Wednesday, January 27, 2016

#CoolChromeExtensions: Manage Your Open Tabs with Tabr

If you are like me, you may be prone to having too many open tabs in Chrome, which can lead to slow performance and clutter. Tabr is a great extension to free up RAM, , see a bird's eye-view of all of your open tabs, and keep yourself organized. The best part is that Tabr is extremely easy to use.

Here are some of the key benefits and features:

  • You can see a bird's eye-view of open tabs, much like Safari. Visit any open tab by clicking on its thumbnail or even open up a new tab. 

  • Too many tabs open? Use the Search box to search through your open tabs for the right one! 

  • Archive a series of open tabs to use again later. To make it easier to find, you can rename your session. When you are ready to use your tabs again, just open up Tabr and your tabs will open in a new window.

  • Do you want a faster Chrome experience? Tabr increases performance by reducing the amount of RAM Chrome uses through Auto-Suspending for Tabs. Basically, this feature "suspends idle Chrome tabs that take up precious memory." 
Conclusion

If you are addicted to open tabs, this could be a great tool for you or your students! Not only does this extension help you keep yourself organized, it also increases Chrome's performance. Who wouldn't want a faster browsing experience? 


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Help Students Monitor Progress with Progress Bar Timer

How do you help students learn how to reach their goals? This is an important aspect of self-regulation or how we help students develop important intrinsic, self-assessment, and coping skills. Using a progress bar can be a great strategy to provide our students with a tangible way of measuring their progress.


















The Progress Bar Timer App is an excellent Google App that you could use to help measure student performance on your Chrome Browser. This is the perfect tool for Chromebook schools. After installing the App on your Chrome Browser, you or your students can measure performance in three different ways:

1. Counter

The counter feature is the perfect way to measure performance. Use it to count the number of books read or the number of pounds you shed. Simply add a bar, provide a description, then enter a starting value and ending value. Once your bar is installed, you can manually add or reduce the number.


2. Timer

The timer feature acts like an egg timer and provides a count down. This might be a perfect tool to help students keep track of study time, free time, and even exercise time. Need to take a break? You can pause the timer or reset it so that it can be used again.


3. Clock Feature

The clock feature can be a great study tool to help students visually see how much time they have spent on a task and how much longer they have to go. This is a great tool to keep things in perspective.



Conclusion:

Self-regulation is an important intrinsic, self-assessment, and coping skill that students (and adults) need to learn. Self-regulation can be thought of as "mind over matter." Sometimes changing our perspective or measuring our performance can help in achieving our goals! The Progress Bar Timer can be a great tool to tangibly measure student progress.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes that Inspire Infograph

There are very few few people that have the privilege of changing the world through their thoughts, actions, and words. Martin Luther King, Jr. was such a man, whom we remember and celebrate on MLK Day. Dr. King was a pioneer in the American Civil Rights movement. Even after his death, his life and words have touched the lives of so many.

Please enjoy this inspirational infograph created by Scion San Diego, which contains powerful quotes that still resonate with us all today. My personal favorite is "The time is always right to do what is right." Imagine if we all took the time to put just one of the quotes below into action. How much different would could our world become?


Making Chrome Tabs More Manageable with Tabr

Helping our students manage online resources and open tabs is one aspect of using technology that we often forget about. Tabr is a free Chrome Extension that will help our students with executive functioning strategies like managing, saving, and searching through Chrome Tabs.

Here are three features that I absolutely love about this extension:

1. Big ThumbNails

Once Tabr is installed in your Chrome Browser, you can see all of your open tabs appear as Big ThumbNails. Within this tab, you have several different options for working with your tabs:

  • Click on any of the thumbnails to visit open tabs, open a new tab, or close out of any unnecessary tabs
  • Open your tab in a new window or combine all of your open windows
  • Archive tabs to save or bookmark for later
  • Search through your open tabs by keywords
2. Archive Sessions

If you want to open a series of tabs later or if you accidentally closed out of a tab, you can access your tabs in the archive feature of Tabr. 

Within the archive features, you can:
  • Delete, rename, or search tabs by keyword 
  • Save or visit individual tabs
3. Search Through ALL Tabs

Regardless of whether your tabs are opened or archived, Tabr's powerful search feature will let you search for the website that you need. 

Conclusion:

Tabr is an excellent tool to help our students develop important executive functioning skills, like managing and organizing resources. The archive feature helps save unnecessary time searching for sites that were used. The best part is that your archived tabs are accessible on multiple devices, as long as you are signed in on the Chrome Browser. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Peek a Boo: 3 Unique Apps Kids are Using to Hide Photos

If you are a parent or teacher of students with smartphone, you may or may not be aware of hidden or secret apps. Many of these apps double as a "legit" looking application, but offer "hidden" features like saving photos, videos, notes, and even browsing information. Here are three unique  iOS Apps that our students are using to hide their tracks:

1. Secret Calculator Icon

There are many apps that double as a calculator and photo vault. One of the most popular is called Secret Calculator Icon (iOS) which looks like and functions as a calculation app; however, it provides backup of photos, videos, notes, contacts, to-do lists, and even location.

