Tag Archives: ICT

IT & ICT Tips for an Easy Teaching Life (4)

Technology has undoubtedly brought us a lot of interesting solutions to most of our teaching needs but at the same time, it has probably made it harder to be in control of what happens to and around us.

The main aim of these weekly posts is to give three quick tips -in no particular order- (in each post) to teachers to make their tech teaching lives a bit easier to manage. I choose the topics based on what my friends and colleagues ask me each week. You will find them practical especially if you have just decided to integrate technology into your teaching life and you find everything complicated and daunting!

Quick ICT posts4

Have you ever wondered what those square code boxes are that people scan? Have you ever wanted to create one for a classroom activity? Have you ever worried about the way you use Google services and wondered if there is a way to control your Google account? Have you ever wanted to quickly edit writing tasks on your computer and send them to your students? Or have you looked for the same ‘editing’ features on your Mac?  If yes, read on:

1. How to create QR codes:

For various reasons, QR codes are of everyone’s interest! There are a lot of platforms you can use to create these small mysterious boxes with links, texts, contacts, etc. and I have found the following two easy to work with:

  • http://www.qr-code-generator.com
  • https://qrcode.kaywa.com
  • Note 1: Static QR codes are free but dynamic ones are usually not. I think static ones do what we need them to do, so make sure you tick the box for static ones on these websites.
  • Note 2: If you don’t know what QR codes are, they are Quick Response Codes which are two-dimensional barcodes initially used in Japan but found everywhere now! They contain bits of data and you need to scan them with your smart phone to see what information they carry. They are usually used to direct you to websites or to help you save contact details quickly on your mobile device. You might need to install apps to scan these codes. If you need apps, these are my recommendations:
  • Note 3: On some phones, you don’t even need an app! Just scan the code with your camera while connected to the internet and you phone does the rest of it!
  • Note 4: You can also add a QR Code to your Chrome browser and generate codes with just a single click. Click here in your Chrome Browser to add it. You can add logos to your codes there as well.
  • Note 5: If you want to know how to use these in the classroom, these are some interesting posts to read:

 

2. How to control Google services:

Google provides us with a lot of interesting services. If you are like me and sign up for all services that Google introduces and check how things work and might stop using them after a short while and forget all about them, then Google Dashboard is the right place for you to go to.

In Google Dashboard you can control all Google services and get to their setting pages quickly and manage how you use Google services. You can see the number of messages in your Gmail, conversations you have been a part of, services you have connected to each other, devices you have used to connect to Google, suspicious activities and a lot of more valuable things!

Just log in to your account, click on the services from the menu and be in control of your Google activities:

Google Dashboard

3. How to mark writing tasks easily on your computer:

I have already gone through giving feedback using different technologies in more detail here but to cover this very quickly, this is what you should do when your students send you their writing assignments:

  • On Windows devices:

    • Open the document in Microsoft Office Word.
    • Click on the ‘review’ tab in the top menu bar.
    • Find ‘track changes’ in the ‘tracking’ section.
    • (optional) Click on the drop-down menu next to ‘track changes’ and click on ‘track changes options’ to customise the colour coding and other settings and click ‘ok’.
    • Click on ‘track changes’ to activate it. (You can also do this by Ctrl + Shift + E.)
    • Now go through the document and edit it! Delete text, replace words just like you would do with any texts in Word and all changes will be colour coded and highlighted.

 

  • On Apple Macs:

    • Open the document in Pages.
    • Click on ‘Edit’ in the bar at the top of your screen where the Apple logo is (not the top of the page).
    • Click on ‘Track Changes’.
    • Edit your text and enjoy the same Microsoft Office Word features.
    • Once done, click on ‘Edit’ again and click on ‘Turn Off Tracking’.

Watch this space for the next posts if you found this one useful and comment on this post if you have any particular issues with this week’s ideas.

Link to previous posts:

IT & ICT Tips for an Easy Teaching Life (3)

Technology has undoubtedly brought us a lot of interesting solutions to most of our teaching needs but at the same time, it has probably made it harder to be in control of what happens to and around us.

The main aim of these weekly posts is to give three quick tips -in no particular order- (in each post) to teachers to make their tech teaching lives a bit easier to manage. I choose the topics based on what my friends and colleagues ask me each week. You will find them practical especially if you have just decided to integrate technology into your teaching life and you find everything complicated and daunting!

