Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How do I embed youtube videos a specific locations of the video?

Lets say that you want to show your students part of a Youtube video and skip the part that you don't necessarily need them to see.  Well if you understand embed codes you can embed a video and tweak the code so that the only parts of the video that play are the parts that you want.


1.  First go to youtube and find a video that you want your students to see.

2.  Underneath the video you will see a "Share" button.  Click it.

3.  Now click the "Embed" button.

4.  Make sure you enable the "Use old embed code" by click on the check box.

5.  Now you will see a box with code in it.  Click on that box and copy the code.

6.  Now go to your blog or website.  If you are using a site like Blogger then just click the "HTML" button.  Most websites and editors will also have an "HTML" button.  Moodle has one that looks like this: < > .  Once you are in your HTML code, find a location and paste the code there.  I usually find the tag </div> and hit enter after it a couple of times and then paste my code there.

7.  Now on your pasted look for the sections, there are two, that say "=en_GB".  I also highlighted them in RED.  Then add this right next to it. "&start=the number of seconds" to both places.  I highlighted that in GREEN.  The number has to be in "seconds" and not minutes so if you wanted your video to start at 1 minute and 30 seconds you would change that number to "90".

"<object width="420" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Bf4iJvrAv-M?version=3&amp;hl=en_GB&start=30"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Bf4iJvrAv-M?version=3&amp;hl=en_GB&start=30" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="420" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>"

8.  Once you are done editing your code just save it and take a look at your blog or webpage.  It should be working great.

Below is an example of a volcano movie in which I want it to start at 30 seconds into the film.

Well that is all there is to making embedded videos more customized to fit your students' educational needs.

How do I change the theme to my Gmail email view?

How do I change the theme and visual look in my Gmail?

Having a theme, besides the default makes Gmail more fun to look at.  Changing its look is super simple.


1.  Make sure you are logged into your Gmail account.
2.  Click on the "Gear" button in your gmail.  Now notice that you have two Gears.  Make sure you click on the one that is not by your email address information.  Click on the lower one.

3.  In the window that pops up, click the "Themes" option.

4.  Now you will see a bunch of image thumbnails.  Choose the one the best fits your style.  Note that after you choose you will see it automatically come alive and you do not have to save your settings.  I have tried many themes and find that some are great and pretty, but sometimes pretty does not make it easy on your eyes when reading your email, so go ahead and change it again if the style you selected is not the right one.

Youtube Video Tutorial

Friday, February 24, 2012

Using YouTube Videos in Google Docs Presentations

  • One of the nice aspects of Google Docs Presentation is the ability to quickly search for and add YouTube videos to a presentation.
  • Pictured below is a gas laws presentation I made for my chemistry class. This particular slide is about Boyle's Law.

  • If I wanted to add a video, I would first click the "insert" tab.

  • The next step is to click the "video" selection.

  • A popup then appears that allows the user to select a pertinent video from YouTube. The search subject generally has something to do with the title of the slide. In this case, it is "Boyle's Law." You can change the subject to whatever you want.

  • If you want to play a video before putting it in your slide show, you can do so. If you like the video, you can highlight it and then click the "select video" tab on the bottom.

  • The video will now show up on your slide show. You can move it around to wherever you want it on the slide.

  • When showing the presentation, you can now click the "play" icon on the video to play it. You can have it show on full screen by clicking the bottom right corner of the video.

  • That's all there is to it. Happy presenting!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gmail: Editing contacts in Gmail

How do I edit contacts in Gmail?

1.  Make sure you are logged into the Google Apps.  Click on "More" and then choose the "Contacts" option.

2.  In the search box type the contact's name and then click on the "Search Contacts" button.

3.  The contact's name should now show up.  Click on his/her name.

4.  You should now see the contact's info.  Here is where you can add a whole bunch of information, but to change the contact's email address, click on the current one there or click the "Add email" option.

5.  Type in the correct address and you are all set.  Google automatically saves your changes.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Changing Class order In School Master Gradebook

Some staff, especially at the JH and HS levels have asked how to change the name of their classes so that their classes show up in the daily chronological order.  Right now the default is that School Master Gradebook pulls the class title from what they office names it.  Well you can change it for your benefit so that your classes appear in the order and then name in which you would want them.


1.  Choose one of you classes and open it.

2.  Click the drop down menu next to "View" and click the "Configuration" option.

3.  In the configuration box you will fine the "Title" section.  Here is where you can call your class whatever you would like.  If you just want to name it, "First Period", "Second Period" and so forth then that would be great.  This will then change the order that you see in the first picture.

Using OpenOffice as a free alternative to Microsoft Word

I am a big fan of "FREE."  I think most educators are.  Right now for my document needs I usually use Google Docs, but there are some things about Google Docs that I don't like or that haven't been developed yet, so I end up using OpenOffice.org.

I recommend using OpenOffice.org to everybody who doesn't want to use online word processors and doesn't want to pay for the super fancy word processors.  With OpenOffice I can do just about everything MS Office can and sometimes more.

A problem some run into when using OpenOffice is that they just hit the save button and that saves the document as an .ODT file instead of a .DOC and then when the user that they send the file to tries to open it they get stuck if they too do not have OpenOffice on their machine.  Today I would like to demonstrate how to use OpenOffice to save a document as a MS Office document so that you can share it with others.


1.  Go ahead and open up OpenOffice Writer.
2.  Type up your document.
3.  When you are ready to save, hit the "Save" icon at the top left corner.  Its the one that looks like a disk.

