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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

How to Create Goal Trackers & Behavior Plans in Google Forms

Recently I’ve been tasked with helping special education teachers and case managers create behavior plans and goal trackers for students. It’s a process that has always been done via paper and pencil, or by collecting data via emailed questions. The process has its flaws of course. Students lose papers given to them, teachers don’t always email back, and it’s hard to track all of the data in one place.

One teacher asked if there was any way to turn this into a digital process so the data could be stored and gathered in one location. Through our collaborative effort, we began playing with Google Forms, and thus, created a behavior form that would work for the student. After working out the kinks, and training the teacher to analyze the collected data, we were rolling. And now she’d never go back to the old way.

Word got out about the process, and I was soon approached by case managers at the high school needing to track data on student IEP goals from teachers. These case managers didn’t see the students and relied on the information from teachers to help track student progress. I began helping these teachers create goal trackers in Forms, using the same process.

I’ve finally had a chance to create a series of tutorial videos for those teachers needing to know how to make them, but that I may not have a chance to see. I wanted to share this series with everyone else as well because I believe it’s very helpful. The tutorial series is broken down into sections so that viewers can easily skip to the part needed, rather than watching one long video.

Creating Goal Trackers & Behavior Forms Video Tutorials

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

My First Google Summit

It’s been awhile since I’ve written an actual post, but I have to make an update about my first Google Summit! I attended one in Staunton, VA over the week and I must say, I am hooked. I would love to go to another in the future. Heck, I’d love to be a part of EdTechTeam for that matter! I had a fabulous time getting to know the team sent for this Summit, and I enjoyed presenting 2 different sessions. I even got asked to quickly demo a tool during lunch the second day.

The two topics I was able to present on were Ramping Up 1:1 PD with Google Forms and Calendar, as well as Google Calendar Tools for the Busy Professional. My PD one was a teaser of what I plan to do at VSTE on it. The biggest difference was that this time it focused on the tools, and at VSTE it will focus on the history and planning. Google Calendar is a favorite of mine, but it’s an often underutilized tool in my experience. I was able to show ways to make it work better for the user, including color coding, organization, and settings. Both of my sessions were pretty well attended for such a small summit. I had around 30 in my calendar session, and about 15 in my PD one. Overall, my feedback was 4.8 in both, which I think is great for a first Summit!

I found the atmosphere of the Summit to be very energetic. I was the only one from my district to attend, so I felt like I had a lot that I needed to take in and absorb. I was watching the presenters from EdTechTeam themselves, and noting the passion that they infused their presentations with. I feel like it will help me become a better presenter, and (hopefully!) Google Trainer in the future.

The sessions I attended on the second day were full of information, and I was on overload trying to absorb it all. I definitely took some good notes, and have already sent things to my staff. I tried not to send too many things, but just enough to whet their palette. I’m sure quite a few will save it for later to read, which is what they do with a lot of my emails. I just love being helpful. If you want a copy of the emailed resources, grab it here.

Since returning to school today (We had Monday off for Columbus Day), I have been working on organizing everything and planning my next steps in terms of what I do with my staff. After all, attending is one thing. Now it’s time to share my newfound knowledge with the rest of my staff. I have new ideas to add to my Fluco Toolbox posts, new ideas for PD for my staff, and new resources to send them periodically.

Thanks for helping me feel rejuvenated, EdTechTeam!

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