fluco toolbox

Fluco Toolbox: Note Board App

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 around 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 had a great idea and scrambled to write it down on a post-it note? Later on, you couldn’t find that same note in your work space. What about a great idea on a trip? How can one manage everything together?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Note Board App

First, the basics:

Name: Note Board App
URL: https://www.noteboardapp.com/
Cost: Free (ads) OR $1.99 (ad-free)
Problem this tool solves: Use this tool to save ideas and notes on corkboard screens, no matter what device you’re using. There is a website, Android, and iOS version available. Create multiple boards, public boards, save web page info, and more

While there are many apps and websites out there that can do the same thing, Note Board App is one of my favorite note apps, mostly for its ability to sync across devices so that whether I’m out and about or at home, on my iPad or my Chromebook, I always have access to all of my notes. But… what else can this app do?

Create a board for your notes. You might have one for lesson plan ideas, one for inspirational quotes, and another for links to saved webpages of articles you want to read later. These boards are large, and the notes can be resized and dragged about. When a new note is created, you’ll have access to the Rich Text Editor, allowing you to customize the look of the note.

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Here is a board I have created to store ideas on revamping a workshop that I run for middle school students.

Organizing and taking notes is great. However, let’s take it to the next level. Create a board and share it with your colleagues in read-only access. They can view all of the information, but not change any of the data. Want them to be able to make changes? Give them permission. Want the whole world to see your board? Make it public! Your board will be viewable by anyone, but they will be unable to make any changes to it.

Create boards for more than just notes. Use the boards to save links to webpages, or embed YouTube videos. Use the Chrome or Firefox extension for Note Board to save and create notes on a webpage. This includes images, links to the page, and highlighting snippets of text.

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Here’s a board created about Icon for Hire. Videos have been embedded, as well as links to different websites/articles.

Your students can use this exact same tool for note taking. Instead of creating links in one location, videos in another, and notes still in another, use Note Board to have them create a board for their topic, and pin all information in the one space instead. They can refer back to their board on any device, meaning they aren’t limited to just their Chromebooks.

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A note created from text that I highlighted on Wikipedia. I only had to add the URL to my note.

Give Note Board App a try and see what you can create!

Resources

Here are some examples of boards that have been created for public viewing:

Music Board
Gift Ideas Board
Fan Board of a Band

Try the Demo Board and test out different ways to create notes before creating an account.

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Fluco Toolbox: Quickshare Screenshot

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 around 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 wanted to take a screenshot in Chrome, but couldn’t remember the key combination (Chromebook) or wanted to open a program to accomplish the task?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: QuickShare Screenshot

First, the basics:

Name: QuickShare Screenshot
URL: Link Here
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: While working in Chrome, take a full or partial screenshot of the active window. Tool works for any device operating with the Chrome browser.

If you’re a Chromebook user, the only way to innately take a screenshot and save it is to use a combo of keys on the keyboard. A shot of the whole screen is captured and saved in the Downloads section of the Chromebook. If you’re a Windows user, you have many options from native Windows programs to free downloadable options. However, if you use both devices frequently, or are simply loving that Chromebook, Alice Keeler’s Quickshare Screenshot might just be your answer.

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Image showing the keyboard combo for taking screenshots on a Chromebook – Ctrl + Shift + Switch Windows

First, download the extension from the Web Store using the URL above. It will add itself to Chrome, and will appear as a Drive icon in a green box with a dotted line around it.

Click the icon whenever the need to take a screenshot arises. A box will appear with options to take a screenshot of the full screen or a partial screenshot. If partial screen is selected, the screen will dim, and the user will need to select the area of the screen to capture.

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Once the screenshot has been taken, it will automatically be saved to a folder in the user’s Drive called Quickshare Screenshot, and also copied to the clipboard for easy pasting into any program or resource. The first time a user takes a screenshot, they’ll need to give the extension permissions on their account.

Simple, and quick, just as the name implies. Go on and give it a try!

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: FlipGrid

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 around 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 wondered if you could have students record video responses and spark a video discussion based around those responses? Wanted students to use a video format to reply back and forth to classmates?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: FlipGrid

First, the basics:

Name: FlipGrid
URL: http://www.flipgrid.com
Cost: FREE (FlipGrid One) OR $65 per year (FlipGrid Classroom)
Problem this tool solves: Allows teachers to pose a discussion question, and then students respond with a short video. Students can then respond back and forth to each other, and continue the discussion.

In the past, I have featured different tools for recording video on Chromebooks and in the Chrome browser. Today, I’m featuring a tool that allows students to record video, as part of a discussion response. Students can also respond to each others’ responses, creating a rich web of linked discussions, if done properly.

