Thursday, December 21, 2017

Student-produced tech tip videos

This year, students on the Academic Leadership Council are producing short tech tips to help the CVU community.

The first two are from Olivia Mead.  Look for more coming soon.  Consider subscribing to the channel so you get the updates.

Here's the latest:

Monday, December 11, 2017

WeVideo help videos

Gary and I were just working with a class using WeVideo.  They asked about getting tutorial videos.  As much as I enjoy creating those myself, in this case the help videos produced by WeVideo are so good that it's not worth reinventing that particular wheel.

The videos are short and to the point. 

Learn how to:

  • Trim and Split Clips
  • Add Text and Annotations
  • Use the Green Screen Effect
  • Adjust Audio Levels

and more.

A reminder that in order to use some of these techniques, you need to get the code from Gary or me, as they are not available to free accounts.  We're happy to assist you with any of this!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Vermont AOE adopts ISTE standards for students

The state of Vermont Agency of Ed has chosen to adopt the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) standards for students.  These are the standards that we have been using to created learning targets at CVSD for technology integration.

The standards align well with our Graduation Standards and can be found here.  I like how the site is arranged, in that you can expand each standard to view indicators.  

A press release from the AOE is here.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Hour of Code

Next week is the annual Hour of Code.  The idea is to get as many people as possible to experience programming for one hour during the week.  If you've never participated before, why not give a try? There are lots of fun tutorials available here, which can be sorted by grade level, platform, etc.

Teachers, I can help you plan an activity for your class.  You could even assign one of the tutorials in place of homework.  And you may want to try a tutorial out yourself.

Students, whether or not you do this during class next week, why not take a look at some of the high school tutorials.  You may find out that it's something you're interested in!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Recording & transcribing voice (and other audio)

Anyone remember Dictaphones?  They were small voice recorders that people used to record/dictate their thoughts and conversations for later transcription or playback.  They're yet another device made obsolete by smartphones. 

A teacher recently asked what students can use on their Chromebooks for dictation. 

Here are two tools that work well for audio recording

TwistedWave is a very simple audio recording tool.  You may need to enable Flash to get it working the first time.  You'll also need to allow access to your computer microphone.

SoundTrap is more like an online Audacity or GarageBand. It allows you to record multiple tracks and has lots of other features (such as musical loops and effects).

There are also tools that convert your speech into text on the fly

Google Voice Typing is built into Google Docs.  Find it under the Tools menu.  Just click the microphone icon and start talking.  When finished, click the icon again, then go in and clean up any errors.

Read and Write for Google is a tool that is available to all CVSD students.  Teachers can also use it for free (see me to get it set up).  It has a text to speech tool among other helpful reading and writing assistants. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Videoconferencing Tools

Some of us are old enough to remember actually dialing telephones (that only reached as far as the cord would stretch).  As well as busy signals and having to call back because people didn't have answering machines.  Back then, adding video to a phone call was an exciting idea, but it took the tech world some time to get there.

Well, times have surely changed.  There are now many ways to videoconference.  The educational applications are many; you can invite guest speakers to connect from their location, hold discussions with classrooms around the world, facilitate distance learning, and more.

Here are some tools that you can use, with a brief discussion of each (note that these apps are frequently updated, so you may find different functionality in the most recent version).

First off, here's what all of these apps support:
  • Sharing your screen, so other participants can see a presentation or document, etc.
  • Multiple participants
  • Ability to mute audio and/or video
  • Ability to participate by phone
  • Chat/text messaging 

This was the first well-known application for computers It requires installing software on your Windows of Mac device.  If you're on a Chromebook, consider a different application at this point. Users need to have a Microsoft account (Skype is now owned by Microsoft). 

Works in the browser, so it's great for Chromebooks as well as Windows and Mac.  Detects who's speaking, changing the video focus to that person. You can invite people who don't have Google accounts.

GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx, Adobe Connect...
These are popular apps in the business world.  They requires downloading software or installing a Chrome extension.  Free versions are limited. You may be invited to one of these by an organization or business, but I would not recommend using this for your class.
There are many other computer-based applications, as well, but I would start with either Google or Skype.

One thing I have found using these tools for distance learning is that they allow students to participate in the mode with which they are most comfortable.  Some like to broadcast video, others audio only, and others by text.  

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

New look in Google Calendar

Google Calendar is unveiling a sleek new look.  You will soon have the option to switch to it (you may already be seeing it if you have a personal Google account).

(and then switch back for now if you don't like it).  

One thing I like about it is that when you create an event or  click on an existing event in the calendar, you edit/see all the details without leaving the calendar page (see screenshot below).

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Social Media for Educators Course

Wondering how you can use social media effectively as an educator?  Check out this course, presented by Michael Berry from the Mt. Mansfield Modified Union School District (and you thought CVSD was a mouthful!).  

