Friday, January 13, 2017

Chromebook Workshop: From Basics to Classroom Use for Student Engagement

Whether you're a novice or an expert Chromebook user, if you have Chromebooks in your school district, you're going to need to know how to use them and how to help others to use them. That includes fellow educators and your students. Hopefully the resources on this TES Teach Blendspace can be a helpful reference point for you as you become more familiar with your Chromebook.

"Chromebook Workshop" Blendspace:

TES Teach Blendspace -

Once you go to the Blendspace website, just click "Play" at the top to view the tiles. Click on any tile to be taken to a website to learn more!

Row 1 is all about Chromebooks - logging in, understanding the different keyboard keys, keyboard shortcuts, customization, etc.

Row 2 contains resources for integrating Chromebooks into your classroom - engaging students, classroom uses, Chrome apps and extensions.

Row 3 includes instructions specific to Plano ISD educators, but non-PISD people may still find them helpful! :)

Atomic Learning - Earn Professional Learning Credit

If you have an Atomic Learning account in your school district, check out "Webinar: Chromebooks and the Chrome Browser Training". Plano educators, just go to, sign in with your username and network password, and search for this webinar. You can earn an hour PDH credit!

In Atomic Learning, search for the Chromebook Webinar!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Easily Share Form Results

A teacher recently asked me how to share form results with her principal after exhausting every option. It seems like there would be a simple solution. However, the form results vary in format so you need to know exactly what you want. Pick the best option for the person with whom you're sharing the results.

Option 1 - Share the Spreadsheet of Results
Pros - details, user can click on Form, Summary of Results to see charts
Cons - ugly, you might have to instruct the user how to view the Summary of Results

Option 2 - Share Editing Rights to the Form
Pro - user can see everything
Cons - user might not know how Forms work, how to find the results, maybe you don't want them to have editing rights

Option 3 - Share the PDF of the Summary of Results
Pros - easy to view, easy to email to someone, easy to print, pretty, my favorite
Con - a few extra clicks on your part

Sharing a PDF of the Summary of Results

1. Open your Google Form

2. Click Responses

3. Click the Spreadsheet button

4. In the spreadsheet of results, from the menu at the top go to Form, Show Summary of Responses.

5. Right-click on the Summary of Responses and choose Print.

6. Change the printer to PDF

7. Save as PDF and now you can email or print that PDF easily for others to see results. 

As always let me know if you have any questions. I'm here to help! 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Upcoming Learning Opportunities in the NTX!

As educators, we know that in order to be effective in the classroom/campus, we must never stop learning. I urge you to connect with others on your campus by joining a professional learning community (PLC), starting a special interest group (SIG), expanding your professional learning network (PLN) via social media (Twitter, Google+ Communities, etc.), and attending conferences when you can. If you need help getting started with any of these, please email me or Tweet me or Google+ me. :)

My colleague, Clara Alaniz, created a lovely comprehensive list of upcoming conferences in the North Texas area. She blogged about it on our Plano ISD Tech-tastic blog today.

We will be at the Region 11 E-merge, TXGoo conference in Frisco (presenting!), Region 10 Tech Conference (presenting!), McKinney ISD's Converge, PISD's SEA (presenting!), Edcamp Global online conference (facilitating!), and PISD's ETSI (organizing!). We hope to see you there.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Search Smart

As I prepare for the Google Educator Level 1 certification test, I'm collecting really great resources provided by the Google Training Center. Particularly, knowing how to search smart using Google seemed blog-worthy to me.

Valid & Reliable

Students need our help to learn how to evaluate search results for accurate and reliable information. In this video the teacher describes great strategies to help students conduct Google searches. She suggests considering the "Rule of 3" (comparing 3 resources before coming to a conclusion on a topic), domain extensions (.com, .org, .gov, etc.), and the author's point of view, among others, when conducting a Google search.

Narrow Your Search

Did you know that you can narrow a Google search with filters, search tools, and modifiers? Print this poster for your classroom! Nifty Modifiers Poster

Become an Online Sleuth

Use this lesson with your students tomorrowBecoming an Online Sleuth
The comparison chart on Page 5 has a checklist for students to evaluate three web resources. Love it!

Why Teach How to Search?

Lesson Plans

Google Search Education has a complete curriculum for teaching students how to search! Check out this link for details:

Friday, December 11, 2015

Chrome Extensions that Rock!

At yesterday's Lunch & Learn at an early childhood school, teachers wanted to learn about how Chrome Extensions work and which ones improve instruction, productivity, and organization. Here is a super short list with descriptions of some of my favorites!

How to Add Extensions

Put simply, to add Extensions or Apps to your browser, go to the Chrome Web Store, search for the Extension/App by name, and click Add to Chrome next to the one you want.

