Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

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No tricks here only treats ... DropBox tools, Google Forms, great tech tools and more - My hot picks for the week!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Web tools: 
If your grandfather made $1.50/hour in 1945, how much would that be today? Wolfram Alpha knows:  (Have you seen the Wolfram Alpha search engine? Check it out!) (From the @tcea Twitter feed. Follow them, they are awesome!)

The 100 Best Video Sites For Educators… 

Want to create some nice timelines.... 

Visuwords™ online graphical dictionary — Look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. Produce diagrams reminiscent of a neural net. Learn how words associate.

JST Virtual Science Center - Excellent Online Science Lessons

Authors who Skype with classes for free:  (We love Google Hangouts, but remember Skype is another great resource for classes.)

Google Apps in the Elementary Classroom session presentation from a recent ed tech conference -… 

Looking for a way to make your images interactive? Check out ThingLink:

Some top live binders to check out:…   (The 2nd one on the list is from  Mickie Mueller - from Norfolk Nebraska!) 

Need to schedule blocks of time for parents to sign up on a calendar.... You can easily do this with a Google Calendar and appointment slots. Simple 2 minute video on how. 

149 Great Resources for teachers. 

Best of web 2013 slides by Richard Byrne @rmbyrne has some education resources!  (I have also downloaded the PDF/eBook of this and put it on the O drive under ebboks for staff to use as well.)

Your iGoogle page may be going away, but if you have not seen Symbaloo, you may want to check it out as an alternative to that page. More info can be found here:

Google in Education Professional Development Guide. The guide is a resource for training resources, use case examples, and best practices.

eBooks for your classroom:
Creating and editing flexbooks online:…

DropBox Tools: 
If you're a Drop Box user, you will love this:… (AWESOME List!) 

Google Form tips:
Quick tutorial on how to create a Google Form that will accept file uploads from

How to Automatically Close Google Forms at Specified Times

20+ Google Forms for teachers:…

Are we teaching the right way? 
Great 3 minute YouTube on how we should be teaching.  (Project based learning & problem solving.)  The Gapminder and Google Public data tools would be great tools to include within your classroom and student projects. 

YouTube tools: 
8 Overlooked Useful YouTube Tools

How to Create a Linked Series of YouTube Videos

WOW, no software required for this one ....Use to download and save YouTube videos for classroom use. (At Norris we install the DVD Video soft tools that can do this, and they are a great package. But you must install them, and you have to make sure you un-check some features or you will get some toolbar's and junk you do not want.) 

IOS apps:

Apple launches Apps for Teachers category:…

goREACT - Create Virtual Chemical Reactions on Your iPad (Free app)

45+ Teacher Recommended Educational Apps : Via Teacher Reboot Camp

Take 3D Photos on Your iPhone With This App [VIDEO]

Three Approaches for Getting Content to Elementary Students' iPads - No Email, No Problem

Gapminder and Google Public data Amazing tools that few know about.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Let's face it, data can be boring but we know there's a wealth of information to be found out by looking at it.  Well these tools can make it exciting, for you and your students.  You know me... here is the short version:

Gapminder - an amazing way to view data. 
Taken from their website: "Gapminder World is free and comes with built in data. You can use it online or download it, but you can not change the data or add your own. If you would like to create your own animating bubblecharts have a look at Google’s Motion Chart in Google Docs and Public Data Explorer, where you can visualize your own data."

Gapminder World project, is a non profit group that has collected over 400 indicators on global development that are available for you and your students to use. If you want to use your own data, look at the section below where I expand on the Google options mentioned above.

Just look at a sample chart and all of it's interactivity that is available for you to use: Adults with HIV (%, age 15-49)  Look at the Play button at the bottom of this graph, and also notice how you can select specific countries on the right.  Imagine the problem solving and in-depth discussions you can have with your students as to "Why" these trends may be occurring.

Gapminder is an online tool, but they do have an offline version that you can use when an internet connection is not available.

The Gapminder for teachers section, will be especially helpful for classroom teachers.

 Google’s Motion Chart and Public Data Explorer - Use your own data too!

Motion Charts: 
If your data is in a Google Doc, you can use their charting tools to visualize data in many ways. With your Google Spreadsheet open, select insert chart.

Google's Motion Chart help site has a sample of a simple motion chart.

Have students enter data into a Google Spreadsheet and have them play around with the different chart types that are available.  It will give new meaning to data and stats.

If you are a developer or like to play around with code, you can create your own charts to visualize data in a custom way.  Visit the Google Developers Chart site for more info.

Google's Public data site:
Google's public data site allows you to upload your own data or use tons of data from large government data sets that are available to use in your charts.

The easiest way to find out what's available and the capabilities are to play around with a few data sets. And then image the possibilities when you upload your own data sets.

Nice 2 minute video overview of the Google Public data. This 11 minute YouTube video has a few tips on how to use the Google Public Data Explorer to display data visualizations, with an emphasis on classroom possibilities.

Wrap up:
There are a lot of possibility with these tools for classroom use, as well as administratively looking at your school data. Drop me some notes with any ideas or comments.

Free apps, fonts, web tools, student cheating and more. My second set of Tools for the week.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Great web tools and sites:

Did you know there are hundreds of fonts available in Google Docs?  You can even install those fonts on your computer!  My tech doc should help with more information. 

