Category Archives: technology

When Is Taking Out the Trash..Not Taking Out the Trash (Mac)

If you have used a mac for awhile, and if you are virtual hoarder like I am, you will find that even though you have deleted files you still have a very bloated hard drive. There is a reason for this. Macs let you recover deleted files in case you change your mind. In order to do that it has to continue to store them, even though they may not be visible. This adds up over time.

To really truly irrevocably delete the files, go to applications, select utilities, then disk utility. Your drives will be listed on the left (even flash drives if you want)

Click the drive you want to clean up then click erase.

Don’t freak out – this will not erase everything.

Click erase free space.

Choose zero out deleted files. You can choose the others but if you have never done it before it will take a long, long, loooonnnggg time….


Working Ninja

It has been a productive week at the ranch.  Along with a few work orders checked off, we imaged/set-up a total of 69 new devices including Acer desktops, Lenovo laptops and notebooks, and iPads. I created a form in google docs so that I can use my Android tablet to enter asset tag numbers, names and locations and other info so we have a growing spreadsheet of completed work. I also created a notebook on iPad set up and use in Evernote that I share with the growing number of folks who are using iPads which includes what I have discovered so far as a workable process to set them up to use in the district and pertinent articles I discover on the internet.

I am not fond of the Lenovos, though I realize that pricing is an issue. They usually come to us needing to have the bios updated (which awesome Eddie figured out)  and it causes an extra step. Time will tell. My negative Eeyore side hopes we do not get these back en masse with issues. The full size laptops have an irritating keyboard layout that has the trackpad off center and I personally would have trouble getting used to the configuration. Every one that I have touched is off just enough that the normal resting place for my hands causes me to 1. make frequent typos and 2. accidentally touch the trackpad with my wrist so that I find myself typing in the wrong place.I hope the end users will be able to adjust. I hate to put technology in someones hands that I myself find frustrating.

eschool news has an article on using iPads in the classroom that talks about using less apps rather than more. There are so many specific apps out there that it takes very little time to fill up screen after screen. This article advocates using “The 4 Cs” to evaluate apps. I would take the article a step further and use the same thinking for any tablet, laptop, or computer in the classroom.

The 4 Cs are consumption, curation, creativity, and connection.

Now consumption? I know all about that. I consume all the time. I suck up the internet every day. My brain should be as big as a house with all the knowledge I consume. Right? Well no. The biggest percentage of internet suckage is NOT focused. Left to my own devices I can waste an unbelievable amount of time reading snips and bits and listening to music, reading the latest entertainment scandal. No one is directing my “steps” and if I get tired of reading I can always play solitaire. Learn how to ask and how to determine if a source is reputable. If you are applying that thinking to apps, read others’ reviews. Learn how to narrow down a search. What if you want to cook beans but you hate pinto beans? Try cooking +beans -pinto (Notice where the spaces are – a space before the operator but not between the operator and the search term you want to add or ignor) Here is a link to search operators on google.

Curation is a little easier.  Find information. Ask a question, get an answer. Well, the internet is a big place. It’s sort of like going to the library to find a book. Well, what kind of book? Fiction? Non-fiction? How do you an author is reputable? Do they have an agenda? What is it? Say you figure out what you are looking for and you find hundreds of books on the subject. Now you have to have a way to search through those hundreds of books for the specific piece of information you need at a give time. You have to have a place to store the information. Do you just bookmark websites on your computer? What if your computer croaks? Now your bookmarks/favorites are gone. Well you can download them them as a file of course. (Just make sure the only place they are stored is not the said croaked computer!) Do you use a web-based service? There are some great free ones but as anyone who loved using google reader knows, web-services can pick up their toys and disappear into the ether. Make sure if you use a web-based service they provide a way for you to import that information and stick a copy somewhere you can find it when you need to if they decide to retire and move to Florida.

What if I need to make notes or comments on my collected information, or put it together with other bits and pieces? Even with all of the apps and websites I use which I will get into later, I am still a big notebook person. I haven’t quite let go of the hard copy addiction. I like to be able to tuck pictures and scribbled notes into folders with instructions. The best apps let me do a similar thing in the virtual world.

