Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

Welcome to my technology blog.
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🎁 Our tech present to you! Tech tools and updates - Workbench, Killer iPhone tip, PowerSchool login without passwords, animated GIFs, and more!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Norris School District now has Workbench!
Build, find, customize, and share standards-aligned lessons for your classroom- all for free (forever!). Check out the help doc to get you started. <--- WOW this is a great new tool!

Easy Student (and teacher) Login to PowerSchool - Using Clever - No passwords required -only Google! 
If your students do not know this... It's the easiest way to get to PowerSchool and many other applications! -Check out the simple directions here. 

Misc Tech tools and tips:
Learn how to use your bitmoji to create feedback notes in Canva that can then be added to 

Google Keep. -Nice short 2 minute video

Surf to . Draw a series of frames and export as an animated GIF. This is pretty cool! Check out what others are doing in their gallery/examples: 

Make your own Emoji online with this simple tool: 

20 Google Slides activities to add awesome to classes 

Wow, there are some great ideas and templates in this article!   I love the Icon boards to get kids started right away. The Google Slides sticky notes template/idea is pretty cool.  Check them out!  Great stuff from Ditch tat Textook! 

Google Calendar SMS (Text message) notifications to be removed January 7, 2019 (This one hurts- I loved this feature!) 

Posted: 19 Nov 2018 08:25 AM PST - Starting on January 7, 2019, SMS notifications from Google Calendar will no longer be available. Since Calendar offers in-app notifications, you can still get notified, regardless of your device or connection.  If you had previously been receiving Calendar notifications via SMS, they’ll be replaced with in-app and email notifications.  More info here.

This Little-Known iPhone Space Bar Hack Has Everyone Losing Their Minds.  

(I think it takes IOS12 to work.)  Here is a quick 45-second video demo of the feature.  

Google Photos adds depth control, color pop to iOS app
It works on all Portrait Mode photos and doesn't require an iPhone XS or XR.
I like the portrait mode, but you need a new iPhone to do it.  This addition to Google Photos makes it simple to do on all of your photos.  More info here

Free Meme Maker for Classrooms from Filmora 
Why would you want to use memes in the classroom? - Find out why and how here

Why Your Student eBooks Need a Spark Video 

Spark Video + Book Creator = Favorite App Smash - Find out more here! 

Some great resources from National Geographic! 
Thanks to Natasha Gault for sharing these! She just completed her National Geographic Educator Certification. (By the way... congrats!)  Throughout the experience, she had the opportunity to use some really amazing resources that she shared with our MS staff. If you would like to talk about how to use any of these resources, she would love to help/share.  There are some really great projects!

National Geographic's interactive mapmaker overlay maker.  

Download, print, and assemble national geographic maps for your classroom.

Take a premade tour that connects to student learning or you can create your own.  

Host Hangouts Meet meetings with up to 50 participants with our Norris Education Edition. 
New info from Google released - November 29, 2018

Located here:

Meeting with teammates, clients, or customers around the globe is critical to getting your job done. For those times when you need to meet with a larger group, Hangouts Meet now allows G Suite Enterprise users to organize meetings with up to 100 participants and G Suite Business and education users to host up to 50 participants. This participant count includes people from both inside and outside of your organization. 
This new extended participant limit supports people joining from any mixture of video and dial-in entry points so you can flexibly bring together even more people from all over the world. It is now fully rolled out across all domains.

Erskine's Notes:  Note, Google is transitioning their "Hangouts" for video to the product called "Hangouts Meet".  When you visit the old Hangouts site - and click on video it takes you to the site. 

πŸ’₯ Tech tools - Great new features in Chrome!, add-ons to rock your doc, form tips, STEM and more in this weeks tips...

Monday, November 12, 2018

Google Docs Add-Ons to supercharge your experience! (A NEW tips doc I just created.)  
πŸ’₯ Take a look at these add-ons for Google Docs. I am guessing there are a few new ones that you have not tried out yet. 

