Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

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💥 Free apps, tech tools, free tool for the Alexa, tips and more in this weeks tech tips.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

QR & Barcode Scanner PRO for Android is FREE for a limited time.  Reg $3.99 

Web sites and tools:
iOS 11 will render older iPhones, iPads and apps obsolete  - Just like the older iPad 2 units will not update beyond IOS 9.3 .. some devices will now be stuck at IOS 10.x ... But it also means that for users of Apple’s newer smartphones and tablet computers, including the latest iPhone 7 and iPad, some apps that are 32-bit-only and not coded to operate in a 64-bit system will cease to work once their devices are updated to iOS 11. (Hopefully most developers will update their apps to work!) 

How to search Google: 10 advanced tips and tricks 

How Many Words Can You Type Per Minute?  Via Ratatype | Test your typing skills and learn how to type faster.

Create Fillable Text Boxes in Google Docs - How to article here. 

2 handy yet hidden Chromebook security features - Unlock with a Pin or even with your Android phone automatically when you are close! 

Optimize Your Chrome Browsing Experience With These 13 Extensions  There are several of my favorites in this list... LastPass, OneTab, Magic Actions for YouTube, and more... 

Explore in Docs, Sheets, and Slides makes work a breeze — and makes you look good, too -Not a new feature... but one many do not know about or use!

NEW - Smarter Google Forms to save you time -  Google Forms makes it easy to collect information, plan events, solicit feedback, and more. Today, we’re adding new features and using machine learning to make Forms work better for your business. Read on for more details.

MindMup 2.0 Includes Vertical Mind Mapping - MindMup is a nice mind mapping tool that can be integrated into your Google Drive account.

Google tools for Kindergarten and young learners: 
On this episode of the TechEducator Podcast, we welcome Kindergarten teacher Christine Pinto on the program to discuss tips, tricks, and strategies for helping our youngest learners master Google Apps and other G-Suite tools. (Check out the links to resources on this podcast on the page above - Some great templates for the elementary teachers!)   Visit her website for templates, inspiration and more! 

Do you have an Echo or dot - Then you may be interested in this:

Google Sheets -
5 Tricks to Boost Your Productivity in Google Sheets - an AWESOME 5-minute video is a must for some great Google Sheet tips. 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has created Spacecraft 3D, an augmented reality (AR) app for iOS - Free.  (This is a cool app!) 

Some great sites built on the top of Google Maps:

Smarty Pins - A great educational and fun game! 

Goolge\s own Tour Builder is awesome! 

Amazon - Inspire Beta -  New program from Amazon for free teacher resources.

Hey- it' a beta, so it will be getting better... but it's from Amazon!  Check it out here. 

Remember - If the resources are in Microsoft format - just upload to Google Drive and Convert!

Here are a few ways to start exploring the Amazon Inspire Beta: 

  • Discover: Easily find helpful resources from other educators and organizations, such as The National Science Foundation and Buck Institute for Education. Try searching by title, subjects, grade levels, resource types, publishers, standards, or keywords.
  • Download: When you find a resource you like, download it to your desktop to use in your classroom or read later.
  • Share: Find a lesson plan a colleague might find helpful on the Amazon Inspire Beta? Share links to the content you love so that other educators may benefit from them.
  • Give Feedback: You’re the classroom expert and we want to hear your thoughts! Click on the support icon in the upper right-hand corner to share your ideas with us.

Have you been Smished???  (No not phished... but similar!) 

‘Smishing’ Is Internet Scammers’ New Favorite Trick.  

"Bad guys are increasingly targeting you through your smartphone. They send texts that trick you into doing something against your own best interest. At the moment, there is a mystery shopping scam going on, starting out with a text invitation, asking you to send an email for more info which then gets you roped into the scam. 
Always, when you get a text, remember to "Think Before You Tap", because more and more, texts are used for identity theft, bank account take-overs and to pressure you into giving out personal or company confidential information.  Here is a short video made by USA Today that shows how this works:
Obviously, an end-user who was trained to spot social engineering red flags <-- Check it out. (PDF) would think twice before falling for these scams.

