Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Smartboard: Tips and tricks of the Magic Pen.

The magic pen in Notebook 10 is awesome.  If you haven't had a chance to play with it, I highly recommend that you do.  It will enhance a students focus on what you are trying to get across.

Where do I find the magic pen?

  • Click on the pent that has stars around it.

There are three things that the Magic Pen does.

  1. Disappears after 5 seconds or so.
  2. Dims most of the screen and just highlights a portion of it.
  3. Zooms in on a specific part of a picture.

Tutorial 1

1.  First you need to have some sort of picture on your Notebook background.
2.  Now just draw your object on the onto your picture.  Wait 5 or so seconds and then it will slowly fade out.

Tutorial 2

1.  First you need to have some sort of picture on your Notebook background.
2.  Draw a circle around a specific point of the picture and you will see that it fades out the rest and highlights everything in your circle.  Now just grab the circle and move it around.

3.  To re-size your highlighted area just left click inside of the circle and then move your mouse while holding the left click button.  Down and right make it bigger and up and left makes your highlight smaller.

4.  To go back to your original image just click the "X".

Tutorial 3

1.  First you need to have some sort of picture on your Notebook background.
2.  Draw a square around a specific part of your picture.  You will notice that this particular section will then zoom in as an overlay of your entire picture.

3.  Now to zoom or out more, just left click and hold inside of the square.  Now move your mouse up and left to make the image zoom out a little and down and right to zoom further.
4.  To go back to your original image just click the "X".

Here is a video tutorial that will show you these three tricks and more.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Smartboard: Create a study game using flip tiles.

Below is a tutorial on how you would go about creating a board game using tiles that have questions on one side and answer on the other.  This tech tutorial will demonstrate how to lock the different parts to the board while allowing you to create game pieces that can be moved.

By the time you are done with this tutorial you should have a game board that looks similar to this.  Kids will roll the dice.  They will move their game piece accordingly and then touch the tile with the question.  The tile will flip over and reveal the answer.  If the student answered it wrong they will have to go back to the start.

1.  First lest create a back ground.  Right click on your main document and choose the "Set Background" option.

2.  Now pick the colors that you want your background to have.  I personally like the gradients so I will actually pick two different colors.

3.  Now once your background is set click on your Gallery button to open up your Notebook's gallery section.

4.  Now search for the key terms "Question flipper," and then click the "Search" button.

5.  Under the section "Interactive and Multimedia" select the type of question flipper that you would want to use for your game.  I chose the 1st one for this game.

6.  Now to get your question flipper onto your game board just left click and hold and then grade it over.  To resize the flipper look toward the bottom right corner of the tile and you will see a "triangle" looking thing.  Just left click on it and drag your mouse diagonally up or down to see it's size change.

7.  Now at the top left of the tile you will see a double arrow.  >>  Click that so that you can edit your questions and answers.

8.  On the top of the tile you should now see a "Front" and "Back" tabs.  These are so that you can edit the text on both sides.  At the bottom is where you can change your font size so that your question can fit the tile better, you can change the color of your text, you can change the font style and at the very bottom you can change the background color of your tile.  Once you have jazzed up your question flipper, click OK.

9.  Once you have the basis of your first tile, you want to copy it so that you don't have to change the styles for every single tile.  Click on the tile, and the either go to "Edit" and "Copy" or use the hot key, Ctrl C.  Then just hit your Ctrl V about 20 times or so.  That will give you 20 tiles to start out with.  Now just drag those tiles about and create the shape of your game board.

10.  Now go back to your Gallery and search for the word "dice."

11.  Select the color and type of dice you would like for your game.  Drag it onto your game board and place it in a good location.

12.  Now go back to your gallery and search for the word "square."

13.  Drag the square onto your game-board and then resize it and then drag it to the beginning/start location of your game.  Now copy that image and then drag the copy over to the end/finish section of your game-board.

14.  Now left click on a blank section of your game-board and start typing the word "Start."  Change the font and color as you want it.  Drag it onto the beginning square.  Now duplicate that action and type the word "Finish" and then drag it over onto your "Finish" square.

15.  Once more click on a blank section and type in the directions/rules for your game.

16.  Your game-board should now look something like this or similar using any design you would like to use.

17.  Now what you are going to do is either go to "Edit"and choose the "Select All" option or using your keyboard hit "Ctrl A."    This will select everything you have on your board.

18.  Now find a drop down arrow on one of your object and click it.

19.  Go to the "Locking" option and then click on the "Lock in Place."  This will now make each tile, all your words so far, and you dice locked so that when you use the Smartboard you don't accidentally move the pieces around.

20.  Now go back to your gallery and search for some cool game pieces.  I chose a dog, cat, mouse, and cheese.  Resize and drag those object onto your "Start" section.

21.  Now your students can roll the dice and then move the game pieces on your board.  That is all there is to your making a pretty slick and easy to make game board that can be a very interactive method of learning and practising review questions.

If you don't particularly want to create a game and just muse my copy here is the download link.  Smartboard Game

Monday, March 19, 2012

Google Sites: How do I delete a post under the Recent Announcements?

Deleting a recent announcement post in Google Sites is really easy to do, but isn't the easiest thing to find.  A post in the Recent Announcements is an actual page.  Every time you create a post, you create a unique page.  So all you have to do is navigate to that specific post and then delete it.  Below is a tutorial on deleting your posts.


1.  Make sure you are logged in as a site administrator.  Navigate to the page that has your recent posts on it.  Click on the "Recent Post."  In this case I would click on the "fridayearlyrelease" link.  This would then take me to that specific post.

2.  Click the "More" button at the top left of the page.

3.  Now just choose the "Delete page" option from the "drop down" and you page and the recent announcement will be removed.

Google Sites: How do I add a horizontal, fly out menu bar?

Below is a tutorial that will demonstrate how to create a horizontal menu bar that will fly out some options as you hover your mouse over it.   The picture directly below is what I am going to demonstrate.


1.  Navigate to your home page.  Make sure you are logged in and the "Edit," "Add," and "More" buttons are visible.  Click on the "More" button and then choose the "Manage site" option.

2.  Click on the "Site" layout option on the left hand side of your screen.

3.  Click on the "Edit horizontal nav content" link under the "horizontal navigation bar" section of the window.

4.  Here are three options you can play with.  I prefer the "Tabs" look.

5.  Here is the main section you will play with.  If you want to add a navigation menu using pages from your site click the "Add page" link.  If you want to add links to either pages within your site or outside of your site click the "Add url" link.  Off to the right you see arrows.  The first two allow you to move your tab pages by priority.  The top page in this window will be the page furthest left on your horizontal tab menu.  If you would like a menu to be a sub-page of a menu then just click the right arrow to move it over one.  If a page is no longer relevant then select it and then click the "x" and it will delete that option.

6.  If you select the "Add page" link then it will bring up a window like this.  Find the specific page you would want included in your menu and then click on it and then click the "OK" button.

7.  If you selected the "Add url" link then you will get a box like this.  Just type in the text you want displayed and then the address of the link or even an email address.  Once done, click the "OK" button.

8.  Once you are all done with your edits click the "OK" button and you will now see the changes you made reflected in your navigation bar.

How do I embed widgets/gadgets onto my Moodle page?

Embedding widgets/gadgets into your Moodle page can seriously and dynamically enhance your Moodle classroom.  There are literally thousands of widgets/gadgets out there that can be fun and bring a level of interactivity to your class.  This tutorial can also work on your blog or class website.


In this example we are going to embed a widget that displays the latest earthquake notices.  If you are teaching an earth science course then adding a widget that displays up-to-date information would be awesome to have.

1.  Once logged into your Moodle course, find the "Edit" hand near the location in which you want your widget installed.  Click on it.

2.  On almost all the menu bars of Moodle text boxes you will see a set of  "greater than/less than" signs < >.  Click that button.

3.  Now you need to find a widget/gadget that you would like to embed.  There are many sites.  Widgetbox and Google Gadgets are really nice ones.  Go to one of these sites.

4.  Search for a particular widget/gadget that you would like to use.  I am going to search for an earthquake gadget.

5.  Scroll and browse until you find the widget/gadget that is interesting.  Click the "Add to your webpage" button.  Other sites with might say something about "Get code" and have a button that reflects that.

6.  Click on box that contains the code.  Some boxes will have a "copy" button and some you will just have to use the right click and copy method, but however you choose to do it, just copy the code.

7.  Once the code is copied go back to your Moodle page.  Right click where you left off and select the "Paste" option.

8.  It should now look something like this.  You don't really need to understand the code.  Click the "Save Changes" button.

9.  This will take you back to your Moodle course page.  You should now see the widget on your page.