Tech Tips

  • Inspiring New Strategic Thinking Regarding Use of Computers and Technology to Improve Outcomes Now
  • Youtube in Full Screen

    Posted by Kate Fisher on 11/30/2016


    You have found some great videos related to your instruction.  And wow...Students have access to Youtube now!  But all the text, comments and related video stuff is distracting and possibly inappropriate.  With GoGuardian, we can eliminate the side content and comments, but there is an even better solution.  You can post your Youtube links so that the video plays full screen.  Here's how...

    (1) Go to and find the video that you would like your students to watch.

    (2) Copy the URL from the address bar.   It will look like this. 

    (3) Add the link to your lesson or website, but first make these changes...

    •  Remove "/watch?v=" and replace it with "/v/"      The link should now look like this

    Full Screen - GREAT!  But what about all those related videos that show up after your video plays?

    (4) Add this to the end of your link  "&rel=0"  which tells it to not show related videos (0=false).

    Your link now looks like this... and your video will play full screen without related videos at the end.


    NOTE: Because Youtube is filtered through multiple levels of protection, your students may have to press PLAY two or three times before the video actually plays.    This shouldn't be a problem once they see it a few times.


    FOR LEARNPADS - Youtube rolls into MOBILE mode so you have to whitelist the mobile URL.

    "Website URL" field - Use the URL from step 4.

    "Whitelist URL" field - Add the same URL with the "www" changed to "m" (for MOBILE). 

    Like  this...





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  • Making Word Files Classroom Ready as Google Docs

    Posted by Kate Fisher on 10/28/2016

    Make Your Google Classroom More Effective:  

    How to Upload Office Documents to Drive and Convert Them Automatically to Google Editor Formats

    Are you and your students struggling with Office file formats in Google Classroom?  How can you take a Word worksheet and upload it to Google Classroom in a format that is easy for your students to use and for you to grade?   

    Here is the problem:

    When an Office file is attached or uploaded to Classroom, it is generally still in Microsoft  format.  Students cannot edit the file directly.  They have to convert it to Google docs and then some of the formating or structure of the document may be changed.  When they edit or supply answers, it is difficult for you to see what content is their work and what was the original document.  Grading becomes a chore.  

    Here is a solution... Convert your files automatically to Google Editor format as you upload them to Drive.  Then attach the file from Drive to your Classroom assignment.

    Initial Step:  You only have to do this once.

    Get Organized:  

    • Create a folder in Google Drive for your course (in Drive, not in the Classroom folder). 
    • You may wish to create subfolders for each unit to help keep documents straight.
    • Now you are ready to upload your Office documents.  They will be automatically converted to Google format. Your Word files will become Google Docs, your Powerpoints will become Google Slides, and your Excel documents will become Google Sheets.  

    When making a Google Classroom assignment, instead of "uploading your Word document", choose the DRIVE icon and copy the new Google file from your upload folder to your assignment.  The kids will be able to edit the document directly instead of having to open it twice and convert it themselves.  

    This blog entry Google Classroom Best Practices: Convert Word Documents to Google Docs demonstrates this.  The video at the end also tells how you can format your Google docs so you will be able to easily see where the question prompt ends and the student's response begins.  Grading is much easier. Yes, a little more work initially, but easier for you later and much less confusing and stressful for your students.  

    BONUS - now that the document is in Google format, they will be able to use Read&Write for Google to highlight, comment, add voice notes, use text to speech and speech to text, dictionary, and many more features.  More on that next week.

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  • SVCS and Model Schools STEAM Resources

    Posted by Kate Fisher on 9/29/2016

    STEAM - Stockbridge Technology Education Advances Minds

    This week's Tech Tip takes a look at the resources  available to us for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), either in house or from Model Schools.  In addition to the Lego, Cubelet, and robotics kits we have purchased, Model Schools has a plethora kits and materials that we can borrow to use in instruction or just to check out for lesson planning or purchase decisions.  I've made a video to explain what some of the resources are.  Let me know what we should request first.


    Model Schools STEAM Matrix - A list of resources available for loan from Model Schools

    YOUTUBE: Model Schools STEAM Resources   (About 12 minutes)


    Here are the sites for the resources that we have purchased.  These are the introductions shared during the September 2016 Superintendent's Day "Innovation Stations" and will be updated as new materials, lessons, etc. are discovered.  If anyone wants edit rights to these presentations to share things they have found, let me know.




