Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

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💥 Tech tools - is Google going to charge $, Audio feedback in docs, Google slide tips, and more!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Hey - I just heard a rumor that Google is going to start charging schools for Gsuite! Is this true? Say it's not so! 

Google is adding a new enterprise edition to its GSuite tools that will have a subscription price.  I do not see very many schools moving to this edition because most of these features are really not needed by most schools.  (There may be a few schools that do a lot of video conferencing that may decide to purchase this edition for a few staff members.)

My thoughts???  Nothing to worry about!  Google has added a few features to it's business GSuite product line the last 12 months and are now offering those to schools if they want them.  I believe Google will always keep it's core suite free to schools. 

If you are interested here are the new features in the Enterprise edition.  

Note - The Google tools for Gmails users will always be free.  (Everyone has Google docs, sheets, slides, etc... with your personal Gmail accounts as well.) 

Misc websites and tech tools:

Cool new tool. Free and integrates with Google Classroom!  Recap is question-led chat tool augmented by the power of video that makes it easier to start deeper, more empowering discussions with students and teachers.

81% of @TheEIU survey respondents agree: Teachers need to consider future skills to better prepare students for the modern workplace. Some top teaching strategies to achieve this: active learning &  personalized learning top the list. Learn more: Fostering exploration

3 Incredible Science Field Trips That Don’t Require Permission Slips. Perfect for grades 3–8; watch them in your classroom, anytime!

This How Computers Work series by @codeorg is EXCELLENT!  - Check out the video playlist here. 

Create Your Own Google Expeditions!  Nice article here.  Apply here

A Free Teleprompter - Nice site for use with any of your video projects!  (As our very own Andrew Carlson states, "I've used this one before and it works well.") 

6 Google Translate tips you need to start using - Google Translate is so overflowing with features, you might not even realize everything it can do.

Add audio feedback to a Google Doc - 
With the new Kaizena Google Doc add-on you can!

Kaizena as a Google Docs Add-on means: 

Fewer steps for you to provide feedback and a more integrated workflow
Students will be able to edit their work immediately after receiving your feedback, instead of referring to a separate copy on Kaizena
Easier for peers to provide feedback - any Google Doc collaborator can provide feedback!
In addition to voice comments, you can also save time providing high-quality feedback with:

Lessons: re-use common feedback and embed youtube videos to explain common concepts
Skills: track evidence of skills students demonstrate in their work

Note - I have not tried this one, but based on the comments, guessing this new add-on was developed to address the prior shortcomings.  (Let me know how you like it if you use it.)  Nice article by Richard Bryne here

Google Classroom:

Did you know? The Google Classroom iOS and Android apps have the ability to markup assignments. A teacher can use a finger or a stylus to add colorful annotations, handwriting, and highlighting. (Staff - remember your personal Chromebooks run Andriod apps, so the Android classroom app runs on your device!) 

Google Slides:

Google Slides: Animate Items Together - NOTE - As it says in this short tutorial -- Use animation very very sparingly.!

COOL - Create a talking head animation with Google Slides + Screencastify. Brilliant idea from @joshchoward. Check it out here

Google Docs:

Google Sites:
Some sites aren’t for everyone. That’s why Google is making it possible to specify exactly who can view your content in the new Google Sites.

Thanks Norris Staff!

I do not always get a chance to say this... but thanks for everything you do!  We have such a great district and it's because of people like you!  Teachers, support staff, administrators, custodians, transportation, kitchen staff... the list goes on!  We are blessed to have you serving a great student population.  There is a reason Norris is a special place to be.  Thanks again. 

Summer Technology Grad Classes and tech opportunities will be offered again at Norris!

I am starting to get emails about these, so I figured I would let everyone know the schedule for the 2018 Summer.  Here are the classes that will be offered.  (Normally I offer 4 classes, but I will not be offering one for the week after Memorial Day since there is a pretty good chance staff members will still be in school.) 

More information will be coming out on these, but we will still be offering the following summer opportunities:
  • Google Summit
  • Google Certification for staff. 
  • Tech boot camp (Prior to the start of the 2018-19 school year.

💥 Tech tools - Some great video and audio tools, YouTube EDU channels, tech tips and how to donate to the Norris Foundation for FREE! All in this weeks tech tips.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Misc. web tools and sites:
Excellent site to prompt discussions with students about properties of objects. Which one does not belong.   (A nice tip from our very own @LennyVerMaas)

ApplicationStop Motion Animator - Nice creativity tool for projects. 

Reclipped allows you or students to add notes to videos on YouTube, Vimeo, Kahn Academy, TED and more.  Nice notetaking and snippet tool/website.  Great for Chromebooks!  (Currently in Beta, so not sure what the future costs could be.) 

Are you stuck in that routine of providing instruction, giving an assignment, correcting the assignment, and then going to the next lesson? Are you looking for a different way to do homework? Here's one from the #YorkMLK18 day.  (Pretty cool hyperdoc and great resources!) 

Not a tech tip, but so true for student engagement - 5 Powerful Questions Teachers Can Ask Students

Shop at Amazon?  DUH!  Donate to the Norris foundation for free!

While shopping at -Amazon donates part of your purchase to a charity of your choice.  Same Amazon - Same price - Same experience - Nothing changes but the free donation!  Set the Norris foundation as your charity and start shopping at

Creating Digital Storybooks with Google Slides
“I use Google Slides with students to create digital storybooks. We create the text and visuals on Google Slides, and then use the Screencastify extension to screencast the slideshow while reading the text!” -Allie Schultze, Baldwin County Public Schools (@AllieBCBE)

Audio recordings:
Want to record audio (Or have your students record audio) Vocaroo is a nice option.  (Recordings stay on the web for several weeks, but you can also download them.) 

