Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

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Not a tech Post - But what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Where do I start... the list is so long, and I am sure I will forget something or someone with so many things to be thankful for.

I am thankful for a wonderful wife and family.  They are my strength, inspiration, and love of my life.  I am also thankful for my parents, including my wonderful siblings and their families.  It's easy to be thankful with so many wonderful family members in your life.

I feel blessed living in a free country where we can freely worship and live our lives in a free democracy because of the many sacrifices of our Veteran's.

I am thankful to work with so many great people within the Norris School district.  It is a special place, with so many great administrators, staff and students.  These individuals are molding our children and shaping our future. And from where I sit, I think the future looks bright.

It is easy to be thankful when God has blessed us with so much, but there are others less fortunate than us. I hope the warmth of the holiday season finds those in need.

Last, but not least... I am thankful for you... the readers of my words.  What a blessing for freedom of the press and words, that many of us occasionally take for granted.

I hope this posting finds you in good health and spirits this Thanksgiving.

Some web tools, apps, and tips for the Thanksgiving Week!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Web 2.0 tools and web resources:

TVO, like PBS, has tons of videos on topics like science, nature, business, tech, education, and culture:

Looking for a source of short videos to improve grammar and writing?

100+ GeoGebra Tutorial Videos

9 Amazing math websites you should explore 

Some great mapping websites:…

Five Visual Dictionaries and Thesauri for Students

This great Google apps add-in deserves another plug from me. :) 
eduClipper - Getting Started with Assignment Portfolios - See what can happen with this great tool! - Nice Video to get you started.  (Remember, all Google Docs are web links, so it's easy to collect assignments, etc...) 

Check out the lesson Photosynthesis on Blendspace -  There are a lot of other great topics on this site too! 

7 outstanding science based websites you may not know

Make your video's interactive - A great classroom flipping tool!
eduCanon - Awesome for flipping your classroom.  It allows you to stop a Youtube, insert questions or other content and really make it interactive.  Free web site too!  Here's a nice example of educanon - combining video with questions:… (Y9ou even get to see a cool Air Canon in this demo of Newton's Law.)

IOS Apps:
A Handful of Free iPad Apps for Creating Videos

How to Create an iTunesU class presentation

Have you seen the new features Google has added to their IOS seach app? Set reminders & be notified when you've reached the corresponding location and more!  <1 min YouTube shows you these highlights.

Trading Cards for iPad has been updated to work correctly with iOS 7!

Google Play Music is now available in the App Store…  (Remember, Google Music allows you to upload up to 20,000 songs for free!)

For $.99, Math Slicer – Is Fun Alternative to Flashcards  But 123 Ninja - The First Numbers Slicing Game for Kids is free and looks pretty good too. 

Google Now is here for Android and IOS devices, and has a ton of features. "Google Now's voice commands brought together in a useful infographic"

How about some math apps?
Both of these games allow you to connect two iPads (Via Bluetooth) and play agaist another person.  They get great reviews from classroom teachers. 
5 Dice, is a free math game intended for upper elementary and middle school students that works on practicing their order of operations.
4 Dice is not free ($1.99), but a similar game for fractions. 

Early Jamestown is a free program that is an interactive textbook exploration of the early days of the Jamestown settlement and the state of Virginia. Great for the heistory teachers who cover this subject. 

Comic Touch Lite is a free app for the iPhone that allows you to draw and annotate pictures on your phone (or iPad) There could be several classroom uses for this type of app.  

Google Apps Tips and tricks:
I do like Google's calendar appointment options, but here is one more way to do it... Calendly - Conveniently Schedule Meetings Through Google Calendar

Add Voice Comments to Google Documents With Kaizena

How to Add Attachments to Google Calendar Events

18 Google Calendar tips and tools for power users - via InfoTech article. Get the most out of Google Calendar with these 18 tips, tools, and tweaks for power users

Five Apps to Render your Google Drive Much More Powerful ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Major Updates to Google Plus Hangouts, Photos-Videos-SMS | Via Google Gooru

Do you use Google to Search Certain Sites? If so, this amazing little chrome tip, will save you a ton of time! Short 2 min. YouTube on how. 

CTRL+SHIFT+V will paste text without formatting universally to anywhere. But Google also adds a remove formatting button that works great.  Remove Formatting of Text in Google Drive and Gmail. 

 14 Google Tools You Didn't Know Existed 

Good collection of little-known Google tips:

18 Tips for Google Apps Users and Admins 

Online courses - Free from Google for teachers!
Learn how Google apps and other web tools can help you meet your teaching and learning goals.

Become a Spreadsheet Gooru  Here's the Hangout on Air


Google released a big update to their iOS Capture app this week. Nice run down of these features on PadGadget  <--- This is a great update to the IOS app! 

YouTube and Your Classroom - Nice handout to get you started with channels, playlists, and more.

8 Overlooked Useful YouTube Tools:… <--- This is a short must read if you are starting to upload and work with YouTube videos.

You can now restrict your YouTube video to only your school (Google Apps Domain).

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Google Apps users who use their Google+ identity in YouTube now have the option to post videos that are viewable only by people within their domain. Domain-restricted videos can only be viewed through the web UI at this time.  (So IOS App or Android Apps will not view these videos at this time.)

This is a great feature for schools, since we now have the ability to limit the YouTube video to be seen by only our students or staff.  Prior to this, the video had to be either public, private or unlisted. If you wanted it to be restricted, using the private settings, you would have to list every person individually that you want to be able to view the video.  With over 2200 students and 150+staff at Norris, that would take a while!

Privacy settings include:

  • Public
  • Unlisted (Anyone with the link can view it.) (Similar setting in Google Docs.) 
  • Private (Only you and selected users can see it.)
  • Private Google+ shared video- New Feature!  Shared with Domain, Google+ Circle or other individuals. 

For more information, visit this Google support article:

Search Google Drive - With ease and power!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Google has added many great search features inside of Google drive that can help you find that file you need.

First off, use the power of the drop down in search. It's simple and no syntax to remember. This will allow you to quickly narrow your search by document type, along with a few other parameters.

Thankfully, Google is starting to add better search capabilities to their Google Apps too, by adding added syntax to your search.

You can stack your search syntax, just like when you use the Google Search Engine. 

The after:  syntax can limit by a date.  (Also before: works too.)

This blog article is also a Google Doc, created for staff development.