Wednesday, November 28, 2012

JB Tech Info - Khan Academy + RebelNet Tips

Around the Net:

Khan Academy for iPad/iPhone

Khan Academy is a great website with a huge library of educational videos.  The iPad app allows you to view and save videos to your iPad for later viewing.  If you create an account it will even save your progress.  Plus it's FREE.

Khan Academy Website
Khan Academy in Apple App Store


You can update stored RebelNet passwords under Account > Password Mgr.  Remember to click the Update Stored Passwords after you make any changes.

Tech Update:

Added a link for Discovery Education under Staff Resources in RebelNet.  The link will also save your username and password just like Infinite Campus.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

JB Tech Info - Zite + Keyboard Shortcuts + Tech Updates

Around the Net:

Zite is an app for your tablet or phone.  This works on Android and iOS devices (iPad/iPhone/iPod).  It will take a topic such as e-learning or technology or gardening and builds a custom magazine for you to read.  It takes news articles from all over the internet on each topic and puts them in your hands.  If the article isn't something you like or not related you can vote it down or up if it's something you like.  This is a great way to get information from sources you would never otherwise find.

Search for Zite in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store


Can't find where to print?
Use this shortcut: Ctrl + P or Command + P on Mac

Have a bunch of windows open and want to get back to the desktop quickly?
Use this shortcut: Windows Key + D

Can't read the text?
Use this shortcut: Ctrl+(+ or - keys) or Command+(+ or - keys) on Mac

Tech Update:

Soon to begin pushing out the latest Java Update and later Adobe Flash.  For some you may have ran into the issue where Firefox disabled Java due to it being behind a version.  Most will noticed it, because the Gradebook in Infinite Campus' uses a Java plugin.  This update should automatically install itself on Windows computers.

This update will cause the computer to take a long time to login/startup, this is because it is installing software.  Please do not shut the computer off and be patient!

Monday, November 19, 2012

2012 12 Days of #EdTech Cheer is Here!

For the past couple of years, I have published my own "12 Days of EdTech Cheer" as a way of sharing resources and ideas for integrating technology into classroom instruction or professional use.  I am continuing the sharing this year with my 2012 12 Days of EdTech Cheer.  I would like to really encourage you to participate in this year's "challenge."  The challenge is to simply establish a place to put your "stuff" online (website, blog, wiki, etc.) and then post content to it.  The activities and resources listed on each day are meant to simply be a guide for helping you create content (especially if you are new to posting online).  To view the 2012 12 Days of EdTech Cheer, click here or on the image below.

If you are participating in this challenge, feel free to pick a day, two, or ten to participate in - whatever works best for you and your classroom!  I have followed along with my own challenge and have included links to my implementation on each day.  Do not feel as though you have to follow the order that I have, but logistically Day 1 and Day 2 should be completed before the rest of the days.

I am sending this out now with the thought that some people might want to plan ahead with their classroom implementation.  There is no set day to begin or end - this is a work at your own pace online professional development opportunity.  If you are looking to fit your 12 Days of EdTech Cheer on the calendar, you could use the following schedule:

GLPS Teachers:  This online professional development opportunity was not only aligned with the Teacher Evaluation Framework (alignment found here), but if you participate in even one day, it will help you prepare for our second day of district-provided technology professional development which will be held in mid-January.  Our Technology & Media Team strives to not only provide you with hardware and network support, but also effective curriculum support in utilizing technology tools in your classroom.  Hopefully this opportunity will provide opportunities to try something new and use technology in the process!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Service Learning Grant brings new iPads into the district

Both Kindergarten and Fifth Grade teachers received iPads from the the KISD for service learning grants each grade level is participating in. The hard work of the grant writing has payed off for both of these grade level teams. With both groups eager begin using their new devices they are finally in the hands of the teachers.  Although the setup process did not go as smoothly as planned today we have worked out the kinks and the teachers are starting to setup and use their iPads.

I checked out the apple website and found some helpful information for anyone who is not familiar with using iPads and needs help (hint, hint). The first one I found here is an iPad user guide that covers almost everything you’ll ever need to know about using the iPad. The next one here is more of tutorial of what to do when an app is not working properly or not responding.


JB Tech Info - Newspaper Mapper + Tips + Tech Updates

Around the Net: Newspaper Mapper - This website geolocates newspapers from around the globe in different languages.  It utilizes Google Maps and Google Translate.  This means if you click on a newspaper written in the local language, it will do it's best to translate the newspaper for you.