Loom - It's the best screen recorder out there! I love this FREE tool.
Act Now!  It will always have free features, but it's adding pro features and pricing soon.  
  • One major change is that only Pro members will have unlimited storage. New people who sign up for Loom will be able to store their 100 most recent videos for free.
  • With that said, on the day that we launch Loom Pro, if you choose to keep your Loom Basic account, your new video limit will equal the total videos you've recorded with Loom plus 100. For example, if you've recorded 250 videos by the day we launch Loom Pro, we will add 100 videos to that and you will have a 350 video limit.
  • Erskine's trick -- SO - Record a bunch of short videos now to increase your free limit above the 100! You can later delete them, once they do the upgrade. That way you will get the 100 along with all these you have recorded and can later delete. 
8 Noteworthy New Features Coming to Chromebooks This Month
Via Computerworld | These hidden gems will make Chrome OS more versatile and powerful — but it's up to you to find 'em on your Chromebook. (They come with the new version 70 of Chrome rolling out this week.)  The new multitasking gestures are cool! (Make sure you are on the new Chrome version in tablet mode... and check them out!)

Check out my Loom recording highlighting the multitasking features in Chrome 70! - Highlights the above 2 tips into one nice recording. - Check it out here! <-- Watch it now! πŸ’₯ 

Google Has a .New Time-saving Trick for Starting Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Forms  Via Quartz at Work | The search giant announced last week a new time-saving trick that lets you open a blank document, presentation, spreadsheet, or form simply by typing .new as the domain name in the URL bar. For example, instead of having to navigate to Google Drive, click “New,” and select “Google Docs,” you can now type (no www.) in the browser and a new doc will appear.

The Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Math - Checkout the list here. Note - Some are paid sites, but many are free. 

Is That a Big Number is a website that puts numbers into context:

A Simple Guide To Free Images, Copyright, And Creative Commons For Students And Teachers - This guide walks you through the process of easily and ethically finding quality images for classroom use.

Google Slides: Watch Students Collaborate with Grid View  How to here. - via Alice Keeler. (Those of you that sat in on her session at the GP Google Summit this year, probably already saw this trick. )

Copy Formatting to Multiple Objects in Google Slides -New Feature 
G Suite Updates | Google is making it easier to copy formatting from one object (like a block of text or a shape) to multiple others in Google Slides. Article Here. 

ClassroomQ - A digital hand-raising tool. 
It's a free website created by two teachers. Check it out. 

This is what people do after being shown how to make their own animated GIF using ... Visit the site. Allow your webcam access. After creating the GIF, right-click on it to save the GIF for you to use. 

Speaking of animated GIFs - Create one using a Google Slide Doc

Ten Ways to Use Google Earth In Your Classroom - PDF doc here. 

Two Good Tools for Making Multimedia eBooks -These two sites/tools are great!

Three Good Places to Find Hands-on STEM Lessons - Resources here.

How to Create Captioned Flipped Video Lessons - Via Practical Ed Tech - Resources here

How to Insert Equations and Special Characters Into Google Documents Short 2 minute video

Set a minimum or maximum character count for a response in Google Forms. The form won't submit unless the response fits the rule.  Thanks to Tony Vincent @tonyvincent for this great tip! (If you are not following him, you are missing some great tech tips!) 

Set a Google Form to give instructions and a clickable link after the form is submitted. 

Create Augmented Reality Breakout Games – Perfect for Geography Lessons Check it out. 

πŸ’₯ Tech tools - Online virtual labs, Escape Room with Google forms, an Internet minute... and more in this week's tech tools and tips

Monday, October 29, 2018

Misc. tech & teaching resources for the classroom: 
Are your students studying or memorizing the states and capitals?  If so.... this WORKS!  I have talked to a lot of teachers that say this video/song changed the way they do it.  (And the kids love it!) -Check it out.  Wish they had this when I was learning this stuff.

 A few ideas on how you can use Chromebooks for creative learning! - 4 Chromebook Lesson Plans for your classroom!  This is a searchable database by grade and subject area. All 100% free.   

New Ways to Personalize Certificates in the Certify'em Google Forms Add-on or Autocrat (Pretty cool add-on if you need to generate an email with a certificate!) 

Reading Tracker: A Simple Way to Monitor Progress -Think out of the box- this will work great for tacking any kind of progress! 

The Practical Ed Tech Handbook- via Richard Byrne -  The 2018-19 edition of the free Practical Ed Tech Handbook includes nine sections. More info hereDownload it here

Nova Labs by PBS are some nice online free virtual labs.  Sun, RNA, Clouds and more... 

This video shows how to create a Google Form for an Escape Room that can only be unlocked by typing in a Keyword or Phrase.

StoryBoard That provides a space for students to create their own comics. Students can choose from different layouts and add characters, props, and talk bubbles. Their free offering provides enough for some basic classroom project uses. 

Google tables search - Pretty cool! Export your results to a Google Sheet! 

