Thursday, November 17, 2016

Uploading Word Docs with Tables to GSuite...successfully!

Here's a re-post of a Tech Tip I wrote recently for SmartBrief Education's Connected Teaching and Learning. You can see the original post here.

In a recent conversation with clients about how they could get more from G Suite for Education and Google Classroom, I discovered that many of them had problems uploading Word docs that include tables. The table formats changed during the conversion process. I decided to test drive it myself.
In the first test, I found a Word doc with multiple tables that included bullets, check boxes and URLs
Image from Flickr
in the cells and uploaded it. I turned off "Conversion" in the Drive settings. The document looked fine in the preview page. I then selected "Open With Google Docs" and converted it to Google Docs format. Everything was perfect -- exactly how it looked in my original.
I uploaded the document again, this time with "Conversion" turned on in the settings. The uploaded, auto-converted version came out fine.
I ran this test twice more with two more documents and each one had the same successful result.
If you have had trouble in the past with converting table-laden MS Word docs, I urge you to give it another shot. Things have changed and it's very likely that your documents will come out fine. Mine did.

You can see the original post here.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

Nominate an education pro

Here's an interesting opportunity. It's called "Inspired2Educate," which encourages K-20 education professionals to nominate a teacher, administrator, or staff member who inspired them to start their careers in education. 

The Inspired2Educate winners are selected each month and receive a $1,000 scholarship toward their own professional development, as well as $1,000 for their educational institution to use however it sees fit.

Check out the Inspired2Educate website to learn more about the contest. Nominations (short story or video) are accepted now through Dec. 31, 2016. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

#curiouscollab - learn about this idea from guest author Caitlin Krause

I have been procrastinating and this blog has languished in recent months. Here's my first
By Tcodl (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

attempt to reenergize my effort. It's a very engaging post by our friend Caitlin Krause, and is about creativity, curiosity and learning within each of us. As Caitlin states, "Creativity seems to be about taking what I know, and collecting and connecting with what others know; seeking new knowledge out of a curious drive, and creating new meaning and new connections that are valuable."

Here's a link to Caitlin's post, which appeared in Please take a few minutes to read this very insightful article about curiosity, teamwork, learning, and more!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Best Work-from-Home Jobs for Teachers

Here is a very interesting guest post by Joyce Wilson, a retired teacher who wrote this article for us. She also authors Many thanks to Joyce!

If you are interested in a guest posting, please contact us at ! We're always looking for interesting submissions on a variety of topics.

The Best Work-from-Home Jobs for Teachers

Photo via Pixabay by Unsplash
Most teachers find themselves in a bit of a pickle when summer break rolls around and they need to find a flexible job that they can either leave after a couple of months, or keep on after school starts back up in the fall. It’s tricky to find the right place of employment, but sometimes you just have to get creative.
It is possible to find retail work or a job in a restaurant, but some need a little more flexibility than those jobs offer. If you’d rather work from home and set your own schedule, there are plenty of options, and you may even be able to continue these jobs during the school year. Here are some of the best.
Work as a writer/blogger/editor
As a teacher, you have invaluable experience and advice to give parents and other educators, so put it to good use by creating a blog or contributing freelance articles to another blog. Many writers on the web make good money with advertising, so check out several sites to get a feel for how the process works.
You can also contact publishers – especially ones that distribute textbooks – and ask if they have a need for an editor. It takes a sharp eye and some patience, but editing is always in high demand, and you can do it from the comfort of your own home.
Be a dog boarder or dog walker with
If you’re an animal lover and you are allowed to have pets in your home, you might consider boarding a dog or other pet. With sites like, you can meet up with pet owners who are looking for a responsible caregiver for their animal while they’re away, and you might be able to take on more than one animal at once to maximize your earning potential. The company will even take care of the financial details for you.
Many pet owners find it difficult to make it home during the day to let their dog out, so this is a great opportunity for you to make some cash while bonding with a sweet animal if you aren’t able to board one in your home. There could be several pet owners in your neighborhood who need help with dog walking duties, so this is another job that is both flexible and offers more than one way to earn.
Tutor to help prevent the summer slide
A relatively stress-free job, tutoring can be done on a very flexible schedule, at your own pace, from your own home, and you can choose your clients. It shouldn’t be too hard to advertise your services, either; talk to parents before the end of the school year and let them know you’re available for tutoring sessions over the summer. This is another job you can easily keep during the active school year.
Give music lessons
If you’re talented with an instrument, or if you teach music at school, offering music lessons from your home is a great way to earn extra cash over the summer. Many parents are pulling their hair out trying to keep their kids occupied over the summer, and learning an instrument is a great way for youngsters to stay out of trouble and keep focused.
Finding the right summer job can be stressful, but it doesn’t need to be! Get creative and get paid to put your talents to good use.