It offers several different passcode options and security options:

  • Decoy option - if users simply enter their passcode in reverse, the app will appear legitimate. 
  • Panic Mode - shake, flick, or place your phone down to change your location.
  • Intruder Reports - provides a break-in report (with photos and video) of anyone who has tried getting into the phone
  • Self-Destruct - remove contents if phone is lost

2. Secret Tile Game Icon 

From the same developers as Secret Calculator Icon, this app appears to be a harmless tile game; however, it doubles as a way of entering your passcode and backup photos, videos, notes, contacts, to-do lists, and locations. It offers features like searching all of your contents, quickly adding content without logging in, and adding tags / keywords. 

It also offers the same security features as mentioned above, such as: decoy option, panic mode, intruder reports, and self-destruct.


3. TimeLock Vault

TimeLock Vault doubles as a digital / analog clock and encrypted vault to protect your files, photos, and videos. It even has a built in alarm clock for added functionality.

The clock is a way for users to enter their passcode (for visibility). Users can shake the phone to promptly close the App (invisibility). Files, photos, and videos are stored in the cloud and can be accessed online. If the phone is lost, you can easily enable self-destruct mode to erase the App's contents.

Conclusion:

Do you have other suggestions? I'd love to hear about them!

If you are in need of more resources, please check out my Tools to Help Parents Page. Please let me know of more Apps and resources I should add to my list! I'd love to give you credit. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

LiquidText: Changing the Way You Read and Comprehend

What if there was a way to change the reading experience on a tablet? What if there was a way to comprehend more? That answer is called LiquidText, an App that will change the way that you use your iPad and the way you read.

LiquidText is a free App for researching, annotating, and highlighting your documents, websites, and PDF's.

How does it work? 

  • Import your first document from Dropbox, Box Drive, iCloud, Google Drive, or a webpage. 
  • Once your document is imported, you can begin using LiquidText's awesome features like:
    • Drag notes from your document to LiquidText's workspace.
    • Compare different pages by pinching, which creates a split screen of your document!
    • Use the navigation tools to go back / forward, search text, highlight, and send / share files. 

Want to watch it in action? 



How will it help students?

We know that not every student learns  (even reads) the same way. LiquidText provides students with tools to help increase their level of comprehension by seeing and interacting with text in new ways. 

It provides students with tools to make connections and see patterns. It help students gather, manage, and organize their reading materials.

When we can provide students with tools to help with comprehension, navigation, and fluency, we can enhance the reading experience. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Excellent Reads: Live From Your Class

Whether discussing with their PLC, looking for the perfect book for the beach, or needing some fresh ideas, educators are always looking for excellent books to add to their reading list. Although Marzano and Dweck offer sage research findings, practical books like Teach Like a Pirate are gaining ground because they can provide teachers with practical tools and ideas for their teaching toolbox.

Live From Your Class:

You may want to add Jaime Mason Cohen's book  LIVE FROM YOUR CLASS: Everything I Learned About Teaching, I Learned From Working At Saturday Night Live to your list. Jaime is a teacher and former employee of SNL legend, producer, and creator Lorne Michaels. Many of the tricks of the entertainment trade apply to the classroom, especially if you are looking for creative and innovative ways to stimulate your passion for teaching, engage students, and stimulate learning.

The practical set up of the book makes it easy to gather ideas and apply them immediately. Each chapter is known as a "lesson." At the beginning of each lesson, there is a snippet of Jaime's SNL story, where he shares lessons that he learned while working for Lorne Michaels. Each chapter contains practical and action steps Jaime has applied to his own classroom, which can be easily applied to yours.

Here are some of my favorite pieces of the book:

  • Cohen describes how writers pitch ideas for SNL skits during a weekly meeting. If writers didn't immediately grab their audience's attention within the first 60 seconds, the piece generally didn't make it to SNL. Cohen describes how important the first 60 seconds of instruction are. How are you hooking learning during this time? 
  • How important it is to share your story with students because of the credibility, connection, and trust that it builds. 
  • How to use humor to deal with classroom management issues. 
  • I love the story Cohen tells of being stood up for a date, a Tibetan Buddhist Nun, and a steamroller. It is a must read!
  • There are also great ideas on implementing technology, the power of resilience, relationships, and Part 2 of the book "When You are Laughing, You are Learning." 
Conclusion

Educators are always looking for practical and unique ideas to add to their toolbox. Cohen's unique blend of practicality, wisdom, and humor will change the way you engage, teach, and connect with students.