Video: Exploring Chrome Apps & Extensions For Education

Chrome Apps & Extensions can greatly extend your ability to utilize apps and tools for the web right within the Chrome Browser.
View this video to get an overview of how to find them, add them, and look for new ones to support your teaching.

Chrome Apps & Extensions
Find Apps:
Find Extensions:

What’s the Difference ?
A major difference between Chrome extensions and web apps is the fact that while extensions are used to enhance the functionality of the Chrome Browser, web apps run within the browser having a different user interface. Unlike web applications, extensions have little or sometimes no UI component.

Tech Buzz Session: Google For Elementary Students-May 24th 2016

For today’s Google For Elementary Tech Buzz Session we will be working from resources collated on the Digital Learning Pinterest Board “Google For Elementary Students”. We will review these resources and discuss starting points for using Google in the classroom. For more advanced users we will identify more advanced tools, applications tricks to keep your work flow streamlined.

Major Topics Will Include:
  • Basics Of Getting Started
  • Getting Started With Google Search
  • A Tour Of Google Drive 
  • Shortcuts For Using Google Apps
  • Additional Support For Google Apps
  • Using Google Forms For Rubrics
  • Tips For Giving A Spelling Test On Google

Links to resources for all of these topics are on the Digital Learning Pinterest Page.
Follow @digitalhornets on Twitter for the most up to date PD and tech resources.

Tech Buzz Resources: Google Tools For Research: Middle/High School Edition

Google Tools For Research: Middle/High School Edition
This a list of tools, websites, and resources which assist students with organizing resources for research. Some of these tools can be used in the process of research or used to collect search specific statistics. Many can be used within the Google For Education platform or used within the Chrome Browser.
Google Tools:
Review consumer trends, marketing insights and industry research. The site includes statistics, a research library including videos and infographics, planning tools, and a section for emerging digital trends.
Based on Google Search, Google Trends shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages.
Google Scholar is an online, freely accessible search engine that lets users look for both physical and digital copies of articles. It searches a wide variety of sources, including academic publishers, universities, and preprint depositories looking for: Peer-reviewed articles. Theses.
The service sends emails to the user when it finds new results—such as web pages, newspaper articles, blogs, or scientific research—that match the user’s search term entered.
Google Research group explores how information visualization can make complex data accessible, useful, and even fun. Work includes public and Google-internal projects.
Power Tips:
Research Tools For Chrome Browser
Citation Websites: Some are available as Chrome Browser Extensions

The fully automatic bibliography maker that auto-fills. It’s the easiest way to build a works cited page; and it’s free. Search for a book, article, website, or film, or enter the information yourself. Add it to your bibliography and continue citing to build your works cited list. Download your bibliography in MLA, APA, Chicago, or Turabian format. Bibme is very easy to use, but you need to pay for a pro account to save your bibliographies.
Citation machine helps students and professional researchers to properly credit the information that they use. Its primary goal is to make it so easy for student researchers to cite their information sources. However, again, if you want to save your bibliographies you need to pay for a pro account.
Cite This For Me allows you to automatically create website citations in the APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard referencing styles at the click of a button. Cite This For Me also comes with a Google Chrome extension.
Cite your work at APA, MLA, and Chicago without leaving the homepage in 3 easy steps. The fourth step allows you to download your bibliography; you can even save it if you create an account. Your citations will be kept as long as you keep visiting the site, but after four days of inactivity your citations will be deleted.
Creating a complete and correctly formatted citation is a challenge for many students, especially documenting sources such as art and music that aren’t included in traditional citation formats. OttoBib
Creating creates citations from ISBNs (which means that your book needs to have a clearly visible ISBN), it also comes with a Google Chrome extension.
An extension for your Google Chrome browser, RefDot makes citation easy; it allows you to cite and store books or journal references, as well as add books automatically from Amazon book pages, which comes in handy.
Zotero is a veteran and completely free browser based plugin that helps you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.
Easy Bib – MLA Free
A great citation generator, EasyBib compiles your bibliographies and citations for you, saving you valuable time. You don’t need to create an account if you are using MLA.

Why Aren’t You Using Google Keep ?

Google Keep is an amazing little web based note taker!

 I can understand now at this point that inviting a new app into your live to keep lists and reminders is a crowded space. But I really want to open your minds to this one. Google Keep has some tremendous benefits for the super busy person who wants labeling in one place.

  • Syncs across Google Accounts, Allows Sharing and Exporting to Google Docs
  • Provides Notifications and Reminders
  • Allows for labeling, labeling
  • creating checkboxes and crossing items off of your list without losing the item.
  • Allows for archiving, changing of list color and email sharing.
  • Has nice smooth web and desktop interface linked with your Google Account.
  • It can also be added as a shortcut to your Google Apps(The same place you find Drive and Docs).