Joyce Wilson is a retired teacher with decades of experience. Today, she is a proud grandmom and mentor to teachers in her local public school system. She and a fellow retired teacher created to share creative ideas and practical resources for the classroom.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Project Based Learning tips and tricks

I was recently alerted to a great post by Danny Rabara -- Project Based Learning tips and tricks (25 of them!). Lots of good ideas about how to effectively add PBL to classroom learning! Take a look.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

NUMBERROCK Music Videos Approach Math from a New Angle

Note: This post was written and submitted by NUMBERROCK. We thank them for sharing their product with us.

NUMBEROCK is an ongoing project producing free educational songs and music videos for kids.  It was started by an innovative 5th Grade teacher who envisioned a new kind of classroom where students got energized for math and where high levels of engagement drove facilitated mastery while unburdening the teacher's role in classroom management.  While using these songs, videos, worksheets, and interactive lesson materials in his own classroom math centers, it became clear that students responded positively and were more motivated to tackle the various math concepts behind the music.  Parents of his students even noticed their children singing math songs around the dinner table well beyond school hours.  Math lessons were making it out of the classroom!

Seeing his students so enthusiastic when it was time for math was welcome, to say the least!  But the epiphanous moment was when students were singing math songs in class all-day long like they were in the American Top 40!

Each of these rhythmic music videos are currently targeted at students from 2nd-5th grade.  Each song can be enjoyed free-of-charge on YouTube at the following link: click here . We cordially invite you to browse through the full library and hope you'll find that the songs lighthearted, instructional, or just plain awesome.

It's not too late - judge some student videos for Next Vista for Learning

Wanted to get a quick post out about this contest - there is still time to help support the students that have created educational videos for Next Vista for Learning, a non-profit run by friend and colleague Rushton Hurley.

Here's part of his recent note to me - please help out if you can. It will not take long to look at thise videos and provide your valuable input!

If your time allows, please go to the link below and watch the ten 90-second videos, casting a vote for the one in each strand you think most creatively and helpfully explains something. The links to the sets of videos are in the ballot. We have already established that the rules were followed, so it will simply be a matter of watching and going with the ones you like.

You can certainly cast your vote by watching them yourself or with friends. However, if you have students, I hope you would also consider showing the videos to them and asking them to choose the best one from each of the three categories. Ideally, this will spark an interest in expressing what and how they are learning through digital media tools. If you do watch these with your students, please tally their votes and cast one collective vote (in each strand).

Judges Form for Creative Storm (with links to videos)

Voting ends tomorrow (Sunday) February 14!!!

Thanks for helping Next Vista for Learning - and the student participants - out!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Help a grad student by completing a short survey

I'm helping a Northeastern University graduate student distribute her edtech survey that is part of her master's degree requirements. Can you take 5 minutes to help her? Click this link and complete the survey! Thanks for your assistance.  

Monday, February 8, 2016

Google Classroom info and tips- repost from T. Watanabe's blog!

Here's an excellent post with lots of information - practical ideas, how to's and tips - on integrating Google Classroom into your curriculum.

Thanks to Tracy Watanabe for this informative blog post! Also - check out her excellent blog here.

Monday, February 1, 2016

BYOD Brings New Possibilities

The advent of 21st century learning, the call for the use of technology in the common core standards, and the new standardized testing required have placed growing demands on schools to provide learning opportunities with technology delivering content and being used to create outcomes. These initiatives have placed a huge financial burden on schools, including the cost of hardware, software, support and training. Shifts in attitudes have been slow in coming, leaving students at risk of not having the skills necessary to succeed. One way schools have chosen to soften the cost issue has been the implementation of BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device. Students bring the laptop, tablet or smartphone they already own to school to communicate, collaborate, create and deepen their learning.

Clearly there are management issues associated with BYOD, but those can be mitigated with strong planning, established rules and a quality school-wide student technology use agreement. The benefits of BYOD do outweigh the issues when one considers the possibilities for learning and skill building that can occur.

Students learn early in life that they have to take care of their toys. It’s the same with their technology. When parents have a financial investment in the devices students bring to school, students tend to take better care of them. This is not always the case when students used the classroom “loaner” devices. Devices are left uncharged, logged in, and “the cart” is often in disarray. Care became a teacher issue, not the student’s responsibility. The reverse is true with  BYOD.  Students, not the teacher, are responsible for the care and feeding of their own device.