Google Slides: 

Add Music to Your Google Slides With the AudioPlayer Chrome Extension. 

Google Classroom:
Google Classroom: Email Selected Students 

Google Classroom Now Has a Random Name Selector - It's built into the Android App for now, so if you are using the Classroom app on Android... you're in luck.  (This article has some other ideas and tools too.) 

Bring Digital Simulations Into Your Classroom - PhET from the University of Colorado Boulder provides digital simulations for math and science concepts. No registration is required, you can easily push out these simulations to your students via Google Classroom.

Google Classroom: Pop Out Student Documents

Google Classroom Improves Feedback Workflow - This short video will walk you through the basics of the new assignment shell where you easily navigate through the assignments as well as the new assignment back feature. 

A great tip from our very own Andrew Carlson!  Also, if you're using Google Classroom, here's a quick and easy way to embed your Google Classroom Calendar into our school's website (your profile, class, and department page).  This is a great way to give your students and their parents access to assignments that you post on Google Classroom.
Things to remember...(I mention these things in the video)
Google Classroom only adds "assignments" to the calendar.
Classroom assignments need a due date.
Your Google Calendar needs to be public.

Google Sheets: 

In Sheets, you can easily restrict entries with dropdown lists. These dropdown lists can also be an easy way to make data entry faster and more streamlined.

Digital Citizenship resource: 
Our friends at the FTC (that's the Federal Trade Commission for all of you not up to speed on the government acronym bank :) ) have provided a game to play that addresses phishing. It's designed for everyone, but would be a really good resource for teaching students some digital citizenship skills. Wondering how you would do in this game? ... take a minute, kick back, click on this link: and go phishing!  

The bad guys are stilling trying to get into our network, your pockets, invade your privacy, etc.... be careful of phishing emails! 

Phishing Is the Internet’s Most Successful Con - (Yes- We have been warning you at Norris of quite a while on this!)  Tricking people out of sensitive information online is far too easy.   

A few interesting facts from recent national test phishing campaigns:  

Things move fast in the digital world anymore! Look what happens in one minute: 

πŸ’₯ Tech tools - Cell test tomorrow, free stock photos, VR resources, and more in this weeks tech tips.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

FYI: Tomorrow at 1:18pm CDT, FEMA and the FCC will be conducting a nationwide test that will send a Wireless Emergency Alert message to all cell phones. The test will assess the readiness to distribute an emergency message nationwide and determine whether improvements are needed. The test messages will be sent using FEMA’s IPAWS, which enables authorities to send emergency messages to multiple communications networks, including the EAS and WEA as part of the nation’s modern alert and warning infrastructure.

Misc. Tech tools:
15 Collaborative Tools for Your Classroom That are NOT Google - This is a great list that has some of my favorites...SeeSaw, Flipgrid, Kahoot,  Book Creator, and more! 

Top 10 Free Websites for Quality Copyright Free Photographs. 

Bookmarking sites in Chrome - This may help: The Ultimate Guide to Organizing Your Messy Chrome Bookmarks (I did not know about the hashtag feature.) 

Easily Add Buttons to Improve Links in New Google Sites
Google is making it easy to add buttons to the new Google Sites. These are clickable graphics which link to other content within your site or at an external 

VR(Virtual Reality), AR(Augmented Reality) & 360 video resources:

Describing Egypt offers visitors a growing bank of 360-degree virtual tours showcasing some of Egypt’s historical sites. The tours currently focus on the Ancient Egyptian Tombs of The 30 Dynasties reign, which spans across 3,000 years (2,859 years to be exact, from BCE 3200 to BCE 341).

Find a ton more here!  <--More great VR resources here!

Voice comments inside Google Docs - 
The new question bank in Google classroom with comments is awesome... but if you want to use voice comments, then this add-on may be for you. 

Earlier this year Kaizena launched as a Google Docs add-on, which means you can now record voice comments, re-use your comments, embed short explainer videos, track skills and fill out rubrics all inside Google Docs
Need a hand getting started? They have brand new guides with videos for both you and your students  

Note- this add-on is free, and I am guessing it will be free for several years, but I am guessing sometime in the future it may tune into a free/premium type of add-on.  (Some premium features may turn into a paid service. - But I am just guessing here!) 

CheckItOut for Google Forms is Back! - Via
 Richard Byrne @rmbyrne

Thanks to our very own Jessie Andre for pointing this one out!

