Monday, May 9, 2016

CK-12 Brainflex is Back for 2016 - Keep Math Skills Sharp This Summer

Last year the CK-12 Foundation introduced the CK-12 Brainflex Summer Challenge. The challenge is a free program that students can use to keep their math and science skills sharp through the summer while also learning some new knowledge and gaining new skills. Students register for the program then track their skills review through the CK-12 Brainflex website. The CK-12 Summer Challenge is self-paced and students choose the subjects that they want to review.

Applications for Education
Teachers can send invitations to students to participate in the CK-12 Summer Challenge. With those invitations teachers can include suggestions for subjects to review. CK-12 also provides a template for a letter to send home to parents with suggestions on subjects for their children to review over the summer. That letter could be sent to the parents of the students moving on from your classroom this summer or to the parents of the students you're expecting to see in the fall.

How to Create Recordings of Your iPad's Screen

This week's Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week was about how to create screencast videos on an Android device. Shortly after posting that tip I had some people ask how to create a screencast of an iPad screen. There are a couple of ways that you can create a screencast video of your iPad's screen.

Method 1 - If you have a Mac computer:
Connect your iPad to your Mac by using the Lightning cable (the cable that came with your iPad). Then open QuickTime on your Mac. Next select "new movie recording" from the QuickTime menu. You can then choose the name of your iPad and click record. When you're done recording your new screencast will save to your computer as a video file that you can then edit in iMovie if you want to cut out portions of it or lay a music track under your narration.

Method 2 - If you have a Windows computer:
You will need a third-party service that allows you to mirror your iPad to the screen of your Windows computer. Air Server is the service that I recommend for mirroring an iPad to a Windows computer. Air Server includes a recording tool that  you can use to make a screencast video of your iPad's screen. With Air Server running you can just tap record and instantly start capturing your screen and your narration. The video will save on your Windows computer where you can then edit it and or upload it to your favorite video hosting service.

Whiteboard videos:
If you don't need to record your entire iPad screen and just want to make a whiteboard video there are plenty of options available in the App Store. ShowMe and Educreations are two of the most popular apps for that purpose.

Learn how to do things like this and many more practical ed tech tips at the Practical Ed Tech BYOD Camp in July. Just three tickets are left.

Create Multiple Chrome Profiles to Use Multiple Google Accounts

This is a guest post from Ben Sondgeroth (@Mr_Sondgeroth) of EdTechTeacher, an advertiser on this site.

As more schools adopt Google Apps For Education (GAFE), increasingly teachers and students are dealing with multiple Google Accounts - one for work/school and one for personal use. When this situation happens, we often want to keep our two worlds separate.  Google has a way to make this possible that is built into Chrome.  Users can establish multiple Chrome profiles tied to specific Google accounts.  As the Director of Technology in my school district, I often see teachers attempt to solve this problem by adding a second account by selecting their profile picture in Gmail and choosing “add an account.”

Screenshot 2016-05-02 09.57.36
While adding an account allows for switching between accounts without signing out of one and into another, it is not a great practice as your Google Drive, Gmail, and other Google services may become confused as to which account is tied to certain Google Apps. Your personalized settings are also not separated in this instance, meaning that themes, bookmarks, passwords, and history will only be tied to the first account listed.  In order to avoid this confusion, people should set up two separate Chrome profiles.

When you first open a Chrome browser, you are prompted to sign in to Chrome.  When you do this, you have established more than just the ability to log into your email quickly, you have actually set up a way to keep all settings, bookmarks, apps, history, and passwords synced back to that one account log-in.  The simplicity of keeping all your data in one profile is a great benefit if you are sharing a computer or would like to keep your work profile separate from your personal profile.  As an example, I have several work-related bookmarks pinned to my bookmarks bar with my work account. However, I do not necessarily need those bookmarks when I am browsing from my personal account, nor do I need bookmarks, such as my banking information, tied to my work account.

Screenshot 2016-05-02 09.57.41
Setting up your secondary Chrome profile can be done multiple ways.  If you are on a PC or Mac, start by looking in the top right corner of your browser window.  In that corner, there should be a rectangle with your name on it; click your name to open a drop-down menu.

From that drop-down menu, select “Switch person” and a window will appear.  From there, you will then select “Add Person” from the bottom of the window.

When this is selected, a new Chrome window will open, and a new Chrome sign-in page will be displayed.  Log in with your second Google account, and all of your data will be synced to that profile.  At this point, you may be prompted with a question to “Link Data.”  This will only happen if you are logging into a managed Chrome profile, which would more than likely be your school account.  The warning is stated that any of your data, “such as apps, bookmarks, history and passwords will become permanently tied” to that account.  This warning is a great reminder that you should be creating two profiles - one for personal data and one for work.  You do want to link your data as a best practice.Not doing so would prevent all of the benefits of having two Chrome profiles.

In order to switch between these accounts in the future, follow the same process as adding an account.  After selecting “Switch Person,” choose your picture or the name of the account that you would like to access.  Once that is done, you will have access to all of the information stored with that account!

In a newly released Chrome update, you can also switch profiles by right clicking on your name and selecting the desired Chrome profile from your list.

If you are a Chrome user on your mobile devices, you have the ability to sign in to multiple accounts through the mobile browser as well.  When this is done, all of your bookmarks, passwords, and other data syncs across to your mobile device!

From an educational standpoint, knowing how to create separate Chrome profiles is important for students who are using Google Apps for Education at school and then going home to a family computer with multiple users.  Without being aware of this process, many students sign in to the Chrome browser and inadvertently link their student data with the existing family data, which can be messy and frustrating.  Additionally, classroom computers with multiple users can benefit from using these separate Chrome profiles to keep student data separate.

By separating your Chrome accounts into different Chrome profiles, you have the opportunity to maximize productivity while minimizing the risk of confusing your worlds.  Not only is this process important for educators, but teaching it to our students enables them to move between school Chromebooks and home computers with ease.

Ben will be assisting in a number of EdTechTeacher Summer Workshops in Chicago. There is still time to register for these events.