Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mash-Up: Spreed Chrome Extension + Online Text = Fluency Companion (for Students)

This mash-up showcases the Spreed Chrome Extension and any online text that is kid friendly, such as newsela.com or teachingkidsnews.com. When the tools are mashed-up together it will create an online fluency companion for students. Students can not practice their fluency reading on their own in order to better reach their latest goal. 


Spreed Chrome Extension allows you to practice your reading by adjusting your WPM (Words Per Minute). It claims that using the extension will double or triple your reading speed. I don't know if they have any research to back this up, but this mash-up is simply showcasing as a means to practice reading speed.

There are a plenty of online articles that students can choose from, so use the sites that you find the best. Some of my top choices are Newsela, Teaching Kids News, and Time for Kids. Newsela allows you to change the lexile reading level, which is a great benefit for students. Teaching Kid News, is geared towards students in 2nd-8th grade. Time for Kids, has the most recent news articles written for students. 





Monday, March 30, 2015

Favorite Chrome Extensions - Week of March 30th

Here are my Chrome extensions favorites for the week. 

#1: Wolfram Alpha
Type: Productivity
Summary: This extension allows you to query Wolfram Alpha from any webpage. Wolfram Alpha isn't a search engine, it is referred to as a computational knowledge engine. When you conduct a query via a search engine you often have to put each entry in separately to get accurate data. With Wolfram Alpha you can put all of it in as once. For example, if you are searching for data on different planets, Wolfram Alpha might be a better solution. If you want to find the answer to a complex mathematical equation, Wolfram Alpha would also be a better solution. If you subscribe to the pro version it will show you all the steps to reach that solution.




#2: Bit.ly URL Shortener
Type: Productivity
SummaryIt allows you to shorten the current URL, gives you the same shortened URL every time you use the extension on the same page. I usually use goo.gl for my shortened URLs, but sometime I get an error message when using that extension, so this one my fall back. 




#3: Shareaholic for Google Chrome
Type: Productivity
SummaryAn easy way to share & bookmark great content from anywhere on the web with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & 200+ other services. You can also get a shortened URL for the webpage as well as access your sharing history.


#4: To Do List
Type: Productivity
Summary: Create a simple to do list from any open tab/window. Drag and drop the items to order the list. There is not advanced about this extension. If you are looking for a simple way to stay on top of tasks this extension might be what you need. The number of tasks to complete show up on the extension as a daily reminder. 




Monday, March 23, 2015

Favorite Chrome Extensions - Week of March 23rd

My favorite extension this week are all centered around my favorite topic, Google. Many of you might already be aware of these extensions, but I felt it important to share for those who might not know. 

#1Google Voice
Type: Productivity
SummaryMake calls, send SMS, preview Inbox, and get notified of new Google Voice messages on your computer. This extension is only available for United States numbers.


#2: Google Mail Checker
Type: Productivity
SummaryDisplays the number of unread messages in your Google Mail inbox. You can also click the button to open your inbox.


#3: Google Cast
Type: Productivity
SummarySend content to your Chromecast and other devices that support Google Cast. I use this one personally to stream to my TV, but I know teachers out there are using it in their classrooms as well.


#4: Block Sender (for GMail)
Type: Productivity
SummaryBlock annoying emails in Gmail. Say goodbye to unwanted newsletters, individuals, and other uninvited email senders. Note: free version allows a couple blocks, but there is a paid subscription available.



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Resources & Ideas on Digital Citizenship

Last night #gafechat combined with #txlchat to discuss Digital Citizenship. It was co-moderated by Becky Calzada and myself. We were a bit worried that St. Patrick's Day and Spring Break would keep people from participating. Boy were we mistaken! Over 70 people came to share and learn about digital citizenship. It was an amazing conversation

With that said, here are some great resources and ideas gathered from the discussion.

Overall

  • Digital citizenship does not always need to be some formal lesson. It can be a brief discussion with students on what it means to be a good online citizen.
  • Instead of using the term 'digital footprint' we should use 'digital tattoo' because it helps solidify permanency. Something you put online can be deleted, but will still leave a trace, just as removing a tattoo still leaves a trace.


Digital Citizenship Educator Resources

Digital Citizenship Activities/Ideas
I want to thank all who came and participated in the chat. I am truly blessed to have such an amazing PLN to learn from. Here is a link to the archived chat if you want to check out more of the conversation. 


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Favorite Chrome Extensions - Week of March 16th

Here are my top picks for the week. I hope you are able to find a new extension to love. 


#1: Replies and More for Google+
Type: Social & Communication
Summary: This was truly a find for me. If you are on Google+ this is a MUST have Chrome extension. While it allows you to quickly reply to the author of the post, that isn't the best part. The best part is it allows you to quickly share posts on Facebook, Twitter, Email, LinkedIn, Tumblr, HootSuite, and Pinterest. At the moment the Pinterest icon isn't work for me, but hopefully this is just a temporary glitch. 





