Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

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💥 Tech tools - New Google digital citizenship resource, cool web tools, nice add-ons and extensions and more in this weeks tech email!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

This one hurts:
Google is shutting down URL shortener next year, existing links will keep working.  -Article with more info here. Most of the time, it's awesome news from Google - but this one hurts a little!  I love their shorter and Chrome extension. 

Check out this awesome new online safety website from Google 
It’s called Interland and is free!  Check it out! 

Short 1 1/2 minute video walk-through. 

Did you know this about your Chromebook?
  • -If you just shut the lid, your Chromebook is still draining your battery!  Putting your Chromebook to sleep by shutting the lid is fine, but if you are not going to use it for a while, I would shut it down. 
  • -Shortcuts are awesome - 10 Keyboard Shortcuts Every Chromebook Owner Should Know. (The last one on the list will show you all shortcuts!) 
  • -press Ctrl+ Shift + N on a desktop or Chromebook and you will be using Chrome in incognito mode.  It will not load extensions and does not know who you are logged into Google as. This is very handy for checking out problems with extensions or logging into a personal Gmail inbox. 

Misc. Websites and tech tools:
This one has been a teacher favorite (and one of mine) for many years...  Padlet allows you to save and curate all kinds of links, texts, video, pretty much whatever you want onto one online bulletin board. Now the bad news... They have free and paid plans rolling out.  The free plan limits you to 3 padlets - but still usable for most of us.  5 Alternatives to Padlet. 

Diigo is a social bookmarking tool. I have used this one for many years!  (It's how I save and curate my content.) Not only can you save your bookmarks in the cloud, but you can tag, create groups, and annotate on web pages. It’s also a great tool for older students to curate and research.

Create Magic in your Classroom - Teachers, you and your students can create Augmented Reality Experiences without needing to write any code. Metaverse is a FREE Augmented Reality Platform that is being used by thousands of teachers to build all kinds of interactive learning experiences for their classrooms. (I have not tried this yet, but looks pretty cool.) Here is a playlist of videos to get started with this platform

The most powerful GSuite App you are not using! - Data Studio creates easy to read reports and charts from a number of different data sources (Including Google Sheets.).  These video tutorials will get you started. 

Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week – Create MadLibs With a Google Sheets Template 

Wheel Decide - Paste your name list, etc... spin the wheel.  Great randomizer site. 


SeeSaw is a great communications tool for the K-6 grade levels.  The free version seems to satisfy all teachers needs.(Based on other school and teacher comments)  Give it a try! 

Google Slides:

Google Keep:

It's a GREAT tool! If you are not using it.. give it a try.  (Here is our Google Keep tip's sheet.) 

Google has made it incredibly simple to copy your notes from Keep into Google Docs. Jack Wallen shows you how to make use of this, without having to constantly use Ctl+C and Ctl+V.

Annotate Videos with VideoANT 

It's simple and free.... Add annotations to any publicly accessible YouTube video. Copy the URL of the YouTube and paste it into the VideoANT annotation tool. As the video plays click the "add annotation" button when you want to add an annotation.You are the only person that has to have a VideoANT account...your collaborators do not need to have an account to participate in the annotation process with you. 

Google Sheets:

14 Impressive Things You Can Do with Google Sheets  -Slide 3 is a pretty cool appliction. 

PDF Tools:

Smallpdf has several tools.  It's eSign PDF works for signing documents.  They have a large number of other web/browser-based tools that. They limit you to two free tasks per hour.  (It's based on a cookie they put on your browser, so clearing cache may get you more tasks.) 

PDF Buddy - This browser-based tool lets you sign or edit up to three PDF files every month for free. It’s a good solution if you work with PDFs only occasionally. 

HelloSign - Get 3 documents free per month.  Visit their Google login here.  They also have a Google Doc add-in, but for signing Google docs I would just create a jpg signature pic and insert it into your Google Doc. 

Chrome Extensions:
There are several tools for taking screenshots, and Chromebooks even have some basic ones built right in... but this FireShot extension is worth the look. (We have added it to our list of approved student extensions.) 

New add-ons available in February 2018
February was a dynamic month on Google add-on stores. 35 add-ons were launched (most of them on the Google Sheets add-on store) and 184 were updated.

Among the new add-ons, 5 of them caught our attention. - Check them out!  -Note- Not sure I like their 5 listed, but there are some other great ones at the bottom of the article/list. ~Noel

Cool student activity for the younger grades.  (Distribute with Google Classroom!) 
Qhat better time to have your students work on their creative writing skills with a Springtime-themed writing activity.

Help students through the four-step writing process with these free tools:

Writing Navigator goes beyond identifying what's right and what's wrong. It prompts students to make creative decisions and find the right words in the best order by providing assistance at each of the four steps of the writing process. 
Students get feedback about their writing and begin to think like experienced writers over time. 
Writing Planner helps students generate ideas and organize them into a writing plan.
Writing Drafter transforms the plan into a first draft. It helps students develop sentences, supporting details and transitions. 
Writing Reviser provides feedback that helps students make their sentences more economical, varied, powerful and clear. This popular resource is also available as a Google Docs add-on
In this final stage, students use Writing Publisher to proofread and correct any errors before publishing a polished essay. It can even help with citations.


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