💥 Free kids movie, Great new Sketup program, tech tools and more in this week's Tech tools email

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Web & Tech tools:

3 Reading Resources for Your Classroom 

Make your own data GIFs with Google's new tool - Simple... and a picture does say a 1000 words! is offering A Stork's Journey (Digital HD Movie) for Free.

Google Hangouts
Have you enabled the Google Hangout's tool? If not... it's really handy for chatting. My how-to doc will get you started. 

Google Slides:

Top 10 ways to use G Suite to Give effective presentations. Via the GSuite Learning Center. 

We have added Google Sketchup to our Google Apps Domain.  A great drawing/3D modeling tool.
Have your Google Gsuite administrator add this to your domain. 

Great online drawing tool to use with students! This one is online... so it works on Chromebooks too! (You can even download the SketchUp and use in the desktop program too. We have the full desktop program available for use too.) 

Announcing Sketchup for Schools - More info here
Oh... it’s free!!

💥Tech Tools, tips and more in the last tech tips email before summer!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Web sites and resources:

This amazing online resource (Form Elem & MS)  will have your students begging to practice their math skills every day. And did I mention that it’s free? -Check out this article here.

Great crowd-sourced Google Doc of awesome teaching videos

Excellent, free, online keyboarding program for K-12 students. 

Exploring the History of Everything with ChronoZoom

Google Tip: Add Emojis to Google Drive Folders.  This 3-minute video will show you how.  (Could be about 1 minute... ☺

21 Tools for Conducting Digital Formative Assessments - This is a good list of tools! 

Need to edit audio --  This Online Audio Editor Is Beautiful.  TwitedWave is also another one to look at.

This Tool Makes It Super Easy to Create Interactive Simulations

Online whiteboard - Aww App - Check it out. I have mentioned this one before... but it's worth mentioning again. FREE, Easy, collaborative, etc... Check it out!

3 Quick Formative Assessment Examples for Teachers.

Google Assistant App now Available.
This is the same assistant that is a part of the Google Home device. (Similar to Amazon's Alexa. -Which I love.) Get it in the IOS store for your iPhone. (It's built into the Android phones. More info here on Android.)

Virtual Reality (VR) Resources:

Google Cardboard and VR (Virtual Reality) Resources - Checkout my doc of resources.  Also, visit with Shelly Coe in our middles School and our Google Expeditions setup! 

If you have not experienced 360 degree YouTube videos... this is a good one:  See beyond the walls of the Tower of London.  (Just click on the video and move around the screen in 360-degree fashion.) 

QR Codes:

Cloud QR Image, Video, and Audio QR Code Creator (Designed for teachers and students!)- It does QR codes... and Cloud QR lets you use the built-in microphone on your tablet or smartphone to record audio and narrate images. When you share the QR code with students they only see the video without leaving the Cloud QR app. This YouTube Playlist will get you started with the app.

Google add-on for graphs in docs:

Yob - Graph Editor, Check out the 2-minute video here, and install the add-on here.

Google Slides:

Streamline your inbox with these Gmail Gems and tips: 

Watch the latest episode of the G Suite Show to learn how to:
  • Use multiple inboxes
  • Automatically apply labels using filters
  • Use integrated search to share Drive files right from Gmail
  • Undo send

Awesome digital citizenship curriculum and tech curriculum available.  (From my last staff email.)   This one is for Norris use only - (since we purchased the KnowBe4 product): 

Kevin Mitnick Security Home Internet Course: 

This can also be used at home, with parents, etc...  If you are a Norris Staff Member, drop me an email to get the password for this great resource! 

Google training courses for students and staff
Video-based lessons for grades 7 - 12 - New 2017 

Check out my info doc to get you started.  If you have any questions or need help... let us know.

Some great resources from the National Archives!

(This segment was taken from a promotional email from the national archives.)
DocsTeach - Bring history to life for your students.

Analyzing Documents Tool with Lewis Hine Photograph
New Analyzing Documents Tool

We're happy to announce our first new activity tool since we launched DocsTeach almost seven years ago!

