fluco toolbox

Fluco Toolbox: StockSnap

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever needed more free images for use in projects or presentations? Wanted a second option for your students to use?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: StockSnap.io

First, the basics:

Name: StockSnap.io
URL: https://stocksnap.io/
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Website that hosts a free collection of images for download. All images fall under CC0 licensing and do not require attribution.

I love browsing the r/Teachers forum on Reddit, mostly because I can usually find new ideas or tools for my teachers. Last week was no different. I happened to be reading a thread about copyright and images when a user pointed out StockSnap. Like Pixabay, it’s another image site to search for images that fall under CC0 licensing. Always handy to have more than one image website!

First, visit the website listed above. Enter the keywords for the desired image. I decided to search for cats.

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Browse through the results. The first images shown are sponsored through Shutterstock. Ignore these and scroll down. Select the desired image.

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The image will load. Scroll down and select the red “Free Download” button. The difference between Stocksnap and Pixabay in terms of downloading images is that Stocksnap does not offer different image sizes for download. It only downloads as one large, high-quality image.

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Up to this point, no account has been needed. Users only need to create an account if planning to a) submit photos to the website or b) favorite images to find later. If creating an account on Stocksnap, all that is required is an email and password. An email will be sent to the email used to confirm the account.

Enjoy this free photo resource!

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: SlidesCarnival

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever gotten bored of the available Google Slides themes or the PowerPoint templates available by default? Used the same template or theme over and over again?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Slides Carnival

First, the basics:

Name: SlidesCarnival
URL: http://www.slidescarnival.com
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Provides a large variety of free themes and templates that work for both Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. Each one includes a variety of slide types, suggestions for the slides, and even some icons, too.

Today’s Fluco Toolbox is simple, yet it can add so much variety to presentations you may make in the future. SlidesCarnival is a nifty website that hosts a variety of free templates and themes for both PowerPoint and Slides. The goal of the site is to help the user create visually memorable presentations for audiences.

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The site is easy to use and navigate. Themes and templates are categorized in the gray bar at the top of the screen. Choose one to begin. Templates/themes can also be searched for as well. Once a category has been selected, scroll down to view the available options.

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Click on the title of the theme to go to its informational page. Scroll down to read a description of the template and what type of slides are included. at the very bottom is a preview of the template, allowing the user to click through the slides and check out the options.

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All the user has to do is select whether or not to download it in Slides or PowerPoint by clicking the corresponding button. Google Slides will open a new Slides presentation. It DOES NOT save the theme to the Themes section. PowerPoint is the same way.

Once the template is loaded, create a brand new presentation, and make sure the audience remembers it! Need help? SlidesCarnival has this nifty FAQ to help answer common questions.

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: ClassroomScreen

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever needed a simple whiteboard? What about a random name picker, or a simple text box, or even a sound checker? What if you could have it all on one page?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is:

First, the basics:

Name: ClassroomScreen
URL: http://www.classroomscreen.com
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Integrates a lot of small classroom management tools onto one screen, such as an audio monitor, whiteboard, random name picker, stoplight, textbox, clock, timer, and more.

I have to give a big round of thanks to my new buddy Nathan from the Staunton Google Summit, as he did a demo slam on this tool, and it was something that most of us had never seen before, but it’s a great little tool with a lot of mini-tools tucked into it! Many of these tools have separate website or programs where they can be found, but ClassroomScreen integrates all of these onto one screen.

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Load the website, and a random background will appear. All tools for Classroomscreen are at the bottom of the page. These widgets are activated by clicking on them. The background and languages can also be changed. There are widgets for a random name picker/roll the dice, noise monitor, a large whiteboard, a small whiteboard, textbox, a QR reader for quick website navigation, work symbols, a traffic light, a timer/stopwatch, and a clock with the option of displaying the date. To the far right there are small buttons for an exit poll, to minimize the toolbar and a fullscreen option.