#2: Pushbullet
Type: Productivity
Summary: The extension states that it is just for Android phones, but thanks to Jake Duncan I now know that this is for Android and iPhones. I am sooooo happy. Once he pointed that out I quickly downloaded the app for my iPhone and started pushing things between my computer and phone. 

Automatically see all of your Android phone's notifications right on your computer. This means you can see who's calling or read and reply to text messages even if you phone is on silent or in another room. Get notifications, links and files from your phone on your computer. 



#3: Simple Undo Close
Type: Productivity
Summary




#4: Google Voice Search
Type: Search Tools
Summary: This allow you to use your voice to conduct a Google search. When you are on the Google Search page, say 'Ok Google' and use your voice to conduct a search. Great extension for people who struggle with typing, spelling, or just want to search with their voice. 






Sunday, March 8, 2015

Favorite Chrome Extensions - Week of March 9th

Here are my Chrome extensions recommendations for the week. These are not necessarily life changing Chrome extensions, but ones that might just bring you a little bit of happiness. And we could all use a little more happiness in our life, right!?!


#1: Spanish Characters
Type: Productivity
Summary: Unfortunately, I do not speak Spanish, so this extension does not get a lot of use out of me. But this blog isn't for me it is for you, so hopefully people out there will find this extension useful. When you want to insert a Spanish character, simply right click on the page, go to 'Spanish Characters' and choose the character. To use on a Google document you must copy and paste the character from the Chrome Extension list, just know that you will have to format the character to your writing. 



#2: Attachment Icons for Gmail
Type: Social & Communication
Summary: Sometime is it the little things that makes me happy. This extension is one of them. It simply replaces the attachment paperclip icon with an icon that shows you exactly what type of file that is attached. Is this extension life changing...probably not, but if you are like me it will make you happier when checking email. 



#3: Fresh Start
Type: Productivity
Summary: This extension allows you to save all open tabs to a new session, hand select tabs to be saved, recover tabs from a crash, restore a session in a new window or merge into current window, and more. That is great if you want to save your tabs to quickly start working on the same project next time you are online. 



#4: Post Editor for Google+
Type: Productivity
Summary: This extension allows you to do some simple formatting, such as bold, italics, strikethrough, on your Google+ posts. 



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mash-Up: www.newsela.com + Awesome Screenshot Minus = Interacting with Online Text

This mash-up is going to showcase two tools: www.newsela.com and Awesome Screenshot Minus Chrome extension (the original post was created using Awesome Screenshot, but that extension has since gone away. Awesome Screenshot Minus is a replacement extension). Mashed together gives the students the ability to interact with online text. This one is not touchscreen computer compatible, which means students will need to use the touchpad or mouse to engage with the tools.



Newsela is a website that allows teachers/students to change the article's reading level by the lexile number. This will allow you to assign the same article at different reading levels. Great for having all students participate in a class discussion around the same topic, while allowing the students the ability to read the article at their respect reading level.

Awesome Screenshot is a Chrome extension that allows you to take a screenshot of the entire webpage and then interact by highlighting, adding text, drawing, etc. The screenshot with annotations can then be shared to Google Drive.






Monday, March 2, 2015

Mash-Up: awwapp.com + Screencastify = Interactive Whiteboard

I am starting a new series called Mash-Up. The idea came to me as I was thinking about the popular App Smashing concept. In App Smashing students use 2 more more iOS or Android applications to create a product. Mash-Up is going to show how to combine 2-3 web-based tools. For all the educators out there who don't have student iPads, this is for you. 

In this first Mash-Up I will showcase how to use awwapp.com, a web whiteboard, and Screencastify, a Chrome extension, to create an interactive whiteboard. 





I hope you will find this new series useful. There is no set schedule for when videos will come out, but stay tuned because more are on the way.




Favorite Chrome Extensions - Week of March 2, 2015

Here are my top picks for the week. Hope you find at least one new extension to fall in love with.

#1: Google Calendar (by Google)
Type: Productivity
Summary: If you use Google Calendar, then this is a must have extension. It allows you to quickly see your calendar from any open window/tab. You also have the ability to add a new event from the extension.



#2TabJump
Type: Productivity
Summary: This extension is for all of you tab hoarders out there. You know the ones that have so many tabs open that they have a hard time finding the one they want. With TabJump you can quickly open a pop-up window that shows you the tabs you have open, so you can choose the right one in an instant. It also shows you recently closed tabs and open tabs that are related to the one you have currently on.




#3: Hangouts
Type: Social & Communication
Summary: This extension will keep Google Hangouts running on your computer, so you are always available. I always have this extension running so that people know when I am online and can contact me with questions or just want to chat. 



#4Start.Me
Type: Productivity
Summary: Finding the perfect browser start up page has been a battle for me. I find ones that I like for a while, but there is always something that seems to be missing. I have been using this extension for over a month now and am pretty pleased. There are a bunch of different widgets that you can add the page, so you tailor it to your likes and needs. This is definitely an extension that is worth a try if you are like me and want a customized homepage.




Want to learn more about Chrome? Check out my tutorial here