Replace your classroom desktop with your Chromebook by Steve Kelly

Are you a traveling teacher? Would you like to keep your work on one device? Do you suffer from device fatigue, stressed out by logging into multiple computers during the work day? Consider using your Chromebook as a presentation device!

Before you start furiously ripping out cables from the tangled mess behind your desktop, take a deep breath and decide whether you are up for a bit of a technology challenge. If yes, continue reading! If no, maybe revisit this post after talking with more experienced colleagues.


Materials needed:

  • Chromebook
  • HDMI adapter (this is the device that was placed in your mailbox at the beginning of the year)
  • Classroom desktop computer that you want to replace

Time requirement: 5 minutes


 

Step 1: locate the VGA cable from the back of your computer. The cable is the widest connector on the back of your computer. It looks like this:

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Step 2: Unplug this cable and connect your VGA to HDMI adapter, like so:

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Step 3: Plug this adapter into the HDMI port on your Chromebook.

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Step 4: Finally, if you need audio, locate the audio cable that is plugged into the back of your desktop and plug it into the headphone jack on the Chromebook.

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Now power on your Chromebook. Congratulations! You now can present from your Chromebook. Now that your Chromebook is connected to your projector, here are a few things to try:

  • Save time during student presentations by having the students plug their Chromebook in to present:

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  • Check out the Cast for Education extension here.
  • Try connecting an IPEVO document camera to your Chromebook to project worksheets for students.
  • Plug in your USB presenter remote to control your Google Slides presentations when you are lecturing to your class.

 

If you have any questions about this procedure or need help please contact Steve Kelly (stephen.kelly@bvsd.org)! 

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Using Infographics in the Classroom by Kate Watson

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How I feel after I’ve seen the same poster for the 57th time.

It’s about half-way through second semester and if you are anything like me, your desk/classroom is filled with random student projects and your inbox is filled with various Google Slide presentations.  After reviewing what feels like 200 different projects that all look pretty similar, I began wondering what I could do to make my job and the student’s projects less boring — so naturally, I went on Pinterest to explore!

After scrolling through random Memes and cute Elementary School projects, I began noticing a lot of Infographics explaining various topics relating to school.  Now, I’ve seen these around before, but I started wondering how I could make a project off of these where the students could show information they know in a fun and innovative way.  If you don’t know, here are a few examples of Infographics.  As you can see they are usually long, poster-like objects that provide a wealth of information quickly with pictures, graphs, and other visuals.

 

I was looking at these posters and thought they would be a great way for students to engage with technology and class content in a new and creative way.  So I perused around the internet and came up with a project for my students in Psychology.  Since we were finishing our unit on Consciousness and Altered States, I assigned students to make an Infographic about the Effects of Drugs on the Brain and in Life.  Students were allowed to chose from  a variety of topics, but had to include specific facts about drugs and their effects on consciousness.  I gave students 2 class days to work on research and creating the graphic before they presented it to the class.  I graded students like I grade posters, on their research, content provided on the poster, and the general aesthetic of their Infographic.  Here are a few Example of their final Infographics.

 

I was so pleased with how their projects turned out, and how interested the kids seemed in the process.  When I questioned them about their experience, they said that they liked the creativity of the project, but wished that they had a third day to work in class so I could be there to help with the info graphic websites.  Now these are mainly seniors, so if you would like to do a similar project with younger kids, you might want to give them three days, including a Block day, to work.

 

I found 2 major websites that help students make Infographics for free, but most students used the first one more.  The websites I had my students use were:

  • https://piktochart.com/
    • Students liked this one the most.  The interface was easy to understand and you could make your graphic as long or as short as you wanted
  • https://venngage.com/
    • Students liked the templates and pictures available on this one, but didn’t like that the length of your graphic was restricted.

 

 

 

 

Efficiency with less brain power and more time saved: Google Keep by Matt Lay

 

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Right now you’re probably wearing your teacher hat, but what about your parent or coaching or friend or spouse or… (insert here any additional miscellaneous) other hats that you constantly throw on and off throughout the course of the day and week? To say the least, we have a lot going on. How do y18ogh3xzo2fb7jpgou keep organized?

For me, I need lists. I don’t have the brainpower to remember all of the items on my lists in addition to completing all of the tasks.

 

When I make lists on paper, I end up losing them, or I end up making multiple lists that say the same tasks and I’m wasting time making lists rather than completing them.

Insert Google Keep:

Keep is a Google app & extension (so you can access it from your phone or computer) that will solve all of your list-making problems, and it’s quite a bit more dynamic than your paper list. So, what can Keep do? This (and probably more):

  • Make lists (duh)
  • Make multiple lists with different topics (grading, planning, shopping, misc. to-dos…)
  • Use different Google accounts to make varying lists (personal vs. professional)
  • Set a date/reminder to a list (I did that for this very blog post!).
  • Share your list with collaborators
    • For example, share one grocery list with your spouse that you can both amend.
    • For example, I share a yearbook to-do list with my editors so we can keep organized.
    • You can see the last person to amend your list so you know who has been making the changes.
  • Check items off your list, but keep them in reserve.
    • You can see what you’ve done/not done.
    • If it’s a list of items you do/use frequently, then you can simply add items back to the to-do list without having to retype anything; just click the check box.
  • Add colors/pictures (if you like that sort of thing).

Keep is actually pretty awesome. I don’t use a lot of apps (they tend to overwhelm me and they feel like another thing that’s compounding my already overflowing life), but Keep is easy and useful.

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by Matthew Lay

The Local Book Pusher – Jane Schissel

It’s March 2!  Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss!!! In his honor, librarians and teachers are promoting Read Across America! “Jane I Am” is here to remind you that accessing great reading material has been made so much easier thanks to our high tech library resource, OverDrive. You can access eBooks and Audiobooks 24/7 from the Library webpage found on the school website. All you need is a device (the more recent the better) and your school login (without the @bvsd.org). Try it! Live large. Try new things. There is a “help” tool on the OverDrive page if you get stuck or just call me–Jane I Am–your local book pusher. Happy Reading and Happy Birthday to the one and only, Dr. Seuss!