I was slow to start using Google Keep as it was very similar to Evernote in its features but as a dedicated Google Docs user the creation of Docs from my lists was the biggest selling point. Additionally, the ability to have a cross platform application that syncs with my Google Desktop as an option makes efficiency when moving from location to location amazingly simple.
Google Keep Desktop View
I have used this app to share lists which are constantly evolving and changing in real time. I have also used this list maker to more easily enable blogging on the run and turning into a Google Doc in a click of a button.

So go ahead download the “Keep” app from Google Play or find the 3rd party “Go Keep” app from the App Store and test out the sharing of lists,notes,photos and whatever your heart desires across email accounts.

Also be sure to view your synced desktop version when logged into your Google Account.

I think may find yourself returning to it before you know it as your go to list maker/ creative space.

Instructional Technology & Digital Learning Update Andover High School-Week Of September 2-5 2014

The startup of the Andover Innovation Lab/Help Desk was great as we have 7 students beginning projects. The new format at the help desk will have students creating webcasts. They are also going to be blogging soon about their projects and I look forward to reading about their learning process and projects. Students are ramped up to participate in ways to help assist teachers with the use of technology in their classrooms.

The District’s Tech Con has once again started the year with a bang and I had the great opportunity to present on a variety of Project Based Learning Technology Tools for the classroom and also presented on the Integration Of Social Media Into Our School District with Director Of Digital Learning Joanne Najarian. I have included the links to our presentations below.

New photo added to gallery

I have had many opportunities to discuss the implementation of the Lego Mindstorm Kits into the Middle School science curriculum with Steve Sanborn the Program Coordinator for the Science/Engineering Department in Andover. Its great to see the enthusiasm he has for this program and the opportunities this program will present for the integration of coding,engineering and robotics into his program.

New photo added to gallery

It was rewarding this week to reconnect with the teachers about technology and see where their goals are at for the year. I had the opportunity to work with Louise Cummings and her team in the Transitions Program at the high school to integrate Google Calendar across their computers so they could manage the support for different students needs.  

On additional professional levels I just completed the development of a curriculum for a course in “Web Application Development” for Bunker Hill Community College. This course includes to ebooks which delve into the context of web applications in the modern world of web development as well as a technical project which allows students to work their way through a project through the course. I am proud to complete the development of this course and look forward to its implementation.

So we have taken off with a huge push and plan on completing so many new technology projects this year! Looking forward to a great year of collaboration,sharing and learning with the fine teachers,administration and staff of the Andover Public Schools

Instructional Technology & Digital Learning Update Andover High School Week Of August 25-28 2014

Over the course of the summer I had d the opportunity to teach ,develop new curriculum and view the transformation of a variety of classroom and library spaces for the Andover Public Schools Digital Learning Department.
Summer Work
I taught a Web Design & Development course at Minuteman High School for 3 weeks which enabled me to review and research new tools for the new Web Development course  which is going to be rolled out this fall at Andover High School. The Web Design & Development course is one of 3 new courses which in include Game Development and Exploring Computer Science course. These courses are part of the newly formed Digital Learning Department at Andover High School.

As preparation for the new Exploring Computer Science course I participated in a great  training at Google in August with the new Digital Learning Teacher Michael Messina. We were
not only able to witness the “Google “ work experience but also got great training in making computer science more equitable for a wide range of students. The experience at Google was fantastic and getting to know many of the other teachers participating in this opportunity was extremely rewarding.

Early in the summer I was able to use mobile application development curriculum that I had been developing with a grant with the National Science Foundation and Bunkerhill Community College. The course uses video screencasted tutorials and sequenced code lessons to enable students to create an Android Mobile Application. This was a rewarding opportunity to begin teaching this curriculum  which I had been  developing with a former student of mine over the past year.
Teacher Successes 2013-2014
I was also able to reflect on the success of the teachhers with technology at Andover High School. So many teachers challenged themselves with adopting Google Docs and so many new web 2.0 tools to enhance their teaching. The students who participated in the first year of the Andover Innovation Lab produced so many amazing projects and experiences. Moving forward I have created a new website to showcase their writing and projects We are excited to be scheduled to present at the Masscue conference in October and be a part of their student showcase and help desk.

In addition to the new website we plan on having a theme introduced each year for students to investigate.  This year we are embracing the theme of creative coding. Students can research open source programming languages to create graphics. Students will have the option to pursue this as opposed to their own tech study. Additional new initiatives for the help desk this year includes a  plan to integrate group webcasts on instructional technolog topics. We want to continually bridge the gap between students skills and application of technolgoy and the teacher’s use in the classroom.
Prototype Classrooms
At the close of the last school year an opportunity arose to update 3 classrooms at Andover High School as well as the Media Center with 21st century learning furniture. During the month of August furniture was dilligently put together and represent three prototype classrooms. The classrooms are aimed to be models of furniture which supports learning with technology and also making classrooms more adaptable and flexible to group learning.

