Thursday, July 31, 2014

Word Cloud Generators for Google Chromebooks

When I attended the All Things Google conference last week, of course I brought my Samsung Chromebook, which I love!  However, after speaking with +Kate Baker she enlightened me on a few things about the device.  She is trying to replicate the tasks she does on her traditional laptop onto a Google Chromebook. Of course, this only makes sense, and one of the tasks she wanted to complete was to generate word clouds.

Since Google Chromebooks do not run Java, Flash or Silverlight, generating word clouds was an issue. However, after sharing a few tools with me, I wanted to pass the information along to my audience too.

Here is a list of word cloud generators that will work on a Samsung Google Chromebook.  That is what I used to test these tools on.


This website will allow you to generate word clouds for free and you do not need to create an account.  Just select a grade level from 2-5 and find the above image or you can simply perform a search on the website for 'word clouds'.  Once you find it, then type the word list and it will generate a word cloud.  You can customize the color, layout and font.


A Free word cloud generator that will run on Google Chromebooks.  Please make sure you have the latest version of Google Chrome before using this tool.  First, you must create an account. Next, just enter your cloud name, the words to include in the cloud, the shape, fonts, layout, and color. Finally, click 'Visualize' and your word cloud is created!

A free visual thesaurus that will take word and create a concept map of the meaning. Enter all of the words into the paragraph text box and click on 'Sift.'  The tool will display images and a visual thesaurus of the words you provided in the list.

A free word cloud generator in which you do not need to create an account.  Just type the list of words in the paragraph text box, specify the size, background color, color specifications, text, size, layout and click on 'Word it Out'.  You can even click random and it will generate all of the specifications for you automatically.  Very Easy!

Just a note:  if you want to save the word cloud, you would have to screen capture the image.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday: Give these a Try! Free Edmodo Apps!

There are a few Edmodo app that are FREE and worth trying.


Allows you to clip items from the web, upload your own work, or find and re-clip content from others to customize and maximize your learning.  You can create unlimited boards that you can share with others.
eduClipper allows you to create and manage your classes, create differentiated learning groups, provide students with assignments, provide dynamic feedback and create portfolios.


An app that allows students to learn basic coding concepts.  The app presents students with a series of challenges in which they must help the monkey reach the bananas.  Students must correctly program the monkey to reach the food.


A tool that will allow you to create online seating charts, behavior charts and reports. Through the online seating chart you can take attendance, and record behavior.  A nice feature is that you can upload student pictures into the seating charts.  Plus. any information entered can be shared with parents using a special login.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Googleophles What? The Love of Google!

The "All Things Google: Create, Share and Collaborate" annual summer conference at the Southern Regional Institute and Educational Technology Training Center, +SRI ETTC was amazing!  All of the presenters at the conference were outstanding!  They presented information to teachers, administrators, and many more!  The presenters were +Kevin Jarrett, Sue Ross, +techiesue Ross and +Meredith Martin who are Google Certified Teachers, and +Frank Pileiro and +Rich Kiker who are Google Certified Trainers.  Rich Kiker was the keynote speaker and had presented in sessions too. He is not only a Google Certified Trainer, but he is Google's top rated Google Apps for Education trainer in the WORLD!  (That is impressive!)  The day was truly amazing and I learned so much from my colleagues and peers.

The Keynote presentation Rich Kiker gave was amazing! As I reflect on his comments, I think of the evolution of technology and how people adapt.  Here are a few points that really influenced me:    
  • "Bandwidth is the most important part in education. Knowledge is measured by your pipeline!"
  • "Use knowledge to be able to apply it to real life in multiple situations!"
  • "Access+Inquiry=Opportunity"
  • "Un-learn and Re-learn"
  • "Paper books are like museums"
  • "...but they are trying." (Referring to senior citizens sitting in front of a webcam trying to take a picture.)
All of these points are important and so accurate.  Today's generation of students are growing up with technology, so it makes sense to expect schools to provide adequate bandwidth so that information can be provided quickly to students.  They are not intimidated by "un-learn and re-learn" concepts.  They embrace the opportunity to teach someone about technology.  They truly don't need to use paper books because everything can be found on the Internet. Finally, bridging the generation gap.  Having baby boomers and senior citizens being willing and able to learn today's technology.  As a technology consultant, I witness this often.  I have many clients that are willing to learn about Windows 8, Google Apps, tablets, mobile devices, Skype and more. One of my clients called wifi, "hifi".  We were laughing so much.  I just love teaching them!