Mike has done great work using social media and I'm sure this course will be helpful.  According to the video below, you'll learn how go use social media for your own professional development and  growth, in the classroom, and for your school.   

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Printing all docs in a Google Drive folder

Several classes recently did a project where they needed to print posters that were saved in Google Drive.  The teacher created a shared folder for the posters.  The question now was how to print all the docs without individually opening each one.

Here are instructions for doing this with Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Making maps

I've posted before about map-making tools.  These are excellent learning tools for students, whether it's mapping out the places in a novel they're reading, or planning a wildlife refuge, or examining the historical development of their town. 

Two new things to share on this:

Google Earth, which used to be an installed app, is now web-based.  However, you'll notice that there seems to be no way to create your own "tour" in the web-based version.  There is now a tool called TourBuilder that solve this problem.  It's in beta, but seems to stable.  Here's a tour I made of CVSD schools:

In TourBuilder
In Google Earth

If you want to use a powerful app to create maps with lots of geospatial data, take a look at ArcGIS.  I got to know this software at a recent conference.  We have free accounts for all students at CVU.  Here's the kind of map you can produce with ArcGIS.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Putting one Google doc in multiple folders

Have you ever been torn between whether a particular document should go in one folder vs another?  Perhaps you have a doc that should go in your W3 folder but would make just as much sense to go in your  Writing folder.

The good news is that you can put the doc in both folders.  Here's how:

  1. Open Google Drive (not Google Docs for this-- Drive is the organizational app).
  2. Click on the file to select it (don't actually open it).  You can even select multiple files with Ctrl-click, if desired.
  3. Press Shift-Z.
  4. You will then be asked where you want to add the file.  This is not the same as Move To.., because you're not moving it. 
  5. Note that this does not make a copy of the file.  It's the exact same doc; you can open and edit it from any of its folders.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Windows 10

As you return to school this year, you'll notice a new version of Windows on office and classroom computers.  The good news is that we skipped over Windows 8, which was poorly received by users.  We're going right to Windows 10, which is not significantly different than Windows 7.  You should be able to find your way around, but please let me know if you need support with this.

One issue you may run into with Windows 10 is finding your network storage.  Mike Kanfer prepared this "how-to" to help with this.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Summer PD Opportunities

Here are some good-looking opportunities for PD this summer involving tech. I know the people presenting these and they do a good job.

Please check out our summer offerings of workshops and courses. It is important that you register early.   Signup early to save a spot.  June 23rd is the last day to signup. Decisions will be made by the end of June if a course/workshop will not run.    Please share these offerings with your colleagues and educator friends. Class locations are Essex and Colchester, please see details below. Come learn some new technologies while creating new lessons to use with students.

Chris CichoskiKelly, Joanne Finnegan and I will be offering several options for you. We have some full day workshops and some week long graduate courses. Our focus in all of these is to increase your knowledge of the tools that you have available to you as well as integrating them into your classroom.   

Google Workshops (4 full day options) - Descriptions below - Location Champlain Valley Educator Development Center, Colchester
  • July 10: Gmail, Calendar and Google Keep - $150
  • July 11: Google Drive, Docs/Sheets, Add-Ons - $150
  • July 24: Google Forms, Google Drawing, Google Slides & Youtube - $150
  • July 25: Google Classroom - $150

Three Credit Course: Empowering Learners Using Technology - $1200 w/grad credit - Non CVEDC members $1300 w/grad credit - $825 without credit
Location: Essex Middle School, Essex
Summer Hybrid: 5 days - August 2,3,4,7,8
8 additional online hours on Edu2.0 week of July 24th
Target Audience: Grade K-12 Educators
See course description below

Three Credit Course: Weaving Standards, Technology and Lifelong Skills into Content Areas - $1200 w/grad credit - Non CVEDC members $1300 w/grad credit - $825 without credit
Location: Champlain Valley Educator Development Center, Colchester
August 14-18, Monday through Friday
Target Audience: Grade K-12 Educators
See course description below

************** Descriptions ***************************
Google workshop descriptions:(Click on Workshop Title to get to registration form)
These workshops are appropriate for all staff who work in school systems that use Google products. Each day will have a different focus and you can choose to take 1, 2, 3, or all 4.   There is an incentive if you do take all 4 - a $25 gift card. These will be held in the Champlain Valley Educator Development Center in Fort Ethan Allen, Colchester.  

This hands-on full day workshop will allow participants to become more
familiar with Google Mail and Google Calendars. We will delve as deeply into
these apps as time allows. Participants will have the opportunity to explore
and apply mail filters, labels, and additional mail settings; create and share
calendars, and create calendar events. The focus will be to help increase
productivity in your day-to-day use of Gmail and Calendar.
Google Keep is another productivity tool that will help you organize your todo lists or take notes. This session will also include a brief explanation of G+
and its features.