  • Language: There are nearly 60 languages available for use with this site
  • Background: Website provides a few different options to customize what appears on the screen
  • Random Name/Dice: Type in a quick list of names, or upload names from a .TXT file. Select choose to pick on. Switch to Dice mode and roll 1, 2, or 3 six-sided dice
  • Noise Monitor: Utilizes the mic on the computer. Sensitivity levels can be adjusted.
  • Large whiteboard: Change the pen size and color. A few background templates are included, such as lined paper and graph paper. Work on board cannot be saved
  • Small whiteboard: Exactly like the large board, except in a smaller window
  • Textbox: Use the rich text editor to type in directions, lists, etc. so that all students can keep track of what to do.
  • QR Reader: Type in a website and use a QR reader on a phone to read the resulting code.
  • Work symbols: Use these images to let students know what type of work should be completed at this time

The best part about classroom screen is the way it can be customized to fit the needs of each teacher’s classroom. Many of these tools are very simple but are things that teachers often find a need for every now and again. Perhaps a teacher just needs a few tools or needs a lot. Tools can be moved around on the screen and rearranged to best suit needs. Tools can be deactivated at any time.

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In the lower right corner are a few more options. One is an ExitPoll feature, one a way to move to full screen, and another to hide the toolbar at the bottom.

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ExitPoll works best if using an interactive board. It would not work well without one. The teacher simply types in the exit question and chooses a set of icons from the left side. As students leave the classroom, they touch the icon that best matches their answer as they walk out of the classroom. It’s very easily to select more than one answer, and a teacher should anticipate that a student may try to press multiple ones and skew data.

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Overall, this is a neat website to use all of these simple widgets in one place. Give it a try!

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: Easy Clipart (Google Docs Add-on)

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever been working on a Google Doc, and needed some quick and easy clipart? Sure you can search online for some, but did you know you can use an add-on to cover most of your needs?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Easy Clipart

First, the basics:

Name: Easy Clipart
URL: Go to Add-ons in Google Docs, and search for it by name
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Use this Google Docs add-on to search for and insert free clipart directly into a Doc.

There are many times we need free clipart for documents, and often this means doing a search online to see what’s available for free. However, one doesn’t always need to go to the web to search for clipart, especially within Google Docs. Instead, install the “Easy Clipart” add-on and search for clipart files right in the sidebar!

First, go to the Add-On menu at the top of the Docs screen and scroll down to “Get Add-ons” From there, search for Easy Clipart and install the add-on. Make sure to give all necessary permission requested.

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Once the add-on is installed, it can be loaded from the Add-on menu at any time. Opening Easy Clipart in Google Docs loads a sidebar on the right side of the screen. Use keywords to search. Once an image is found, simply click on it to insert it into the document.

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That’s it! It’s a really simple add-on that can make a difference. Make sure to share this one with students, as it will be handy for their documents as well!

Resources

Chrome Web Store Link

Fluco Toolbox: Power Thesaurus Extension

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever been browsing online and needed access to a thesaurus without all the bells and whistles, and without needing to go to a new webpage?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Power Thesaurus

First, the basics:

Name: Power Thesaurus
URL: Link
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Quickly look at antonyms and synonyms while browsing online by simply selecting a word

Power Thesaurus is a very simple tool, but very handy. This particular website has created an extension for Google Chrome that allows the user to view synonyms and antonyms for a word while browsing online.

First, install the extension from the Chrome web store. Provide any necessary permissions for it to run. Once installed, it will appear as a blue P icon among the other installed extensions.

To use Power Thesaurus, simply select (or double click) a word. A sampling of synonyms and antonyms will appear. The user can change the settings by clicking the gear icon on the lower left of the pop-up. This small preview will not show every antonym and synonym, but it will tell how many of each there are. Click on the blue “View All” link to be taken to the website to see all of the results.

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This tool doesn’t have many bells and whistles, but it is handy to have installed as an extension for research and browsing purposes.

