Thursday, May 2, 2013

Try Using Google+ Hangouts for Providing Tech Help Remotely

This afternoon I read a short article on Life Hacker about adding a remote desktop application to Google+ Hangouts. The article suggested that you could use the application to fix someone's computer for him or her. I would prefer to take the "teach a man to fish" approach and use Google+ Hangouts to walk someone through the process of fixing a problem. To do this all you would need to do is start a Hangout or join a Hangout then have the person you're helping turn on the screenshare option. It will take more time to fix someone's computer problem this way, but if you teach them how to do it then you might not have to do it again. You may also give the person you're helping the confidence to try to troubleshoot their own problems in the future.

If you haven't tried Google+ Hangouts, the video below provides a comprehensive guide to getting started.

Holland vs. the Netherlands Explained

One of the things that often confused my 9th grade geography students was the difference between United Kingdom and England. Likewise, the difference between Holland and the Netherlands confused students. If your students also struggle to understand the differences this C.G.P Grey video might help them out a bit.

As a few folks have pointed out, Grey struggles with some of the pronunciations in the video so you will want to clarify those for your students.

Weebly Gets a Makeover - Try the New Site Planner

The popular website creation and hosting service Weebly announced some significant changes today. Beginning today Weebly users will have a new site creator and editor interface (new users will see it right away, existing users may not see it for a few more days). The new interface puts the editing tools on the side of the page. More importantly the new editor will show you more elements and options on the screen compared to the old editor. This means that you won't have to dig around or guess where a particular element is. The new editor will also display a preview of the mobile version of your site so that you can see how it looks without having to go to your mobile device.

The Weebly editor now includes a site planner tool. The site planner allows you to see how elements of your website will fit together. Think of it as a visual tool for creating a a site map.

Applications for Education
The good news that comes along with all of the updates to Weebly is that it is still free for teachers and students. Weebly has long been one of my favorite tools for teachers and students to use to create websites. Weebly can be used to create digital portfolios and blogs in one place.

Unlike some other free website and blog platforms, Weebly doesn't insert advertising into your site. Weebly's customer support even for non-paying users is outstanding too.

A Short Course on the Origins of Writing

Hieroglyphics? Sanskrit? What are the origins of written language? Some answers to that last question are presented in the TED Ed lesson Who Invented Writing? The video is embedded below.

Applications for Education
This video could be part of a short lesson on the development of civilizations. The video might also be of interest to art teachers to share with students learning about typography and calligraphy. 

H/T to Brain Pickings

Google Keep Now Works Offline In Chrome

In March Google launched a new notebook service called Keep. When it launched Keep was only available as an Android app and as a Google Drive service. Today, Google released a Chrome Web App for Keep. As a Chrome Web App Keep can be used even when you're offline. Like the other versions of Keep your notes can include text, links, and images. Notes can be rearranged and or deleted from your account at Learn more about Keep in the short video below.

Applications for Education
If your students use Chromebooks or just use Chrome on a regular basis, Keep could be a good service for them to use record short notes while they're offline. At this point I'm thinking of it as a sticky note service for students who use Chromebooks on a regular basis.