This hands-on full day workshop will give participants a thorough
understanding of Google Drive, including Docs and Sheets. We will
concentrate on the features that make Google Drive a tool that can facilitate
sharing documents and working collaboratively. There will be several
opportunities to see how you might use these tools to work personally as
well with colleagues and students. Participants will learn some organization
and productivity strategies for these tools. We will share some of our favorite
add-ons that make these tools even more effective.

This hands-on day long workshop will include how to create and use Google
Forms, particularly in the classroom. Forms can be used to create quizzes,
gather information, and to have people sign up for events. Participants will
also learn the basics of Google Drawing, a possible alternative to Microsoft
Publisher, and how to integrate it into other Google Products. YouTube has
several features that make editing video and creating photo slideshows quick
and easy. Google Slides, a presentation editor, similar to PowerPoint, will
also be introduced. Participants will explore ways these Google products can
be used both in the classroom and in personal life.

This hands-on day long workshop will focus on learning about the uses and
advantages of Google Classroom. This tool is excellent for distributing work
to students maximizing your teaching time. Google Classroom can improve
your class organization, allowing you to create assignments quickly, provide
feedback and communicate with parents and students easily. You will learn
about the basic and advanced components of Google Classroom, how to
share various forms of media and which websites integrate well with Google
Classroom. Be prepared to start your school year off organized and ready.

Three Credit Courses:
Empowering Learners Using Technology(click title to register)
Summer Hybrid: 5 days - August 2,3,4,7,8
8 additional online hours on Edu2.0 week of July 24th
Location: Essex Middle School
Summer Hybrid: 5 days/ 8 additional online hours on Edu2.0
Target Audience: Grade K-12 Educators
This 3 graduate credit course will explore the new and emerging technologies that can support and empower learners. Models of technology integration will be compared with focus on Scott McLeod’s Trudacot (Technology-Rich Unit Design And Classroom Observation Template), a template of questions that encourage educators to think purposefully about how technology is being used in their classrooms.
Participants will:
  • Discuss current movements in educational technology including STEAM, coding, Maker Spaces, design thinking, connected learning and blended learning.
  • Explore newer technologies including virtual reality, creation of memes and infographics
  • Explore a variety of apps that support the Four C’s
  • Develop hyperlinked digital lessons using Google Apps, the new standards and newer technologies to purposefully embed technology.
  • Create or redesign a series of lessons using the frameworks examined in class and that are aligned with the ISTE 2016 and curriculum standards.
Most of the work will be done using Google Chrome and can be accomplished on a Chromebook or laptop running the Chrome browser. Chromebooks can be provided in the classroom for those not having one to bring.  Books will be available before the start of the class as there is required reading prior  to the first classroom date.  St Michael’s registration forms will be online and need to be returned to CVEDC by 7/28/17 for graduate credit..

August 14-18, Monday through Friday
Location: Champlain Valley Educator Development Center, Colchester
Target Audience: Grade K-12 Educators
Format: 5 class days and some online hours during the week.
Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Innovation, Inquiry and Problem Solving are the Transferable Skills identified by the VT AOE.
This 3-credit course will focus on the use of technology to help all students attain National and Vermont standards and skills. Using technology tools, apps and resources that are inexpensive or freely available, educators will learn how to bring student learning to a higher level. We will focus on how to align content-based graduation proficiencies with the transferable skills to create curriculum around all content areas.
Participants will:  
  • Spend time researching apps and extensions that can be used on any device that can use a Chrome browser, including many Google Apps for Education Programs and Add-ons.
  • Explore Universal Design for Learning and the use of assistive technology to meet the needs of all students.  
  • Compare and contrast appropriate content standards, ISTE Student Technology Standards, and the Vermont AOE transferable skills identifying how technology supports these standards and skills.  
  • Design a project that incorporates transferable skills, technology, assessments, and indicates understanding of higher level uses of technology to help students achieve standards.
Contact any of us for more information.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

More on the New Google Sites

As 9th graders are using Google Sites for their PLPs, you will notice that some of them are using the "old" editor and others are using the new editor.  This is good time to update you on what's going on with Google Sites (which I posted about earlier here).

The new Sites has a fresh, modern look and allows for more precise placement of content. As of yet, it is still missing some important features, most  notably the ability to copy a site from a template.  I hope that this will be addressed soon.

You can continue to switch back and forth from old to new through 2017 (see below), however in 2018, Google plans to no longer support the old editor.  Therefore, if you are creating a new site, it is best to use the new editor at this point.

There is not currently a tool to migrate content from old sites to new sites.  This would be a manual copy and paste for now.

I will update if and when Google comes out with a migration tool.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Some great tips for Google Docs efficiency

Here are some great time-saving tips for using Google Docs (from a post at
Keep these handy!

