Thursday, 15 January 2015

January 16, 2015 - New Year - New Tools

Hello Everyone and Welcome to 2015!

I hope that everyone had a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday with family and friends.  If you made a New Year’s resolution to make technology a greater part of your teaching repertoire this year, I have some suggestions for you. 

Google Classroom App
Google Apps for education has introduced a new Google Classroom app for Apple and android devices.  Both students and educators can utilize the app to complete and view assignments on the go.  Further, student can quickly snap a photo from the assignments page in the app and attach it to an assignment.  This is fantastic for capturing an image of an experiment, completing a photo scavenger hunt or even having a family member text them an image of forgotten homework that they can hand in with the assignment.  Students can also attach PDFs and webpages from other apps to their assignments, simply click on share in the document, etc. and Google Classroom will appear as one of the options.  This opens up many opportunities for teachers and students to reduce, if not eliminate extraneous papers.  Google has also announced new features for teachers in the Google Classroom desktop application.  You are now able to archive classes at the end of a semester or term, and view an assignments page so where teachers can see all of the student’s assignments and mark them as being reviewed.  I can’t wait to get started with these new tools and options.

Ontario Google Summit – Kitchener, April 11and 12th
In April, the EdTech team is presenting the Ontario Google Summit in Kitchener.  This is an amazing opportunity to learn an immense amount of information about Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and how to utilize them in class and as teaching tools.  Although the price is rather high, this two-day event includes breakfast and lunches, 8 interactive sessions, two amazing keynote speakers and a ‘demoslam’.  Having attended myself in previous years, I can assure you that this event is extremely informative and will leave you energized and ready to begin using Google Apps in your classroom.

Cybraryman website and resources
Jerry Blumengarten is also known as ‘Cybraryman’ and is the curator of the go-to website for educational websites and online resources.  His webpages are organized by both grade level and/or subject area and offer links to webpages from around the world for students, teachers and parents alike.  He is a knowledgeable and supportive educator who always has many suggestions on where you can find resources on a variety of topics.  If you wish to, or need to teach it, Cybraryman has a link to it. 

Only 55 days to March Break!!


Thursday, 11 December 2014

December 12th, 2014 - Holiday Links

Happy Snowy Friday everyone!!

This week, I have a couple holiday suggestions for you, which may be useful in your classroom or as links you can send home to parents to keep students learning over the holidays.

First, NORAD Tracks Santa ( - also available
as an app for iPhone and iPad).  The North American Aerospace Defense Command has set up Santa’s sleigh with a radar system so they are able to track him as he travels around the world making his deliveries.  This is great fun for students to watch as he travels all the countries of the world and there are even some videos of him visiting important landmarks.  Until he begins his journey, the website lets you watch the Big Countdown, play games and learn more about Santa. 

Christmas Around The World.  (  This website lets students explore a variety of countries from around the world and view videos and descriptions of their holiday celebrations and traditions.  There are explanations of the customs and symbols of this time.

New Year’s Traditions Around the World ( This website contains brief descriptions of New Year’s traditions from countries around the world as well as how to say ‘Happy New Year’ in many different languages.   What a great way to remember that the world is a much larger space that what we interact with on a day-to-day basis. 

Finally, a reminder that our very own UG2GO has a link to LEARN 360, which has a multitude of holiday videos for both educational and entertainment purposes. A simple search of holiday and the appropriate grade level returns various movies including ‘Holiday Facts And Fun’ for Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Multicultural Christmas.  Other videos include The Polar Express, The Nutcracker and The Night Before Christmas.

Have a great weekend!


Friday, 5 December 2014

December 5th, 2014 - Google Presentation for the iPad

Hello Everyone and Happy Friday,

I understand that everyone is busy at this time of year, so this week I have a quick iPad and iPhone app from Google to make things easier for you.  Google Slides iPad app allows you to create and edit Google Slides presentations on your iPad.  It also allows you to create new presentations or edit Power Point ones you have created on the web or another device.  You can rearrange text, format slides and present right from your device.

Click here to access the new app and begin creating on your iPad.

Thank you to everyone who responded to last week’s contest.  I was impressed with the number of participants who registered for a chance to win the gift card.  I’m happy to announce that the winner is Laurie Orford. Thanks again and keep your eyes open for additional prizes coming in the New Year.



Friday, 28 November 2014

November 28th - Quick and Easy with QR Codes

Happy Friday everyone,

Recently, during our daily five rotations my students have been having difficulty accessing (and staying on) the webpages I have assigned for ‘Listen to Reading’.
  I often set up the iPad on the Tumblebooks, or other website I wish to have them choose a story to listen to, and once the story is over, they are unaware of how to return to this page to access another book.  As a result, I have begun utilizing QR codes to assist students in accessing the webpages I would like them using.

These QR, or Quick Response codes are popping up all over the grocery and retail stores and now they are making their way into education as well.  They are a type of bar code which allows a ‘reader’ to link to related information in the form of a website.    By installing an app with a QR scanner/generator (such as ‘Qrafter – QR Code and Barcode Reader and Generator’ - free), teachers can create their own codes and have students scan them to access websites quickly and easily.   

By visiting a QR code generator website ( and entering the web address of the page I would like ‘coded’, a unique QR code is created which you can download and paste into a document.  Once the document has been printed out, students simply scan the code with the iPad and it takes them right to the page I want them to be on quickly and easily – and with out interrupting the conferences I am having with students.

With December right around the corner, I have decided to begin celebrating the holidays early with a draw for a $25 LCBO or Tim Hortons gift card! To enter simply click on the following link and enter your email address. I will draw a random name on Thursday, December 4th and announce the winner in next week’s Tech Tidbits.

Good Luck and have a great week!