Monday, November 26, 2012

Learn where menu and toolbar commands are in Office 2010 and related products

I just recently posted an article with Free Computer Training Resources and another one with a Collection of free training resources for Windows, Office, Google Apps, and more as I've been collecting resources for our staff, faculty, and students.

I just found another great resource on Microsoft Office. We are transitioning from Office 2003 to Office 2010 and, as many of you know, there are major menu changes in terms of where commands are located.

Microsoft has a great site that has tutorials and interactive guides to find where the commands are in Office  2010 products. It is easy to use and the interactive guide walks you through finding specific commands.

One caveat - it uses Silverlight so you have to use Internet Explorer to access the interactive guides.

This is a great resource to share with anyone learning Office 2010.

Free computer training resources and courses

As technology changes and schools upgrade software, add new apps, change hardware or operating systems, and more, faculty, staff and students need training and support. GCFLearnFree is a program of Goodwill Industries of Eastern NC and provides quality online learning courses for free. They have a large amount of free computer training resources that are well designed, easy to use and understand, and great for sharing with faculty, staff, and students. The Office 2010 course is great and I am sharing it with our users to help them transition from Office 2003 to Office 2010 because of the different menu system.

The computer courses page  has 19 courses including Computer Basics, Email, Internet, Social Media, Google Apps, iPads, and much more.

This is a must bookmark, must share resource. 


Collection of free training resources for Windows, Office, Google Apps, and more

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another great feature of Evernote - integrated in Outlook

I love Evernote. It's no surprise. I use it for everything and even more now in my new job as Chief Information Officer of the district. It allows me to keep everything - notes, files, and more all accessible anywhere on any device. I use the web clipper, Livescribe SkyPen, Android App, web app, and Windows Desktop App.

Outlook icon

As a teacher, we all used the web version of Outlook. Administration and office staff use the desktop version of Outlook because we utilize more features. I had always used the web version of Evernote as a teacher and now use the desktop version (more features that I need). After installing Evernote, I noticed an Evernote logo on Outlook. What a great surprise. I can easily and quickly save any email (and attachments) or contact right to Evernote from Outlook.

This has become invaluable to me as I get organized and keep track of information, contacts, and resources. Instead of setting up a bunch of mail folders, desktop folders, and Evernote notebooks, I just put everything into Evernote. It also means I can access all of this from anywhere, very easily. I have my important personal and work notebooks set up to offline sync on my smartphone and Nexus 7 tablet so I can always access them, and I have the desktop versions of Evernote at work and home for offline access and backup.

Once again, Evernote has made my life easier and more organized.


Evernote for Educators Resources

Livescribe SkyPen - automatically sync your handwritten notes and audio recordings to Evernote via WiFi.

Nexus 7 Android Table Review

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Collection of free training resources for Windows, Office, Google Apps, and more

I was putting together a list of free training resources and decided to share it with everyone. If you have some good ones, please share them in the comments.

Free Training Resources


Windows and Office - great help with Windows and Windows applications - free help and training from Microsoft on their products. Scroll to bottom for older versions. - lots of great resources and tips for teachers. 

Google Apps for Education

Great resources on learning Google Apps and using Google Apps in the classroom.

Chromebooks (see Google Apps also)

Misc. EdTech Resources - list of tech skills for educators and resources to learn them. - Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone/Mobile, and webOS resources, help, tips, and more. - Great resource from Discovery Education on educational technology. HP Teacher Experience Exchange - tips, lesson plans, tech help, and more. one tech tip for each school day each year. great tips on all kinds of technology

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Livescribe Sky WiFi Smartpen - very handy in my new job

Two weeks ago I started a new job. I'm the Chief Information Officer for my district. In this capacity, I oversee the IT department and coordinate technology issues with all other departments, as well as advise on educational technology issues, products, and pedagogy.

This job entails a lot of meetings, issues, and challenges. One way I have been able to keep up with things is through my Livescribe Sky WiFi Smartpen. With this smartpen, I'm able to take notes in meetings on paper, which is very efficient, especially with my note taking style, which incorporates sketches, symbols, arrows, and more that don't translate well with a keyboard. The smartpen saves all of my notes and syncs them to Evernote over WiFi. This means that all of my notes are stored in Evernote so that I can access them anywhere. They are even searchable. I can also record audio in important or fast moving meetings to make sure I don't miss anything.

I have used it extensively and it has made me more efficient and organized. I am able to take notes quickly, and then have them saved and accessible from anywhere.


