Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Youtube Glitch: My youtube videos keep stopping at a specific time and won't play.

Sometime in May or June I noticed that my Windows 8 and Windows Vista machines quit playing some of the YouTube videos.  The videos would always start but in my case they would quit playing and buffering at 14 seconds.  I spent hours on this problem so I hope you don't have to.

I tried Chrome, IE, and Firefox and they all stopped exactly at the same spot.  I tried browsers on Windows XP and it worked fine.  I also didn't see any problems on my iPad, Smartphone, or Droid tablet.

I tried uninstalling and re-installing Flash.

I finally came across an obscure post of somebody that had the exact same problem  I tried his solution and it worked great for me.  So if your YouTube playback symptoms are:

  1. Stopping video at specific time
  2. Stopping and Starting
then try this Google Chrome solution.  So far it works at 100%.


1.  Open up Google Chrome.  Go to the 3 bars/settings at the top right of your browser and choose the "Settings" option.

2.  On the left hand side of your screen you should see "Extensions."  Click on it.

3.  At the very bottom of your extensions, you will see a link.  Click on the "Get more extensions" link.

4.  In the search bar, type in "smartvideo for youtube" and hit your enter button.

5.  Click the "Add to Chrome" button.

6.   Go back into settings and extension and click the "Options" link under the Smartvideo for Youtube" extension.

7.  The two options that I checked were the "Start buffering right away" and the "Start playing when buffered" option.

If you have the same problem that I had, I hope this worked for you.  Let me know how it went.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Smartboard Activity: What is the activity builder and how do I use it?

The activity builder was a nice touch from the people at Smarttech.  With the activity builder you can create categorization activities quite quickly.  Students will drag items from the the Notebook page into a category and if they are right the object will stay or disappear and if the student is wrong the item will bounce back to where it was.  Using the activity builder is extremely useful and very easy to use.

Smartboard Activity Builder Tutorial

1.  Using the "shapes" button, create shapes for each category you will use.  In this example I will use three.

2.  Create your first shape and then copy and paste it for however many categories that you have.

3.  To add some flare to the shapes I added a picture to each one.  To do that, click the object and then the "Properties" button.  Click the "Image fill" option under "Fill Effects."

4.  Click the "Browse" link.

5.  Navigate to the image and select it.  Click the "Open" button.

6.  Select the "Scale to fit" option

7.  My image is now in my shape.  I added a title as well.  In this example I will categorize volcano descriptions.

8.  Add all the words, images, or objects that will fit into the categories that you set up.

9.  Now you are ready to build your activity.  Click on the "Activity builder" button on the left side of your Notebook software.  It looks like a puzzle piece.  

10.  Select your first category object.  

11.  Click the edit button in the "Activity Builder."

12.  Drag all of the correct objects and text that fit this first category into the "Accept these objects" block.

13.  On the "Reject these objects" block click the "Add all remaining" button. 

14.   If any item doesn't belong just drag it to the garbage can.

15.  Click the "Done" button.

16.  You should notice that your text and objects now have a green or red box next to them.  Green is for the words that get accepted and red is for those that get rejected.

17.  Follow those instructions for the other two category shapes that we already set up.  Now click on the "Settings" button for each category shape.  Decide what action need to happen when the object is accepted or rejected.  Notice that if you attached a sound to an object you can also get that object's sound to play if it is either rejected or accepted.

18.  When you are all done with your activity click the "Identify" button to get it started.  When you are finished with your categorization activity make sure you hit "Reset All" so that you can start all over next hour or year.

If you have any other ideas or activities that you have created please don't hesitate to share using the comment section below.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Smartboard Notebook Trick: Use the screen shade to only show what you want your students to see.

I use the screen shade option a ton.  If you haven't given it a try, you should.  I like to give visual and oral quizzes to my students.  I use the screen shade so that we can all be on the same question at the same time.


1.  Just click on the "Screen Shate" button.

2.  Everything on your screen should now be behind the "Screen Shade."

3.  You should see 3 dots on your screen shade and a red "x".  The red "x" will reveal everything behind your shade.  The three dots are control handles that let you drag your screen shade down or left and right.

4.  I just drag the screen down revealing questions and answers as I go.  Give it a shot.

Smartboard Notebook Tip: View web pages directly from within Notebook.

With Smartboard notebook you have the capability of viewing and browsing the web right from the Notebook software.  You can set it up so that once you are done viewing with one class you can reset the site to go back to the beginning.


1.  Click on "Insert" and then choose the "Internet Browser" option.  

2.  You should now see Notebook's default page appear.  At the very bottom is the URL bar.  Type or paste an internet address into the URL bar.

3.  In this example I went to the dogs page on Animal Planet.

4.  Next to the URL bar, you will see two pins.  The right pin is kind of like a "Bookmark."  Pin the address.  Now you can browse this site and go where you want with your classroom.  Once you are done or want to go back to the first page, just hit the left pin button.  Now you are ready for your next class.

Smartboard Notebook Trick: Quicker way to advance pages

Here is a quick Smartboard Notebook trick that will let you move from page to page in your Notebook 11 software.  You can still use, of course the forward and backward arrows.

A quicker way might be to simply swipe your finger right to move a page forward or swipe your finger left to move a page backward.  You can thumb through your pages quite quickly from either side of the Smarboard using this technique.

Smartboard Notebook Trick: Use alignment to make sure your objects are straight.

If you are a person who is slightly on the perfectionist side, you will like using the "Alignment" option.  Alignment allows you to view how your Notebook items are going to align with another Notebook item.  Using this tool will allow you to easily set up neat and organized pages.


1.  Once you are in the Smartboard Notebook software program, click the "View" from the menu bar and choose the alignment tool.

2.  Decide how many of the alignment guides you will want to help you set up your Notebook page.  I choose them all.  Checking all the boxes give guidelines in vertical and horizontal directions and will "Snap" the objects in place correctly.

3. So if I want to snap this one in perfect alignment with the other ones, I drag it close and then you will see lines appear to show you what your alignment is like.  You can see that the bottom left one has 3 lines going horizontally and 3 lines going vertically which indicates that I am perfectly aligned with the other ones.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Smartboard Notebook Trick: Use transparent background to trace items from your computer or internet.

Here is a great idea when using your Smart Notebook program.  Dazzle your students with your ability to draw by using the transparent background and tracing images.  You can also use the transparent background and still interact and browse the web.  Once you are done tracing and marking things up, your work gets saved into your Notebook presentation.


1.  First right click somewhere your your menu bar if you don't already have your transparent background button.

2.  Scroll down until you find the "Transparent Background" icon.  Left click and drag the icon to your menu bar.

3.  You should now have the button on your toolbar.  Click on it and your window to Notebook will disappear.

4.  Your Smartboard Notebook will appear to disappear.  You will now see another toolbar.  If you have the clicker/instant response system you can even add questions right from your transparent screen.

5.  In this example I found an image of a dog and was able to trace it into my Notebook software.  I don't even draw well so you all that are artists this could be a great tool.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Smartboard Tip: Don't spend time erasing all the ink, use the clear ink button.

Have you ever had to spend time erasing all the ink off of your Smarboard Notebook?  I know that you can take your eraser and draw a big circle around your ink and then touch the middle and that can clear the in, but here is a little known secret that might save some time.  Use the "Clear Ink" button.  The problem is that the "Clear Ink" button isn't standard on the toolbar and that's why most don't know it exists.  Below is a tutorial on how to add the "Clear Ink" to your tool bar as well as use it.


1.  Right click on your toolbar, and a new dialogue box will appear.  All of these buttons can be added to the tool bar.  Just take any of of these buttons, left click and drag the button to the toolbar.

2.  Your "Clear Ink" button is now on your toolbar.  

3.  So lets say your a diagramming and drawing on a map on one of your Smart Notebook pages.  The example below doesn't show much ink so using an eraser is fine, but if you can get into the habit of using the "Clear Ink" button you will save time.

4.  The cool thing about the "Clear Ink" button is that it leaves your other objects alone and doesn't delete them.  This is an easy way to clear the board and get ready for your next class.

Smarboard Tip: Don't forget to save; set up timed saves.

Has the power ever gone off and you have regretted not having saved a document?  Don't ever let that happen when using Smartboard Notebook software.  You can set up the document for saved times and even set it up to save to a different document type.  Below is a tutorial on how to use your "Timed Save" feature.


1.  A good habit to get into is this first step.  When you first open up your Notebook software, click on "File" and then select the "Timed Saves..." option.

2.  Set up the Notebook timed save to what ever you want.  I actually have my set up to the second option "Every time I move to a different page."  This option is nice because I move through pages quickly and it save automatically as I create and edit my pages.

3.  Decide what file type you want your document to be automatically saved too.  Click the "Next" button.

4.  If you haven't saved your document yet, you will see a dialogue box that forces you to give your Notebook file a name.  Click the "Save" button and you are all set.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Moodle: How do I reset my course at the beginning of each year?

It is probably a good idea at the end of each school year to reset your course.  With resetting your course you can delete grades, quiz attempts, forum posts, and pretty much anything else that your students added to your course from the beginning of the year.  Below is a tutorial on how to reset your course so that you get a fresh start in the upcoming school year.


1.  Make sure you are logged in as the course creator for you Moodle class.  It might reset as well if you are the course teacher, but I am not sure.  Once you are logged into the course you should find under you administration options a link that says "Reset."  Click it.

1a.  If you scroll all the way to the bottom of your "Moodle" page you can choose the "Select default" button, which will do most of the check boxes for you.  This is the option that I use when resetting my Moodle courses.    If you want to see what they other options are for then keep reading the tutorial.

2.  You now have a whole slew of options to play with.  You can see under "General" that I can delete calendar events, logs and notes.  Just select the items you want deleted.

3.  Most teachers are going to want to reset at least the grades from the gradebook so make sure you check the "Delete all grades" option.

4.  If you have created groups of students the year before you can get rid of those groups.

5.  The "Roles" section is also one that for sure you want to reset.  Make sure that you unenrol "Students" by selecting them.

6.  If you students turned in or uploaded documents into the Moodle environments, then make sure you select the "Delete all submissions" option under the "Assignments" section.

7.  Delete the chat history if you want.

8.  I never do forums in my class, but if you do, just pick the options that apply to your class.

9.  If you had your students add to the course glossary, then use this section to delete their entries.

10.  The last option is to delete all quiz attempts.  Make sure you choose this option as well.

11.  Just click the "Reset" course once you are finished down at the bottom of the Moodle page.