I feel these points are important because it shows how people adapt and change with times. It shows how far we have come and the endless possibilities that lie ahead.  I wonder what type of technological devices or applications my grandchildren will be using and how they will react to me when I tell them the type of technology I used in 2014.

The Google conference covered many topics.  Here is a list of helpful links:

Thank you to +Faisal Youhari, +michelle wendt, all the presenters, and everyone at the +SRI ETTC who organized this outstanding conference!

How to turn your Blog into a Book!

Turn Your Blog Into a Book

Did you ever want to turn your blog into a book?  Well, BlogBooker is a free tool that will allow you to perform this task.  BlogBooker will work with WordPress, Blogger and LiveJournal and will allow you to convert your blog into a book or a PDF file.  

First, you must export your blog as an XML file.  In my example, I will be referring to directions for Blogger.  

  • First, go to the "settings" menu of your Blogger blog. 
  • Next, select "other" 
  • Then select "export blog" 
  • Finally, select "Download Blog"

Your blog will be stored as a Blogger export file (.xml) file which can be kept as a backup on your hard drive or imported into another blog. Exported blogs are not deleted from your dashboard or from 

After you've completed the export process, go to BlogBooker and follow these steps to create a book or a PDF file of your blog.   

  • click on the 'PDF' icon at the top of the screen
  • select your blog system
  • choose your exported XML file 
  • You can specify a date range, paper size, font and other features, as shown below.
  • click 'Create your BlogBook' when done

The process may take a few minutes, so be patient.

Classroom Ideas: 

Students can turn their blog into a book or a PDF file to publish their work in their digital portfolios or to post on a website.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday: Merge Data with Google Forms using FormMule

As a Technology Integration Coach, I need to have my requests organized in a calendar.  So I created a Google form for staff to fill out for tech integration assistance. After they fill it out, I receive an email notification that the response spreadsheet was modified.  Then, I take the information and manually enter it into the appropriate day/time on my Google calendar.

Well, thanks to Jenny Grabiec @techgirljenny, she enlightened me on a new workflow for my tech integration requests that will allow me to automate the process.  Meaning, the entries from the response spreadsheet would automatically merge into my Google calendar and an email would be generated too.

First, you need to create a Google form.  Be sure you prompt the user with this information:
  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email Address
  • Start time
  • End time
For start and end time, be sure you set it as a date field that includes date and time.  Of course, you can include other important information on the form.  Here is a sample of my form.

Second, you need to create a new calendar and I recommend you name it the same name as your form.  For example, the name of my form is Technology Integration Request form and my calendar name is, Technology Integration Request.

Third, go to, make a copy of the spreadsheet, rename the spreadsheet to the name of your form and include the word 'responses' in the name.  You must use an old version of Google Sheets because the script, FormMule is available in the script gallery. It is not available in the script gallery in the new version of Sheets.  Once you rename the spreadsheet, you must go into Drive and delete the original response sheet that was created when you created the form.  Then you must choose the old sheet as the new destination response sheet.

Follow these steps to change the destination response sheet:

  • Go into the form
  • Select 'Responses' from the menu bar
  • Select 'Change Response Destination'
  • Select 'New Sheet in an Existing Spreadsheet'
  • Choose and select the response sheet from the list

Next, in the response sheet, you must install and authorize the formMule script from the script gallery.  After the script is installed, you will notice the formMule option on the menu bar.  You must run the initial installation of formMule.