4.  On the "File Name" type in the name that you want it to be called.    Then click the "Save as type" drop down menu and you can see all of the ways you can save this document.  I always choose the "Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP (.doc)" option as it is still the most widely used and should work on any machine running Microsoft word.  Then hit the "Save" button.

5.  This next box pops up every time you save it to a different format unless you click the check box at the bottom.  This is just a warning that you are saving it into a different format.  Sometimes your formatting might be a little different when it converts the document to a ".doc" file.  I always hit the "Keep Current Format" options.  I find that it works the best.

That is all there is to it.  Now you can email that file or share it with others who are using Microsoft Office.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Moving folders from one location to another.

Keeping desktops and documents organized is a skill that takes time to learn and to manage, but the overall benefit is worth the time because it will save you time trying to find certain documents and folders.

In this tutorial we will explore how to move one folder to another location.


1.  Lets say you want to move your Videos folder from one location on your computer to another.
2.  First locate your Videos folder.
3.  Right click on it and choose the "Cut" option.  Make sure you don't use the "copy" option if you want to move something because then you will just have duplicates all over the place.

4.  Go to your desktop and find some empty space there.  Right click on the empty space and choose the "Paste" option.  You will then seen your folder get pasted there.

That should be all there is to it.

Creating rules and folders in Gmail

Below is a tutorial that will demonstrate how to create a rule inside of Gmail so that specific email messages will go directly to that folder with or without going to your inbox.

Why would you want to create a rule?

  • Rules will automatically do something specific with a certain email or email message type.  An example would be for my tech tutorials you can create a folder and then a rule that when you get a message from be and it has the words tutorial in it, you can have that message automatically go to a folder labeled "Weir's Tech" or something like that.

1.  Click on the "Move to" icon.

2.  Toward the bottom, click the "Create New" option.

3.  Create a label.  In this case I named it "Beyond Textbooks."  If you want to create a label under a label, you would then specify "Nest label under:" and then select the main label.

4.  You should now see the label on the left hand side of your email.

5.  Now click the "Gear" icon  in your email.  Should find it toward the top and right of your screen.  Then select the "Settings" option.

6.  Click on the "Filters" tab.

7.  Click the "Create a new filter" link down at the bottom.

8.  Now type in what is needed for your filter.  If you want emails from a specific person to go to a folder then type in their "Name" in the "From" section.  If you get a bunch of emails with the same subject line, type that line in under the word "Subject."  If certain emails come in with certain key words from the body of the email, you can filter those as well.  You can even have emails from certain people with attachments go to a specific folder.  Once you are done creating your filter click the "Create filter with this search" link.

9.  Now you need to tell your filter what to do with the information.  There are several options.  The option for this tutorial is to click the "Apply the label" and then choose which label you want your filter to represent. In this case it would be to my newly created "Beyond textbooks" folder.  Once you are done, click the "create filter" button.

Your filter should now be active and working.  If you have any questions don't hesitate to shoot me an email.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

VLC Player, free video player install

Use VLC player as an awesome, free video player

Sometimes computers just don't want to play DVDs and Windows XP especially gives you an error saying something about "codec."  I used to try and find the right "codecs" and that would take forever.  Now I just use VLC open source video player.

What can VLC do?
  • Play DVDs, and other media files
  • Capture videos
  • Convert some times of videos and sound to other formats

Install tutorial

1.  Go to www.videolan.org
2.  Click the "Download VLC" button.

3.  Navigate to the area in which you would like to download the file, and then click the "Save" button.

4.  If you are in Firefox or Google Chrome the download might end up at the bottom of your screen.  If step 5 doesn't start automatically, click here to get the installation started.

5.  Click the "Run" button.

6.  Click the "Next" button.

7.  Click "Next" again.

8.   Click "Next" again or select and deselect options.  I just leave it as the default.

9.  Click the "Install" button.

10.  The next thing you will see is a progress bar showing the install's progress.

11.  Now if you left the settings alone, as you installed it, your DVDs should open up automatically.  If it doesn't start up automatically, just go to your start menu and select "All Programs" and then find the VideoLan folder and select the "VLC Media Player" option.

12.  Under the "Media"  menu you can see all of the different options that you have to choose from to play the correct file type.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Toshiba 505Laptop keyboard

Our district recently bought a bunch of the Toshiba 505 laptops.  I think it has been one of the finest technological moves our district has made.  We now have about 700 of them at the K-6 classroom.  The students are using them frequently and as a district we are getting away from all the "handouts" that we have been accustomed to giving for the last 100 years or so.

As part of the change we also put Edubuntu on the machines instead of Windows.  At first I was very hesitant of this idea, but now I am a huge fan of the Linux based software.  It is faster and if you plan on using it for mostly cloud computing then Ubuntu is the best.  It is fast and from the stand point of a technology person, it is wonderful that if a computers operating system goes bad you can just use Clonezilla to reimage the machine.

One of the training issues I have come across is that not all teacher know of the ability to use the keyboard as a means of muting, rasing and lowering the volume, and changing the brightness of the display.  This tutorial will show you how this is done.


1.  Every laptop keyboard these days has what is called the "Function key" or the "Fn key."  Many settings depend on this key.  To mute your laptops sound hold the "Fn" key down and then push the "Esc" key.  To raise and lower the volume, push the "Fn" key and the "3" key or the "4" key.  To dim the display hit the "Fn" key and the "F6" key.  To brighten the display hit the "Fn" key and the "F7" key.