Quick ICT posts

Have you ever wanted to quickly add an image or a screenshot from an object on your desktop to a presentation or a Word document? Have you ever wanted to connect your Dropbox to your Google Drive, add your Instagram class photos to a Google Drive folder to share with colleagues and friends or save your favourite Tweets in an Evernote notebook ‘automatically’? Have you ever received two versions of the same document and didn’t know how to find the changes quickly? If yes, read on:

1. How to take screenshots:

For various reasons teachers might need to take screenshots of certain parts of their screen as this is usually the quickest way to copy something and add it to a presentation or a lesson plan. There are different ways to do so but the easiest are:

    • On a Windows system:

      • In the ‘search’ menu of your version of Windows look for ‘Snipping Tool’.
      • Once opened, click on ‘new’ and select the part of the screen you want a shot from by dragging your cursor around it to form a rectangular.
      • Click on ‘save’ on the screenshot page and save it on your machine.
      • Drag and drop it to your task bar to create a shortcut to access it if you use it a lot.
      • Need to know more about ‘Snipping Tool’ on Windows? Click here.
    • On a Mac

      • If you need a shot from the whole page (your entire screen): Command+Shift+3
      • If you need a shot from a certain part of the screen: Command+Shift+4 and move the cursor round the object on the screen. You can do this by moving three fingers on the track pad and lifting your fingers all together for the screenshot to be taken. (You need to have activated your trackpad features for this.)
      • The screenshots will appear on your desktop.

2. How to connect different services and apps to Google Drive:

This, in fact, is not just about connecting services to Google Drive but is about connecting all services to each other. If you want to add your Dropbox files to your Google Drive automatically or add the names of the new students to a Google Sheet automatically, or save your favourite Tweets on Twitter to an Evernote notebook or a Google Sheet or even save your Instagram photos to a Google Drive folder without even having to worry about anything, then IFTTT is the right tool for you!

if recipe

    • Go to https://ifttt.com
    • There are 231 (as of today) already thought about routes betweens apps and services and most of them are useful for teachers. Just click on the app you want to connect your other apps to and ‘connect’ to the channel. I’d rather not explain the details here because you just need to follow the on-screen steps to get things done and they are easy to follow!
    • Note: The IF THIS THEN THAT website is an online productivity tool which helps you design your own online commands so that certain online tasks between your favourite apps and services will be done without you wasting any extra minutes switching between your apps and devices. If the route you want is not among the 231 items already there, you can create your own route and share it with everyone using IFTTT.

3. How to compare two versions of a document in Microsoft Word

If you have two versions of a document or if you have sent a document to a colleague and they have made changes to it and have sent it back to you and now it’s hard to see which parts of the document they have changed, then Microsoft Word gives you an option to easily and quickly find those differences between your version and that of your colleague’s.

    • Open one of the files (any versions of Microsoft Word).
    • Click on ‘review’ in the ribbon on the top.
    • Click on ‘compare’.
    • Choose the two documents you want word to compare as the ‘original document’ and the ‘revised document’.
    • Click ‘OK’.
    • You can also click on ‘more’ and decide which particular items you want Word to compare in the two files and then click ‘OK’.
    • Done! Enjoy the comparison!

Watch this space for the next posts if you found this one useful and comment on this post if you have any particular issues with this week’s post.

Link to previous posts:

IT & ICT Tips for an Easy Teaching Life (2)

Technology has undoubtedly brought us a lot of interesting solutions to most of our teaching needs but at the same time, it has probably made it harder to be in control of what happens to and around us.

The main aim of these weekly posts is to give three quick tips (in each post) to teachers to make their tech teaching lives a bit easier to manage. You will find them practical especially if you have just decided to integrate technology into your teaching life.

Tech Tips for Teachers 02

Have you ever forgotten to take your activity dice to the classroom and had an internet connection? Have you ever wanted to show a full-screen timer to the participants without worrying about finding a good clock app? Do you need to insert an image into a document and the file type fails to load in the application? Do you want to send an audio file to someone and they can’t open the type you are sending them? Are you on a Mac and use Pages to create worksheets but need to send them to your office PC which runs Windows to print them or do you just want to share them with a colleague who uses Microsoft Word? If yes, read on:

  1. How to replace the plastic dice with a digital one:

Don’t worry if you have forgotten to take your dice to the classroom for a board game. All you need is an active internet connection or an app which you have already installed on your mobile device:

  • Need it on the browser? Click here.
  • Want it on your iPhone or iPad? Click here.
  • Want it on an Android device? Click here.
  1. How to show an activity timer to everyone in the room:

There are many ways to broadcast an activity timer from any device to an overhead projector but if you are connected to the internet and need something quick and handy, Google has it for you.