Complete graphic is at:

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Google Earth now works on Chromebooks!

There is a brand new version of Google Earth and it works on Chromebooks.  One popular use of Google Earth in classrooms is "Lit trips," in which students explore the geography of places they've read about.  Here's a nice step-by-step guide  by Eric Curtis for doing a Lit trip on a Chromebook.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Using Google Cast

I've posted before about Google Cast for Education, but since it's come up for a few people lately, I thought I'd share both some written instructions and a step-by-step video on how to use it.

As a reminder, Google Cast allows you to project what's on your (or a student's) Chromebook through the projector in the classroom.

Here's the video

and the written instructions.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Looking for a summer or fall ed tech course?


Here are some offerings from UVM. The second is taught by Bonnie Birdsall (tech integrationist at Williston) ad the last by the wonderful Lucie DeLaruere.

Curriculum & Instruction: Ed Tech Courses

EDCI 321  Curriculum & Instruction: Learning, Design & Technology (Summer 2017)
This online course explores learning-theory research and its applications for technology-enriched standards-based units of study. Students will study theories of constructivism, multiple intelligences, and research related to how people learn. Participants will learn how technology applications can be used to create learning environments that strengthen 21st century problem-solving skills, and encourage communication, collaboration, and reflection. Using the instructional design strategies explored in this course, participants will develop a standards-based unit of study that strategically integrates technology and meets 21st century skills along with national and state educational technology standards and assessments.
INSTRUCTOR CONTACT: Maureen Neumann at

EDCI 324  Current Topics in Assessment & Technology (Summer 2017)
This course investigates current topics of assessment & technology, including many tenets of proficiency-based learning. Students will examine different forms of assessment and methods for integrating technology into assessment practice.  We will explore and evaluate a variety of digital tools for summative and formative assessment. Students will interact as an online community, modeling how feedback and reflection play an integral part of the assessment process and will also maintain a digital portfolio for the class. As a final project students will create a unit of study, incorporating learning targets developed from the ISTE standards and other content standards, integrating digital tools for assessment, and demonstrating mastery of other course objectives.
INSTRUCTOR CONTACT: Bonnie Birdsall at

EDCI 322  Differentiated Instruction with Technology (Fall 2017)
This course explores ways that educators can address the diverse strengths and needs of students in today’s classrooms by developing and utilizing a instructional framework based on current information and practice related to differentiating instruction and universal design for learning.  A focus of the course will be the use of existing and emerging technologies to assist and support the success of all students, including students with disabilities.

EDCI 323  Amplifying Inquiry & Project Based Learning with Technology (Fall 2017)
This course engages educators in a student­ centered, active learning experience using technology resources and tools to promote questioning, critical thinking and problem­ solving skills. Educators will learn about technology resources & tools that support problem ­based, project ­based, and inquiry ­based learning in all disciplines and design a project­ or inquiry ­based activity with assessments for the students (or teachers) they teach.
INSTRUCTOR CONTACT: Lucie De Labruere at 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Parallax scrolling in Wix

Parallax scrolling is a technique in which different elements on a web page move at different rates as the user scrolls, creating a sense of depth.  I first got interested in the technique thanks to Annie Bellerose, who was looking for a way for her students to amplify and transform their writing using digital tools.

So what are we talking about here?

The Boat is a story that uses parallax scrolling (and other techniques) to full effect. Check it out below.  The New York Times story Snow Fall is another example.

How might students use parallax scrolling to tell their stories?  Until recently, this involved a lot of coding that was beyond the reach of most high school students (unless they had coding experience).  Now, Wix has parallax scrolling available for many of its background images and even videos.   An internet search will also reveal many WordPress themes that use parallax scrolling, however this involves more work than simply creating a Wix site.

Check out this tutorial on how it's done in Wix.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Print Friendly & PDF extension

I came across the Print Friendly & PDF Chrome extension today,  This extension allows you to print (or save as a PDF) a de-cluttered version of a web site.  Essentially, it strips out ads, navigation buttons and any content that you don't want printed.

For example, here's a page from CNN as it appears on the web:

And here it is after applying the Print Friendly & PDF extension:

Here's a video that explains how to install and use the extension:

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Table of Contents Add-on

I've posted before about inserting tables of contents in Google Docs.  As a reminder-- as long as you use heading formats (see below), Docs can automatically create a TOC for you.


I've been working on a "textbook" for my class, however, and I really wanted the table of contents to be numbered (something Docs doesn't currently do-- although they recently added the ability to show page numbers instead of links).

Enter the Table of Contents Add-on for Google Docs.  To install, go to the Add-ons menu and search (or use the link above).  Once installed, you can select it from the menu.  It will appear on the right of your document.  Click to refresh and you will get a numbered table of contents!

After runing the Add-on, simply refresh the TOC that you created from the Insert menu in Google Docs and you will now have: