Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lots of great resources and web apps to use with Chromebooks!

You can do pretty much anything with a Chromebook so the sky's the limit. Here are some tips and links to web apps:


Friday, October 16, 2015

Turn any exisiting PC or Mac into fully functional Chromebook - for free!

Neverware, a startup that has developed a software product, CloudReady, in partnership with Google, which turns almost any computer from the last 8 years into a full-fledged Chromebook.

Since launching this spring in the K-12 education market, they've deployed CloudReady in over 100 school districts, helping them dramatically extend the life and functionality of their existing computers. Earlier this month they quietly released a completely free version of the product for individual use, and they've had really positive feedback from the IT & enthusiast communities,

Yesterday, they officially announced the free version for individual use to the public. Imagine being able to use that old PC or Mac you have lying around as a Chromebook. It will run faster and better than it used to and provide you with more years of useful life for your old devices.

I'm going to install it on my old laptop and netbook and see how it goes.

If you want to use this in your school and managed the devices through the Admin Console, contact Neverware for more info. 

Check it out!

Neverware’s CloudReady converts existing computers into fully functional Chromebooks

NEW YORK – October 15, 2015 – Neverware announced the availability of a free version of CloudReady, an operating system that, in partnership with Google, turns almost any existing PC or Mac into a fully functional Chromebook.
Like the paid version of CloudReady, the free offering has been certified by Neverware on nearly 200 computer models and can be used on hundreds of others. Both versions include automatic updates and simple installation from a USB thumb drive. Since CloudReady is based on the same code that powers Chromebooks, it offers complete and secure integration with Google Apps and other Google services.

“We’re very excited to be able to offer a free version of CloudReady,” said Neverware CEO Jonathan Hefter. “This will allow users around the world to have free access to the simplicity and speed of Chromebooks, using the computers they already have.”
The paid version of CloudReady, which offers dedicated support and integration with Google’s device management console, launched in spring 2015. It has already been purchased by over 100 school districts in the United States, and CloudReady pilot programs are underway with organizations in 10 countries.

“Our teachers are amazed that they are using the same hardware - the difference in student engagement is astounding.”, commented Dawn Young, Director of Educational Technology at Binghamton School district in New York. “As we move to learning environments that require increased access to technology, CloudReady has been a great way to increase our device to student ratio.”

CloudReady can be downloaded for free at

About Neverware
Neverware is a New York-based developer of operating systems. Its flagship product, CloudReady, enables school districts and other organizations to cost effectively transform their existing hardware into simple, secure, and fast machines that can be managed right alongside Chromebooks.

Neverware recently launched a joint initiative with Google to let organizations that have never tried Chromebooks to do so, cost-free, using CloudReady. Neverware’s investors include Khosla Ventures, General Catalyst, Rethink Education, and Collaborative Fund.
Product images, case studies, company bios and additional quotes are available at:


Google Apps and Chromebooks Resources


Friday, September 18, 2015

rosterSync for Admins and Teachers - sync your SIS to Google Classroom

rosterSync is a great new, free tool from New Visions Cloud Lab, the same people behind the Chromebook Inventory Tool. rosterSync has two versions: Super Admin and Teacher.

rosterSync: Super Admin Edition
The Super Admin edition allows GAFE super admin's to create and update Google Classroom, including populating classes, using CSV exports from Student Information Systems. SIS systems that are currently supported include Blackbaud, Infinite Campus, NYC DOE STARS and PowerSchool.

This tool means that teachers don't have to create classes and have students join using a code.

rosterSync: Teacher Edition
The Teacher Edition allows teachers to sync a Google Classroom course roster -- including student email addresses -- directly with Google Sheets for handy use with Add-ons like Doctopus, formMule, autoCrat, formRanger, and others. This will save teachers and students who use those tools a lot of time. 


Google Classroom resources for Educators

Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering 9/11 14 years later

I was in EMS for 22 years before retiring due to a back injury. One of my most memorable experiences was responding to New York City as a Paramedic in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I will never forget that experience. What I saw and did are still with me, as is a type of asthma from breathing the dust. My Experience as a Paramedic on 9-11-01 

As the years have gone by, I've noticed that people are not remembering this terrible event like they did the first few years after. I know that my EMS, Fire and Police colleagues all do, as do the brave men and women of our armed forces who fight every day against terrorism.

I've also noticed less being done in schools lately. Most of today's students weren't even born when 9/11 occurred. Please teach them about it (facts only please) and make sure they understand what it means.

Yesterday, this photo was taken showing a rainbow leading right to the WTC site and the Freedom Tower!

United We Stood, United We Stand

Today is a day Americans will never forget.
It is a day of remembrance, a day of reflection and a day to be proud.
It is a day we honor and remember the thousands of lives lost, the survivors, and those who rose up in service in response to the attacks on 9-11-2001.
It is a day we pay tribute to and reflect on the sacrifices of the public safety workers and the men and women in our military who serve us and protect us 365 days a year.
It is a day Americans can be proud of the way we came together following the attacks on 9-11.
United We Stood. United We Stand.

Here are some more resources about my experience on 9/11 and 9/11 in general:

My Experience as a Paramedic on 9-11-01

Remembering 9/11 (from 2009)

Great collection of sites about Osama bin Laden, terrorism, and the wars in the Middle East from Larry Ferlazzo.,29307,1921566_1932073,00.html


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Welcome Back to School! Here are some great resources to get the year started right!

Welcome back to school! I hope everyone had a great summer and was able to relax and recharge. My wife's district started back on August 24th, some other schools around here started last week, and many start today.

The beginning of the year is always a little crazy for all teachers. Getting your room setup, implementing new ideas into your lesson plans, getting to know your students, and just settling back in to the routine can be busy and stressful. Remember to not over do it and take time for yourself. 

One thing I've done in the past that helped me is using a check list of everything I have to do when school starts, including setting up my room (computer, bulletin boards, etc), things I want to post in my room, lesson ideas and more in Evernote. I modify it each year, adding new things for the following year. 

Here are some more tips, resources, and help to get your school year started on a positive note, and keep it that way. 

My Favorite Resources for Teachers and Students

Evernote for Education Resources - the ultimate note taking, web clipping, lesson planning resource

Create a Personal Learning Network - a PLN is an excellent resource for help, advice, and sharing ideas.

Google for Educators - Google has a huge number of free resources for teachers and students. Check them all out (they're all free).

Overview of some free technology that can help you be more organized and efficient.

Good luck and I hope everyone has a great school year!!



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