  • In the search bar on Google type ‘timer … minutes’ e.g. ‘timer 5 minutes’ and the timer appears right below the box and starts the ticking!
  • Click on the box in front of the timer for a full-screen view. The timer beeps at the end.
  • (An active internet connection is only necessary for the timer to show up on your screen. If you lose your connection, the timer will still work.)
  1. How to change a file extension:

  • Over the internet (when there is no sensitive information in the file, your internet is fast and stable and you don’t feel like exploring your computer’s capabilities):

    • Go to http://www.convertfiles.com/ (You can also do it here but I personally find the first link a lot easier to work with.)
    • Choose the file from your computer or give the website a link to download the file from.
    • Choose the input and output format.
    • Click on ‘convert’!
  • On a Windows computer:

    • If you can’t see the file extension at the end of the file name after a dot, e.g. blogpost3.rtf or blogpost3.pdf, you need to follow these steps first:
      • Click on ‘control panel’.
      • Click on ‘Appearance and Personalisation’.
      • Click on ‘Folder Options’.
      • When the ‘folder options’ box pops up, click on ‘view’. (In Windows 8, this can be reached from top of the folder page next to the ‘computer’ tab.)
      • Un-tick the box next to ‘hide extensions for known file types’.
      • Click on ‘apply’ and then ‘ok’.
      • The file types must be visible now.
    • If you can see the file extension at the end of the file name after a dot on your computer, follow the following steps:
      • Right click on the file and select ‘rename’.
      • Change the part after the dot (which is the file extension and shows the file type) to something you want, e.g. picno1.PNG to picno1.JPEG.
      • Hit enter!
    • Note 1: This windows function only works when changing file types to something of the same nature, for example .PNG to .JPEG or .docx to .rtf and doesn’t work for changing a .docx file to a .pdf file or vice versa and the new file will look messy and unusable. Don’t worry if this has happened! You can still restore the file to its original version easily.
    • Note 2: Sometimes changing the file type can be done in a much easier way from within the application. Just click on ‘file’ menu and choose ‘save as’. Then choose a destination and/or a new name for the new file. Then below the box for the file name click on the drop-down menu for ‘save as type’. You can see a list of file types you can easily change your original file to. Then click on ‘save’!
  • On a Mac:

    • If you can’t see the file extension at the end of the file name after a dot, e.g. blogpost3.key or blogpost3.pdf, you need to follow these steps first:
      • Click somewhere on your desktop for the ‘finder’ menu to appear on the top bar.
      • Click the ‘finder’ menu and then click on ‘preferences’.
      • Click on ‘advanced’ in the ‘preferences’ box.
      • Put a tick next to ‘show all filename extensions’.
      • Close the box.
      • The file types must be permanently visible for all files now.
    • If you can see the file extension at the end of the file name after a dot on your mac, follow the following steps:
      • Click on the file but don’t open it!
      • Hold the ‘command’ key and press ‘I’. This will open the information box for that file which can also be reached by right clicking on the file and clicking on ‘get info’.
      • You can see all the information about your file, including its name in an editable box.
      • (You can uncheck the ‘hide extension’ option here as well if you want the file extension to be seen.)
      • Click in the editable box where you see the file name and change the extension which is after the dot.
      • Close the box.
    • Note 1: This function only works when changing file types to something of the same nature, for example .PNG to .JPEG and doesn’t work for changing a .txt file to a .key file or vice versa and the new file will look messy and unusable. Don’t worry if this has happened! You can still restore the file to its original version easily.
    • Note 2: Changing the file type can be done in a much easier way from within the application on a Mac and the Preview function can change most graphic file types to each other very easily. Just click on ‘file’ menu and choose ‘export’. Then choose a destination and/or a new name for the new file. You will see a list of options there to choose from. Choose your file type and export it.
    • Note 3: This can even export the file you have created with Pages (the Mac equivalent for Office Word) to a Word document if you are sending it to someone who is on a Windows PC. You can do this file export even if you don’t have Microsoft Office Word on your Mac at all!

Watch this space for the next posts if you found this one useful and comment on this post if you have any particular  issues or questions for the next-week post.

