Friday, September 6, 2019

Mindful Internet Use - A Chrome Extension to Make You Think About Your Habits

On Thursday morning I shared a TED Talk given by Dr. Judson Brewer. The talk was about using mindfulness practices to break a bad habit. This morning I came across a Chrome extension that employs that same concept to help people break or curtail the habit of wasting time mindlessly browsing the Internet.

Mindful Internet Use is a Chrome extension that instead of blocking you from viewing time-wasting websites it reminds of the time you're wasting viewing those websites. You can set Mindful Internet Use to display a motivational quote, a reminder, or a question at preset time intervals. For example, I set it to display the question, "are you doing something meaningful or are you wasting your time?" every fifteen minutes across all of the social media sites on which I have accounts. You can also set the extension to display quotes or questions on every site that you visit.

Applications for Education
Mindful Internet Use could be a great extension for any high school or college student who is prone to wasting time when he or she should be working on a research project or studying. I find that it's while working on a research task that students are prone to falling into the trap of saying "I'll just check this social media site for a minute" and before they know it they've wasted twenty minutes.

The Practical Ed Tech Podcast - Episode #5

Yesterday afternoon I hosted the latest broadcast of Practical Ed Tech Live. If you missed it, you can now watch the video or listen to it as a podcast.

All episodes of the Practical Ed Tech Podcast are available on this page. All episodes are also available on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Radio Public, Pocket Casts, and Breaker. Just search for my name or Practical Ed Tech to find the podcast on any of those platforms.

The show notes including the questions that I answered from readers can be found in this Google Document.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

A Quick Way to Transfer Pages from Your Phone to Desktop

A couple of weeks ago I showed you how you can quickly send a webpage from your desktop to your phone without using a bookmarking service. Today, I have directions for doing the reverse of that process. If you use Google Chrome on your phone as well as on your laptop or desktop you can quickly transfer pages between those devices.

To send a page from your phone to your desktop simply open the sharing menu in Chrome and then tap "my devices." That will show you a list of all of the devices that you're signed into Chrome on. Select a device and send the page. This will work even if you are not anywhere near the your desktop or laptop. Watch my video below to see how this process works.

Applications for Education
Our students today are more likely to browse and search the web on their phones than they are on their laptop or desktop computers. But many schools ban the use of cell phones during the day (that's another debate for another blog). By using this little trick students can quickly transfer the pages they need from their phones to the laptops or desktops that they have to use during the school day.

Using Mindfulness to Break a Bad Habit

In this week's Ed Tech Fitness Challenge newsletter I included the video of a TED Talk given by Dr. Judson Brewer. His talk is titled A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit.

My big take-away from Dr. Brewer's talk was the idea of thinking about why we engage in a bad habit while we're doing as a means to breaking that habit. For example, my bad habit is eating potato and tortilla chips when I'm stressed out. Brewer's suggestion is to think about why I'm doing that when I do it and I'll be less likely to do it again. I actually watched this talk back in January and started to employ that technique of using mindfulness to break my stress-snacking habit. It has worked...most of the time. I've lost over 30 pounds this year. I'm now using that strategy to curtail my Facebook habit too.

Applications for Education
The concepts and examples that Brewer shares in the talk are ones that high school students can relate to. For that reason, with the exception of one “PG word” in the talk, you could use this video to create a mindfulness lesson in a high school classroom.

A Self-paced Course for Learning How to Use G Suite in Your Practice

One of the ways that I have been able to keep Free Technology for Teachers running for the last twelve years is through offering professional development services in the forms of in-person workshops and online courses sold through Practical Ed Tech.

The most popular Practical Ed Tech course that I've hosted over the last six years is Getting Going With G Suite. I've offered that course in live formats and on-demand formats for years. This week I released an updated version of the on-demand Getting Going With G Suite course.

Getting Going With G Suite is a course that was designed for teachers who are new to using the powerful the tools within G Suite for Education. In this course you’ll learn everything you need to know to feel comfortable using all of the core G Suite tools with your students. This course is more than just a series of “how to” videos. You’ll be provided with examples of activities that you can use and adapt to use in your classroom.

Course Highlights:
  • Streamlining your workflow through Google Classroom.
  • Taking control of your inbox with Gmail hacks.
  • Creating self-grading assessments in Google Forms.
  • Developing a classroom website with Google Sites.
  • Using Google Sheets to send personalized emails in bulk.
  • Organizing meetings with Google Calendar.
  • Keeping track of bookmarks and notes with Google Keep.
  • Using Jamboard and Drawings to create diagrams.
  • Making beautiful presentations in Google Slides.
  • Creating guided reading activities in Google Docs.

Getting Going With G Suite is on sale until next Friday. Register in the next eight days and you'll save $30 off the regular price of $97. You can register now and start the course whenever it is convenient for you.

Finally, a huge thank you to all of you who have invited me to your schools or participated in one of the Practical Ed Tech courses over the last decade. I couldn't do it without you!