Creativity is something we do when we stay off facebook. Well that would be my current definition. Often creativity is something I do when I stay off Pinterest too. Ironic huh? A place you go to find all kinds of creative ideas wastes all the time you could spend actually um…creating things? Yup. Of course I am the queen of procrastination too.. (and Pinterest is a great way to “curate” information so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). If you are attached to your PC, Microsoft OneNote is a pretty handy tool. You can create notebooks, add tabs in the notebooks and basically import whatever you want. Pieces can be moved around anywhere on the page and you can export your creation as a PDF. You can also save notebooks to a flashdrive or network drive and take them with you. Evernote is a similar web-based notebook tool and one of my favorite apps. The advantage is that I can go to from PC to mac to iPad to Android and still access my notes. I can also share individual notebooks with others who use Evernote or in a format that can be used by someone who does not use Evernote.

For creativity on the computer I go to WordPress because I write but there are a lot of great apps out there. Some that were mentioned in the article are Explain Everything, Book Creator, Animoto, iMovie, Garage Band, VoiceThread, and Doodlecast. Instead of using an iPad as a giant animated flashcard, make something yourself! Step away from the Powerpoint…. Let students create educational content. If you are using a computer, rather than tablet, there are opensource programs like Gimp that allows you to create and edit images and Audacity which allows you to record and edit audio.

The last C – Connect is Facebook right? Well, no. Tablets in particular do not offer much in the way of storage. You have to depend on cloud options. How do you collaborate? I have already mentioned Evernote which lets you share notebooks but it probably is not ideal for multiple people editing. Dropbox is my other favorite web-based app and it allows for use on multiple platforms. You can keep some things private and share others. You decide. You can swap files between devices as long as the destination device has an app that will open the shared file.

Google Docs is a great collaboration platform. The article mentions this and I agree. You can share docs, spreadsheets, presentation, and make changes in real time and google docs will keep track of the edits so you can roll back if needed and also see who is contributing what. You can share a presentation and viewers can comment and ask questions while the presentation is happening. I have already mentioned google forms. I created one this week to keep up with the computers being imaged and you are not locked in once you begin collecting information. Twice I decided I needed another piece of information added to my form and it is as simple as opening the form in google docs and clicking edit. The information entered in to the form will populate a spreadsheet with a time and date stamp for each entry. If you edit the form, new columns will automatically be added to the spreadsheet. You can still edit the spreadsheet like you would any other. Just open the “results” spreadsheet and enter information directly. You can also download the spreadsheet either as a pdf or as a file that can be opened and manipulated in excel in case you want to pretty it up.

So there you have it. All these new pieces of equipment that will let teachers and students find content, save it, search it, create it as something new, and share it…

Not too bad a way to make a living.





Five Ways to Leverage Pinterest in Education

1. A “Vision Board” – the phrase has been coined by a writer who uses Pinterest as an inspiration board for her novel in progress.

2. Professional Development – “pin” links to articles and websites that pertain to training

3. Collaboration – Sharing, liking, and “re-pinning” images, quotes, and links for a collaborative project..

4. Build your Personal Learning Network. As members of the group follow each other and re-pin links, each member brings new resources to the entire group.

5. Share tips for busy teachers to help with meals and household tips. Teachers are  people too!  They have families and life outside of school. Pinterest allows the user to build a network of friends with similar challenges. Share tips and inspiration, recipes, and creativity.

If you have suggestions for other ways to use Pinterest as an educational tool I would love to hear them in the comments section!


Save Web Articles To Your Ereader

or make a personalized cookbook on your kindle!

I have joined the insanity that is Pinterest – the online pinboard site that lets you create boards by subject and then “pin” things you find on the internet to the boards you have created as well as follow others who have similar interests and “repin” what they find on your board. A visual representation of your finding is created, you add a short description and Pinterest creates a link to the website.

Fun but what if I want to access that recipe I found last week that would be perfect for supper and I really don’t want to take the time to go to Pinterest, find my board, click to the website, and jot down the directions??

There is a cool website that allows you to drag a bookmarklet to your browser toolbar. (If you already use Pinterest, you probably have the “Pin It” bookmarklet on your toolbar)

This bookmarklet works the same way.  The website is  and FIRST you check a box on the right sidebar to tell it whether you want mobi files for kindle or epub files for other ereaders (including your iPad). Now drag the bookmarklet to your toolbar.

Go to the webpage that has the cool recipe and click the bookmarklet (mine says mobi because I use a Kindle). You now download the file. The pictures and ads are stripped away and you have a file that contains the text of the recipe.

I made a folder I can drag my recipes and articles to and then when I have a few collected I go to the Kindle.

You will connect our Kindle to your computer via the usb cable. It will show up just like a flash drive. Double click to open and you will see several folders. The books live in the Documents folder. That is where you will drag your newly created mobi files. I suspect the process is similar on a nook, but I am not sure what the folders are called.