Link to previous posts:

IT & ICT Tips for an Easy Teaching Life (1)

Tech Tips for Teachers

Technology has undoubtedly brought us a lot of interesting solutions to most of our teaching needs but at the same time, it has probably made it harder to be in control of what happens to and around us.

The main aim of these weekly posts is to give three quick tips (in each post) to teachers to make their tech teaching lives a bit easier to manage. You will find them practical especially if you have just decided to integrate technology into your teaching life.

Do you have to check a particular webpage regularly and want to reach it with just a click? Do your naughty or accidental YouTube searches appear on your YouTube homepage and you receive naughty video recommendations in your mailbox and don’t know how to get rid of them? Do you use WhatsApp to keep in touch with your students and you need it on your desktop to handle it easily and share docs from your computer? Read the following lines for some quick solutions:

  1. How to add a webpage to the task bar (or the Dock in a Mac) for easy access:

    • Internet Explorer on Windows

      • Open the tab!
      • Just drag and drop the tab to the task bar as you would do with any other softwares. it will be added to the task bar for your future easy access.
    • Chrome on Windows

      • Open the tab!
      • Click on the setting icon in the top right-hand corner of the page.
      • Click on ‘more tools’.
      • Click on ‘create application shortcuts’. [The tab can be added to the ‘desktop’, ‘start menu’ or the ‘task bar’]
      • Tick the box next to ‘Pin to task bar’.
      • Click on ‘create’.
      • Done!
    • Safari (or other explorers) on Macs

      • Open the page that you want to add to the Dock (=Mac version of the task bar).
      • Click the small icon (which is the website icon) on the left side of the URL and drag it from your browser’s address field to the Dock near the trash.
      • Remember you have to pin it near the trash as there is a Dock Separator there which doesn’t allow you to pin a tab between two apps. The Dock Separator is the line that appears near the Trash icon. The side of the Dock above or to the left of the separator is for applications. The side below or to the right is for URLs, files, and folders.
      • If these steps don’t work on your Mac OX, open your browser’s list of bookmarked URLs and drag the icon from there into the Dock.
  2. How to get rid of your YouTube watch and search history:

    • Log in to your Google Account.
    • Go to www.youtube.com
    • Click on ‘history’ in the left-side panel.
    • Click on ‘watch history’ or ‘search history’ in the main panel on top of the page.
    • Click on ‘clear all watch history’ or ‘clear all search history’.
    • Done! If you don’t want Google to keep track of watch you watch or search in the future, there is one more step to take!
    • Click on ‘stop watch history’ or ‘stop search history’.
    • Done for ever!
  3. How to get WhatsApp running on your laptop

    • Note: You can’t do this on Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge (at least at this time that I am writing this post) so use any other updated browsers you can find!
    • On your laptop go to http://web.whatsapp.com. You should be able to see a QR Code there.
    • Now open the app on your mobile device and do one of the following:
      • iOS: tap the Settings tab, then tap “WhatsApp Web”.
      • Android: tap the Menu button, then tap “WhatsApp Web”.
      • Windows Phone: tap the Menu button, then tap “WhatsApp Web”.
      • Blackberry 10: Swipe down from the top of the main screen and tap “WhatsApp Web”.
    • Your phone will open a screen with a camera window (so your phone must have a camera!)
    • Point your phone’s camera  to the QR Code on your laptop screen and centre the QR code.
    • Done! You’ll now see your contacts on your laptop.
    • Just under your profile photo you can see ‘get notified of new notifications’. Click on it and follow the instructions if you want to receive desktop notifications even when the tab is not the active one on your desktop.

Watch this space for the next posts if you found this one useful and comment on this post if you have any particular Learning Technologies/e-Learning issues or questions for the next-week post.

The Best 8 iPad Video Creation Apps for Teachers in 2014 ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

The list is not exhaustive but saves you a lot of time. I personally like ‘YouTube Capture’ and ‘Knowmia’.

The Best 8 iPad Video Creation Apps for Teachers in 2014 ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

How to Use Backchannels in the Classroom – Green Light Professional Development

Twitter is, most probably, the first app which introduced hashtags to the virtual world. Today, hashtags have taken some steps forward and are used in many social networks, especially Instagram. But how can we use them in our classroom? The background conversation using hashtags is called backchanneling and Hope Morely discusses different platforms which can add spice to our classroom activities.

How to Use Backchannels in the Classroom – Green Light Professional Development