Livescribe Sky WiFi Smartpen - save notes and audio via WiFi to Evernote
Evernote for Education Resources

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

InstallFree Nexus & Rndr shutting down - any know of alternatives?

Nexus Logo

InstallFree Nexus and Rndr were two free applications that I found very useful. Unfortunately, they are shutting down on November 15th (tomorrow). 

InstallFree Nexus allowed you to use Microsoft Office or LibreOffice on an iPad, Android Tablet or Chromebook and access your files from a variety of cloud services to edit. 

Rndr enabled any browser to render plugins like Java that may not be compatible with the device. This is very useful for Google Chromebooks, since many educational sites use Java. 

I have not found an alternative for them yet. I'm really hoping for one for Rndr, as it made Java sites accessible on Chromebooks. 

Below is the notice from InstallFree:

November 9th, 2012

To our dedicated customers,
Seven months ago, we launched our InstallFree Nexus and Rndr platforms -- the first services of their kind that enabled users to work with full-featured Windows applications, and access their cloud-stored files, from any device with a web browser.
Unfortunately, we have not been successful in turning these services into a sustainable business for our company and must therefore reconsider our strategy. While this process is going on, we must make the painful decision to shut down these services.
The InstallFree Nexus and Rndr services will shut down on Thursday, November 15th, 2012.
I would like to thank the tens-of-thousands of customers currently using our Nexus and Rndr services. If you are currently subscribed to one of our InstallFree Nexus Premium plans, your subscription fees will be refunded.
We have also prepared a FAQ that you should review at 
For any questions, please contact us at

Online Tech Tips - free online tech help and tips

Online Tech Tips is a great resource for anyone who uses computers. The site has great information on tricks, tips, updates, and fixes for your computer.

There are tips for Windows, Mac, smartphones, and much more.

The site is well designed and easy to use and the tips are written in a way that most computer users can understand. It has a huge variety of information and resources that are very useful.

The site offers RSS feeds and email subscriptions so that you can keep up with any new tips.

Some recent articles that are very useful include: OTT Explains – Is It Better to Log Into Websites using Facebook, Google or Twitter Accounts? and OTT Guide to Understanding Google Chrome Advanced Features.

This site is great for anyone who uses technology.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Prezi Interactive Presentation Tool gets a new interface

Prezi, the zooming presentation editor, has a new version of it's interface. Prezi is a nice alternative to things like PowerPoint for making presentations. Instead of slides, you create presentations using any thing as the basis, from a word to an image. You can change how the presentation moves from part to part and integrate video directly into the presentation.

The new interface is cleaner and standardized and looks more similar to other apps. It is easy to use and easy to find commands and features. The new design also allows for continued expansion and addition of features.

show mode, path mode-1

Path mode

The web version of Prezi is free and you can download your presentation to your computer for offline access. The pro account adds more features and a desktop app.


PreziU - educational community for Prezi in education

Google Lesson Plan Search - easily find great lessons

Google, one of my favorite resources (in addition to Evernote) has lots of great things for education, including free apps and services. They also have a great library of lesson plans for educators. There are thousands of lesson plans available and all are searchable and sortable. Sorting can be done by type of Google product used, subject, or age group. The search and sorting is almost immediate and there are some great resources here.

The Lesson Plan Search is a great way to find free lesson plans and ideas to use in your classroom.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A new chapter in my career - I'm now CIO for the district

Teacher >> Chief Information Officer

Monday, November 5th, is my first day in a new chapter in my education career. I am the new Chief Information Officer for the district and I will be overseeing the Educational Technology, Information Technology, and work closely with Data/Assessment/Accountability departments. 

I have already been working on some initiatives and there are some really great things in the works, including upgrades to much of the technology in the district. I have also been getting up to speed on some of the challenges and successes we have and will need to address. 

I spent 10 years as an engineer before becoming a Physics teacher and Educational Technology Specialist. I then spent 10 years in the classroom as a teacher and as an educational technology specialist and professional development facilitator. Now, I get to use my experience from all of these areas in one job. I'm looking forward to the challenges and am excited to get started. 

The staff I will be working with is talented and dedicated and have overcome many issues and challenges in the future and will continue to do so. 

As I transition into this new role, I will not have as much time to devote to this blog, so there will be less postings at first. I will continue to post to this blog though and will be adding some new features to it. 

I also look forward to continuing to collaborate, share and learn from the members of my PLN and will be looking for advice and help in the coming months. 


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