    Edison Robots

    Lego Crazy Contraptions

    Lego Learn2Learn

    Paper Circuits


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  • Become a Google Certified Educator

    Posted by Kate Fisher on 9/29/2016

    Google Certified EducatorDuring our September Superintendent's Conference Day we talked about some of our staff becoming Google Certified Educators.  Here are the links that you will need to get started.  Each level takes about 15 hours of seat time.  Space that out as 1 hour per week over the year and we can complete the entire program by June.  Let's get started.


    Here is the Google Slides Presentation from our Opening Day.


    Google Educator Training Center Home Page

    Chromebook Device Training

    Google Certified Educator Level 1

    Google Certified Educator Level 2

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  • URL Shorteners and Sharing URL's with Students

    Posted by Kate Fisher on 9/28/2016

    So you have this great website or resource that you want all the students in your class to have access to.  The only problem is that the URL (that stands for Uniform Resource Locator, aka web address) is so long that it reaches from here to Route 20.  How can you make this link accessible to students in a productive manner.

    Here are several ways to do so and what you choose to do may depend on the type of link and how often you will need it.

    Google Classroom - kids need this now and later? With Google Classroom you can put a link to the resource right in an assignment and they will have access to it 24.7.

    GoGuardian - last minute find?  Push the link out to all devices in your session through GoGuardian.

    URL Shorteners - Just need it now and you didn't have time to set things up?  Use a URL shortener like or  I like because it links to my GAFE account and keeps a log of all the links I've shortened, but I also like because I can customize the shortener so it makes sense... like 

    Your Website - Long term resource or something that you will come back to next year?  You can post a link to the resource on your website.  If you have a page for each course, all the better.

    Symbaloos - Lots of links?  You might wish to check out   You can create a cool matrix of links.  Amanda and I use this quite often.


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  • Google Resources

    Posted by Kate Fisher on 7/28/2016

    Image: Resources for using Google in the K-12 classroom


    Here are some of the best Google Apps resources that I have come across.


    Chrome Cheat Sheet by Kasey Bell (

    Google Apps Cheat Sheet by Kasey Bell (



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  • Using Facility Calendars

    Posted by Kate Fisher on 11/3/2015

    We use Facility Calendars to schedule our technology resources.    This allows everyone to know when labs and carts are available for use and provides information on how often and by whom our labs and carts are being used.   I have attached a document showing how to access the calendars for scheduling.  If you are a teacher at SVCS and don't know the login credentials, please contact me.


    Click to download instructions for using the facility calendars.

    How to Schedule Computer Labs and Carts



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  • Chromebook Touchpad Clicks and Swipes

    Posted by Kate Fisher on 10/24/2015

    These tips on using the Chromebook touchpad came from

    Move the pointer/cursor: Swipe finger across touchpad.

    Click: Press or tap the touchpad.

    Right Click: Press with two fingers or [ALT]click

    Scroll: Swipe with two fingers across or up/down the touchpad.

    See/hide all open windows: Quick swipe up or down with three fingers.

    Switch tabs:  Swipe left or right with three fingers

    Drag and drop: Click with one finger and move with a second finger.

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  • Working with Student Groups in Google Classroom

    Posted by Kate Fisher on 10/16/2015

    STUDENT COLLABORATIVE GROUPS are not yet a feature in Google Classroom.  However, Alice Keeler of TeacherTech has a way of handling collaborative groups in Google Classroom.

     1. Create and Manage the Group (Optional)  - This is a communications and bookkeeping step.

    2. Managing the Handouts / HandIn

    • Any templates or graphic organizerss that are to be used are shared by the teacher through the Google Classroom assignment - make a copy for EACH STUDENT.  This assures that the document is in the appropriate assignment folder and students have rights for edit/turn-in.  
    • The Group Leader renames THEIR document (that the group will turn-in) with the Group name or students names to make it the GROUP. 
      • If there is no template, the group leader creates an appropriate format Google document (doc, sheet, presentation or drawing) in response to the assignment.
    • Other group members delete the document(s) from their assignment – they will be editing the group document that their leader will share with them  They will not be turning documents in independently.
    • The Group leader shares the GROUP document with edit rights to members of his/her group.
    • When the group work is complete, the group leader turns in the GROUP document and the other students mark tbe assignment as done in their classroom account.

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