Now, you need to setup formMule.  Once you have the Form Response 1 sheet created, you can delete the Sheet1 tab.

Step 1:  Define merge source settings, just click 'Save Settings'

Step 2a: Setup email merge.  Check 'Turn on email merge feature' and 'Trigger this feature on form submit'. Click 'Submit settings.'  An Email1 Template sheet will be created.

Now, click on the Email1 Template sheet and you will notice a template as shown below.  This part will automatically generate an email to the person who submitted the form.

I would recommend the following:
  • REPLY TO:  enter your email address
  • TO:  copy and paste the variable below for the staff member's email address.  This would be in the yellow area.
  • CC:  enter your email address so that you can be cc on the email that was sent out to the staff member
  • SUBJECT: enter the subject desired
  • BODY: enter a general message that their request was received and scheduled
Now the staff member will receive an email and you will be cc'ed on it.  If they have any questions, they will reply to you.

Step 2b: Setup Calendar merge.  Be sure 'Turn on calendar event merge feature' and 'Trigger event creation on form submit' is checked.  Then, copy the calendar ID in the calendar settings of the calendar.  It will be found in the calendar address section of the calendar settings.  Paste the calendar ID in the Calendar ID field. Copy and paste the start and end times variables from the drop down list into the appropriate fields on the left side.  Once completed, scroll down and click on 'Save Calendar Settings'

Finally, go back into the form and submit an entry and test out the workflow.  The entry should appear in the calendar and you should receive an email.

That's it! You automated your workflow using Google Forms and formMule. I plan on using this new workflow this year.  In addition to this workflow, I will verify their request and then send out a confirmation email to the staff member manually along with my technology integration lesson plan.

A few recommendations:
  • allow staff to enter their name and email address
  • Start and End time fields, should be labelled 'Enter Start Time', 'Enter End Time' on the form
  • customize color settings on the calendar
  • name the form and calendar the same name for clarity

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Useful Info about Blogs

A Short Guide to Terms Commonly Used in Blogging

Original post from Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne
Theme: WordPress and many other blogging platforms use “themes” to describe the look of a blog. The theme can include the color scheme and the layout of elements on the blog. Changing the theme does not change the content of your blog posts.

Template: Blogger and some other blogging platforms use the term “template” to describe the look of a blog. The template can include the color scheme and the layout of elements on the blog. Changing your template does not change the content of your blog posts.

Tag: Tags are applied to WordPress (Kidblog, Edublogs) blog posts to identify the key ideas or purpose of a post. Tags make it easier for people to search and find older posts on your blog. For example, if you write a post about your Revolutionary War lesson, tag it with “revolution” or “revolutionary war” so that at the end of the school year when you have 150 posts on your blog your students can quickly click on the “revolution” tag and jump to the post that have that label. It’s a lot easier to locate older posts by tag than it is to click through archives by date.

Label: Labels are applied to Blogger blog posts to identify the key ideas or purpose of a post. For example, if you write a blog post about your Revolutionary War lesson plan, label it with “revolution” or “revolutionary war” so that at the end of the school year when you have 150 posts on your blog your students can quickly click on the “revolution” label and jump to the posts that have that label. It’s a lot easier to locate older posts by label than it is to click through archives by date.

Tag Cloud and Label Cloud: Tag and Label clouds can be added to your blog’s homepage to make it easy for visitors to see the tags or labels that you use, click on one of them, and jump to a list of all of the posts that have that particular label.

Categories: In WordPress-powered blogs you can use categories for broad descriptions of posts in addition to using tags. For example, I use the categories “pre-K,” “elementary school,” “middle school,” and “high school.” I assign each post to a category and use tags for describing the academic topic of the post. This way if someone visits my blog looking for math apps appropriate for elementary school he or she can click on the “math” tag then click on the “elementary school” category to find all of my posts meeting that search criteria.