My Favorite Extensions

Read & Write – hear words on a page read aloud! And more features for writing and studying like text to speech, highlighting, suggestions for and meaning of words, etc. URL shortener – shortens the link to a more manageable length, making it easier for people to write down. Also provides a QR Code to scan!

OneTab – combines all open tabs into one page of a list of the links to each website. I especially like this tool for collecting all my open tabs into one at the end of the day so I can easily pick up where I left off the next day. By clicking “Share as a web page” you can easily share your resources with others. You can name the tab group by clicking More and then Name this tab group.

To open it to view previously saved tab groups, right click the extension and choose Display One Tab.

Save to Drive – saves articles, images, etc. directly to your Google Drive. You can even right-click an image on a website and save it to Google Drive. No downloading/uploading needed!

Clearly – de-clutters a site and lets you highlight text (among other things!)

Google Translate – translates a page to the language of your choice

TechSmith SnagIt – lets you capture a screenclipping, annotate it with arrows/circles/text boxes, and then either download it or copy the URL to it! You can even record your screen with it and make animated GIFs, like the one I made above! This one is my fave because I can quickly and easily create instructions in the form of an annotated screenshot or video and email it to a teacher to answer his/her question. Think of what students can create! I would have had my marketing students create demos of how to navigate a website, show their work, or create instructional how-tos. Oh, and SnagIt automatically saves your screenshots/videos to a folder in Google Drive for you! 

What's Your Favorite?

Which one's are your faves? Please comment with your favorite app/extension and why! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Google Hangouts: A Plano Educator Exclusive!

UPDATE November 2016: Google Hangouts on Air has moved to YouTubeLive. Read more about it here:

If you have not checked this out yet, then now is the time! Grab a buddy in a neighboring room and give it a try!

Why Hangout?

Whether you are a classroom teacher who would like to invite a guest speaker from across the world to virtually connect with students, a curriculum coordinator who wants to get creative with professional development, or a principal who would like to include parents who can't attend an after-school meeting, Google Hangouts is closing gaps and simplifying lives. 

Here are just a few ways to use Hangouts:

How to Hangout

  • In the Google Chrome browser, go to
  • Sign in using your PISD email address & network password
  • Click "Video Call"
  • Give it a name and click the arrow to get started!
  • If you have an all-in-one computer, then your webcam and microphone are already built-in! If not, ask your CTA for an external webcam and microphone (that's what I use here in the office).
  • Invite people to join the video conference by clicking the "Invite People" button on the top
    • You can invite people from outside the Plano ISD organization
    • They must have a Google account
  • Check out this excellent graphic with detailed descriptions by the "Geeky GAFE Girl".
  • Hangouts works across devices so it's easy to connect from anywhere! Download the Hangouts app!
    • Side story: My dad has an Android so he was bummed out that he couldn't place video calls like his iPhone Facetime-obsessed family members, until now!
  • More features explained:

Practice Makes Perfect

Be sure to allow enough time before your virtual meeting to practice so that you feel calm and ready for the real deal. As always, feel free to practice with any of us in Instructional Technology!

Disclaimer: This is by no means a thorough how-to for Hangouts. The screenshots above are from presentations I've done on campuses (and will do at TCEA 2016!!) in which I go into more depth. Please reach out if you have more questions or would like me to come help you/your staff learn more! Like how to broadcast to more people, how to record the Hangouts using Hangouts on Air, and setting YouTube privacy settings, to name a few. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Add a Photo Slideshow to your Google Site

A teacher challenged me with a task this morning. She emailed asking if I knew how to insert a photo slideshow into Google Sites. Ummm, sure don't, but give me a few minutes and I will! I love getting questions like these from teachers because I get to learn something new, too. :)

After clicking around and reading forums, this is what I discovered. And please comment if you know of another/better way to do this!

Gather Your Photos

Go to
  • If you already have photos in here that you want to use, click the button to create a photo album and then add the photos that you have to it. 
  • If you need to upload the photos, click the upload button, locate and upload your photos, then create the album and add the photos that you just uploaded to it. 

Insert the Photos as a Slideshow in Google Sites

In your Google Site, go to the page on which you'd like to add the slideshow.
  • Click to Edit the page and place your cursor where the slideshow should go. 
  • Go to Insert, Google+, Photo Album. 

Select the album to be placed on the page.
Choose the settings you like. I changed the size to Large and selected AutoPlay. Very cool feature!
After you click Save, you'll see the photo album placeholder. If you need to edit the size or other properties again, click the Properties gear on the bottom left of the photo album placeholder.

On mine, I clicked the button to center the slideshow on the page. When you're ready, click Save on your Google Site to see the finished product! Since I selected "Autoplay", my slideshow runs automatically. Love it!
Stay Googly, friends!