Monday, November 25, 2013

Photo Backup in Google+

When Google+ was first released I was sure it would take down the evil Facebook. All right, now there have been 3 times in my life I was wrong. Google+ is not the smash hit I expected it to be (although don't discount its networking ability!), but it does offer a lot more goodies than other social media sites do. One of the greatest is free photo storage and sharing. Google has long been one of the pioneers in free online photo storage with Picasa, but Google+ makes this even easier. Below is a quick "How-To" video on how to enable Auto Backup to automatically upload and store all those precious memories from your web enabled phones and devices. 

Steps to Upload Pictures:

  • Step 1: You will need to have your Google+ account active. If you have not done this, just be logged into your Google account and click the Google+ icon in your Apps and set up.
  • Step 2: Download the Google+ app on your phone/tablet. 
  • Step 3: Tap the 3 bar icon and then the gear (settings) icon.
  • Step 4: Tap on “Camera and Photos”.
  • Step 5: Tap “Auto Backup”.
  • Step 6: For FREE online storage make sure “Full Size Backups” is off. Then make sure back up is set to only over Wi-Fi (save data plan).
  • Step 7: Take lots of pictures and sit back and let them upload and be stored for FREE!

One tip: my suggestion is to turn off Full Size backup as it will eat away at your Google account space. If you turn off Full Size Backups you will enjoy unlimited photo storage! Check out the video for steps on how to do this!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

QR Codes: More Than Just Web Links

Tech Blog QR CodeQR Codes are one of the best "shortcut" tools available. Our district has a lot of iPads, so these work well (you need a device with a camera to scan the codes). Most teachers use them for links to web sites, but I use them to link kids to other files. You can upload files into your Google Drive and the QR code opens them (see my screencast below). I have set up QR codes on student writing that takes the scanning device to an audio file of the student reading or explaining their writing. This is great for Art teachers to put codes on a piece of work and have the creator tell about it. I showed our Spanish teacher how to use them for vocabulary review where students scan QR Codes and they take students to an image or a term (see Tech Chat below). QR codes are fantastic in any classroom with devices that can scan them. Yeah...I dig QR codes!

Share Audio Files in Google Drive with QR Codes

Access Images in Google Drive with QR Codes

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Discovery Education: Sounds and Songs

As much as use Discovery Education, there are always things I need to be reminded about. I had completely forgotten about the sounds and songs media! This is yet another great resource for classroom teachers and students. There are tons of downloadable sounds to use. Check them out!

Need a sound for a presentation/project?

Log into Discovery Education and click on the "Search" box.

Type in your search and click "Media Types".

Scroll down to "Listen" and choose the type of sound you want to search for and click the "Search" button.

Click on the clip you want to hear and listen to it. If you want to use it, click the "Download" button.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Teacher Board Builder in Discovery Education

Let's face it...Discovery Education is a fantastic program for classrooms. New this Fall was the release of Student Boards. These are easy to use online posters that can have media embedded right into them. Students can now create rich presentations/posters/online projects with all the available Discovery Education content (as well as their own). If you are using DE make sure to set up student accounts and utilize Student Board Builder! The big news is now Teacher Board Builder has been released. Teachers can now set up projects, assignments  and presentations and share them with their classes. Log in to your Discovery Education account and get "Building"!

Here is a quick video on how to start.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Creating Classes and Uploading Students into Discover Education

Discovery Education is such a great resource for classroom teachers. There is so much more to it than just "United Streaming" videos. There are assessments, assignments, projects, lesson plans, and Board Builders. If your school district is a Discovery Education district I hope you use it to it fullest. Start by creating classes in your account and giving each of your students their own log-ins. This will allow them access to all the tools you have access to as a teacher. If you are fortunate to have your students already enrolled into Discovery Ed on a building roster, it is extremely easy to enroll them into your class. If you do not have an uploaded roster, just look at the last few seconds of the clip to see how to manually upload students. 

Check out the video below for help.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Importing Student Contacts into Gmail

Google mail is one of the greatest classroom tools. It allows students to collaborate and communicate. The only issue may be sharing with others. Unless students know each other's actual Gmail address. This is where creating a contact list comes in handy. By sharing this list with students, they will all have the same contact list and just have to type in a collaborator's name and the email address will self populate. Follow these steps to accomplish this.

  1. Create a CSV file within Google Contacts with your teacher account as the first contact.
  2. Download this to your computer.
  3. Enter in each student's full name, first name, last name, and email address in the correct columns on the CSV file.
  4. Share this file with your class.
  5. Import this file into your contact list.
All these steps are shown in the How-To video below. Give it a shot and start collaborating!