The premise is simple: a teacher creates a topic for a “grid”. Students then respond to the topic with a video response. Students can also view other students’ replies and respond to them. Teachers can leave feedback and assessment on student work.

Most teachers will ultimately stick with the FlipGrid One version, which is free. An educator is limited to creating one grid at a time, but they can always remove past content and replace with new content. Switching to the Classroom version will allow for unlimited grids, and let educators save them for future use. Students access a created grid with a code, and share their response. Grids can be hidden, and teachers can also turn off stats such as views and likes so that students are not focused on competing to see who is most popular. Grids can even be placed in “view only” mode so that students can only leave a response to the topic, and not to each other’s replies.

To sign up, simply go to http://www.flipgrid.com. Underneath the grid code box in the center of the page, there is a question that says “Are you an educator?” Click the link that follows. Once you have an account, you can go to the same page and click “Teacher Login” in the upper right corner.

Once an account is set up, a Grid will need to be created. If you are using the FlipGrid One version, you can only have one grid, so it’s best to give this grid an over-reaching name like “Mrs. John’s 5th Grade 1718”

It is not recommended to set your grid to “hidden”, unless you do not want anyone to be able to respond to it for a period of time. All grids must be accessed via a code by students.

With a Grid created, teachers can now set up topics for students to discuss. When creating a topic, teachers are asked to fill in some details. They will create a name, add the topic/question, set the maximum recording time for videos, and the date the topic should display. Click the blue “Create Topic” button and the topic will now be ready for students to create responses.

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Speaking of students, any created topic can be viewed as a student would see it, and teachers can create video comments this way as well. This is an image of the student side for this topic:

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Clicking the + in the green circle brings up the video recording screen. If this is the first time for recording, the site will ask for permission to access the webcam and microphone. A preview image of the video will be seen on the screen, and it will also track volume levels. Students will be reminded of the question once more, and they will also be alerted to the max time allotted for recording video. They simply click the red record button and they are off and rolling!

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If you’re like me, and you like to have your key talking points in front of you, FlipGrid even has a Stickie feature that pulls out a yellow sticky note onto the screen. Key points can be jotted down, and will stay on the screen as the video records. No more forgetting what you wanted to say!

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Finally, it’s very easy to share with students. Teachers simply need to click the blue “Share” button and then select the Google Classroom icon at the bottom of the window.

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A new window will load, and Google Classroom will ask for the class the Topic should be shared to, and what kind of post should be created (announcement, assignment, question). From there, the teacher will have to fill out the usual post information for a Google Classroom post. Of course, Google Classroom isn’t the only way to share topics, so feel free to explore the other options as well!

If FlipGrid seems like a tool you’d like, give it a try. Check out some of the resources below!

Resources

 

Fluco Toolbox image created by Stephanie King (Fan) for this series. Please do not use without permission.

Fluco Toolbox: Canva

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 around 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 wanted to design quick and easy flyers, posters, or postcards? Have you wanted to have the design process to be simple, and easy to understand?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Canva

First, the basics:

Name: Canva
URL: http://www.canva.com
Cost: Free OR $120 per year for Canva for Work
Problem this tool solves: Allows the user to create beautifully designed posters, flyers, and more. Templates for social media, documents, blogging, and more are also available.

If you need to create flyers or posters for an event, look no further than Canva. With this tool, you can design professional looking media within minutes. Simply choose a design template, add your own text and images, and then download the result.

It’s easy to log into Canva if you’re part of a Google district. When logging in, choose the Google option and you’ll be set. Once you’ve logged in, you’re taken to your dashboard, where all created designs will be housed. From here, you have the option to create a new design as well. First, click the Create a Design button to the left of your screen.

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You’ll be taken to a new screen with different templates. Many of these are formatted to a correct size for various websites. For example, the Facebook ad and Twitter post are sized perfectly for those sites. The same goes for documents. Flyers are sized to 5 x 7 inches, and a magazine cover is 8.5 x 11 inches. Choose the type of design you want to create, but don’t worry about what it looks like at this point.

Once a design is chosen, you’ll be taken to a new page, ready to begin editing. For the purposes of this post, I have chosen to do a flyer. The first step once the page has loaded is to choose a layout design. There are many choices on the left side, but many are not free. Make sure the one you select has a “free” label in the lower right corner. This time I selected a winter themed flyer.

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Now that I have my work selected, I can work on modifying the text and background if I want. To edit text, double click on the words and a text box will appear. You can change font styles, layout, and color. You can also move the textbox to another location on the page.

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Don’t like what you see on the current template? Add it yourself! You can use the Elements feature on the left side of the page to add shapes, lines, and more to the flyer.

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It’s easy to change the background as well. Simply click the background tab on the left side of the screen. Then you can select to use one of Canva’s free backgrounds or upload your own.

