Wednesday, November 26, 2014
As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, along with the holiday season, I want to take this opportunity to wish my audience a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! Take the time to reflect on your life and your blessings and be thankful for everyone and everything in your life! Ask yourself, what are you thankful for? Reflect on your life and tell your family or friends, that you love them!
First, I am thankful for my loving husband, my children and their health. I am also thankful that I have a job that I love! Finally, I want to say THANK YOU, for reading my blog! Enjoy your holiday!
A portfolio is a collection of work that has been processed over time and stored in a manila folder. However, a digital portfolio is a collection of files stored on your computer or online, and displayed in an electronic format. A collection of files can include, but not limited to, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, graphic organizers, videos, audio, online tools, websites, and blogs.
I require all 8th grade students at the William Davies Middle School to create a digital portfolio for Technology Literacy. This process makes it much easier for me to grade each student on Technology Literacy. The requirements are based from the NJTAPIN rubric from the NJ Department of Education.
During the course of their 8th grade school year, the students must complete assignments or projects that must include the following tasks:
- Advanced Formatting, Graphics, Citations, Mail Merge
- Includes Data, Chart/Graph, Function/Formula
- Create a Database, Search a Database
- Text, Graphics, Sound, Animation
Links to Web Assignments
These tasks are completed throughout the school year. Students will integrated these tasks in their assignments for all their classes. Toward the end of the school year, I will grade each student on Technology Literacy and use their digital portfolio as a reference. Since there are over 300 8th grade students, this process usually takes me about 6-8 weeks to complete.
I am introducing the digital portfolios to students now, so that they are aware of the purpose and take the responsibility to complete the portfolio. I recommended to the students that as soon as they complete an assignment in one of their classes, to include it into the portfolio immediately.
Here is a copy of the digital portfolio template. I chose to create the template in PowerPoint because most students feel comfortable with that application. However, I do give them the option of choosing a different tool for their portfolio, but I stress the importance of making sure they provide me with the necessary information and requirements.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Think Before You Link is a website that provides FREE lessons to students, educators, and family members about online safety. It provides children with a fun and interactive way to test their knowledge of online safety.
Some topics include:
- stranger danger
- protecting your personal information
- review your profile settings,
When the online lesson is completed, the website will review the important concepts and provide the child with a certificate of completion.
I would highly recommend this website to review online safety with your child or students.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Upgrading older Spreadsheets to new Google Sheets
This post is from Google Support. For additional information, visit Google Support.
Using the new version of Google sheets will soon be the only way to create and edit spreadsheets. To make sure that everyone can take advantage of all the features available in Sheets, all spreadsheets created in the old version of Google Sheets are being migrated to the new version. This process will take place over the course of 2014-2015.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I created a Symbaloo on some helpful Google Apps and Extensions that are available at the Chrome Webstore. These apps and extensions were installed using the Google Chrome browser. I am not aware if these apps or extensions are available on a different browser.
Here is the link to the Google Apps and Extensions Symbaloo. I hope you find it helpful!
Friday, November 14, 2014
However, I figured out a way of how teachers are able to take their webpage from Expressions Web and convert it into a Google Site.
Here are the directions:
- Go to the computer that has Web Expressions on it.
- Click on 'File' and 'Open'
- Browse for the index.html file in the www_pub folder
- The index.html file will be displayed on your screen.
- Click on 'Panels' on the menu bar.
- Toward the bottom of the screen, about half way down, click on the 'Compatibility' tab
- Click on 'Code' to display the html code for the webpage.
- Select all the text by performing a 'CTRL + A' on the keyboard.
- Copy the highlighted text by performing a 'CTRL + C' on the keyboard.
- Login to your Google Account
- Click on the Apps Launcher and select 'Sites'
- Click on 'Create'
- Select 'Blank Template'
- Give your website a name, for example: Mrs. Mattina, 6th Gr ELA
- Select a theme
- Click on 'Create' to create the website
- Once completed, the site will be displayed.
- Select the 'Edit' button to edit the page, as shown below.
