Category Archives: Classroom

Our iPad Learning Community

iPads-header-1As mentioned in my previous post, teachers that were accepted into our iPad cadre group had to agree to become part of a learning community where they would share successes, challenges, and lessons learned. The format we chose to set up for them was a blog. All teachers have full access to the blog to post and/or comment as they choose. We chose this format because we felt that the tagging and categorizing ability a blog  provides would make it easy for teachers and other visitors to find the topics in which they were interested. Please take a few moments to see what our teachers have done thus far and even leave a comment. Thanks for taking the time…it means a great deal!


Not Using QR Codes?…Are You Qrazy?

chartLast week I had the pleasure of presenting a session at the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo & Conference (PETE&C) about using QR codes in education. I had a fantastic time in my session…the audience was eager to learn, which lead to some great questions, comments, and ideas about using QR codes. I wanted to make my resources available to others that might read this blog and were unable to attend the conference. The following link contains my slide deck and my LiveBinder of links and resources.

Not Using QR Codes?…Are You Qrazy?

Moving Forward with QR Codes

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I am happy to report that our QR project continues to progress and morph as we learn and share more. If you haven’t been following our story, you’ll want to check out the previous posts QR Codes…The Beginning and QR Codes…The Next Step. Our students currently  have limited access to mobile devices, so we needed to find a way for them to use our current technology to scan the QR codes in school.

Our solution was to find a desktop application to read QR codes and a MacBook running 10.6 (Snow Leopard). The application we use is called QRreader and can be downloaded here. This application can be installed on the Mac, Windows, or Linux platform. You do need to install Adobe Air in order of this to work, so since we’re a Mac district I needed a computer with Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard). Our MacBooks have a built-in camera, so if you’re using a Windows computer you’ll need a web cam also. Here is a look at our station…

Students are now able to scan the QR codes and listen to the book reviews their peers have created before deciding if they want to check out the book and read it. It has been a long but enjoyable ride. I am glad to continue working with dedicated administrators, teachers, staff, and students. The next step is building the density of books in our library with codes to scan and promoting the awesome work being done in our building. And I have a plan for that too…

Dashboard Widgets

Dashboard widgets are mini applications that provide quick and easy access to information on your Mac. This episode of the Tech Tips Podcast will show you where they are, how to manage them, and possible student uses. Thanks for stopping by.

TTP #23 Dashboard Widgets from Chris Hyde on Vimeo.

Using Text To Speech

There are a lot of hidden features in the Mac operating system that are extremely useful. One of those features is the Text To Speech technology that allows your computer to speak selected text. This is a great tool to use with students who are emerging readers, struggling readers, auditory learners, students with visual impairments, or with ebooks. Text To Speech works with a designated key combination and works in web browsers, word processing documents, and with online books. Watch this episode to find out how it works and how you might use it in your classroom.
Please feel free to download the TextToSpeech.PDF file located at the bottom of this post for directions on activating Text To Speech.

TTP #22 Text To Speech from Chris Hyde on Vimeo.


Google Advanced Image Search

This post will show you how to do a Google Advanced Image Search in order to find images that are licensed to be used in student work. It is important that we teach kids how to be good digital citizens. Enter Creative Commons (or CC). CC allows owners of images, music, video etc. to basically ‘give away’ some (and sometimes most) of their rights to their work. Watch this screencast to see how you do an advanced image search using Google and where to find the license once you locate images.

If you’d like to learn more about Creative Commons, check out and Wikipedia’s entry on Creative Commons.

Special thanks to Laurie Vitale (@lauriev88 on Twitter) for her contributions to this post.

TTP #21 Advanced Google Image Search from Chris Hyde on Vimeo.

Electronic Scavenger Hunt

As a continuation of my effort to share what teachers are doing in schools, the following post was written by a middle school technology integrator in my school district. Trish Klinger works with teachers and students at Lemoyne Middle School in an effort to use technology to implement and enhance the curriculum. Please provide any feedback for the teacher  or students. Thanks for reading!

Electronic Scavenger Hunts at LMS!

Students in the 6th and 8th grades at Lemoyne Middle School were treated to a special learning unit on GPS, or Global Positioning System in April.  Mr. Stan Bielawa’s 6th grade Social Studies classes and Mrs. Julie Walizer’s 8th grade Science classes were able to learn how GPS works and use GPS receivers in class.  Mrs. Trish Klinger, the IIA at LMS, was able to borrow a set of GPS receivers from PAECT for 2 weeks.

During the unit, the students learned all about how the satellites in the system send a signal to the receiver which translates that into your location.  They also learned about the sport of Geocaching which is like an electronic scavenger hunt!  The containers contained questions and puzzles relating to the unit.  The students were able to go outside and hide a ‘cache’ and then hand off the receiver to a classmate to find it.  Everyone had a great time learning how all this technology works.


Show me the cache!