CheckItOut is a Google Forms Add-on that makes it easy to keep track of the things that you let kids borrow from your classroom. It's an Add-on that I recommended for a couple of years until this past spring when it, like a bunch of other Add-ons, stopped working. But some of those other Add-ons recently started working again so I decided to give CheckItOut another try. Much to my delight CheckItOut is working again! Watch my video to see how you can use CheckItOut to create a simple check-in/ check-out system through Google Forms.  

Google Classroom Resources:

First Day of Classroom can be found in the Google for Education Teacher Center. These are FREE resources from Google. Check out the tutorials, downloadable guides, tips, tricks, and more!

Check out Kacey Bells resources - Google Classroom YouTube Playlist, new resources to her Google Classroom Pinterest board, which has over 400 pins of Google Classroom resources, tips, and tutorials.

Google classroom added comment banks!  Check out this quick 2-minute video by one of our Norris Teachers.  (Thanks, Janelle!)  

Staff - Note the above resources have been added to our Google Classroom -Tips and Tricks doc. 

Align your students’ passions with skills of the future. With Google’s free CS First curriculum students build confidence as they learn computer science through their favorite subjects, like Sports, Art and Fashion.

Google for Education:
Via the EDU newsletter -

Meet your New Google Classroom
We're introducing the biggest refresh since Classroom's launch in 2014, with a new Classwork page, refreshed People and Settings pages, and much more. It's the same Classroom you know and love, improved for the way you work. Learn about and try out the refreshed Google Classroom today.   

The Guardian's Guide to Chromebooks
Download and share this helpful hand-out to help bridge the gap between home and school. Educators can hand these out to educate guardians on what a Chromebook is, why their school has chosen them, and what their children will be learning and doing on them.

EDU in 90 is BackOur YouTube series EDU in 90 is back for season three! To kick things off, we've looked at new features and functionality for Google Forms as quizzes, the Explore feature in Docs, and more.  Looking for some new tools for your classroom? Check out new EDU in 90 episodes to learn about ways to leverage Google EarthArts & Culture, and more.

Be Internet Awesome - Now Available in Spanish and Portuguese
Be Internet Awesome launched in Spanish as SΓ© genial en Internet and in Brazilian Portuguese as Seja IncrΓ­vel Na Internet across the US and LATAM! Be Internet Awesome teaches kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence. Learn more about the program.  Check out the English version here. 

Get Started with AR & VR
Interested in experimenting with AR & VR but don't know where to start? We've launched two free intro classes on Coursera to help you understand the key concepts and tools used to create AR & VR content. Enroll in the courses.

New Features in our Free Digital Skills Curriculum
The Applied Digital Skills curriculum is now even easier to use in any middle school or high school classroom. Teachers can share lessons directly to Google Classroom from our curriculum page, as well as assign multiple lessons to students in a single class! Sign in to see all the new updates to the teacher and student dashboards, and start applying practical digital skills in any subject. Start your year off with our 90-minute lesson "All About a Topic".

Explore Colleges in Search
As your students start the college search this Fall, check out Google's new college experience in Search: last month, Search rolled out its new college search experience in the US to help users explore and evaluate colleges based on cost, graduation rate, admissions, student aid, and other key information covering 4-year U.S. colleges such as UCLA or Spelman College; with expansion to 2-year colleges, programs, vocational and international institutions to follow. Learn more on our blog post. 

Locked Mode in Quizzes in Google Forms
Coming this fall, teachers can lock student Chromebook screens while giving a quiz on managed Chromebooks. We hope this feature helps eliminate distractions, as locked mode prevents students from navigating away from the Quiz until they submit their answers. Available only on managed Chromebooks. Read all about this new feature in our blog.  

Order your Free CS First KitElementary and middle school teachers -- start of the year with fun CS activities for your students. Whether you're looking for one-hour enrichment or a semester's worth of coding activities, CS First has ready to use video tutorials and lesson plans that you can access now, for free! Create a new class and order your materials. 

Tour Creator
Check out the latest feedback-driven updates to Tour Creator including support for tour templates, audio, narration, & support for VR on iOS. Try Tour Creator today.

Creativity and ChromebooksLearn all about the many apps for creativity available on Chromebooks, from content creation, literacy and numeracy, STEAM and communication tools. Try out our 60 tools for creativity on Chromebooks.  

Introducing the Teacher Center
Check out our new Teacher Center, a one-stop-shop for professional development, training, classroom resources, certifications and community connections.