In two English classrooms and one math classroom students have some pretty cool new desks and tables. The library also has new tables and chairs are on the way to have a new 21st century feel to the space. Moving forward this library space will shift from a static space to one in which it will be easier for students to use their laptops and other computing devices to research,communicate and collaborate. We look forward to seeing this space transform.

Tis the Season For Google Hangouts….End Of Year Assessment Time

At this time of year as the school year draws to a close both at the High School I work at and the Community College I teach at I like to close with something new for the students. This semester I chose to use the collaborative Google Hangout for sharing of course materials,a good laugh at us on a web cam and also a new fluency in technology use and assessment. The sharing of these experiences online is beneficial from a variety of perspectives for both the students and myself.

For a long time I have found video to be a great way to share what a person learns and also how they learn. Google hangouts provide the perfect opportunity to get up to 10 students(others can watch) for a web based video collaboration which has enabled chat features and screen sharing capabilities.

For the final of my PHP programming course at Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown,Massachusetts I asked students to go online and participate in the hangout and share their collective work for the semester. This was a small class so the format worked perfectly. Students received notification from me on their Google + page to join the hangout and shared their web pages from their chosen server and we also we able to discuss the approach we decided on for our group final project.

This students in this class really responded well to the hangout format and were anxious to share with the technology. When audio issues arrived we were able to utilize the built in messaging service inside the Hangout. This can help communicate between all participants.

I chose to do a hangout on air in which the video is live streamed to the internet and saved to Youtube. This is great for revisiting if you need at a later time.

I found Hangouts relatively easy to use except when some students I sent invites to did not receive the notice in their Google accounts. This can be a little annoying for inviting the members but usually a couple resends solves the problem. I have included the video from my PHP class if your interested in seeing one go down but it is much more fun to have your own!

In the Andover Innovation Lab which is a course at Andover High School for Independent Technology projects students have Google Hangouts as part of their final assessment. I ask that students present and their self driven projects and describe their experiences creating them. I want students to reveal their process and goals as well as the resources they used to get their product. In the video I embedded below, the student created an application using the iOS development tool Xcode and has described his experiences.

Overall the tool is powerful at creating collaboration and sharing with technology. It does take some time to get used to but in the end it can be a powerful web based assessment tool. Its great to be able to ask students to present in this way. It makes them think about their presentation in a real world construct.

Instructional Technology & Andover Innovation Lab Update March 10-14 2014

This week the language lab continued to do training on using the Sanako software in the language lab. This support and training really benefits teachers who can use the software to create language immersion experiences.

I also met with Jorge Allen to refine the plan for the the world language website. The plan is to create a place for parents to more easily connect with staff and showcase the highlights of the department. I assisted Jorge with gaining access so he could post himself and see the layout.

The students in the Innovation lab have been diligently working and pulling projects together. They are in the process of  completing formative projects on the way towards their final. We are asking students in the coming week to create videos which discuss their learning process and software applications.

On wednesday I was part of a district wide meeting of program advisors and district leadership to meet with Jim Stanton from EDC who is part of a grant to help provide training to computer science educators to implement a course called “Exploring Computer Science” in the coming year. The training willl be taking place at Microsoft and Google in Cambridge,Massachusetts this summer. Participation in this program will provide a great backbone for implementing a computer science program at Andover High School  with a cross curriculum approach.

At this point in the school year teachers fluency has improved with the use of the laptops and also with using some of the hardware such as Epsom Projectors and Interactive boards. 
The use of web based group tools are on the rise as well as teachers are moving towards organizing their communication with students and parents in central platforms. Many teachers are currently part of a pilot of using  Google Apps. The pilot will expand in the coming months and training for Google tools will expand as well.

Using A Great New Website IFTTT.COM (If This Then That)To Push Out Social Media Posts And Manage Your Internet Exerience

 A website that I discovered from a discussion with a student is This website has many full features for sharing your Twitter posts, LinkedIn posts or your Blogger or WordPress account. The website allows you to share your content created across a variety of platforms by creating different social media recipes. For example, I recently created recipes which send my current favorite feeds to my email each day and also automate the tweets of my blog at different times of day. IFTTT(If This Then That) also sends the most popular New York Times technology articles directly to my email. The site really increases your engagement with the parts of the web that are the most relevant to you on a daily basis.

IFTTT does require sharing your information but it also provides tremendous value with the amount of sharing of content you have chosen to receive and also the high level of  integration between the variety of social media networks. Some of the most powerful recipes allow you to send automated updates to your Evernote account from starring emails in your Gmail or even Tweeting automatically by entering data into your Google Calendar.

Once you become familiar with the site you will see there of thousand of recipes that can be designed be creating a variety of triggers. This site has helped me organize the sharing of posts from my blog and also enabled me to be sent direct emails from Craigslist based on a search url. There are also phone based recipes which can call me in the morning as a wake up call. I highly suggest checking out all the available recipes and reap the benefit of the tools and sharing of web content.

Check out and see how you can begin to orgainze the many tools you are currently using into a more organized approach with your social media.