Embed: To display a video, slideshow, audio recording, Google Calendar, Google Map, game, and many other multimedia elements in a blog post you will use an embed code provided by service hosting that media. Embedding media into a blog post does not make you the owner of it and as long as you follow the guidelines set forth by the hosting service you are not violating copyright by embedding something you didn’t create. For example, when you find a video on YouTube that you want your students to watch you can embed it into a blog post and ask students to comment on the blog post. If the owner of that video decides to take it offline the video will no longer play through your blog post.

Embed Codes: An embed code is a piece of code, often HTML, that media hosting services like YouTube provide so that you can easily display the media that they host in your own blog posts. On some services like an embed code will be clearly labeled as such next to the media you’re viewing. On other services the embed code will be one of the options that appears when you click on the “share” option. YouTube, for example, currently requires you to open the “share” menu before you see the embed code option.

Widget: A widget is a small application that you can include in the posts and or pages of your blog. A widget could be a game, a display of Tweets, a display of RSS feeds, a tag cloud, a calendar, or any other application that offers an embed code.

Gadget: Gadget is the term that Blogger uses for a widget. A gadget and a widget do the same things.

Plug-in: A plug-in (sometimes plugin) is a small application that you can add to the software that powers your blog. Unlike widgets and gadgets plug-ins operate in the background and visitors to your blog will not see them working. A plug-in can add functions to your blog such as suggesting related posts to your visitors or detecting the type of device a visitor is using to view your blog then automatically displaying the mobile or desktop version of your blog’s layout.

Post: “Post” can refer to an entry on your blog as in “a blog post.” “Post” can also be used as a verb as in “I am going to post a new entry on my blog.”

Page: A page on a blog is different than a post because a page is designed for static content. Pages are good for posting information that you want visitors to your blog to be able to quickly access. For example, my classroom blog had pages for curriculum outlines and review guides.

Permalink: Each blog post is assigned its own separate URL this is known as a permalink (permanent link). This URL is the one that you would share if you wanted someone to directly access a post rather than going to your blog’s homepage then searching for the post.

Original post from Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday: New Editing Feature in Google Docs

There is a new feature in Google Docs called Suggested Editing.  It can also be referred to as Redline Edits. It will allow users to collaborate on a document, however, it will allow users to suggest edits rather than make edits.   Basically, the owner of the document can accept or reject the edits before the document is altered. Keep in mind, revision history still works the same way as it did in the past.

There are three modes for this new feature of editing:

  1. Editing will allow you to edit a document as you normally do.
  2. Suggesting will allow you to make suggestions for edits in the document.  The owner can accept or reject the suggestions.
  3. Viewing will allow you to read or print the final version of a document with the suggestions.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

32 Ways to Integrate Google Apps

Looking for some ways and tips to integrate Google Apps in your school or classroom? Here are a few ideas that were presented on Educational Technology and Mobile Learning website.

Google Docs
  •  Collaborative lesson planning
  • Staff/ Grade level meeting notes
  • Shared Lesson Repository
  • Improv the writing process
  • Reading response journals
  • Translate letters home for parents
  • Track students homework and share with parents
  • Sign-up sheets
  • Science experiments
  • Flash card center
Google Forms
  • Use Google Forms for formative and summative assessments
  • Survey students: Collect student interest information
  • Do teacher or student observations
  • Tracking discipline referrals
  • Collect information from parents or teachers
  • Spelling tests/ multiplication tests
Google Calendar
  • Create shared calendars
  • Checking-out resources (laptop carts, library)
  • Standards mapping
  • Pacing guides
  • Use appointment slots for office hours
  • Communication with parents including in Different Languages
  • Global pen pals
Google Talk
  • Invite a guest lecturer into your classroom
  • Hold office hours over chat
Google Sites
  • Create classroom and school websites
  • Student ePortfolios
  • Student projects and reports
  • Curriculum sharing
  • Use Groups for discussion or announcement lists for classes, departments or committees
Blogger and YouTube
  • Use YouTube to share video demonstrations, content-approved films or have students post their own video projects
  • Use Blogger to structure and run your lessons.