In addition to adding elements, text and images can be uploaded as well. Canva does have a small library of free images that can be used on their site.

Perhaps one of the most important things to remember is to save often. Canva will automatically save your work, but don’t always rely on this method. If you need to save, go to File, then Save in the upper left corner.

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When the design is finished, download the result. Choose Download in the upper right area, and then choose the file type. PDF is going to be your best option, but you can download the design as an image as well.

Screenshot 2017-09-29 at 1.36.07 PM

A tip to remember with Canva: template size matters. If you want to make a flyer, but want it to be bigger than 5 x 7, you’ll need to choose a different design template. Canva will not let you resize any template unless you are a paid member. Try to find the template size you want to work with first. Everything else can be modified and changed later on.

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: GoSoapbox

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 around 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 wished to have a way to communicate with students during lessons? A place where you can create polls, easily gauge student confusion at any point in the lesson, create quick quizzes for feedback (with a downloadable gradesheet), AND not have to worry about students needing accounts?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: GoSoapBox

First, the basics:

Name: GoSoapBox
URL: http://www.gosoapbox.com
Cost: FREE with paid options for classes larger than 30 students
Problem this tool solves: This tool lets you create an event for students to join where you can easily gauge confusion, create quizzes, polls, and discussions, and get feedback, with no need for students to have accounts.

GoSoapBox combines the ease of use of multiple tools/websites into one. If you are looking for a tool that combines the likes of PollEverywhere, Google Forms Quizzes, TodaysMeet, and Google Classroom Questions, then this is the tool for you. While it may not share the robust variety of features that some of these tools have individually, it manages to combine them into one large tool, that’s easy to use in a classroom.

Teachers using GoSoapBox are able to have students participate in an “Event” by entering a code to join. Students never need to create an account. Once the students are signed into the event, teachers can easily do a multitude of things. They will be able to gauge overall student confusion at any time during the lesson. Teachers can create a quiz that will collect student answers for teachers to grade later. They can also create a simple poll, or open a discussion question to be answered. Social Q & A is another feature where students can ask questions, and others can upvote them if they also share the same question.

Perhaps one of the nicest features of running an event on GoSoapBox is that multiple activities can be running at a time. Teachers can have a quiz open and a poll at the same time. Activities within an event can be locked and unlocked, and changed at will. Events are saved in the teacher’s dashboard, so they can set up activities for an event in advance. Activities can also be disabled. Social Q & A may be a tricky feature to teach students to use properly, so teachers are free to disable this option.

GoSoapBox is free for the basic account. The basic account lets you have up to 30 students signed into an event at one time. For most teachers, this is perfect. Upgrades are available, but the cheapest starts at $99 for 6 months, and allows teachers to have up to 75 students in a class at a time. Larger upgrades are also available, but these are better suited for large college classrooms.

Getting started on GoSoapBox is easy. Teachers will need to create an account and make sure all information is verified once they sign up. They’ll then be taken to their dashboard, which will look similar to the image below, minus the already created event:

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To create an event, simply select “Create” in the Your Events box. A new screen loads, and simply asks for a name for the new event.

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Give the event a name, and that’s it! The new event is created.

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Once the event has been created, teachers will be able to configure the event through the “Moderation Portal”, as well as copy down the join code for their class. The code will still be available once teachers leave this page, so teachers don’t have to worry about copying the code right away if they’d prefer not to do so.

Speaking of the Moderation Portal, teachers can complete a variety of tasks. Features for the event can be enabled or disabled as needed. Teachers can invite another teacher to moderate the event, or change the event details. The event can be archived and deleted from this screen. Teachers can also export data.

 

Events are never “closed” (unless archived). To open an event, simply click on the event name on the dashboard. The teacher’s screen appears as so:

Screenshot 2017-10-26 at 9.07.46 AM

Teachers can now create any of the activities. This can be done in advance or on the fly. Activities are locked and unlocked by the teacher as needed when it’s time for students to give a reply. If teachers need the join code for students, all they have to do is click “Moderate This Event” at the bottom of the screen and the access code will appear at the top of the page that loads.

The possibilities for this tool are large, and if you’ve used it in your classroom, let me know in the comments! I would love some ideas to pass along to others.

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: Resizeimage.net

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 around 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 had students on Chromebooks who needed to modify the size of an image, rotate it, or crop one? You might have noticed that it’s not so easy to do, but thankfully, there are many programs out there online that can take care of this.

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Resizeimage.net

First, the basics:

Name: Resizeimage.net
URL: http://www.resizeimage.net
Cost: FREE
Problem this tool solves: Easily upload photos that need to be cropped, resized, or rotated. Edit the image, and download the new file. Please note, this tool should not be used for images that are not your own, or that don’t fall under Creative Commons licensing that allows editing.

