Friday, October 7, 2016

Increase Email Engagement with Infographics

Trying to get the attention of email recipients is difficult with so much going on during the day.  From emails, lesson planning, grading, meeting with students, etc, a teacher's day is packed full.  Most do not have the time to read an email full of information.  They need what your going to tell them to be quick and easy to read.

In my experience infographics have solved this problem.  My emails to the staff are now visually appealing with as little text as possible.  I also embed the infographic as an image in the email so they see the image without having to click another link.  This is a key feature because some teachers will not click a link to an external website.  Below is an example of how my emails used to look and how they have evolved.  I use Piktochart to create my infographics.  It is easy to use with many templates and a very reasonable price for educators.

                        Old Emails                                                              New and Improved Emails

Monday, May 2, 2016

Quick Chrome Account Switching

Ever since I learned how to be signed into multiple accounts in Chrome, I have become more productive and faster at jumping between my multiple accounts.  However, I've have found that switching accounts from the user screen takes more clicks than it should.  That was until one of my colleagues showed me how to quickly switch between accounts.  What was the secret?  Right click your account name instead of left click.  That easy!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Use Slides Carnival For Visually Engaging Google Slides

Templates are my starting point for any kind of document or presentation.  The templates in Google Slides have become more visually appealing but I really want my audience to drawn to the content of my slides.  I was introduced to Slides Carnival at a Google Summit and it has changed my life.

Slides Carnival has a variety of free templates to use that are visually appealing and are easy to edit.  Head over to,  choose a template and make a copy for yourself.  That's it! Start editing it to include the information you want it to have.  The one requirement is that you keep the credit slide at the end.  Head over to Slides Carnival and start spicing up your presentations.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Use SMART Ink Document Viewer Instead of Adobe Reader

As a SMART Board user for many years I've always used SMART Notebook for annotating notes.  However, there are times I want to pull up a PDF file quickly such as a worksheet or an answer key and don't want to wait for the document to pull up in Notebook.  In the past I would just open the document in Adobe Reader and annotate it there.  But the annotations would not stay with the document because it was adding the annotations as a Ink Layer and you had to clear the ink before moving on.   There had to be a better way!

That's where SMART Ink Document Viewer comes in.  It is a PDF viewer but it works with SMART Ink so that the annotations stay with the text.  Write on the document all you want and scroll away and the annotations will stay!  You can also save the annotations to the PDF for reference later.

So the next time you go to open a PDF, choose "Open With" and choose SMART Ink Document Viewer.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Keeping Your Google Classroom Secure

Google Classroom is a great tool to get information to the students in your classes, clubs, sports, etc.  However, if any student has the code to your Google Classroom and is in your domain then they can join your Classroom.  This can be a problem if you want your stream and announcements more secure.  I just found that you can disable the code option in Google Classroom so that students can only join via invite.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Startup Your Frequent Tabs with Bookmark Folders

Signing on to multiple devices each day can be tiresome especially because I use the same 9 or 10 tabs everywhere I go.  I've used TabCloud or Chrome's ability to open up tabs on startup but I have found them to be less reliable than a Bookmark Folder.  If you right click a bookmark folder and choose "Open All Bookmarks," every bookmark in the folder will open up in your current window.  This is a great way to pull up Gmail, Drive, Calendar, etc. quickly.  Just put all of your popular sites in the folder and you are set to go!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

5 Chrome Tips You Should Know

It seems like the number of things you can do in the Chrome browser are endless.  But here are 5 that I use often and few people seem to know about.