload your pictures straight into Picasa web albums and use the Picnik program for your edits.  This is a functional option as well. 

There are many great Google drive applications that add a lot of functionality. These are just a few to get you started!

My Miscellaneous Educational Resources 12/6/12

Some great websites and web 2.0 resources! 

60 of the Best Websites and Apps for Teachers  vy Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne)  <------- Some great resources in this slide deck! 

3D Solar System Web offers a nice audio tour of the solar system; good for introduction or review:  This is a great resource.  Note: You must be using Google Chrome (or Firefox) to view this site. 

Do your elementary students need an email address to sign up for a service you want them to use, but they do not have an email address.This is a great solution/trick

Scan to PDF – A Handy Android App for Scanning Documents  (Free and Paid version $2 avail.)

Exploring the Early Americas - Library of Congress Interactives-- Collection of eight interactive displays about the early Americas.

European Exploration - A Game for Learning About The Age of Discovery. This free iPad app puts students in charge of exploring the "New World." 

Symbolab is a science and math search engine that's great for teachers:  (Worth checking out if you are a higher level science or math teacher!) 

Woopid is a site that has free video tutorials on a variety of technology topics:  (Just OK for now, since content is lacking. May get better over time. Videos are well done.) 

An Animated Guide to Electric Circuits- The Blobz Guide to Electric Circuits is a neat series of interactive animations designed to help students of elementary and middle school age learn how electric circuits work 

A few Google Tools, tips and tricks: 
Free Technology for Teachers: How to Use Google Docs Offline in Two Steps 

Read & Write - An Accessibility App for Google Docs 

Miscellaneous Educational Resources 11-30-12

Monday, December 3, 2012

Some great Add-ins right in Google Apps. (For our Norris Google apps)
Have you used the Lucid Chart Diagramming tool? If not, it's an amazing add-in to our Google Apps. It's free to K-12 schools, and a great tool!  This quick 2 minute video explains the service.   Remember... use this from the drop down in our Google Apps at Norris. Do not go out and sign up for a free account, because you will miss out on the professional features that we have through our Google Apps. 

Slide Rocket - I know many of our Norris staff members are using this great product, but for those of you that want to try it out... Make sure you use it from the drop down in our Google Apps.  Similar to our Lucid Charts mentioned above, you will not want to sign up for a free account, or you will be missing out on the professional features that we have free  through our Google Apps. 

More free Christmas Music from Amazon?  YES...
Many of you probably already grabbed this one from my last email/posting: Green Hill Christmas Music Sampler
There is another one (only 4 songs, but still free!)  Here

Some great Web 2.0 tools and sites: 
6 Apps Students Can Use to Quickly Create Audio Recordings ~ A website that allow students to collaborate in real time with the use of sticky notes on a board.

Create Trading Cards for Historical and Fictional People, Places, and Events 

7 Resources for Teaching and Learning Anatomy and Physiology 

200+ Free Video Lessons, Apps, and eBooks for K-12  Richard Byre's Article  Actual web site

IOS (iPad and iPhone) apps and more. 

Free iOS apps today: Chemist for the iPad

30 Cool Educational iPad Apps for Science Lovers

Visual Anatomy - An App for Anatomy Students

10 Apps That Work Great With Evernote

Google tips and tricks: 
New search operators in Gmail! Check out the list and gurus guide to using them -

Now you can edit spreadsheets on the go with the Drive mobile app

Experience the Canadian Arctic through new panoramic Street View images of Cambridge Bay: More: 

 I have promoted these in the past.... and figured it was time once again to make sure you have seen this gems!  
Poll Everywhere  This is a great digital tool that allow teachers to create multiple choice or open-ended assessments or surveys. Students can use these assessments or surveys on their iPads, mobile phones, or the computer.
Today’s Meet ~ A backchannel website that helps you connect with students in real time. Can be used as a communication tool for collaboration, exit slips, assessing prior knowledge or understanding of lessons. (This was the tool I used on our first day tech presentation to staff.) 
Evernote  Evernote is a wonderful free app and website for students to be creative and stay organized. Evernote provides students with the opportunity to create a digital file of their notes, projects, assignments, and more.
Socrative  This fun assessment tool is a smart study response system that allows teachers to assess students in a creative way. A generated report is provided with student responses. (I know they have used this tool on our MS iPads!) 

Why are Google's teachers tests open book? Do we need to learn from them?

Friday, November 30, 2012

A teacher recently sent me a link to this article and pointed me to a section toward the end of the article. 

From this article I read the following excerpt:
"When I was going threw the process of becoming a Google Apps Certified Trainer I was taking the required tests on all the Google Apps. The tests run on Google's own system and once you press start you have 90 minutes to finish. Google also gives you all the training materials which are public and anyone can learn from. So I did what any cheating student would do. I started the test in one browser and then opened up the training materials in another browser. When I came to a question I didn't know the answer to I would quickly search for and find it in the training manuals. Basically an open book test.

As I continued taking the tests I kept asking myself "What is Google after here?" and then it hit me. It's about searching and finding information.
Wow... This is spot on. I love the statement... "So I did what any cheating student would do. I started the test in one browser and then opened up the training materials in another browser." Yep, that is what I would do too! 

I can remember 20 years ago, when they talked about living in the "information age", and did not realize what that meant until several years later, when hundreds of emails fly through my inbox weekly and millions of Tweets and Facebook postings are made daily. So much information, so little time, and so many people that can not find the data or answers when they need it.  I think it's a generational thing.  The best thing you can tell many teachers is... "Just ask your students for help on how to run the __________. (You can fill in the blank with any piece of technology or tool that you want to.) Do not be afraid to asks students for help with technology, and at the same time let's look at those students and figure out ways of delivering content that will reach them as well require them to apply and use the content they can easily find.
My son recently tore a car apart and rebuilt it from the ground up. (He has a couple things to finish, but it's close to getting done!)  He had no automotive classes or training.  How did he do it?? The internet. With a great web site, tutorials, videos, and a car community willing to answer peoples postings and emails... I saw my son become a mechanic, who encouraged me pull a motor and transmission out of one car and drop it into another car. I have done mechanic work in the past, but I never would of been motived to trying it again if it had not been for my son's encouragement and help.  (And yes, that car has been running great ever since!) 
I remember watching a TED video- Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education. If you have not seen this, you need to, it's amazing what kids can do if we get out of their way.

This was blog article I started long ago, and since it's initial start, I have taken all of the Google Certification tests, and yes... I think I used the same technique as described in the original article that spurred this blog posting. Since the tests are time limited, as a student you spend so much time preparing, taking notes, etc... that you learn the curriculum, even though the test is "open book". 

So what does it really boil down to??? 
It's all about information management, problem solving, and becoming a lifelong learner.  What are we doing to foster this in our children?