Tuesday, April 14, 2015

TenMarks Offers a Free Summer Math Program for Families

 For the second year in a row TenMarks is making their family math program free for the summer months.

The TenMarks summer program begins with students taking an assessment. After taking the assessment  an individualized program that adapts to his or her specific needs is created for the student. Each student’s summer curriculum is designed to review concepts from the past year, and get introduced to concepts for the year ahead. TenMarks offers real-time feedback to students and their parents. The feedback measures a student's progress toward a standard or goal. Based upon a student's responses to questions the program automatically adjusts to provide more or less of a type of question.

Tenmarks Animation from Nikki Oetinger on Vimeo.

How to Add Page Tabs to Blogger Blogs

This afternoon I received the following email from a reader who needed help with his Blogger blog.

I am using Blogger.com. I created 7 different pages and published them, however, they are not showing up on my home page. They only way to see them is if I click on the preview option. Any suggestions?

The short answer to this reader's question is to make the pages show up you need to go into the layout menu. Then select "add a gadget." The gadget you want to add is called "pages." The pages gadget will let you select the pages that will appear on your blog. I demonstrate this process in the following video.

You can find screenshots of this process and many more Blogger functions in my 90 page guide to using Blogger in school.

Applications for Education
The page tabs that I usually add to a classroom blog are a page for a full size calendar, a page for classroom expectations, and a page of resources for parents. I also include a tab that links to the school and or district website.

Why My Blog Posts and YouTube Videos Don't Have Comments

Over the last couple of months I've had a handful of people ask me why my Practical Ed Tech videos have commenting disabled. This afternoon someone asked me the same about my blog posts here.

I have comments disabled on my videos because the vast majority of YouTube comments don't add anything of value to the Internet. There are 100 things in my day that are better uses of my time than moderating comments from Internet trolls.

I disabled comments on FreeTech4Teachers.com about two years ago. I disabled the comments because I was spending a ton of time moderating comments that weren't genuine. The few genuine comments were usually "how to" questions or questions seeking alternative tools. I found that I was better at answering those questions in email than I was in post comments where the good stuff often got lost in the shuffle. If my blog posts were of a more conversational nature, I would turn on commenting.

The FreeTech4Teachers Facebook page allows comments and I try to answer questions there. I also reply to questions on Twitter (generally during the day and early evening, Eastern Time). You can always email me at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com And if you're interested in what's going on my personal life, my Instagram account is full of pictures of my dogs, planes, woods, and other random things.

How to Manage Chrome Extensions

In response to yesterday's post about the StayFocusd Chrome extension I received an email from someone who wanted to know how to disable and or remove the extension. The easiest way to explain that process is to show it. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to disable, delete, and re-arrange Chrome extensions.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Stay Focusd - A Chrome Extension That Helps You Eliminate Distractions

Last week I posted on Twitter that I had removed the Facebook app from my phone and that I was ignoring my personal Facebook account in my browser. My friend Gillian Duffy asked how I was doing it. My reply was to share with her the Chrome extension called Stay Focusd.

 Stay Focusd is a Chrome extension designed to help you stop wasting time on sites like Facebook and get your work done instead. With Stay Focusd installed you can set a time limit for yourself for how much cumulative time in a day that you spend on sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Once you've used up your self-allotted time on those sites you won't be able to revisit them in that browser for 24 hours.

Applications for Education
While we might not be able to force students to use Stay Focusd on every computer they use, we can certainly recommend it to them and their parents. As the end of the school year approaches and students are getting down to crunch time on big projects, Stay Focusd could provide students with the gentle nudge they need to stay on track.

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