Once the files are on the Kindle, go to the list of books, navigate to a recipe, and press the right side of the controller. From the menu choose add to collection.  If this is the first time, click down to add new collection. Type Recipes or Cookbook or whatever you want to name it. The recipe will be added to the collection. Do this for each recipe.


I also use Calibre for keeping up with my books and within Calibre you can edit metadata. The file will have a  long number in the name eliminate that. I was happy to see that Calibre automatically added the originating website as the author so I can always go back to refer to it.

I also emailed one of the mobi files to myself and downloaded on my iPad which knew to ask me if I wanted to open the file in the Kindle app.

I then converted a recipe to epub using and emailed it to myself. When I clicked the attachment on my iPad it knew to ask if I wanted to open it in iBooks (which also lets you create collections)

In both iBooks and Kindle, the recipes (or articles) will be listed in alphabetical order within the collection. I have been trying to think of a way to organize them within the collection in case you decide to save a bazillion recipes this way.  Off the top of my head, I think you could create a number code – 1 for main dish, 2 for side dish, 3 for dessert – or something similar. If you rename the files before you put them on your ereader using the number as the first character you will organize them one step further.

Remember there will be NO pictures. The pictures are stripped away, so if this is a recipe, project, tutorial that you need pictures for, you may want to try something different.

If you find other cool ways to use leave me a comment and tell me about it.

Kindle Versus iPad Musings

Amazon has slowly rapidly been changing the way people read. I won’t even attempt an opinion about the long term effects on book stores and publishing. I could not say if it will eventually be a good thing or not. It is what it is. As a friend if fond of saying, you can’t put the poop back in the bull.

That said, I am interested in some of the changes that are happening now. I have been a fan of the Kindle for several years and use an IPad for work. I also use the iPad to read books from Amazon that are more than just text. The non-back lit Kindle is my preference for night reading but for things like cookbooks, tutorials, basically any book that has a lot of pictures, I utilize the kindle app on the iPad or iBooks.

I will be watching the roll out of the Kindle tablet for just that reason. The iPad has been the most useful piece of technology I have had in my hands since the MacBook. It is lightweight and wireless so I can carry it everywhere and take care of many tasks on the spot which saves steps up and down stairs. With Wunderlist, I can quickly add or check off a task, it syncs with the website and even sends me a cheerful email if I let a priority task wait too long “Ahoy Matey! You have some tasks to complete!” I can go to the website and print a list of completed tasks so I have documentation of what I have done and when. I get a very satisfying feeling from checking things as done.

I have both Pages and Keynote (not free but still reasonable at ten bucks each) but so far, I utilize the little free Notes app for that comes pre-installed more than any other. Just click a plus sign, get a new page with the date, type and click out of it. It’s like a huge legal pad that I can search, send, or share. Simple and handy as sliced bread.

I read articles on the Zite app. Zite is an application that comes with a few preloaded categories but you can add your own. It then searches for news and blogs that fit the categories. But wait! There’s more! It has a like/dislike button much like the Facebook icon that helps it “learn” your preferences. You can choose to see more articles like the one you are presently reading and/or more articles from that particular source. Zite gives you the ability to share, email, or add the article to several apps (my preference is instapaper). It is pretty – think google reader in glassy magazine format.

Dropbox is one of my favorite web apps but with the iPad it really shines. I can upload a PDF from any computer, open the dropbox app on my iPad, click the file, then one more click to open in iBooks. Now I have it in a nice readable form even when I am without wireless. Things like the master schedule, instructions for tasks that I do not use frequently enough to memorize, the entire gradebook manual…all are in my iBooks now. Macs have had the ability to save anything as a pdf as long as I have used them and now with Office 2010 having the option to save as pdf, I can put any document that I think I might need to refer back to in iBooks. Bam.

The highly addicting Words With Friends game is pleasant on the bigger screen and I am also hooked on scramble which has a social aspect to it but so far I play it solo – just a screen full of letters. You find words from letters that are next to each other until the time runs out. You are scored according to how many words you find and get extra points for using certain letters.

There are tons of pretty apps that are useful and free or very reasonable. Interactive books and all of the educational apps are going to be a big force in education. I tried using a vga connector to connect my iPad with the data projector and it was incredibly easy. I have read a few articles that say you are not able to project everything but the few things I tried worked very well sharing your screen is an option and at twenty-nine dollars for a vga connector, a reasonable solution for a classroom that has a limited number of iPads.

Running through the list, the apps I use on a daily basis are all free. I read, I write, play a few games, utilize the internet. If the amazon Kindle table will do those things it will be a viable option for me and at half the price of an iPad.