10. Click on 'HTML' on the tool bar
11. Paste the HTML code by performing a 'CTRL + V' on the keyboard.
12. If you receive a message about the HTML content will be modified, click 'ok'
13. All of the HTML code should appear on your screen.
At this point, you can create pages, include navigation, a sitemap, a header, and much more.
I would recommend the following for your page settings:
- disable the page title option
- disable the show links to sub-pages option
- disable allow attachments option
- disable allow comments option
That's it! You just converted your webpage from Expressions Web into a website using Google Sites.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
In the spirit of giving you even more flexibility and customization, we’re launching add-ons for Google Forms--new tools, created by developer partners, that bring even more features to your surveys (just like add-ons for Docs and Sheets).
Check out the growing list of available add-ons, several of which are particularly relevant for education, from the “Add-ons” menu in Forms, or by directly visiting the Forms add-ons store.
If you have already disabled add-ons for your domain in the Admin console, Forms add-ons will be defaulted off. To change this setting, click on Google Apps -> Drive > General Settings and check/un-check the “Allow users to install Google Docs add-ons” box.
Rapid release and Scheduled release
For more information:Help Center
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Thursday, November 6, 2014
Sphero is a robot, smart toy, game system that features multiplayer fun, hand held play, precision driving and augmented reality. It can be used in a computer science or STEM class in an elementary, middle or high school classrooms using SPRK lessons, (Schools Parents Robots Kids). Sphero gives children the opportunity to program or code in a fun and inviting environment.
To get started using Sphero, you must download the app for your mobile device to be able to control the robot. Visit the iTunes or Play store for more information on the FREE app. After the app is downloaded, be sure bluetooth is turned on for your device and that any previous bluetooth device is unpaired..
Next, plug in the base and put the heavy part of Sphero into the base. Once Sphero is out of the charger, you must wake it up by tapping it twice with your fingers. Sphero will blink a 3 color combination, this is the name of the Bluetooth connection. Once it is paired with your mobile device, you are ready to experiment with it. The picture below displays Sphero paired with a Samsung Galaxy Tab S tablet. Sphero was also paired with an iPhone 5S smartphone.
This interactive toy will allow your students to drive the robot, change its color, perform tricks, and play games. Every time you reach a milestone, Sphero provides rewards and unlocks tricks, such as turbo mode.
I have two teen age sons, 16 yrs old and 19 yrs old, and they both downloaded the Sphero app and experimented with Sphero for a while. They both were engaged and quickly adapted to the robot. They were able to teach me about it, demonstrate different tricks, and explain the control panel on the mobile device for the robot.
Right now I am in the learning stages of this smart toy. I will be using this robot with 6th grade students at the +William Davies Middle School in STEM class during the month of December to promote computer science and computer programming. I am looking forward to learning more about Sphero. Stay tuned for my follow up post!
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Check out this month's "What's New in Google Apps" newsletter [pdf] for a roundup of all Apps launches from October 2014.
Newsletter Archive & Translated Versions (coming soon for October issue)
Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted
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Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Scenario: You always owned an iPod and purchased and downloaded all of your music through iTunes. Now, you hundreds of songs in iTunes, but you want to change to a droid device. How do you get all of your music from iTunes onto a new droid device?
Well, that scenario was me. I wanted to purchase a droid device to become familiar with another type of device, but I found myself in this situation. All I can say, thank goodness for Google Play Music Manager!
Note: These steps were performed on a Windows 7 computer using Chrome.
Here is what I did:
- First, you must create a Google account.
- Then, on your computer that has your iTunes library, download and install an application called Google Play Music Manager.
- Once it is installed, go to Google Play Music
- click on the 'Add Music' button
- select 'from your computer'
- select 'My Music' folder
- select 'iTunes'
- select 'iTunes Media'
- select 'Music', then find the artist's folder and select the song, click on 'Open'. The song will be added to your Google Play music library.
That's it! Enjoy your music on your droid device!!! I know I will!
If the music file does not upload into your library, you may have to convert the track to a supported file type. For example, if you wanted to upload your audio CD into your Google Play music library, you would have to convert the audio track to a mp3 track. I recommend downloading and install a free application called Format Factory.
For more information, visit: