Friday, September 12, 2014

Google Announces Android Apps for Chromebooks - Very Nice!!

Yesterday, Google Announced the first 4 Android Apps that are available for Chromebooks. This is really nice.

What got me excited was that Evernote was one of the first 4. Evernote is my main work and home tool so this was pretty cool to hear. I installed it on my Chromebook (Acer C720) and loved it - looks and works like the Android app. And the best part: OFFLINE SYNC! That's right, you can sync notebooks offline (premium users - well worth the $45 a year) just like in Android. This has now made my Chromebook the perfect device. Offline Google Apps (Gmail and Docs) and now Offline Evernote. I have no need for a windows laptop, even when I'm out of range of WiFi or 4G. I love it!

And, Google said more and more are coming. This is a great thing that shows that Google just keeps advancing their stuff

Here is the official announcement:  

First set of Android apps coming to a Chromebook near you
Posted: Thursday, September 11, 2014

Chromebooks were designed to keep up with you on the go—they’re thin and light, have long battery lives, resume instantly, and are easy to use. Today, we're making Chromebooks even more mobile by bringing the first set of Android apps to Chrome OS:

Duolingo - a fun and free way to learn a new language before your next trip
Evernote - write, collect and find what matters to you, with a full-size keyboard and touchscreen
Sight Words - a delightful way for you to help improve your child's reading skills
Vine - create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way

These first apps are the result of a project called the App Runtime for Chrome (Beta), which we announced earlier this summer at Google I/O. Over the coming months, we’ll be working with a select group of Android developers to add more of your favorite apps so you’ll have a more seamless experience across your Android phone and Chromebook.

In the meantime, please tell us which of your favorite Android apps you’d like to see on your Chromebook.

Posted by Ken Mixter, Software Engineer & Josh Woodward, Product Manager (Android Dreamers)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Chromebox and Chromebase - definite contenders for desktop replacements


I'm currently testing out the LG Chromebase and Asus Chromebox for potential use in our district (and for me at home). So far, I'm very impressed. They setup and work like a Chromebook, have very fast performance but offer the experience of a desktop with large screens and full keyboards and mice. The specs are in the links below.

I'm thinking about the Asus Chromebox as a desktop replacement for student desktops. They already have newer flat screen monitors and keyboards and mice, but older desktops. It's just a matter of swapping out the "box". Since we have over 11,000 Chromebooks being used, this makes sense. It would take a lot of load off of my techs, and provide a great experience for users. 

The libraries, a few computer labs, and desktops in the lower grade classes are the target. 

The Chromebase is a all-in-one monitor/cpu that comes with a keyboard laid out like the Chromebook with the special keys, and a mouse. The Chromebox is just the box, with a mounting bracket. It also has a notebook lock slot to help prevent "walking".

I'm using both as my main computer and it's great - performance and experience of a desktop, with the speed and ease of a Chromebook.

 LG Chromebase:

Asus Chromebox:

Google for Education Resources

Geddit - web based student response system


Geddit is a free, web based student response system, available on any device, that allows teachers to quickly gauge student understanding. Students use the app and indicate their level of understanding on a 1-5 scale. This formative assessment lets teachers know if they can move on or not. Feedback is private and real time. You can also use multiple choice and short answer assessments.

There is a Chrome app also for Chromebooks, as well as it being web-based.

Do students understand

Check understanding

It was designed, and used, by a teacher and it is easy to sign up and use. You create an account with Geddit and your students create an account with Geddit. They can use their Google account, which makes it easy for GAFE schools. Then the teacher shares the class code with them and off you go.

The site has great getting started and help resources too, including classroom posters to help your students. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

Infographic with Google Search Tips

Google is a very powerful search engine, but the way you search makes a huge difference in your results. The infographic below has some great tips on becoming a Google Search Power User. Check it out and share with your students.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Google Announces some great new features for Apps!

Google just announced some great new features for Google Apps that make it even more useful and powerful. Schools, like ours, that use Google Apps for Education will be very pleased with these updates and new features.

Google Apps Admins can now restore a user's Google Drive files from the past 25 days. This is great for one someone deletes a file by mistake.

Google Drive: huge changes here.

  • Document and image viewing is improved
  • there are now dedicated desktop home pages for Docs, Sheets and Slides for easier access
  • you can now edit (and save as) Word, Excel and PowerPoint files in Docs, Sheets and Slides on both Chrome and Chrome OS (Chromebooks). This is really great for schools that still have Office files they need to access (like us).
  • Google Docs, Sheets and Slides mobile apps for Android and iOS now include Word, Excel and PowerPoint editing. 
  • Google Drive app is now more powerful, faster, and redesigned.

 These are some great features that make Google Apps even more powerful, useful, and easy to use.

For more info: (click on Wednesday, June 25th)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Google announces Google Educator Groups - great resource for educators

Yesterday Google announced the launch of Google Educators Groups. This is a program made up of communities of educators who can connect with each other to learn, share, and help each other. While it is mainly online, there are real-world meetups and events as well.

This is a great resource for educators. See below for more information and to sign up for a group or even create your own (I signed up for the NYC one as there isn't one in Connecticut, YET).

Today we are pleased to announce the launch of Google Educator Groups (GEG), a program supporting communities of educators who learn, share, and inspire each other to meet the needs of their students through technology solutions, both in the classroom and beyond. GEG empowers educators around the world to expand their social and professional networks, and gain skills to deliver the best possible education through open technology.

GEG takes place both online and offline, and provides a space for educators to build relationships, collaborate, and learn through Google+ communities and hangouts or in-person events and workshops. Whether you’re a teacher, professor, or principal, anyone is welcome to join GEG to learn. Each group is organized by a local volunteer (GEG leader) and is entirely independent from Google.

Interested in joining a GEG or starting a new one? Check out the website at to learn more, spread the word, and get involved. See you in GEG!

Google for Education Resources

Monday, June 9, 2014

Google for Education CT Summit - June 21-22, 2014, Greenwich, CT

I will be presenting at the Google for Education CT Summit on June 21st, 2014 on Chromebook and Google Apps deployments. The Summit is two days, with presentations and workshops by a variety of educators, Google Certified Teachers, Google staff and more.

It's a great event with some great learning and sharing planned.

Here is the event website:

Here is the event Google+ Page:

Join us!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Adobe Releases New Storytelling App for iPad

Adobe recently released a new Storytelling App for iPad. Adobe Voice, a new animated video app for
iPad, that gives anyone the ability to create and share engaging video stories. Adobe Voice allows you to create these video stories using a combination of your own recorded voice, imagery, music and cinema-quality motion graphics and effects. This is a great app for education, allowing students to create an interactive and engaging school project. Animated videos can be quickly shared via social media, email, personal blogs and websites, by posting a single link, and can be viewed on virtually any device.

Adobe Voice is available as a free download in the App Store. The app requires iPad 2 or higher and iOS 7. To learn more about Adobe Voice, visit

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Free resource from Discovery Education about Manufacturing

Discovery Education has a new free resource: Manufacture Your Future, which has free STEM lessons and resources for grades 6-12 related to manufacturing.

This is an excellent resource. Manufacturing is a great career and there are a lot of openings in the field.

Manufacture Your Future:
New Online Portal Offers Free, Dynamic STEM Lessons and Resources
Discovery Education and Alcoa Foundation are excited to introduce Manufacture Your Future, a new, online destination designed to inspire students in grades 6-12 to explore modern manufacturing careers through STEM-based exploration.
Manufacture Your Future's standards-based, cross-curricular resources include:
  • FOR TEACHERS: Comprehensive lesson plans including "Manufacturing in the 21st Century" and "Design a Robot"
  • FOR COUNSELORS: Career guide with job assessment tools
  • FOR FAMILIES: Discussion starters to extend the conversation beyond the classroom
COMING THIS FALL: A live virtual field trip from an Alcoa facility will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the manufacturing design process. Sign up for e-mail updates to hear when registration opens.
    FTAF 10


    Next Generation Manufacturing Center - this is a cooperative group of manufacturers, CBIA and CT's Community Colleges. They work to get more students interested in engineering and manufacturing. There are some great videos on the site, too. They have a lot of great programs, including the Engineering Challenge. They also sponsor summer externships for teachers. These externships pay teachers to spend the summer at a local manufacturing company learning about their industry and coming up with ways to get more students involved in engineering and manufacturing. I was able to participate about 5 years ago and found it to be a great experience.

    Great Free Resources from Discovery Education

    STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Resources

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

    Some more Forensics Science Resources

    This past September I posted some Forensic Science Resources for Teachers. Forensics is interesting, engaging, and students love it.

    Here are some more: - course page for high school forensics class. Has lesson ideas, syllabus, resources and more. - high school forensics class site. labs, syllabus, resources, and more - high school forensics class site with assignments, projects, rubrics and more. - Forensic Science lesson plans and resources - Forensic Science lesson plan links

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Today is Earth Day - here are some resources for teachers

    Earth Day, April 22nd, is a great time to talk to your students about the environment. 

    Earth Day was started in 1962 as a way to bring attention to environmental issues. As polution increases, and the environment is continually affected by humans, it is a great time to get our students thinking about environmental issues. 

    Here are some resources you can use with your students:

    Green Cities Campaign

    Earth Day Networks site

    Google Earth Day Resources
    great photos of our earth.

    National Environmental Education Week - Resources for Environmental Education Week. This site has an entire section with resources for educators that includes curricula, quizzes, professional development and more. 

    Earth Day Network - this is another great resource for teaching about the environment and Earth Day. The educator resource page has lesson plans, Green your School guide, grant programs and more to help educators. 

    Science Museum Climate Science Info Zone - information and resources on climate change, carbon footprint, and more. 

    Think Green from Discovery Education - Think Green is another great free resource from Discovery Education that contains lesson plans, videos, and activities for teachers to use in their classroom. The resources are sorted by grade level and are interactive and educational. 

    You can also go to the Think Green Resource Page to search for more resources by grade, topic, or resource. 

    Discovery Education, Siemens STEM Academy also has some great resources. 

    Every classroom can, and should, talk about Earth Day and the environment. We all need to help make sure that the Earth will be a healthy, viable, place for generations to come. It's also a great way to incorporate STEM topics into any classroom and relate STEM topics to the environment. 

    English classes could write about the environment, including persuasive essays and letters on different topics. 

    History classes could look at the history of Earth Day and the Environmentalist movement, along with the history of different environment events. 

    Science classes can delve into the science of the environment, energy resources, energy production and more. 

    What do you do for Earth Day in your classroom?

    Some More Environmental Resources

    Discovery Education Dawn Junior Wildlife Champions-free lesson plans about oil spills and wildlife

    The Road Ahead - resources on electricity generation from Discovery Education

    Discovery Education Turfmutt - environmental science lessons

    25 Free Resources from Discovery Education

    Discovery News - science news

    Disney Planet Challenge - project based environmental contest with resources

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Great list of app based on task you want students to accomplish

    I found this great list of apps and tech tools that are organized based on the task you want students to accomplish. It was out on  Twitter and I can't find the original tweet. What do you want to do...?There's a tech tool for that.

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

    Meeting Organization with Evernote

    Meetings, meetings, meetings. They are a necessary evil. But, you can make them more organized and productive by being organized yourself.

    I use Evernote as my main work (and personal) tool. For meetings, it is indispensable. Here's how:

    1. I clip the meeting/appointment slot from Outlook into Evernote. This has the invitees/attendees, agenda, topic, time and date, etc. 
    2. I then add any additional information and relevant files, along with links to other notes in Evernote. This way, everything related to the meeting is in one place.
    3. I use a template for meeting notes (see below) and copy it into this note. I will add questions I have before the meeting and then use it for the meeting itself. 
    4. I tag the meeting note for easy searching later. 
    5. I can take notes on my smartphone, tablet, or laptop or Chromebook and access all meeting info.
    This lets me have everything I need for a meeting in one place, and makes it easier to find the information later.

    You can also share the note with others after the meeting.

    Meeting Template


    Questions to ask:

    Action Items:



    Evernote for Educators Resources

    My Workflow as CIO - includes heavy use of Evernote

    Another great feature of Evernote - integrated in Outlook

    Keys to running Effective Meetings

    Taking organizing and planning lessons from Ben Franklin - great tips for educators too

    Monday, March 31, 2014

    It's World Backup Day - make sure your data is backed up

    CopyBackupFiles Want to backup files? Here are 8 free web applications that can help you

    Today is World Backup Day!

