Thursday, April 26, 2012

Screen Sharing: Great tip for Ed Tech trainers when trying to demonstrate via distances.

If you are in a similar position that I am in, which is an Educational Technologist, then you know that it can take time travelling from one school site to another just to demonstrate a concept or a "how to" to a colleague in need.  Well with "ScreenLeap" you can sit in your office and share your screen with another person.  The really cool thing is that you don't even need to register with the site.  They generate a URL and as long as the other user is on that website they will be able to view your screen.

Educational uses:

  1. If you have students who are sick/home bound and want to view what their peers are seeing in class just have them link up.
  2. As a trainer you can easily share your screen with multiple people and have them join you in a conference call.

1.  Go to
2.  Click the big, green "Share your Screen Now!" button.

3.  A dialogue box will pop up.  Click the "Run" button.

4.  You have four options.  My favourite one is just the "Send viewers this link:" option which you just copy it and email it to the person you would like to share your screen with.   You can also give them the 6 digit code which I will show further down where the end user would input the code.

5.  You can also just input the users email address and click the send button.  This option will then email them the link automatically.  Finally you can also text the user the link by just entering their phone number.

6.  That is all you have to pretty much do to share your screen with individuals and you can have all the individuals you want.  Once you share your screen you will get the box below.  Pause, stop and decide what you want to share.

7.  On the other side of things your user you are trying to share with will copy and paste the code you emailed them into a browser.  Instantly they will be able to view your screen.  

8.  If you chose the code option, just have them input it on the main page of the website and then click the "Join a screen" link.

In this day and age that really is a simple method of viewing somebody else's screen.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Convert document, sound, video, images and other file types with Zamzar.

This tech tip and tool can be extremely important to educators.  As students and other colleagues buy and use different software programs other than the ones you use you may get email attachments or files on flash drives that just don't load or work on your computer.  An example would be if a colleague from another district emailed you a ".pages" document which come from the Apple program called "Pages."  You happen to live in a district that only uses PCs and your computer only has the Microsoft Office program.  You are now stuck because you cannot view the file that was sent.  One solution would be for you to email your colleague back and suggest that they save their ".pages" file into a different format.  That could take time and even be annoying, so why not try using an online no download program called "Zamzar."

Zamzar will convert documents, sound, video files, and images into formats that you can use on your various software programs.  Once Zamzar converts the file, it will email you a link that you then click on and it will take you back to their website where you can click on a download link.  Here is how you do it:


1.  Go to
2.  On step 1 click the "Choose file" button.

3.  Navigate to the folder that contains the file.  Double click on the file or click on it and then click the "Open" button.

4.  Go to step 2. This program is pretty intelligent so it will detect the program type and give only correct options for you to convert your file.  In this case it give me the .doc, .pdf, .rtf, .txt options.  If it were a different file type it would give me different options.

5.  In step 3 type on your email address.

6.  Now click the "Convert" button, and the conversion will begin after you click the "OK" button in the popup dialogue box.

7.  Down below you will see the file conversion progress bar.

8.  Now go to your inbox and find the email from "Zamzar Conversions."  Note that it can take some time to convert.  If you are converting a large video file you will have to wait a bit for Zamzar to do it's magic.

9.  Once into the email click the Alternative link.

10.  Find the "Download Now" button and click it.

11.  Depending on which browser you use and how you set up download, download the file in the location of your choice.

You can now locate that file and open it in the program that goes to that file type.  This really neat educational tool is useful for many different file conversion types.  Give it a try and see if it will work for you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Google Calendar: Create private events in your public calendar so the whole world doesn't see them.

In our district we have started using the Google Calendar as the district's means of posting events.  It has been working very well except for one issue.  That issue is that sometimes the person adding a personal event to their calendar, either didn't change the event to personal or didn't add it to their personal calendar.

If you already didn't know, one really cool option in Google Calendar, is that you can create multiple calendars.  An example would be a calendar for your personal events and one for your students so they can see what assignments are due and when.  If managing more than one calendar is to confusing and doesn't make life any easier then just use one calendar and then make sure that private events like your spouse's birthday be added as private.

In this tutorial you will see how to make sure that your event stay private on your calendar so that it doesn't become anybody's business but your own.


1.  Log into your Google Apps domain and navigate to your calendar.
2.  Click on either the "Create" button or on a particular calendar date selecting the "Edit" link.

3.  Give you event a title.

4.  Here is where you can select a specific calendar if you would like to create an even such as a volleyball game in this example.  But if you are just using a single calendar and want to make the event private the go to step 5.

5.  At the very bottom of your event creation page you will see a section with "Privacy."  Just make sure you click the "Private" radio button.  

6.  Finally go back to the top and click the "Save" button and now the only person who can see that event is you.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Google Apps: How do I get text buttons instead of Google icons when working within Google Apps?

Once upon a time, users within Gmail had buttons with text on them.  Google decided to change those buttons to icons instead.  Well, for those who were upset or disappointed in this change, congratulations because now you can change those icons back to text and here is a tutorial that will show you how.
This instead of 


1.  Log into your Gmail account.
2.  Click on the Gear icon inside your inbox.

3.  Choose the "Settings" option.

4.  Make sure you are under the "General" tab.

5.  Scroll down until you see the "Button labels" section and choose the "Text" radio button.

6.  Scroll all the way to the bottom of the screen and click the "Save Changes" button and you will be all set to now see Text buttons instead of Icon buttons.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Google Chrome Tips and Tricks: Adding bookmarks in Chrome

Adding a bookmark in Google Chrome is very simple and fast.  Bookmarks are just another way of saying Favorites if you are used to using Internet Explorer.


1.  First go to a website that you would like to add to your bookmarks.
2.  Click the star towards the top right of your address bar.

3.  This will open up your Bookmark maker.  In the name section give your bookmark a shorter name.  Longer names just take up more space on your bookmark bar, but if you would like to leave it a little longer then no problem.  Decide if you want this bookmark to show up on your bookmark bar.  The bookmark bar is a list of favorite websites that you can access just underneath the address bar.  If you want your bookmark to appear on the bar then just click done when you are ready.

4.  If you would like to place the bookmark elsewhere, then just click the dropdown menu and select the "Choose another folder..." option.  

5.  Now click the "New folder" button to add a specific folder for specific types of bookmarks, such as bookmarks for your geology class.  Then click the save button.  You will now be able to save bookmarks to that specific folder.

Well that is all there really is to adding bookmarks from within Google Chrome.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Google Docs: Defining words

One of the many cool tools that Google Docs will allow your students to do is define words directly within their document or a document you sent them.  In other words if there is a word that they don't quite understand or if you give them a list of words to define, the can simply look up those definitions.


1.  Just let your students know that they just need to highlight a word.

2.  Then they need to click the "Tools" menu item and then choose the "Define" option.  Note that they can also use the hot keys "Ctrl, Shift, and Y" at the same time and that will open up the dictionary.

3.  The neat way that Google does this is that it first shows you a simple definition of the word, but then does a quick search on the web to find website that also discuss the word

Your students and even yourself can sure use this awesome tech tool as they go through their studies.  Please share it with them.