Monday, December 21, 2015

Hapara - Learning Management System for Google for Education (Part 1)

A learning management system (LMS) is an online application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of electronic educational technology.  Basically, it’s a way to stay organized when using the internet for your classroom.

At Warrior Run in the Middle and High School levels, we started the year with a subscription to Hapara, which I have heard some call, “Google on steroids.”  In the 1:1 device classroom, it offers the teacher many advantages for keeping resources organized, keeping kids on task and disseminating information to students.  If you are just starting out, the most helpful parts to try out include:

Smart Share
When you first start out, you can use the icons at the top right to share.  This will bring up the “Smart Share” screen, where you will choose the document you want to share, how you want it shared (copy for each student, read only, comment only, or editing ability), and to whom you want to share it (entire classes, individual students or groups).  When you do this, it puts in their folder for your class in Google Drive.  It can take some time for it to share all and a progress bar will show at the bottom of your screen.  Do not exit the dashboard until all files are shared.

Open Tabs for Students
Whether you want to quickly recommend a site to a student doing research or you want to open the same site for all students to save them time from typing in the URL, this is a very useful feature.  Either press the link icon in the blue bar to do it for all, or use the individual one next to a student’s name.  Kids will be impressed by your “magical powers” and it will save precious class time.

Send messages to students
Keep students on task, remind them of what was stated in the instructions or redirect them when they start to lose attention.  This saves face for the student but also differentiates and keeps them focused.

If you have any more questions about Hapara, check out our slideshow or see your librarian!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Use MoveNote to Share Presentations

A screencast is a digital recording of computer screen output, also known as a video screen capture, and often contains audio narration.  These tools have been around for a little while; maybe you've heard of Screencastify or Screencast-O-Matic. We use them sometimes to create video tutorials for students and teachers - you can find several on the WRSD Libraries YouTube channel.

movenote logo

MoveNote is a newer app (also a Chrome extension and a website), and is a bit different than the others.  It allows you to upload a “slide deck.”  (A slide deck is a generic term for a group of slides, or the pieces of a PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation, or even a series of images or photos.).  Once you upload the slide deck, you can rearrange the pieces if necessary, and then record yourself narrating it.  With MoveNote’s latest update, you are able to choose (or not choose) to record yourself as you narrate.

Here's a short video tutorial!

Ways to use MoveNote

  • As a Teacher
    • to record your lesson for later use
      • absent students
      • snow days
      • in case YOU’RE absent
    • to flip your lesson 
    • to create tutorials for or share information with students or other teachers
    • as part of an assignment (for example, instead of presenting in front of the class, students can create a MoveNote to be viewed by small groups of students)
  • As a Student
    • to submit work when absent
    • to share a presentation or information with a teacher
    • as part of an assignment

An additional benefit of using MoveNote is that it offers a single sign on! This means you can use your existing Google credentials, without having to create yet another account.

Teachers and students have started using this tool in recent weeks and are experiencing success.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Canned Responses in Gmail

There are a number of ways to use Google to save you time.  One feature you may not have considered is Labs in Gmail.  These are experimental features that enhance the layout, function and features of Gmail.  One that you might find particularly useful, especially if you often find yourself replying with the same answer or wanting to let people know that their message has been received, is called Canned Responses.

Take this scenario: You get an email from a parent about an upcoming event.  You want to let them know that the information they are requesting is still to be determined.  You type a response and hit send.  Then you get another.  Now you have to re-write the same message, right? Nope. Save time by creating a canned response that you can select easily from the new message window.

Before you can use this feature, you have to enable it in settings.  To go to settings, click the gear icon on the right hand side of gmail.  From there, choose “settings”.

Follow the instructions in the graphic above:
  1. Select labs
  2. Search for the word “canned
  3. Under available labs, look for “Canned responses
  4. Click the radio button that says, “enable
  5. Click “save changes” at the bottom.

Now when you start a new message, you should be able to type a message, then click the small triangle in the bottom right hand corner to save it as a canned response.  These can be as short or as long as you want.

Do you prefer visual help?  Try checking out a video tutorial!

Do you get scared to make too many changes in your settings for fear you won’t be able to change it back?  Ask your building librarian for help!  We love helping to make your life easier.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Why You Should be Using Google Chrome (If You’re Not Already)

As you know, Warrior Run is a “Google School,” meaning we utilize Google Apps for Education (GAFE), meaning we have access to the entire suite of Google tools.  The Chrome browser is optimized to support these Google tools, which we use and teach our students to use.  Google tools work best on the Google browser; it’s that simple.

Logging into Google is a daily task.  When using the Chrome browser, you’re logging into all of Google all at once.  You only need to remember one username and one password.

As the use third party web tools increases among students and teachers (Shmoop, Piktochart, Weebly, or, for example), so too do the opportunities for a “single sign on,” or SSO.  An SSO allows users to log in to a web tool using their existing Google account information -- with the click of just one button.


Of course, there are other reasons why Google Chrome is the superior browser.  Google itself extols its benefits:

The ease of access in and connected to Google gives the Chrome browser the most bang for your buck.  If you’re not using Chrome already, make the switch!  Click the button below to download the browser now.

Works Cited

Google. "Explore the Chrome Browser." Google Chrome Browser. 2015. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.

Shmoop University. Login Screen. 2015. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Keyboard shortcuts

Many people use shortcuts to save time.  Some favorite keyboard shortcuts include copy (ctrl+c), paste (ctrl+v) and undo (ctrl+z).  But these are just the beginning!  Here are some other keyboard shortcuts you may find useful:

Ctrl+right arrow
Move the cursor to the beginning of the next word
Ctrl+left arrow
Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous word
Ctrl+down arrow
Move the cursor to the beginning of the next paragraph
Ctrl+up arrow
Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous paragraph
Select all items in a window or section
Lock your laptop or desktop - very useful if you are leaving your computer unattended

See Also:

Monday, November 9, 2015

Welcome to our blog!

We will publish tech tips and tricks for saving time and for classroom integration once a week on Wednesdays.  Be watching for our first post this Wednesday!

You can contact the blog authors anytime with questions.

Greg Alico - Technology Coordinator
Liz Brobst - High School Librarian
Theresa Bartholomew - Middle School Librarian
Megan Munyat - Elementary Librarian