Resizeimage.net is one of many tools of its kind available online. The reason this tool is being featured is because it was very quick and easy to use, which is what I needed for students. Please feel free to use any other tool out there that accomplishes this goal. When I needed to edit images on my Chromebook for a recent blog post, this website did so quickly, and I was off and on my way to posting my blog.

This simple editing website walks you through the various steps to edit your image. Users simply upload the image from their computer, and then move on to step 2. Step 2 allows the user to crop an image. You can either specify specifics, or simply drag the mouse over the part of the image that you want to keep. Step 3 provides options to rotate the image, if one so prefers. Step 4 lets one resize the image. Users can do so based on a percentage, a width/height numerical input, or a slider bar. By default, “Keep Aspect Ratio” is selected. You’ll want to leave this selected. Step 5 will allow you to make the background transparent, but in most cases, you’ll probably skip over this. Step 6 allows the user to select an image type to output. For highest quality, select PNG. Finally, step 7 asks about the image quality. “Best Quality” is selected by default. Select the “Resize Image” button below Step 7 to implement all changes.

When all of the above steps have been completed, users can chose to download their image by clicking “Download Image” in the blue box at the bottom of the screen. The image will download, and can then be added to whatever project the user is currently working on completing.

Resources

Fluco Toolbox: Symbaloo

 

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 around 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 wished that you could set your Internet bookmarks up so that they were visual icons, instead of walls of text? Wished you could create different pages for different bookmarks so you could keep home and school stuff separate? What about wished it was easy to share all of your bookmarks with your students?

Today’s Fluco Toolbox tool is: Symbaloo

First, the basics:

Name: Symbaloo
URL: http://www.symbaloo.com
Cost: FREE or $49 per year for Symbaloo PRO for Education
Problem this tool solves: Allows users to create visual bookmarks such as they’d see on a tablet. Can be embedded into their Google homepage or shared with students.

Symbaloo is a visual bookmarking tool that resembles apps on a tablet screen. Many folks prefer this method of bookmarking over the traditional text-based system, and this visual system is easier to use with younger students who have yet learned to read. Teachers (or anyone!) can create themed webmixes of bookmarks and then share the webmix with others.

Once a teacher has signed up for an account (and if you’re a Google teacher, it’s easy to connect your account to Symbaloo!), it’s time to create your first webmix. Users have two options – they can create an empty webmix, or they can add an existing one from the gallery. For the sake of today’s post, we’re going to focus on creating a webmix from scratch.

When you first create an account, some default webmixes will appear. These can be deleted or customized if you would like. More often than not, you’re ready to set up your own webmix. You do this by clicking the + sign to the far right of your webmix tabs, as shown in the image below:

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You’ll be asked if you’d like to create one from scratch or find one in the gallery to use. We’re going to focus on the left side, where we can create our own webmix. Give the webmix a name, and then click the green “Add” button. Now, your webmix will appear in your tabs on the page.

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With our blank webmix in place, we’re ready to begin building our bookmarks! There are a couple of ways to do this.

One way is to already know the website address. Click any blank tile, and a new window will pop onto the screen. You can create the tile yourself, by providing the website address, the name on the time, and the color of the tile itself. If you want a certain image for the tile, you can also upload one at this time. Finally, click save to add the tile to the webmix. Now, you can click and drag the tile to any location on the webmix.

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The second option is a little easier, especially if you know what you’re looking for. You can either click anywhere on the webmix to get the same pop-up window as before, or you can click search in the upper right corner. The search option defaults to tiles, but you can also search for other webmixes or someone’s profile.

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If searching for tiles, simply type the name of the site or service. For example, typing Kahoot or Khan Academy will bring up the tile that is already created for those sites. Click on the tile from search automatically adds it to your webmix. It can then be moved anywhere on the screen.

Webmixes can be shared by clicking the “Share” button at the top of the screen. A new window pops up and asks for a webmix name, description, and keywords. Users have the option to share the webmix publicly in the gallery or privately with friends. You’ll notice that the right side of the screen is hidden. This is only until the webmix has been shared. Click the green “Share my Webmix” button. You’ll be taken back to the webmix screen, and you’ll now see that the share icon at the top of the page is also green.

Clicking the Share button again will now open a window on the left side of the screen. If you click the webmix info and sharing options, you’ll again see the same share window as before, except now the right side is no longer hidden. Retrieve a link to share with others, share to Facebook, or even embed directly into Google Classroom.

Symbaloo has many other neat tricks and features, but the above will get you started. Once you are comfortable with the tool and using it, then feel free to check out the other things Symbaloo can do, such as become your homepage, add bookmarks as you browse the web, and create learning paths!

Resources

 

Fluco Toolbox image created by Stephanie King (Fan) for this series. Please do not use without permission.