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: Bit.ly

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you ever needed to share a link with staff or students, but the copied link was far too long and looked horrible when shared or written on the board? Who remembers all of that anyway?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Bit.ly

First, the basics:

Name: Bit.ly
URL: Bit.ly
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Create shortened, easy to share links, that also track data on the links. Know where the link was clicked, when, and how many times total

In my experience, I feel like I tend to find a lot of folks who don’t know about the usefulness that is a link shortener. Bit.ly is just one of a few I have used in the past, but it is the one that I have continued to stick with time and time again. I love that not only can I create a “bitlink”, but also customize and track it over time as well.

To get started, go to bit.ly. Create an account on the website, which will enable the tracking of created bitlinks. Bit.ly does allow accounts to be created with existing Google, Facebook, or Twitter accounts. Follow the steps to finish signing up. The dashboard will then load.

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The dashboard houses a list of created bitlinks, sorting by date created or top clicks, and then the center section shows data on any selected bitlink. In the image above, data is shown on a recent link I created.

To create a new bitlink, click the orange “Create” button in the upper right corner of the screen. A window will slide out from the right side, and ask the user to paste the URL that will be shortened. Immediately upon pasting, Bit.ly will shorten the link. At this time, the link address can be customized. For example, the string of numbers/letters could be changed to “pelink2”. Bit.ly will not allow links to use names that other links already use.

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Once the link has been created and customized if desired, then it can be copied and pasted and is the perfect length to copy onto the board for students. The “http://” part of the link is not necessary.

A bitlink is always saved to the account and can be found later and reused. Data on link clicks and where the clicks occurred are also stored and is great for analyzing.

Bit.ly is one of my favorite, almost daily resources and I love what it can do for my work. Whether I need to share links easily through email, references, or on a plain old white board, bit.ly’s got my back!

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: Sir Links-A-Lot Extension

Welcome to Fluco Toolbox, a series of posts that showcases potential edtech tools for the Fluvanna County classroom. Each post will discuss the tool, the type of problems it can help solve, and how it can be used in the classroom. If you’re a Fluvanna County staff member and want to learn more about using the tool in your own classroom, please schedule to see your ITRT and we will develop professional development based on your needs. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and you’re not part of the district, no worries! Feel free to use the information provided to jumpstart your own research.

Have you needed to change the URL of a G Suite app file to make it force copies or show in template mode? What about auto shorten the link, or download as a PDF? Today’s tool can do that and then some!

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Sir Links-A-Lot

First, the basics:

Name: Sir Links-A-Lot extension
URL: Link
Cost: Free
Problem this tool solves: Use this extension to automatically create URLs for Google Suite apps – template, force a copy, download PDF, and preview. Turn any G Suite app file into a shortened URL.

I recently discovered this gem, thanks to some research and a post from ShakeUpLearning. I had no idea this extension even existed, and as I waited for it to install, I hoped it would do exactly what it promised.

Spoiler: It does!

The Sir Links-A-Lot extension is handy to have when a file needs to be force copied, a template, or even automatically download as a PDF. No more do you have to remember the text to add to the end of a G Suite app URL to make the file do one of these options. Nope, all you need is the click of a button! G Suite apps include Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings.

First, navigate to the Chrome web store using the link above and add the extension to Chrome. Give any necessary permissions as prompted. A white icon with gold links for eyes and a black hat will be added to the other extensions already installed.

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Any time a Google app file is open, this extension can be executed. Simply click it and the following options appear:

  • Force copy – page loads without preview and button that makes users create a copy first
  • Preview – view file without menus and toolbars
  • Template – preview file & easily create a copy
  • PDF – when entered, URL will automatically download the file as a PDF

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Sir Links-A-Lot also provides a few more handy buttons. These buttons quickly copy the new URL to the clipboard, shorten it with goo.gl, or open a link to the new URL in a new tab

Hopefully, this extension will make things a lot easier when sharing G Suite files, especially if sharing them for trainings or conference resources. No more having to remember ways to fix URLs. Just click a button! Sir Links-a-Lot has your back.

Resources