A presentation  by Julia Stiglitz. Click on this LINK.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday: Deleting is Simplified in Google Drive!

Google has made another option available to delete a file from your Drive. Instead of being in the list view in your Google Drive, you can now have the file open and select 'File' from the menu, then 'Move to Trash' to delete it.

In this example, I have a document opened named Keyboard Shortcuts. I click on the 'File' menu, then select 'Move to Trash' to delete it.  The file will move into the trash folder.

Monday, July 7, 2014

How To Be a Google Power User

This great Infographic from Digital Information World gives a quick overview of how to perform Google searches and other tricks you can do from the search bar.  

For example, if you wanted to search for: 

  • an exact phrase, put quotes around your words, "Philadelphia Eagles Football"
  • exclude a word, put a dash before the word, Philadelphia -Eagles
  • search within a site, put the word site in the search criteria,

You can also search information about the :
  • weather
  • stock quotes
  • current time
  • sport scores
  • sunrise/sunset times
  • calculator
  • dictionary
  • flight status
  • package tracking
  • movie times

Take a look at the Infographic from Digital Information World.  It really summarizes the information easily.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Preview of Google Classroom

A short video by the Google Gooru.

The Google Gooru has a great video about Google Classroom for Apps for Education.  In the video, he demonstrates the following: 

How the teacher can:   

  • create a classroom a classroom
    • the teacher can share the classroom code and the students can enroll themselves
    • the teacher can manually add the students into the classroom.
  • create and send an assignment to the students
  • create a document template directly from Drive
  • send and share the document template with the students, via view only, edit, make a copy options
  • comment on a document
  • grade the document
  • return the document
How the student can:
  • enroll in the class
  • view comments on a document from a teacher
  • view the grade on a document
  • reply to an assignment
At this time, Google Classroom does not offer rubrics along with the assignment, as Goobric does. In addition, it does not allow the teacher to have access to the student document or assignment once the teacher sends it out.  If a teacher and student need to collaborate on a document. the student would have to share it with the teacher.

It does make the workflow easier with managing assignments and grading because it eliminates the workflow of shared classroom folders.  Google Classroom features remind me of Edmodo.  Although Classroom is still in beta, I would hope they would enhance it be allowing student/teacher collaboration and rubrics to be attached to the assignments.  

They are planning to roll out Classroom by September, some are even saying by August.  Meanwhile, I hope to receive my invitation to "play" with it.  For more information visit Google Classroom

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday: File Conversion Tools

At times, an application may be not compatible with a file format that you are working with.  It may be necessary to convert it into a different format so that you can complete your task.  

I am providing you with two file conversion applications that I used and have experience with.  These tools are dependable and I was able to use them successfully.  

1.  Format Factory

This is a free application that you must download and install on your computer.  It offers many different file conversions and has a user friendly interface.  You can convert audio, video and images and select multiple files at one time.  I use this tool a lot and I highly recommend it.  

Here is an image that will display a list of files that you can convert to.

2. ZamZar

This is a free application, however it does has limitations. I suggest you create an account with this tool.  It is an online tool that you must upload your file to.  Then, it will send you an email notification when it is done with the conversion.  Then, you have to download the converted file to your computer.  This is a reliable tool and has a user friendly interface.  The only disadvantage it has is that you have to wait for an email notification when the conversion is completed.  It usually is a quick process, but just keep this in mind.

First, you select the file you want to convert. It has a 100MB limit.  Then, you choose the file format you want to convert to.  It offers a variety of formats to convert to such as: images, documents, music, video, e-book, compressed and video preset formats.   Then, enter your email address and finally, hit the 'convert' button.  That's it, four easy steps! Now, just wait for the email to download your new file.

There are other file conversion tools, such as AVS Video Converter, Free File Converter, and Prism Video File Comverter, but, again,  I use the two I listed above.

If anyone has used a different tool that is not listed here, please leave a comment and share your experience.