Sunday, January 31, 2016


This week I will be getting connected in Austin at the Annual TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) Conference checking out all things technology! I plan on blogging from the conference to provide you with information as I get it. Be on the look out for my online notes, website links and great technology tips. You might also check out #TCEA2016 or #TCEA16 on Twitter to see what everyone is talking about and feel free to follow me on Twitter as well - @saisdtechtrain.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 isn't the easiest website to explain. It has so much great content that it's hard to know where to start.

Free stuff you'll find on the website - 
1. Study Guides for ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art & Music and more.
2. College & Career Help
3. Over 3,000 videos
4. Writing Labs
5. Teacher Guides

They also have online courses, test prep materials for SAT, ACT, PSAT and AP courses - these aren't free.

Shmoop aims to combine a teen-friendly, approachable style with academically rigorous materials. Here's a link to their video explaining a little more about their site - What is Shmoop?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

One Tab Extension

Using Chrome without extensions is like eating pancakes without syrup. It's still good, but it could be so much better.

One of my favorite Chrome extensions is OneTab. This extension lets you covert multiple open tabs into a single tab list. When you are ready to open them back up, you can restore them all or one at a time. This tab can be saved, sent as a web page and it will give you a QR code to post.

At first glance, this might not seem like such a big deal, but think about how nice this would be for students. If you want them to review a certain list of websites, you don't have to copy and paste the web links into a separate document and print it out or post it online somewhere. You can just give them a single website or QR code to access all of the websites.

This is a screenshot of 4 tabs put into a single tab using the OneTab extension.

This is a screenshot of the same 4 tabs shared as a webpage with the optional QR Code.

If the website name is too long for your students, use the Google URL Shortener extension. 
(We'll talk about that one next week)

To install the OneTab extension - 
1. Click on the apps link in your browser, go to the Web Store and search for OneTab. 
2. Click Add to Chrome and the extension will be added to Chrome next to the Omnibox at the top of the browser (it looks like a funnel).

Monday, January 25, 2016

Tell a Story with Tellagami

Tellagami has to be one of my favorite apps. Students and teachers can use Tellagami to create short (30 seconds) videos using a background and an avatar.

Tellagami is free, but it also has in app purchases. Tellagami Edu is $4.99 but does not have in app purchases. I use the free app - it does limit some of your choices, but it works well for me. My suggestion would be to try the free version and if you think you would use it enough to justify the $4.99 price tag, go for it.

Using the program is easy - 
1. Create a character to tell your story.
2. Select a background. This can be one included in the app or you can use your own images. Think about using a photo of a math problem, famous landmark, science process, etc.
3. Record your voice explaining the background or whatever you want it to say.
4. Share your Gami (video) through social media or save it to your camera roll.

Here are some ideas on how you and your students can use Tellagami
1. Explain a math concept (or science, social studies, etc.).
2. Remind students of homework or project timelines.
3. Create several Gamis to give a presentation.
4. Vocabulary in a foreign language class.
5. Public service announcement.

The possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

LearnZillion - Online Curriculum

A big thank you to Lori Gracey from TCEA for writing a blog post about this great site!

LearnZillion is a free, online curriculum for Math and ELA. It provides lesson plans, interactive media, videos and more to help you and your students to be successful. 

For the full details, check out Lori's blog post at

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Images & Google Docs

Inserting an image into a document isn't rocket science, but there's a way to insert images directly from a Google Search while inside a Google Doc.

1. Open the Google Doc.
2. Click Insert > Image from the menu bar.
3. Click Search
4. Type in your search criteria. You can select to search Google, Life photo archives or Stock Photos.
5. Select a picture and click Select.

This makes it so much easier for students (and teachers) to find images. You don't have to do a separate Google Search - you can stay right in Google Docs (or Slides, Sheet or Drawing).

Monday, January 18, 2016

5 Dice - Become a Math Hot Shot

I would certainly not consider myself a math person. If you asked my children who could help them with their math homework, I would be last on their list. I do however, love this math app.

5 Dice is a free math app that helps student practice order of operations. Students can choose from several levels and must find the target number by working backwards - they are given the answer but not the equation. The program also provides a whiteboard feature so students can work out problems. Finally, the app allows up to 5 devices to join together so students can compete against their classmates. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

CommonLit, started in 2014, is a site developed by teachers that addresses the need for copyright friendly articles, short stories and historical documents that can be used in the classroom.

Select a theme, discussion question and a text to begin developing an engaging lesson. There are currently over 200 texts online and the number is growing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tab to Search in Chrome

  • Chrome has some great features built in - one of my favorites is the tab to search option. in the Omnibox (address bar), start typing the web address of the site you want to search. If Google Chrome has a record of the site's search engine, it automatically offers you the option to search that site by pressing the Tab key. 

  • For example, if I wanted to search YouTube for a certain video, I don't have to go to YouTube's website to do the search. I just have to type in the Omnibox, press the Tab key on my keyboard, type in my search criteria and press Enter.

Chrome will return search results from the site I searched. 

If Chrome doesn't have record of the site's search engine, just go to the site and search for something one time and it will automatically be added to the search engines list in the Manage Search Engines section of Chrome Settings.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Create Photo & Video Collages, Stories and Albums with Storehouse

Storehouse is a free app that lets you and your students turn a group of photos and videos into a story. 

It's easy to use, works on iPads and iPhones and did I mention it's free?

Here's how it works - 
- Select the photos and videos from your camera roll - up to 50 (you can also select from Instagram, Flickr or Dropbox).
- Add headings, quotes and text to images.
- Resize and move images to create image groups.

Once you've created your collage/story/album, share it. Just tap the share option to see a weblink to your creation and the option to allow others to save your pictures to their camera roll. You can also send it via imessage, email or post to other apps.

Students and teachers could quickly share photos and videos of classwork, tutorials, projects, and more!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Beautiful Online Photos - FREE!

Finding good quality photos that are free to use online or in a project isn't easy - until now. I just came across a great website called It provides users with 10 new photos every 10 days - and they are all free! These photos are beautiful, high quality images with a Creative Commons Zero license. 

Take a look at their website and get inspired!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Reverse Image Search

Reverse Image Search in Google is a handy tool if you ever need to know where an image came from, other locations of the image on the web or if you want to find similar images.

- Go to
- On your computer, open  the folder that contains the image you want to search for.
- Click and drag the image into the search box. 

This page shows the image that was uploaded, similar images and other pages that contain the same image.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Explain Everything

The Explain Everything app certainly lives up to its name. This app is an interactive whiteboard that can be used to literally explain everything. With a price tag of $3.99 in the app store or google play store, it's well worth it.

Here are just a few of the features in the app - 

- Writing tools - draw, shapes and text
- Laser pointer
- Insert images, videos or audio files
- Create math equations
- Edit (rotate, move, scale, flip, copy, paste, clone) any object
- Record everything you do within the app
- Record yourself with the front facing camera
- Export projects in numerous formats
- Post projects to Evernote, OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, YouTube and more.

Resources to get you started -  

- Beginners start here.
- Changes/Updates in version 3.1 are here.
- Great Tips for those familiar with the app - click here.

To see some examples of how Explain Everything has been used, go to YouTube and search "Made with Explain Everything" or click on the links below - 

Static Electricity
Discount, Markup, Tax and Tip