Amazon is doing a couple of things that could make it even more attractive. They have opened up the ability for public libraries to lend ebooks via Kindle. Huge!

There is also buzz about a “netflix” like subscription service where, for a fee, readers will be able to download books.

If the Amazon Kindle tablet is able to do the same things that I regularly do on my iPad, hook to a projector (or my tv) via vga connector, then it will have my vote – especially at half the price of the iPad.

Itty Bitty Computer

Teleread had a blurb about a 25 dollar USB stick computer that has been developed by David Braben.  It has a usb port on one end and an HDMI port on the other.  Plug a monitor into one and a usb hub to the other for keyboard and mouse and you are in business. I am going to be watching for this little gem.  It will probably ship with Ubuntu and Mr. Braben plans to use it to promote computer science studies in schools.  I love the cost and the size and it would be great for schools for both reasons but I also see a creative venue.

A friend wondered how many would go through the washing machine and dryer but I have a solution for that. I hope someone will take the idea and run with it – a whole line of jewelry – maybe something steampunk?  Maybe I could get hubby to create something for me – I’m sure we have some little bits and pieces of metal around here somewhere. Maybe a case that attaches to your keyring for the guys?

What about wireless kiosks?  There was no information about the amount of memory, but with external an external hard drive that shouldn’t be much of an issue.  A computer you can carry in your make-up bag in your purse.  My grandmother would be astounded.


I am writing this post on an older IBM thinkpad T30 running Xubuntu. Xunbuntu is a flavor of Linux that is easy to install and meant to run on older machines that don’t have the same resources as newer ones.  So far it is fast, clean, and pretty.  The interface is Mac-like with frequently used programs in a customizable dock.  I haven’t even had time to play with all the software and there is a lot more available for download.  I can watch youtube videos which was not possible on an older machine.  Unfortunately the sound card is not functional (it wasn’t before) so no listening to music but other than that I am very pleased with it.

This laptop is about six years old. It was running xp but barely, boggy and ugly.  If you want to do a lot of graphics or are a heavy Microsoft Office user then this probably isn’t for you.  If you just want to be able to write, email, internet, play a few games – this seems to handle it beautifully. And it didn’t cost anything but a little time.


Fake Social Network Projects For Students

Web Writing Projects

Fake iPhone Text

Click Create and will generate a picture that resembles actual text on an iphone.

My Fake Wall

create a fake facebook page about a historical or literary character.‭ ‬You can include people your character would have been friends with,‭ ‬geographical information,‭ ‬educational background,‭ ‬groups they would have joined,‭ ‬family members.

Here is a Word Template if you prefer

Fake Tweet Builder

You may have heard of twitter which is a social networking site.‭  ‬You can post short blocks of text called tweets.‭  ‬You are limited to‭ ‬140‭ ‬characters per tweet.

Result without customization:

A few more fun things:‭  ‬type or paste in a block of text,‭ ‬click choose male or female voice,‭ ‬click create mp3

You know those URLs that are two miles long and by the time the student has typed it in,‭ ‬found their spelling error and gotten to the correct site,‭ ‬the class period is nearly up and both of you are frustrated and tired‭??  ‬No more‭!!
Go to either of these sites and type or paste in your long URL one time.‭  ‬A cute,‭ ‬short,‭ ‬tiny little address will be created that you can give your students and they will be rocking along on that website in no time‭!

I hope you have fun with this – I did!



Ten Ways To Use Twitter

I do not use the Foursquare app so I do not check in and let everyone know where I am. For one thing, it would be boring.  The majority of my location tweets would read:  “Home reading or writing on my laptop”  repeatedly, well…obviously not much fun to read.  I don’t tweet a lot period.  My blog is set up so that a tweet appears when I post something new so if you lead as boring a lifestyle as I do, you can “follow” me and be alerted whenever there is a now post.

I use Twitter more as a headline perusal source.  Just this morning I found two new books I want to read,three articles on writing that I have bookmarked to read later today,  and a couple of writing prompts to help get the juices flowing for a new poem or story,  I also found a link to a Google docs template for creating a faux Facebook page for a famous person in history.  What a great way to use Facebook in education. Choose a literary character for English.  Insert a picture of your person, list four people they would have “friended”, make up two Facebook groups they would have joined.  Make up some wall posts they would have made.