One “detriment” of BYOD that’s mentioned is the teacher’s inability to require certain applications on all student devices. Let’s turn that around, instead. Teachers can create lessons that offer students choice in the outcomes they create. This allows flexibility in the use of applications. If the teacher wants a visual presentation, students can use any application - from Animoto to Haiku Deck - to create their outcome. Students get a choice to use the app or tool with which they’re comfortable. The focus is on the learning, not fumbling around learning the tool, or force fitting what they know into the teacher-chosen tool.

Students move the result to the web, and can then share the resulting URL with the teacher through the classroom Learning Management System, a Google Form, a Padlet wall, or even email.  The URL can also be shared among students and more globally over social media, which encourages students to produce something “great” and not just “good enough.” The novelty of different presentation software holds viewers’ interest too!

Since thousands of school have implemented Google Apps for Education, students can produce work on any web-enabled device. Cloud-based creation and storage of work eliminates the need for identical hardware. Students can create, save and access their work on any device, anywhere in the world. No longer are they tethered to school to work on a school device. Opening up the four walls of the classroom  so students can “do school” anywhere, anytime is another BYOD benefit.

The BYOD platform also encourages student collaboration and teamwork. As students determine the best way to demonstrate their learning, they have not only their own apps, but multiple options to research, curate and create. Most current web applications allow for the sharing of work, and many are device agnostic. Some even allow work to be done on both a mobile device (iOS or Android) OR the web, another ease of use benefit.

There are certainly issues regarding BYOD that must be addressed to successfully implement the approach. Digital equality - equal technology access for all - is critical, and must be supported. That said, in many schools there’s a golden opportunity to open up the effective use of technology in the classroom, and one way to rapidly do so is to implement a thoughtful BYOD approach to maximize student learning and better prepare students for our modern world.

Here is a list of free applications that work well in a BYOD environment:

Google Apps Suite - Includes Docs, Sheet, Slides and Forms. Students can create, share, store and organize their work and access on any device. Promotes student collaboration. Many third party applications (e.g., LucidChart, SnagIt and Notability) seamlessly connect to Google Apps for Education.
YouTube - Find, edit and curate videos. Upload student-created video and create playlists to share class products.
Thinglink: Using the web version or the app, students can add web-based content to images, making for a new type of learning tool.
Canva: For graphic designs of all kinds - with free icons, shapes, image frame, text design. Easy to use, lots of training and ideas available too.

Curation and Note-taking
Evernote - A note taking app that syncs across all devices. In the classroom, students can use Evernote to take notes, develop their writing, and share their notes through chat or email. Use the Chrome Web Clipper to curate sites for later reading.
Padlet - Teachers create a wall, or “pad”, for students to post their thoughts, images, and videos. Teachers can choose if the wall is shared just with the class or to a broader audience.
Symbaloo: Teachers create a webmix of tiles that take students to vetted websites. Great way for students to start organizing their own links.

Learning Management
Google Classroom - Teacher shares announcements and assignments with students. Students complete work, then turn in to teacher. Great way to create the “paperless” classroom.
Edmodo: This tool posts assignments, announcements, and quizzes to students, as well as space to blog and comment to each other.

Formative Assessment
Socrative - Teachers can quickly assess students by creating an online quiz or exit ticket that students can access on any device.
Kahoot - Create a fun, interactive multiple choice quiz that students can take on any device. Include video and music to add interest.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

SmartBrief Education Tech Tip: Using Web Walls for Collaborative Learning

Here's a recent post by Gene Tognetti about using Web Walls for Collaborative Learning that appeared in SmartBlog Education's Tech Tips.

Padlet is the tool  we wrote about, but there are other choices, as identified in this post by Richard Byrne on FreeTech4Teachers. LinoIt is another good choice. Primary Wall no longer exists.

Padlet - among others - now has an iPad app, too.

Hope you get some inspiration about how to add another easy to use tool supporting collaborative learning!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Balefire labs - find educational apps to augment learning!

We've written before about Balefire Labs, an excellent resource to find educational apps evaluated based upon actual research-based learning criteria. They're approaching 5000 reviews, so there is quite a bit to choose from!

Balefire Labs publishes an informative newsletter, and here's a link to their latest one. Please check it out and add Balefire to your list of go-to sites to find unbiased info about  apps that augment student learning!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Repost SmartBrief Education: Use Twitter to Share Great Moments of Learning

Here's a repost from SmartBrief Education - Tech tip using Twitter to Share Great Moments of Learning by our own Karen Larson!