Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

Welcome to my technology blog.
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💥 Tech tools - Last one of the school year - But some great ones! Clipart, New features in Google and more!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Misc websites and tech tools:

IOS App -  Stickyboard 2 for iPad is free right now. It's usually $4.99.

Make a QR code that opens to a gallery of Images. -  Ever want students to do a quick activity and don’t want them to spend all their time searching for images? Or, maybe you are not comfortable sending students out on the web to search for photos? Perhaps you want students to use a specific set of images? Then consider creating a QR code that links to a shared Google Drive folder with images!

Kids (Or teachers)  interested in programming? - Three Ways to Develop Programming Skills This Summer

Google Classroom:

Some great tips by Tony Vincent. (Guessing even a veteran will pick up a few tips from this one!)  

Automate Repetitive Tasks in Google Sheets With Macros
This new feature in sheets can same you a lot of time with repetitive tasks. Check out this short 1-minute video to see it in action. 

Elementary & Intermediate teachers - are you using Google Classroom?
...If it wasn’t for Disney on Pandora, you could have heard a pin drop! Love seeing them so focused with Google Classroom to review reading! Check it out from our own Katie Mueller @MrsMueller2nd 
There are a ton of great uses in the younger grades! The #GAFE4Littles will get you started. 

Google added Offline Gmail baked into the new Gmail -No extension installs, etc...
Here are the quick settings:
  • Log in to your Gmail account.
  • Click on the gear icon to open the Gmail menu, then click Settings.
  • Under Settings find Offline. Click on it.
  • In the Offline menu, click Enable Offline Email.
  • Choose how many days to sync, and whether to keep or remove cached email when signing out of a Gmail account.
  • Click Save Changes and you're done.
  • Give Gmail some time to download messages, and be sure you have Gmail open in Chrome before going offline.
Just Like Twitter, Gmail Lets You ‘@’ Mention People
Via TNW | Gmail got a much-needed visual refresh and some clever new features recently. But did you know that the revamped interface also supports user mentions, à la Twitter? When you’re composing a new message or a reply, you can insert anyone’s email address in the body by entering the @ symbol, followed by their name. It'll bring up a list of people in your contact list with that name, and choosing any of them will add a mailto link labeled with their name. When your recipient clicks that link, it’ll bring up a new compose window so they can write to that contact.

Have a computer at home - you may want to run this once in while! - Chrome Has a Built-In Malware Scanner, Here’s How to Use It

Google Slides tip:

Tip - In case you didn't notice, Google Slides has a Grid view. Click the View menu and select Grid view or click the Grid view icon in the bottom left corner. 

Remember - New things coming to Google Forms!

💥 Tech tools - New Google features that will amaze you! Students phished the tech tool and more in this weeks tech posting.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Summer tech opportunities revisited: 
Summer 2018 tech opportunities for Norris staff! - Check it out!   Watch for more info coming out later on the Google and Tech Boot Camp - Offered at Norris. August 7 & 8.

One more opening for Google Summit! - WIth Becky Wilhelm leaving the district (We will miss you Becky!) we have one more opening to fill her spot.  If you are interested, let me know ASAP.

Virtual Classroom Experience June 7, 2018 - ESU 6
See the attached flyer for more information on this event. If there are any questions please contact:  Terri Hettenbaugh  402.761.3341
Misc. websites and tools:
Way to manage the volume in your class.

Are you using your Chromebook to whiteboard?  If not... now may be a good time to try it out!
I have updated my Whiteboard and drawing tools doc with a couple new tools. Combine it with Cast and walk around the room! 

6 Ways Quizzes in Google Forms Are Getting Smarter
The Keyword | Google is announcing six new features based on valuable feedback from teachers and designed to help educators continue using Quizzes in Google Forms in creative ways.

WOW - here are a couple great resource list of tech tools!  
The ESU 5 ISTE Toolkit includes over 180 technology tools (with a FOCUS on FREE) that could be leveraged when implementing instruction promoting digital age skills. ESU 5 ISTE Toolkit - Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the searchable list. 

How many of these tools have you heard of?  (There were a couple new gems in here for me!) 

How are we doing at Phishing?
Homeland Security Chief Cites Phishing as Top Hacking Threat - It's scary and the bad guys are getting in by having us click on things we should not be clicking on.  I think we are getting better.... but we still have a ways to go.  (See the article below how a kid Phished his teachers.) Here is  the info from our latest report:


Google slides - So much more... publish books, use it as your publishing program and more!   Tip from the Google EDU Newsletter: 

Creating Stop Motion in Slides
“I utilize Google Slides frequently to create engaging and sharp graphic publications to communicate information. I have even used Google Slides to publish a children's book. Recently, I have moved into teaching students how to create stop motion with Google slides - creating a series of slides where the images are moved slightly each time in order to design a small animation. This is a very engaging strategy and tool to showcase student learning in a new creative way as they can be done on any curriculum topic. All you do is create your slides, publish to the web, and adjust the timing in the url from delay loop 3,000 to 200. Give it a try!” - Emma Cottier, Saanich School District, (@EmmaCottier) 

What's coming from Google - Pretty cool!
(Thanks to Williams for the heads-up on these features coming soon!) 

