Category Archives: Tools

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?

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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.

TextToSpeech.PDF

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.

Tracking...tracking...tracking...

Show me the cache!

Skype an Expert

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

The last post I wrote discussed to the K12 Online Keynote shared by Dean Shareski called “Sharing: The Moral Imperative“. I believe in today’s world of the global economy that my own children should reap the benefit of a global education. Dean’s presentation inspired me to recruit some people in my school district to share what they’re doing in the classroom. I know, I know…who the heck am I to have guest bloggers; but they are doing some great things in the classrooms with kids, and I just can’t be everywhere at once to witness everything. It is my intention to make this a regular part of my blog, and I want to thank Mrs. Gallagher VERY MUCH for being my first guest blogger and for her willingness to share! It is my hope that other students around the globe will benefit from her sharing and willingness to contribute to a global education.

Mrs. Gallagher is an elementary technology integrator in the West Shore School District. She works with teachers and students every day in the classroom to assist them with technology lessons and ways to deliver content using technology. Here is her post:

Mrs. Deb Smith, 4th grade classroom teacher at Red Mill Elementary School in Etters, PA and a self professed science and nature nut, wants her students to have a deeper appreciation for that which is near and dear to her. That’s why she loves teaching science and taking her topics to the next level. When her students were recently studying wetlands she utilized a website
<< http://www.fergusonfoundation.org/hbf/lets_dip/takeadipintro1.shtml >> where her students could go on a virtual field trip and dip their nets into 4 different types of habitats in a watershed and record the different types of critters that were found. Even though her students didn’t physically visit a marsh, swamp, creek or river they were very interested in learning more.

She contacted her building Instructional Integration Advisor (aka Computer Teacher), to see if I could arrange for her class to have a video chat with a wetlands expert. I in turn contacted three different organizations (DCNR, SUNY-ESF, and CBF) to see if I could find someone interested in hosting our 4th graders in a questions and answer session. After a few emails, ultimately the Chesapeake Bay Foundation was the organization that was able to make this happen. Mr. Harry Campbell, Senior Scientist with the CBF Harrisburg Office, hosted an afternoon Q&A Session with 2 classes of 4th grade students. Prior to the video chat through SKYPE, the students wrote down a question or two to ask the “expert”.

When the big day came, and after the initial introductions and formalities, the students took turns coming to the front of the room, sitting in front of the webcam, and asking Mr. Campbell their questions. Great questions were asked, such as:

  • How do wetlands develop?
  • Why do we see so much algae in the Susquehanna River?
  • How did the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico affect the Chesapeake Bay?
  • What kind of education do you need to become a wetland expert?

The students were very polite and respectful to our “wetlands expert” and listened carefully to his responses. The summary writing that the students created the next day, it was very obvious that they got a lot out of the Skyping with the wetland expert! Student, Meredith W. wrote “The important thing about wetlands is we should keep them clean. If we do not keep them clean and use fertilizer, the fertilizer can wash down to the wetlands.”

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Jump Into Spotlight

Spotlight (software)

Image via Wikipedia

Spotlight on your mac is a great feature and one that seems to be underutilized by many! If you’ve ever saved a file but aren’t sure where you saved it, jump into Spotlight. Ever cleaned off your desktop and now two months later you need a file but can’t remember where you put it? Jump into Spotlight. Sometimes when you download something you have no idea where it went; Spotlight can help you find it. Spotlight can help you find files, folders, applications, emails, calendar events, movies, images, and more. You can search by title, keywords, or even specific file type. Find a definition without opening the Dictionary application with Spotlight and even do math computations without the Calculator! This screencast can show you how Spotlight can help you with all of these things and more. Hopefully it will encourage you to take advantage of this great feature on your Mac.

Screencast created with Camtasia for Mac

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Fun With Words

Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Chris Blakeley

Are you looking for a fun, new way for students to interact with words? Need a unique title header for a presentation? Want a way for your own children to spice up practicing for that spelling test? Or just looking to send a friend/loved one a nice message? Look no further than geoGreeting and Spell with Flickr. These two sites have made it fun to spell words and send messages!

geoGreeting is a site that allows you to type a message with a maximum of 40 characters. It then pulls images of buildings from Google Earth in the shape of the letters you’ve typed. It provides a link that you can share which contains your greeting. I like the originality of the message it sends…”The surface of the Earth holds a message for you. You just need to look a little closer…” geoGreeting drops a place marker to show you where the building is located on Earth. Finally, if you click on each letter, it will open a map also showing you where the building is located. On my mac, I chose to take a screen shot using Shift+Option+4 and then used as an image above this explanation.

Spell with Flickr is another site that allows you to type words and it will find matching images on Flickr.com to create your message. Once it produces your message, if you don’t like any of the letters, you can simply click on that letter and will automatically find a new to replace it. Once you are happy with your words, it will provide you with html code for embedding. Or you can choose to use the screen shot method mentioned earlier to create an uploadable image.

These two sites certainly have some possibilities for students. Please check them out and share any ideas you may have for using them here. I would love to add some ideas and examples to my wiki! Thanks.

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