Soundtrap is a great site for creating audio online. Like Audacity or Garageband... but works on the web.  You can collaborate as a group on the audio file.  I know I mentioned this last year, but it's worth mentioning again.  It is a great content creation tool. 

Video feedback tool for the classroom - Flipgrid. (Kids send short video feedback clips to the teacher.)

Flipgrid - Created as a "Social learning for everyone" product, but great for getting video feedback from students on a topic the teacher chooses.  Totally web-based. (Works well on Chromebooks.) 

The teacher creates an account and then completes the following steps:
  • Create a Grid (Think Class) (They also make a landing page for this grid for you.) 
  • Create a Topic  (Set moderation, set video response length - Max. 1.5 minutes for free, and set other parameters.)
  • Send out the topic for kids to respond with their video feedback.  (Can send out via Google classroom, link, etc...
The student creates an account to respond to the above topic that the teacher sends out. 

Side note - Thanks to Becky Wilhelm @WilhelmBecky for the great suggestion!  She would be a great resource if you have questions.

Math teachers - great extension!
Easily create mathematical equations, formulas, and quizzes. Intuitively type or handwrite, with no tricky math code to learn. Works great with Google Docs and Chromebooks,  ExtensionEquatIO - Math made digital

One more for the Math teachers - 10 Good Resources for Math Teachers and Students 

Some great presentations chocked full of resources from the York MLK day inservices:

Google Sheet tips

Digital citizenship is important to pass along to our students!

Our students are getting phishing emails and we still see forms of the Nigerian scam letter  (Samples here.) finding its way into our student's inbox.  

We are always stressing to staff to be careful of phishing emails.  We are trying to protect and educate you. - Heck, we even bought a product to help with this... but as teachers are you mentioning these things to students and imparting your wisdom to them?  If not, I would encourage you to always educate your students about the dangers of scams, phishing emails, social media behaviors and other dangers that our students face. 

A few from the Google for Education Newsletter:

One for the Music teachers:

Flat is a cloud-based software that allows music students to collaborate together in real time. Students can work on the same composition from any device, including Chromebooks and tablets. Use it seamlessly with Google Classroom to create your music education assignments and worksheets.  Their free version gives you quite a few features, but they do have paid plans as well. 

Discover your Favorite new Educational YouTube Channel
Looking for a new educational channel for your students in 2018? This YouTube playlist from We Create Edu has videos from dozens of up-and-coming educators. The playlist includes videos on a variety of subjects including biology, pop culture, and history, so there’s something for every type of educator.

💥 Tech tools - Creative apps, Great screen sharing tool, and more in this weeks list!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Web tools, tech tools and sites: 

15 Free Web Tools and Apps to Amplify Your Audio Projects - This is just a great list! Free sound effects, recording tools, stock music, and more!  All FREE. 

The BEST Blog Posts of 2017! - Here is a list of the BEST and most popular Shake Up Learning blog posts from 2017.

Soundtrap Collaborative Music and Podcast Tool for Education 
This is a great audio tool that adds so many features and works on any device from anywhere! Pretty simple!  Check it out. 
SoundTrap's Free plan is pretty good for small class projects - $ 0 - Free
5 projects  - 800 loops - 190 instruments & sounds. Other plans are on their pricing page

Great creative tool for Chromebooks!  Book Creator for Chrome.  

3 Easy Steps to Create Scan and Read QR Code Listening Stations

Do you use QR codes in your classroom? Check out Monica's tips to get rolling

Great Screen Sharing tool! (Limited to 25 uses per month on free plan) 
This was a great new find for me!  This Chrome extension allows you to easily share your screen! CrankWheel Screen Sharing.  Seems to work really well. After your 30-day free trial, it goes to a free account, which should be fine for about 95% of teacher use. This video will get you started. (It's simple enough, you probably will not need to watch it.)

Question from this pricing page: Is there a free plan?
We offer a free plan for use by an individual for up to 25 meetings per month. On the free plan you lose out on all customization and branding, you can't handle Instant Demo requests as a team, and access to many advanced functionalities is disabled.

If you do not choose a paid plan when your trial ends, your account will be downgraded to the free plan. If you prefer to sign up for the free plan directly, please click here.

Creating Classroom Posters with Adobe Spark Post

What type of visuals hang on the walls of your classroom? Whether you create anchor charts, graphics, or classroom posters for your students, there is a free, easy-to-use tool for teachers (and students) you can use to create classroom posters. With this awesome, open-ended creation tool, the possibilities are endless! Spark Post is a simple… check it out.

How to Embed Music in Your Google Slides Presentation
Via Digital Inspiration | Google Slides does not support audio files but you do have the option to embed videos inside the individual slides. The workaround, therefore, is simple–place the video file on a slide, make it invisible, and turn on the auto-play mode. Check it out

How to re-enable quick access to Google Photos in Google Drive
If you've noticed the Google Photos link missing from Drive, Jack Wallen shows you how easy it is to get it back. 

You should be doing this - If you are not using the Google Photo's app on your phone - you are missing out!  It backs up your photos to Google - FREE and UNLIMITED.   Andriod App  IOS App  TIP - You can change your Google account within the phone app to backup your photos to multiple accounts. (It will only live sync to one account at a time, but this does work for getting your photos to two accounts.)  I also use the Shutterfly app to back my photos up their as well.