Comprehensive beginner's guide to HootSuite for social media:  (I love HootSuite for my Twitter uses!)

Amazing American Civil War Photos Turned Into Glorious Color (Amazing what can be done with technology!)

From the Rumor Mill -- Google Hangouts 1.3 Will Reportedly Add SMS, Giving Android Its Own iMessage Equivalent and another great tool for educators. via TechCrunch

Student Cheating??
This came from a recent recent #nebedu Twitter chat on filtering: 
Check out  It basically is a place where students can register for an account, pick their text book, and the page they are on, and get detailed answers.  As one Tech person put it...We have some teachers that don't care as they grade on quizzes and tests only. And some that want it blown up :)

Erskine's Editorial... What can we take form this at Norris:  It's all about classroom management, how we access our students, and being aware of what is available to students 24x7. (I have mixed thoughts about the comment from the one school, who's teachers comment was ... " I grade on quizzes and tests only".)

Are you using IFTTT? Or maybe asking what the heck is IFTTT!  If that is you, you may be missing out on one of the best time saving tools out there.

As this guide says: "IFTTT is an automation that will enable you to connect 2 services so that, when something happens with one service, a trigger goes off and an action takes place automatically on the other." 

Visit the site, look over some recipes, and see what it can do for you!

IOS Apps:

goREACT - Create Virtual Chemical Reactions on Your iPad- Free App-

Some nice free apps for today Only 10-11-13:

4 Dice Fraction Games 

Pocket CongressPocket Congress  

Rhythm Cat Pro HD   

Puppet Workshop - Creativity App for Kids for iPad is free today and is a great app; normally $2.99:  

Remember, if there are any of these you think you would want on the iPads here at school... let your media center specialist know so they can get the free app on the iTunes account. 

PowerSchool apps:
powerSchool apps for the Android devices were just released. (IOS apps have been available.)  Links to these can be found on our Home page:

My web tools for the week - free apps, ebooks, web tools and more. 10-13

Monday, October 7, 2013

PowToons resource: 
Remember - All teachers at Norris can get the PowToons classroom upgrade Free for the year. (Prior email.)
PowToons - made a short video showing teachers how to get started with their classroom account.  This upgraded teacher license includes accounts for an additional 30 students, this means that as a teacher you'll be able to monitor your students work and share your Powtoons directly with them.

Socrative 2.0 just released - and it' awesome!

Who needs clickers? With Socrative... no one! and it's free.  Taken from their web site: "Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets." 
Want to know more?

Some Gems for the Pre-K to 6th grade crowd: has tons resources and games for every grade level. As described on their site: " was developed with the idea that crucial concepts, themes, ideas, and fact sets taught in the classroom can be enhanced over the internet through interactivity." 

Some iPad apps for the primary grades: Math time tables apps - all 5 of these are free!

Ten Good iPad Apps for Elementary School Math Practice

Tell Time – A Free iPad App to Help Children Learn to Tell Time 

Home KG – A Free iPad App for Learning to Write

Google apps resources: 

How to Create Image-Based Quizzes in Google Forms - Short 4 minute video tutorial (Since Google has added images to 

eBooks and info:
How to Create and Edit Flexbooks Online. I have promoted the ck-12 web site and ebooks in the past, this is a great tutorial you will want to look at if you plan on using the Flexbooks with your class.

History and Geography resources:

The Lincoln Telegrams project ( includes over three hundred digitized telegram memos written by President Abraham Lincoln between March 10, 1864 and April 12, 1865. Check out their free app.  (A great primary resource.) (This app is nice, and even "translates" the handwriting for you.)

Early Jamestown is an interactive textbook exploration of the early days of the Jamestown settlement and the state of Virginia. Enjoy the rich interactive graphics and the engrossing story of a key moment in the history of the United States. Nice free app, worth checking out. 

Atlas for iPad is a free app, that is recommended by many teachers. (It does have ad's, but is free.) 

Photopedia  is an app recommended by many teachers to find out more about the culture and landscape of a country. You can pick country's world map, etc...  

Miscellaneous web sites and resources for the week: 

How Does Duke welcome their Freshman? - With a Prezi, Check it out.  This is a great online presentation tool!  I know I have promoted it in the past, but thought I would put another shout out, about this great tool!  Student's and Teacher's get upgraded accounts for free. Find out more on the Prezi Education Site.

A nice comprehensive list of apps for flipping a classroom.

149 Great Resources for teachers. (I like this list, it has many of the tools we promote here at Norris!) 

40 Sites for Educational Games. (And you may notice from this site, they maintain a Pinterest.) Pinterest board on educational games click here

Make your own flip books with Ease! 
If you loved FlipSnack, you'll be super excited to discover FlipSnack Edu!
FlipSnack took their appreciated app flipping book creator and turned it into a safe environment where teachers and students can share reading materials, curriculum's and assignments.

Have you updated your iPad/iPhone to IOS 7?

If not, I would.  For all personal devices, I am recomending the update.  For school managed devices, we are waiting for a while based on management and apps. 

Great guide to iOS 7 for busy teachers and students —  Downlaod this eBook (PDF format)  Here at Norris, we have placed it on the O drive, under here: O:\eBooks -Free\iPad  called "Introduction to iPads iOS 7.pdf"