    Everyone needs to have their files backed up. It is very easy to have your flash drive, hard drive, or computer crash, get damaged, or have your flash drive or laptop get lost or stolen. And it always happens at the worst possible time.

    There are many different ways to backup your files. You can use an external hard drive, backup to a flash drive, or backup your files to the cloud. I use a mixture of both.

    1. External Hard Drive - an external hard drive is a great way to back up your files locally. This proves very useful if your computer goes down and you have no internet. Many of them come with software build in to set up automatic backups and Windows and Mac have automatic backup apps. You can even make an image of your hard drive so that you don't have to reinstall software if you need to start from scratch.

    2. Flash Drive - a flash drive can also be used for backup, but they are more expensive than hard drives for similar storage capacities. I do use a flash drive as a backup at school of my main files.

    3. Cloud based backup - this is my favorite way to backup my files because it is automatic, free, and I can sync my files to multiple computers which means I have access to them locally. They also allow me to access my files from any computer, or even smartphone, via the web (and smartphone apps).There are many different ones available. They all have some sort of free plan and many allow you to get extra free memory through referrals. Here are a few of my favorites:

    Dropbox is a service that allows you to sync your files on your computer with their system as a backup. This also allows you to access the files anywhere. You can also sync the files across multiple computers. This means that you have automatic backup of your files and 24/7 access to your files. I have it set up to sync a folder on my home computer, wife's computer and school computer so I don't have to worry about having multiple versions or forgetting a flash drive.

    There are also Dropbox apps for your mobile device. You can also access the mobile site from any web-enabled phone. Imagine being able to access all of your files on your smartphone! It includes auto-backup of your photos which is a great feature. 

    You can also share files with others.

    Dropbox is a great service for teachers and students. Access to all of your files anywhere, backup of your files, and the ability to share files.

    SugarSync - Sugarsync is another powerful sync and backup service. You can have it back up your files on their server, and sync the files among multiple computers. You can also access these files through any web browser, and there are apps for smart phones. You can even access them with a mobile web browser if you don't have an app. There are no more free accounts, unfortunately.

    There are other services like Dropbox and Sugarsync too. 

    Access everywhere

    Google Drive - you can upload any type of file  and you get anywhere from 25 to 100 GB of storage free. 100GB of free storage comes with Chromebooks and other products. You can purchase additional storage at extremely good rates too. There are mobile apps and desktop apps that allow automatic backup and syncing of your files. You can have files uploaded and converted to Google Docs/Sheets/Slides, or kept in their native format. This is my primary backup system with all of my files backed up to my GDrive account. 

    I'm a huge believer in being prepared and having backups of my data. The services I use have great data centers and backup, but sometimes their servers go down, and sometimes I may not be able to get internet access. In addition to having all of my files backed up with Google Drive and Dropbox, I also export my cloud files. 

    Evernote - I have Evernote's desktop application at home and at work so all of my notes are backed up on my home computer and my work desktop and laptop. I also export the data once a week to an html file for backup. I do most of my work through Evernote (My Workflow as a CIO - Includes Heavy Use of Evernote This is updated with how I'm using Evernote in my role as CIO), so this is very important to keep backed up. I also have important files in Evernote, and important records and photos. My most important files are here and in GDrive.

    Google Products - I also export my Blogger blogs, Calendar, email, tasks, and bookmarks once a week as a back up. For each of them, go to settings and look for the export command. Here's more information on how to export data from Google's services.
    (I use Google Chrome so my bookmarks are synced between my two computers.)

    All of the backup files are in a directory that is automatically backed up to my Google Drive account and then kept in sync on both my school and home computers. Sugarsync does this automatically, so it is no effort for me. I also have really, really important data (financial, digitized paper records, etc) on a flash drive in my fireproof safe. Just in case.

    My Android smart phone automatically syncs with my Google Calendar, Google Contacts and other Google services and I have my Evernote notebooks synced to it as well. I can also access all of my files on the cloud services through my smartphone.

    This may all sound like overkill to some people, but I feel more comfortable knowing that my data is safe, backed up, and easily accessible. 


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