Create activities with the Analyzing Documents tool to teach students the process of document analysis:
  • Meet the document. 
  • Observe its parts. 
  • Try to make sense of it. 
  • Use it as historical evidence.
Analyzing Documents activities guide students through primary source documents for contextual understanding and to extract information to make informed judgments. Read more about this tool - or jump right in by creating a new activity and choosing Analyzing Documents as your activity type.
Managing Your Students' Responses

My Students' Responses
We listened to educators who told us they wanted to use DocsTeach with their students, but weren't interested in receiving an email every time one of their students completed an activity.

Now you can view your students' completed activities on the My Students' Responses page. You can even create groups to organize your students' work - students will choose from the groups that you set up when they finish their activities. And you can use the new My Response Settings page to turn off email notifications entirely if you'd like.

To test out this feature or change your settings, log in and choose My Account in the menu.
Document Search
Better Searches

We've drastically improved search functionality so that you can more easily find the primary sources and activities that you're looking for. Now when you search for Vietnam War, for example, you'll only get results that have both the words Vietnam and War. But we included other options, so you can pick the type of search that you prefer.

We also changed how our search works so that you get the most relevant results first. Searching Chinese Exclusion Act, for example, gives you the actual Act first, followed by documents related to the topic.
...and more

We've made additional behind-the-scenes updates to improve the overall DocsTeach experience. We hope these changes will make the site easier to use, and an even better tool for bringing history to life. But we always love to hear feedback - so let us know if you have an idea to improve DocsTeach!
Recently Added Documents

As always, we've been adding more primary sources - here are some recent highlights, documents from two Supreme Court cases:

Excerpt from Buck v. Bell decision
Buck v. Bell  - This newly digitized case file concerns the issue of involuntary sterilization and can help students learn about the eugenics movement in the United States. Read more about the case on our Education Updates blog.
Excerpt from Notice of the Supreme Court Opinion in Worcester v. Georgia
Worcester v. Georgia - This case established the principle of "tribal sovereignty." The Supreme Court ruled that states, like Georgia, could not diminish rights of tribes because the Cherokee Nation constituted a nation holding distinct sovereign powers as granted by Congress and the United States.

Tech tool and resources - April 2017

Web sites and tools:

Start using the world's #1 language-learning tool now, for free. They even have a school setup where you can manage students and their progress. 

Google Earth - Now web based!
Earth is now all web based... no install...and it now works on Chromebooks, etc...

Open Educational Resources (OERs) 
Check out my list of Open Educational Resources (OERs)  and ....New in Kahn Acadamy - Beta test April 2017 -- Use NWEA MAP Test scores to generate personalized study recommendations.

Hope my email on doc sharing from a few weeks did not scare you too much. - Keep sharing!
Google apps are amazing with their sharing and collaboration features.  Microsoft's mix up just brought to light the importance of always knowing what we do with emails, doc sharing, etc...  Didn't want to scare you with my email/post, but just drive home the point of always knowing what we are doing. 

Google Docs:

Here is a feature for Pence .. but they waited until he is retiring to introduce it!  LOL: Convert text to all CAPS and more in Google Docs 

How to integrate Google Keep with Google Docs -  Google has finally integrated Keep into Docs. Here's why this might be the best thing since the rise of the cloud, and how to enable this feature.

Google Slides

Wow - This is cool!  Stop Motion Animation with Google Slides.  Want to see what I am talking about - Check it out: Vocabulary Term: Identical - Google Slides link

EDpuzzle now includes instant feedback!

If you have ever wanted to assign a YouTube video and make sure students have watched it, and maybe even answer some questions along the way during the video..... THIS IS FOR YOU! (HS Staff - This is one that Andrew Carlson showed recently at the staff meeting.) And... it's free. 

IOS Apps:

Shadow Puppet EDU: This slideshow creator is definitely a favorite. Students can search for images within the app, add text or stickers to their image, and record their voice to show off how-to do something.

Smart PDF Scanner: Scan Documents and Receipts by Qrayon, LLC gone FREE

As of 4-18-17 -  Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie and Garageband are completely free apps! 

Security - Don't share what some these folks are sharing! Something to drive home with our teachers.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Here is a recent email that I sent out to staff, but wanted to share since many of us use Google Apps in our private lives as well.   These security concerns came to light a few days ago. This article says they removed the search feature... but four days later... it's still there.