Google Photos will soon be able to colorize old photos  You have to watch this short video demo!

The above 3 and a few more were found here: The 10 biggest announcements from Google I/O 2018

Quizzes, now part of Google Earth
Time for Some Geo Guessing
Google Earth launched a multiple-choice quiz where you can test your knowledge of places near and far! With the share to Google Classroom link, you can challenge your students to beat your score. Ready to test your knowledge?

If you are not using the new Gmail - you are mission out!  Here is one more cool feature:
Posted: 14 May 2018 09:12 AM PDT
When your inbox is flooded with emails, some will inevitably slip through the cracks. Luckily, the new Gmail can help. It will now “nudge” users to reply to emails they may have missed and to follow up on emails for which they haven’t received a response.

California Teen Phished His Teachers to Change Grades
Engadget | A student at Ygnacio Valley High School in California created a fake website that looked identical to the school's and then sent emails to teachers in an attempt to get them to sign into his fake site. At least one did, which allowed him to collect their login and password info. He then reportedly used that information to get into the Mount Diablo Unified School District IT network where he then changed other students' grades -- he even lowered some. "It was like stealing candy from a baby," he said. He was arrested on 14 felony counts. Full article here.

💥 Tech tools - Whiteboarding apps, cool tools, new Gmail tips, Google Sheet awesomeness, and more in this weeks tech tips.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Misc. web tools and sites:

This is cool!  - First-Ever 3D VR Filmed in Space | One Strange Rock  (This also works with Google cardboard or other viewers.  If you have not looked at other 360 YouTubes -you can move the video around, give it a try! You can even pause the video and move it around.)  They have a ton of other 360 videos on YouTube. 

Adobe Spark Activities for Elementary Students.  Remember it's free and easy! 

A Hyperdoc Unit That Will Blow Your Mind!   (An extensive lesson with some ideas you can use within your Hyperdocs as well!) 

Here's an awesome tool and tip that our very own Megan Good shared with our High School staff. Our Norris teachers ROCK!  Thanks for sharing this Megan!  Just found a website called  You can use your quizlet sets with it to create a review game for students.  I know this time of year my students are getting a little tired of quizlet, kahoot and even nearpod so this could be something new to share!  For the free version you can create 5 kits, but with how easy it is to set up with quizlet, I may just delete and create new kits if I would need more.

The new Gmail!

5 Powerful New Gmail Features You Need to Start Using Right Now - this is a nice list with screenshots. Also, it shows a few new features coming soon. 

13 Essential Gmail Terms and Features You Should Know About - This is a nice list of settings, apps, and features that may improve your Gmail experience.  

New Coding App/Tool available for teaching: 
This week, Google released a free app called Grasshopper that teaches adults how to code JavaScript on their phones. Grasshopper's courses are quick lessons and games on your phone that teach adults to write real JavaScript, which is used by more than 70% of developers. Grasshopper takes a similar form to apps like Duolingo that teach foreign languages. (We have approved this Android app on our Chromebooks that run Android.) 

Great Whiteboard site!

Easy Chalk - WOW - a bunch of features!  Without logging in (Free) you have a lot of features to use but cannot save what you have drawn. (You could use 3rd-party screenshot tool.) You get some added features when you create an account, but you are only given 30 days free)  
Note- I have added this to my Whiteboard and drawing tools doc along with some other great ones! 

Google Slides:
New features - New in Google Slides: linking in Docs, guides and rulers, and improved commenting. 

Google Forms:

Google Sheets:

WOW New - Think macro: record actions in Google Sheets to skip repetitive work -  Starting today, you can record macros in Sheets and save yourself time!  (This short 1-minute video will give you an idea of how a macro works.  

They have also added some nice formatting features and more!  Check it out - Additional details on the new macro recorder and formatting options in Google Sheets. 

Make checkboxes in Google Sheets! Check it out!

Get more templates in Google Sheets -  Template Gallery and Template Vault are a couple add-ons that will add a few more.  Here are a few sites with some nice templates:


A few good reminders:

Remember - avoid the reply all if it's not needed!  It's fine in many instances - but often you can just send the person a direct email instead of letting everyone know you were kind enough to thank them.  There are times we do want to do a reply all!  Sometimes it's adding a new tip or comment that helps the thread.  But, as much as we love you... maybe it's better to directly email the person if you liked the new dip or cookies that were in the lounge. 

Never fall for a fake pop-up on your screen and "call for support". They want your credit card! They are finding more ways to get your personal info and money. Always be cautious.