If a page will not load at all (blank page), you've been there before, and you've double checked the spelling.   I use this website called .  Just paste the web address in there and it will answer your question.  However, it doesn't give you the answer you always want.

Tech Updates:

Created a new Ubermix image for the Linux netbooks.  This updates them to the latest version of Ubuntu and updates the web browsers, plugins, and other software.  We will probably be rolling it out over Thanksgiving Break.  Go to the website below if you would like additional information on Ubermix.

Guest Post: Election PBL in Action

Today's guest post is written by Second Grade teacher, Bethany Brumels.  In the weeks leading up to the 2012 Presidential Election, Bethany and other members of the 2nd Grade Team had been studying the government. Bethany has share her teaching and student learning experience below and how they used PBL as their approach to teaching as well as how they integrated different technology resources.

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PBL is a lot of fun for me.  I see my students engaged in a way that they never are otherwise, even with the best preparation.  Students who normally struggle to stay focused and complete a task get to shine and students who are fast at finishing and catching on to ideas have to stretch themselves.  After finishing our unit on government, which was a PBL unit with our second graders, every student had something to say.  I asked them about what they knew about elections and every hand in the room went up.  It was a great discussion.

With the upcoming election I wanted to try and have my students run an election.  As a second grade team we plan together a lot.  I brought up the idea with Char and Maggie, two other second grade teachers and we decided to run with it.  We started the unit by reading several books to our students about presidents and elections.  Our students loved them and before we even told them about having an ECC election they were talking and excited.

One tool we used a lot in this unit was YouTube.  We watched videos of the two presidential candidates and used that to decide what they believed on an issue.  We also watched a couple schoolhouse rock clips on our government and how it formed. After a clip we would sit down and talk about it, what did we learn?  Why does it matter? 

From the books our students remembered and pointed out campaign posters.  So we made posters.  In my class we made a t-chart comparing Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and talked about what each person believed on each issue.  Then half of my students agreed to create campaign posters for Mitt Romney and half worked on Obama posters.  My students were die-hard fans of President Obama; I was so proud of the fact that they recognized the need for Governor Romney to also have posters. 

The results were really amazing.  Students from all the classes had something to show and were proud of the fact.  On Election Day our students shared their posters with the 1st graders and kindergarteners.  They did an amazing job explaining their work.

Then comes the computer work.  Google has amazing tools that you can use.  One thing they have is Google forms.  I love this tool because it allows you to easily and intuitively create a survey that you can publish on the Internet.  This form is linked to a Google spreadsheet where responses are instantly tallied.   I pulled up the form an all the computers in the media center.  When classrooms came down, students got to vote and when a classroom was finished voting they moved over to the Smart Board and we could show them their results coming in real time. 

Char Walsh had created an enlarged map of the school using her document camera.  As results came in we had each class find their room and color it either blue or red to match who won the election in their classroom.  As a follow up second grade students colored a map of the United States at home as the results came in.  The next day we were able to compare results between the national election and the ECC election.

I loved this unit.  Students were engaged and excited.  We got to use technology.  We did a lot of writing; we got to practice graphing and comparing results.  It was fun and students bought into it in a way they probably wouldn’t have if it had stayed in the realm of this is an election and it is something we do, here are some examples of how it has happened in the past.  They got to experience it and be involved in the process.  They taught other students how to vote and educated them on the options.  It was amazing for me to see and I am so proud of my students. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

JB Tech Info - PopcornMaker video editor + Tips + Tech Updates

Around the Net:

Mozilla Popcorn Maker - Online video editor that incorporates a whole lot more.  Take a video and add in elements from Twitter, Wikipedia, and other sources.  Visit the website to see what is possible and get some ideas.


Using your mouse button wheel to click on links opens them in a new tab.  Give it a try!

Tech Updates:

Changed the policies regarding incorrect network/RebelNet logins.  5 tries will lock the account out for 10 minutes, then reset automatically.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Teacher Web Site Usage & Understanding

Several weeks ago, Kelly McGee and I sent out a survey to our professional teaching staff asking questions about their professional use of their own web sites.  Our goal was to determine how many of our teaching staff currently had a web site, how often they updated their site, how they utilized their web site, why they might not have one, and consequently, how we could structure and develop future professional development opportunities to meet teacher needs.  Approximately half of our professional teaching staff responded to our survey and we analyzed the data and wanted to share some of the results in the infographic below.  If you are able to view/read the infographic, please click here.


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