Security - We do try to keep you informed! 

Sorry - This is a long blurb... but very interesting.... 

We have really been trying to educate you on not opening attachments and falling for fake emails that send you to sites where they harvest your info. Asking you to log into Gmail when you are not actually on a legitimate Goole site, etc...  (Called phishing emails or attacks.) 

Today... I just want to point out... Make sure you know about sharing settings on documents. I know we have been using Google Docs for almost years now... but we still need to revisit security practices regularly.   Only share publically if you want that to be public. Sounds simple... but many do not.  Microsoft is playing catch up with Google with online documents and sharing.  Many of their users apparently do not know about sharing settings. 

Not sure why Microsoft does this... but you can go to their website and search for documents users have made public. (I am glad Google does not do this!)   Interesting to see how people have messed up.  

I removed the links to these documents since I am posting this publicly, but if you search for many interesting terms, you may find them and many others that people should never be sending out: 
Guessing this person does not really want to share the entire client list for their company...  or this person asking for their pardon ...  or this company's Sales history .....This guys Ambulance bill was pretty high ... or this person's phone application in India.  WOW! Some people and their companies are asking to be scammed. 

Why do I point this out?   Make sure you only share things with the audience you want to have access.  I have a lot of my tech training docs shared publicly... but I never share any network documents with information about our local network, devices, passwords, etc....

Google is very safe..... (and for that matter Microsoft probably is too) but we can accidently share things with the people or groups that we do want to have access.  Normally security comes down to the end user.   So always be cautious with emails and your share settings on docs. 

If a folder is shared with person X, Y and Z ... when you create a file in that folder... that fiels is then shared with person X, Y and Z. 

Not sure how to share or check a file - This doc should help. 

(This blurb is not triggered by any issues here at Norris, but a recent security article that pointed out the Microsoft Doc user problems mentioned above.)

Don't be Phished

Great tech tips... web tools, QR, Google, and more.... Our new app, and more... in this weeks posting.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Check out our new Mobile App for Norris!

I would encourage you (and your students) to download the new Norris mobile app for your phones and tablets. Make sure you do the initial setup as directed to customize the content for your needs.  Be the first to find out when school is closed!  Lunch menus, schedules, news, and more... all at your fingertips.  Just had a staff member tell me it's awesome...glad to hear that feedback!  Visit

Web tools and sites

A new safe search site for kids - Kiddle - check it out. 

Bamboozle - Create your own educational games for free, or play some of their pre-made games. Sample geography one here. 

Creating Elementary Portfolios with SeeSaw. (Free version and paid versions avail.) 10-minute audio podcast with links to items mentioned in the podcast. 

Nice listing of web creation tools (And a great example of an Adobe Spark Page.) (Scroll down the page.)

Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week – Try Know Recorder for Creating Video Lessons Their support page has some nice short intro videos to introduce you to this site and app.

Online audio Editing:

Edit sounds online! Free Technology for Teachers: 3 Online Alternatives to Audacity

Assessment tools:

Sure... Kahoot, Socrative, and few of my other favorites are in this list... but there are some other new ones too! This is a great list! - Know Students Better: 17 Tools for Formative Assessment

Google Chrome and apps:

150+ Chrome Apps and Extensions for Teachers and Students (Updated!) (I love how they present the list with the cards and short descriptions of the app/extension. 

Google Classroom:
New Feature! (Released Jan 2017) Google Classroom – Late Work Notifications

Google Sheets:

The Easier Way to Freeze Rows and Columns in Google Sheets - Via BetterCloud Monitor | There are simple tips that make a huge difference. If you're a Google Sheets user, this is one of those tips.

Google Photos:

Google Slides:

How to Add Your Voice to Google Slides - Short 3 min. how-to video

YouTube news:

Sad to see Annotations going away.  An awesome YouTube tool, that many never used..... BUT -- NEW --  Keep fans engaged with Cards & End Screens as we say goodbye to Annotations Editor  This short 2 1/2 minute video will show you how. 

Google Drawing:

Avoid clicking on emails, they are constantly phishing you - Hot of Twitter!