Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Setting Chrome as your default browser (macOS)

Why do we set Google's Chrome as the default browser on the Macs? Why not use Safari?

Here are a few of the key reasons

  • Chrome is Google’s browser
  • Integrates seamlessly with Google Suite
    • Drive
    • Calendar
    • Sites
  • Facilitates easy single sign-on
    • The “Log in with Google” button most web services offer
  • Automatic updates

Below is a step by step tutorial for ensuring Chrome is your default browser, as well as a few workarounds for when the macOS refuses to change from Safari on the first attempt...

Monday, November 6, 2017

Chrome and Flash: getting finicky sites to run...


This post and tutorial originally appeared on my lab blog @HeathcoteTechblogs.scarsdaleschools.org/heathcotetech

Flash is one of the first pieces of web-based software for running media. Originally Flash was how you got animations and video on the internet. YouTube dropped Flash as it's video format in 2015.

Flash is notoriously susceptible to virus and malware attacks. In addition, it is a technology that requires it to be continuously running, meaning it takes a lot of processing power from your computer and can slow down your browser's responsiveness. The limitations of Flash, from a power and processing consumption standpoint but also as a security risk, are why Steve Jobs refused to allow the iPhone and iPad to run Flash.

Adobe, who created and maintains Flash, has announced it will no longer support Flash as of 2020.

In the meantime there are still a few educational website that require Flash. Sites like Wixie and OneMoreStory. If you are having difficulty running Flash-enabled sites check out this tutorial for solving Flash issues in Chrome...


Monday, October 30, 2017

Google and iOS 11 images (HEIC files)

This post and tutorial originally appeared on my lab blog @HeathcoteTech: blogs.scarsdaleschools.org/heathcotetech

The new operating system for the iPhone and iPad, iOS 11, has caused some quirks. The biggest quirk is iOS 11 saves photos as .HEIC files, not a .jpeg/.jpg files. Google can see .HEIC files but can't add them through the usual Insert-> Image process as you normally would when working in a Doc, Slides, or Drawing file. There are solutions, however. And the solutions are fairly simple. I have outlined a few simple solutions to the Google HEIC conflict in this tutorial:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Digital Book Clubs: Padlet, blogs and the writing process

Mixing the digital and analog when it comes to reading and writing is always a tricky process. How much is too much? Where should the paper end and the digital begin? How do we differentiate?

Last year we played around with these ideas, a lot. As a district we purchased a license for Seesaw to begin making digital connections in the lower grades. For the upper grades we licensed Campus Press.

But at the end of the day not everything can be paid for, we still ned to leverage free tools. And we also need to make direct connections to traditional media. The actual pen is still pretty mighty.

So, here's one thing we did...

Monday, September 18, 2017

My toughest day as a teacher - part 2

A few years ago I wrote about my toughest day as a teacher. The first day of school. The first day of my daughter going to Kindergarten. The original post is here.

September 5th 2017 was the second toughest day. My son started Kindergarten. Big day for him. Big day for my daughter too, she started 2nd grade. We have moved out of Brooklyn to be closer to where I teach. One of the biggest benefits is my kids can attend school in the district where I teach. It's an awesome district and I am grateful for the opportunity for my kids to experience it.

It means my son starts Kindergarten and my daughter starts 2nd grade. New house, new town, new school. Lots of new things...

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Hello, 2017-2018 school year!

The 2017-2018 school year is underway! The lab is full of iPads, Chromebooks, MacBooks, and iMacs...

   

This past Friday, the first Friday of the school year, we were able to get Chromebooks into the hands of every 5th graders. Over the next few days we will be rolling out Chromebooks to the 3rd and 4th, graders too. All 3-5th graders should have their Chromebooks by the end of next week!

This coming week is also the week to do the introductory lessons (Acceptable Use Policy and lab procedures) with K-2. Then it's rolling iPads into the K-1 spaces and getting everyone up and running on those too.

Busy times. My goal is that by Friday September 15th all tech will be deployed and utalized. It'll be fun once I can get classes back in the lab after all the start-up requirements are out of the way...

It's going to be a great year. Feel free to follow my class Twitter account @HeathcoteTech to see our year in tweets.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Comic Books with Google Slides

Last year I posted about the 3rd grade Cultural Tour comic books project I did. It was a first attempt and it went well. But as with anything there is always room to improve.

This year I created a tutorial for my students and colleagues to follow to allow them more time to work independently.

The below Slides presentation is the comic book I made for colleagues as part of a professional development series we call ST@C.

There are also links to various examples of student work. Google Slides is an awesome tool, not just for traditional presentations but for pushing the bounds of possibilities.

Hope this helps other teachers and students get started creating comics with Slides...

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In light of this latest GMail phishing scam...

With this new email phishing scam rearing it's ugly head it's always a good time to pause and think about how these things happen and how we can prevent them.

How do they happen? Usually because we are so accustomed to interacting with email from people we know that clicking on a "Open in Docs" button from a colleague doesn't even faze us.

So what happened and what do you do...?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Blogging with 3rd graders: an overview for parents...

This is a repost from my school blog, HeathcoteTech. I worked with the 3rd grade team on blogging with students over the course of the year. This was one of our final activities, presenting the work to parents at an open Parent Coffee...

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Portable sound booths: audio cubes

In an effort to provide students with a better way to record audition (for movie narration, video reflections, screencasts, and so forth) I have experiments with a few ideas.

Let me preface this by saying I have no illusions about the audiophile quality of these experiments, they are by no means perfect. What they are, instead, is a way to lesson the din of a classroom, and improve sound quality, when recording audio. My sound booth solutions will win no acoustic awards but they do a surprisingly good job in a few areas:

  • limiting background noise
  • providing more depth/richness to the student's voice since it forces them to be closer to the iPad/laptop microphone
  • make everyone else in the room more aware of recording happening
    • it was surprising to see how quiet the rest of the room got when everyone noticed the cubes being used
Here's what I did...