My favorite session at TCEA was Four:Forty:140: Four Themes, Forty Ideas, 140 Characters with David Jakes and the biggest takeaway from the session has been rattling around in my brain (More on this later) – don’t let the tools drive education – ask your teachers what kinds of learning experiences they want their students to have and find the tools that will best serve that purpose.  I am a person who loves new and shiny, but this resonated with me and I will be looking at technology through that lens in the future.  Using Twitter and Facebook in education are examples of teacher-thinking and technology.  We forget that technology in education SHOULD exist to support the teacher – not the other way around.  I got off topic here, I know.  Twitter however, fits into my thinking.  It is a way to discover and to listen.  How often have you attended a staff development session where the predominant conversations were negative.  “Why do we have to do this?  I could be using this time to work on grades or lesson plans.  I don’t have time to fit this technology into my lesson.”

What if we could leverage the small bites that twitter puts out and do mini staff development by adding links, videos, short tips, news about what others are doing and how it is working?

Here are some reasons to use twitter.

1. Twitter is searchable.  Like any other search engine, you need to know what you are searching for and how to drill down to get it to tell you specifically what you are looking for.

2. Twitter is customizable – through the use of hashtags (#) you can either search for tweets that  involve a current subject or post a tweet that you wish to be included in a current subject to be found by others.  There is a decent article gives you a beginning understanding of the use of hashtags here

3. Twitter is fast.  Get in – get out.  Don’t have time to read long blog articles?  You can go down your twitter feed list and read quick blurbs and discover articles to read later, recommended by people you choose to follow. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters and as you type, you will see a count.  When you pass the 140 count, it will show as a negative number.  Links can be shortened by going to websites like TinyUrl and then added without using your entire character limit. Just copy the URL of the link you wish to share.  go to TinyUrl and paste it into the long URL box.  Click Make TinyURL and copy the resulting short link to add to your post.  At a dinner one evening at TCEA a teacher was talking about elementary students coming to the computer lab and their teacher sending a link she wanted them to use.  Getting that long URL typed in correctly took up a large chunk or their lab time.  She is planning on utilizing TinyURL to help students get to preferred links faster and more easily. Simple solution to a problem that I might not have thought about had it not been for this random snippet of conversation. (Like a Tweet, only in the real world)

4. Twitter can be sent to your phone.  You can choose to have specific feeds sent to your phone.  I subscribe to a Twitter feed that comes from our media person at school so I get the results of sports events and emergency notifications.  Helpful for times when I am not online. The user determines which tweets they follow are sent to their phone and you can always choose to stop that piece so you are not locked in to having thousands of texts beeping at you every few seconds.

5. Twitter can be timely – you can search hast-tags and follow twitters temporarily that are specific to a current even or interest.  When you are no longer interested you can Choose to “unfollow” This morning as I scanned through my Twitter feed I found all kinds of tweets about TCEA and was able to get a hint of some of what I missed.  You can’t go to everything but you can hear about it later. (and before – I now wish I had been following a little closer before and during the conference.

6. Twitter gives you the power.  Like everything else on the web, there is spam.  You can get alerts when someone chooses to follow you and you can block and/or report spam.  I have had a few of these but it has not been a huge issue.  I think twitter followers are quick to deal with those folks.

7. Twitter is communal.  As you navigate the Twitter ocean, you join discussions and become part of a community that allows you to skim the surface or become more deeply involved according to your interests.  On your sidebar you will see a list of Twitter trends and suggestions of “Who to Follow”  You can pop in and “eavesdrop” on the conversations or you can participate by clicking “favorite” which will save it as a favorite post.  You can “Retweet” which passes on something you find interesting to people who are following you.  You can “Reply” and start a dialogue”

8. Twitter can improve your writing skills.  If you are like me and tend to be wordy – Twitter becomes an exercise in brevity.  There are some groups on twitter that post flash fiction.  Can you tell a story in 140 characters?

9. You can play games.  Here are links to a few but you can do a Google search and find more.

Twivia -  trivia questions via Twitter.  Twivia asks a question and the first person to @reply the answer gets points, specified in every Tweet. Twivia tweets the correct answers after someone gets it correct. You can even suggest questions to Twivia.

– sends out word scrambles every hour.

10.   Twitter can keep you up on local news and weather.  More and more news sources have added share on Twitter buttons and you can “follow” to hear the latest weather alerts, traffic updates, and news headlines.

I hope you will share some ways that you have found to use Twitter.

Quick addition – I found a drag and drop “Share on Twitter” button.  Just drag the button from this web page to the bookmark bar in Firefox and you can quickly share a link to any web page, even if they don’t have a Share button of their own.  Just click the button when you are on a web page you want to share and it will create a short URl and add it as a twitter post.

Another quick addition – Great article!  15 Twitter Tips for Beginners

Expresso Book Machine

Teleread has an article about the Expresso Book Machine here

Everyone knows I love my kindle but before the kindle I loved books. I mean LOVE books – I still have a set of three bookshelves in my office that are overflowing and books stashed in various places around the house. Our bedroom has a set of bookshelves that frames our window (built by my creative husband) that is just for paperbacks we read for fun.

I love the idea of print on demand books and I can see it going a step further. In a generation of re-mix why not create your own book? You can already create your own reference “book” from Wikipedia. I have an article on how to do that here .

I can envision taking all the snippets and articles that I clip and bookmark around the web put together in a way that makes sense to me and plugging in my jump drive or SD card to one of these “self-print” book machines and printing out a book I can place on my shelf or carry with me to read later. You can already do this with your ereader by creating a pdf of them and then dragging the document to your kindle.

Then go a step further. Ala Carte Text books. Will we see a day when instead of just the ubiquitous copy machine that resides in school offices and teacher work rooms, a machine that allows teachers to print out copies of text books tailored to specific classes or units?

One of the sessions I attended at TCEA was on Opensource Education or just open education if you will. MIT Opencourseware is a website with over 2000 courses online and free for the self directed learner. Combine this kind of thinking with the ability to print your own text book and you see an interesting future.

TCEA 2011

Yes it is that time of year again so if the next few posts are confusing because they are about technology in education – well…that’s just what I will be thinking about.  Hopefully I can squeeze a little creativity in too.  Mostly I am looking forward to attending a bunch of sessions that will tell me how to use Web 2.o free stuff (yes you DO detect a little sarcasm…doesn’t anyone know how to google??) and maybe even actually learn a little bit somewhere in there.

Hoping for not to terrible weather, seeing some friends, learning some new stuff, and eating a lot…and bringing home something…anything…that I can present when I return home…full, flat-footed, sore shouldered (from toting the ubiquitous backpack around the conference hall all day) and shaken out of my present doldrums…

(queue Sheryl Crow singing “A change will do you good”)

Another Reason To Love Wikipedia

Today as I was researching on Wikipedia, I was preparing to click on the print menu on the side and create a pdf of the page to load on my kindle.  When you click on the little arrow next to print you get a list of tools.  You can create a book, download page as a pdf, or get a printable version. Wait a minute.  Create a book?  Why have I not noticed this before?

When you click create a book you will see this:

Add this page to your book
Adds the currently viewed article (page) to your book.
Show book
Opens a new page which will show a list of all articles (pages) that you added to your book. On that page, you can change the order of the articles in your book and structure them using chapters. Further, you can download the books as a PDF or ODF, or order a printed book.
Suggest pages
This tool analyzes the current set of pages in your book and suggests articles that might be also relevant to the overall topic of your book. This tool allows to create books quickly.
This will disable the Book creator and delete your book (unless you saved it first).
Adding pages without visiting them
A quick way to add pages is to simply hover on a linked article. If you wait about one second, a small box will pop up with the message “Add linked wiki page to your book”. Click on this link, and the linked article will be added to your book.

Hovering your mouse over links is a convenient way to add pages to your book
Adding whole categories
If you are viewing a category page, you can add all the pages in that category at once. The Add this page to your book link will have changed into Add this category to your book. Click on this new link, and all the articles in that category will be added to your book. Relevant categories may be found at the very bottom of Wikipedia articles. Categories can also be added by hovering category links.

Each successive page will now have this handy link at the top:

When you have completed adding pages to your book, you can download the entire thing as a pdf.  Very nice for my Kindle 🙂
Click Show Book and the following page pops up.  You can tweak your title, sort your pages, preview, order a printed copy if you like, or simply download your book. Then if you are me, you convert it for your Kindle and read at your convenience.

Caveat: I do not advocate the use of Wikipedia at school as teachers have very strong feelings about the website.  I suppose the fact that even I can edit the site could be cause for concern but there are people constantly checking and fixing errors and misinformation.  Try looking up Hurricane Katrina in the set of Funk and Wagnalls I bought when my son was born.

Because Wikipedia is a massive live collaboration, it differs from a paper-based reference source in important ways. In particular, older articles tend to be more comprehensive and balanced, while newer articles more frequently contain significant misinformation, unencyclopedic content, or vandalism. Users need to be aware of this to obtain valid information and avoid misinformation that has been recently added and not yet removed (see Researching with Wikipedia for more details). However, unlike a paper reference source, Wikipedia is continually updated, with the creation or updating of articles on historic events within hours, minutes, or even seconds, rather than months or years for printed encyclopedias.

You should always check more than one website when you are doing research, but Wikipedia is a great place to start.

TCEA 2010 Eno Board Demo

I watched a demo on the Eno board which is what we are going to have at the high school next year.  You can use them with your computer, with easy touch software, you can use dry erase markers.  The presenter even wrote on it with a sharpie and the later traced the writing with a dry erase marker (said you can use anything alcohol based) and wiped the sharpie off.

The board is also magnetic and there is a magnetic icon strip you can affix to the board.  You can use the pen that comes with it to access the functions and also draw or write on whatever you are projecting on the board.

They say they are not at all locked down, that the are just drivers and so the board is open to use with anything.  I don’t completely understand that but according to their website:

The eno board application runs on an open platform that works with existing software/operating systems, meaning education and business systems that have previous investments in software can still utilize applications

Here is a video demonstration

Here is a link to software that can be used with it.

TCEA 2010 Gimping It Up

beth phinny
big spring high school
leslie ferris
lubbock cooper high school

GNU image manipulation program

up to version 2.6

alien project
picture of person
select what part (face)
click on rectangular select
draw square around upper body
crop to selection
that gets rid of excess
distort Iwarp
opens a window
grow option
deform radius – choose between 25-35 kind of play with it
click on forehead and kind of click out to pull it out bigger
if you don’t like it you can click reset
when ready – click okay
filter distort iwarp again
grow the eyes – little horizontal lines slowly
shrink chin same process only shrink instead of grow
to colorize
click on color, colorize choose numbers to get hue and saturation

selective colorization
6 steps
duplicate layer
click on background copy
make it b and w – desaturate sure whatever
turn off eyeball on background copy
click on erasure get size you can work with – brackets change size
erase the black and white part you want to end up in color

new image
choose size
click ok
foreground and background color
click on paintbrush tool
click on top, hold down shift, drag it down and click on bottom and it will create a straight line
make ten of these across the image (vertical lines)
use filter – distort, polar coordinates
make sure that checkmark is on 2 polar
gaussian blur


TCEA 2010 Jing


Creating Video Tutorials with Jing
fort sam houston school district
Dr. Rios
what is jing
image capture
video capture
other freebies
free techsmith program
storage for videos is free used to make their presentation – free web based online chat during presentation
up to five minutes swf video
save to (free account)
for mac and windows
snag pic of screen
record vid of onscreen action
share instantly on web
free 2 gb storage
2 gb monthly bandwidth
click and drag
or select a window
capture image
manip preview
add text
add arrows
boxes, and highlighting
save or copy to clipboard or send to screencast

records audio too
3 sec countdown
record up to five minutes

(follow fshisd on twitter)
pro upgrade lets you go to youtube and itunes own camera and 14.95 a year

screencast pro account 25 gb storage
snagit and camtasia
200 gb or bandwidth – $10 per month or 100 a year

jing sun icon resides on your desktop
options features capture hotkey settings
free format is swf but pro does mpeg4
establish free screencast account
you can use other video there besides jing
sun icon can be hidden and reside in your programs toolbar

click capture button on sun
highlight what you want to capture or video
options on left toolbar -arrows, text, draw box around things, highlight sections,
keeps history on hard drive in jing

video tutorial how to
3 sec countdown then mic turns on
talk and do whatever then click stop
video is created

once on screencast you can grab the html code and embed it on blog or webpage

jing does not resize so set size to smallest
camtasia will resize and fit the window

vid tuts hints
anything where teachers will see desktop – make sure your desktop is clean
screencast page (They have a bunch of comic life tuts)

embedded on blog – hits count on your bandwidth
jing pro or camtasia lets you use with a webcam
you can also save to hard drive as flash video
free jing is only five minutes
break information into chunks
online lectures camtasia relay
voice recording will pick up internal mic or you can use headset
tell jing which mic you are going to use  screenwriting
livestream procaster
format factory
dimdim web meetings
edmodo free private social networks for teachers – if you can type you can create 3d movies

TCEA 2010 session 1 Language Arts Activities using Office

cross posted at

TCEA session 1
Karen Ferrel
Language Arts Activities using Microsoft Office

1. sentence elaboration
copy and paste
The dog ran.
to elaborate – see wherer they started and where they ended up for complete concrete visual of improvement
copy and paste sentence – add an adjective
The spotted dog ran.
How did the dog run?
The spotted dog ran swiftly.
more descriptive what breed?
The spotted dalmation ran swiftly.
The spotted dalmation swiftly trotted.
some language arts skills
teach open word, copy and paste,

