Sep
13
Filed Under (general) by on September 13, 2008

This blog has moved to http://fusionfinds.wordpress.com/. If you subscribe via email or a reader you don’t need to do anything. You will continue to automatically receive the new posts with no “service interruptions.” If you have bookmarked/favorited/tagged this site you will need to update that URL.

Some of our teachers prefer a more basic blog to use to communicate with parents and students. They don’t need all the bells and whistles of Edublogs. I’m recommending that these teachers use our Tiger Blog tool available through our web-based Tiger Mail. This software is hosted locally on one of our servers. You will find it to be very dependable, fast, and easy to use. If you can send an email, you can do this.

Here are a few example blogs published by Willard Teachers:

I have published a short Tiger Blog handout and set of screencasts. To view a screencast click the title below:

If you need further assistance with using the Tiger Blogging tool, please let me know.

Image Credit: Britain Going Blog Crazy by Annie Mole

Sep
09
Filed Under (general) by on September 9, 2008 and tagged , ,

Snippy can help. Snippy is a screen capture tool. This free download doesn’t require installing. Just download the small, executable file and double click it to start snipping. You will see a pair on scissors available in your Taskbar notification area on the right side.

Just click these scissors anytime you need to capture something on your screen. With a click and drag select the area to be copied to your clipboard. Open Word, or another application and paste. Viola! An image of your screen capture appears in your document. You can also right click on the scissors to access the settings. That’s it. Very simple. Very easy to use. Here’s a very short screencast on how to download, start, and use Snippy.

I use SnagIt for my screen captures. Since I spend a lot of time publishing handouts on various tech tools, I need something with more features. SnagIt is awesome. If you are often capturing snapshots of your screen, this tool is worth purchasing. There is a 30 day free trial available for download.

Google Docs recently updated their online form feature. I’ve published 2 screencasts on using this tool. The first one shows you how to create a form. The second screencast shows how to share the form, access the data, and edit the form. (Visit the Fusion website to access all my Google Docs screencasts and the handouts.)

I use this tool to publish an online registration form for our District Tech Workshops. The data is collected in an online spreadsheet at Google Docs that I can access from any computer connected to the Internet. I receive an email whenever someone registers. I also provide a link which visitors can click to view the spreadsheet of registered participants, but not edit it.

I also used this tool as a part of my safety lesson. It was the first day for the 8th graders to use the laptops in class. I was asked to go over the rules and expectations, hardware basics, and safety. I wanted to give the students an opportunity to use the laptops and avoid them passively watching my presentation. After composing 8 questions, I created an online form for each. I edited the confirmation message to include feedback, the correct answer and further safety tips related to the question. I created a link to each of the 8 online forms/questions on their class website. After reading a questions in my slideshow and discussing it with their team, students would submit their team’s color and their answer. When I saw most of the students were finished entering responses, I would display the spreadsheet of data. The students enjoyed seeing all the responses displayed. Since they didn’t have to use their names, they weren’t embarrassed by wrong answers. Because I repeated the lesson several times throughout the school day, I would have to clear the content in the 8 spreadsheets before the start of the next class.

We also have used a Google Docs form to collect students’ passwords for their online accounts (epals and Google Docs) so that the teachers can quickly remind forgetful students.

Mrs. Crandall, one of our High School teachers, is creating forms in Google Docs to use as electronic worksheets in her class. She feels the students will be more motivated when using a digital worksheet, as opposed to paper pencil. All the results will be accumulated into one spreadsheet which can easily be graded. No paper or copies required.

I’ve embedded a Google Docs form below for you to use. Please submit any ideas you have for how you can use a Google Docs form in your classroom. The results from the survey can be viewed here.

Sep
06
Filed Under (general) by on September 6, 2008 and tagged , , ,

You may have come across some discounted electronics with this label. If you would like to learn more, watch the 3 minute video, Talking Refurbished Electronics, from David Pogue. He explains what refurbished means and provides some recommendations on purchasing refurbished products. I’ve purchased refurbished products (scanner, flat screen monitor) myself and agree with Mr. Pogue. You can get some good deals, but need to be careful where you buy.

Image Credit: nao-cha