Passive Verbs
Find and replace
given a prepared sentence or paragraph
use find and replace to find passive verbs like is
and replace with is but click more
format – replace unhighlighted is with highlighted is
replace is replace all
student can quickly see that they have a lot of is in there
vary sentence structure
find The (capital The space) check match case
this highlights all the sentences that start with The
you can change the colors of highlight

Parts of Speech
formatting and or highlighting
prepared paragraph
or their own writing
have them go through and highlight or bold all the verbs or different font
or underline
can use format painter
find all the nouns?
select noun, highlight
double click format painter
it will now stay active
now click off painter and click maybe the verbs
change format and click on format painter


sentence generator
tools addins box tool pack – click first tow little check boxes

has spread sheet of words click f9 and it generates a new sentence
uses a combination of an if statement
function =if randbetween
can highlight the list and format font to white so kids don’t see the words
file available online

design the sentences
create table
ID student name adjective noun 1 noun 2 adverb past tense verb
add data for each field

she used label wizard type in what sentence might look like
student name
the space adjective space noun space verb to the noun.
it will put them in there for you
detailed instructions online

drawn objects with text

click on the ? could be noun?  whatever you want them to click on
create text box, type in sentence, enlarge font
create buttons to tell student if they clicked right or wrong
can create prompts 1n wordart
e.g. try again, you are right, maybe a star that says correct!
if they click anywhere on the sentence besides the noun we want it to say try again
custom animation
add effect to try again
enter, dissolve?
attach animation to (right click timing box comes up click triggers
first everything will be try again
create boxes over nouns for exceptions
make  fill transparent so word will show (and no outline)
add animation effect for correct and again right click timing trigger and choose rectangle number (whatever is correct)

Error eraser
use this for finding an error in a sentence (taks)
(this one is in book – gamewise for Language arts
matching game
booth 935 and 2479
conference price for book 27.00

Internet Explorer Commercial Break

If your company decides to use Microsoft Exchange 2003 for email you will have to stop using Firefox and begin using internet explorer or you will not have all the options that should be available like making rules and folders for emails and seeing the calendar in umm, monthly view??  I should also add that it acts ugly with Safari, Google Chrome and Opera as well.

If you begin to use internet explorer you will not be able to open attachments or links included in emails unless you turn off the pop up blocker in internet explorer.  If you turn off the pop up blocker in internet explorer and have either the Yahoo or Google toolbar, you will need to turn off the pop up blockers on them as well. If you still have problems with attachments and links you can go to options and download some mime security thing.  If you still have issues, go to tools and add on management and try to figure out which add ons you can turn off and still have your internet function.  If that doesn’t work, open Quicktime and if you get a message saying that files are no longer associated with Quicktime and do you want to restore the defaults and update Quicktime, click yes.

If you still can’t open an attachment or a link, try opening your email in Firefox.

Now wasn’t that simple? Better living through technology!  I’m just saying….

iGoogle Fuss

I am working on part 4 of my Stealing Time story and it’s coming slooowly this time.

In the meantime I have been making some changes in the way I read blogs.  I have been using igoogle homepages for a couple of years because I liked the visuals but beginning last week I started having problems with it.  Suddenly, my pages wouldn’t load.  It wasn’t my computer or my bandwidth because I tried from several computers and several locations.  It just wouldn’t load.  I am assuming at this point that google has made some changes.

I began migrating my feeds to google reader.  It’s something I should have done to begin with.  I seem to enjoy making things difficult for myself by using things for purposes other than what they were intended for.  The process has been slow and I am still not finished but it has also been a good time to clean out.  There were a lot of feeds I didn’t bother reading anymore and as I migrate I have forced myself to pare it down to the things I read consistantly.  I have organized as I moved and marked everything read so that I can start fresh.

I am alternating on working on my story and googling so be patient.

Writing this story has been kind of like having a baby.  Repeatedly.  Doesn’t sound like fun does it?  I remember thinking in my ninth month that this was going on far too long and couldn’t this baby just GET HERE ALREADY?  Then I would go into labor and things would happen so fast that the pain seemed secondary just do the work breath through the pain oh here it comes don’t ask me anything, there – it’s a boy/girl/story. I was blessed with short labors for those of you that are reading this and going “what??”.  Writing the story seems like that for me.  Wait, wait, wait – boom!

I’m no good at the waiting part.  Never have been.  Never will be.