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Opening Minds LOGOThe semester is nearing it’s end and I have to reflect and admit I have been distracted and have been resorting to using Scoop-it for most of my blog posts of late. I love Scoop-it, my page is curated with lots of interesting things  But, I have neglected writing and sharing in the way I had originally intended for this blog.  So, New Year’s resolution a bit early, but going to try to return to my habits of working and sharing.  So my fingers are crossed that I can get myself back into the habit, and it is a habit!!

This fall I joined a few Google + groups/communities.  I am finding them to be a wonderful way to LEARN every day.  A little like Twitter, but more involved and you can hold a discussion.  Even had my pre-service teachers explore snd join a couple groups.  But now I am think I need to implement the use in my course. Sadly most college students would not participate unless there is a grade attached.  So now I am looking for a good way to create a group for use in my course and get my students to participate.  Suggestions welcome.


I have my notifications set to come to an email address, that way I don’t miss the post, sharing, resources and pleas for help.

My favorite communities are


Educational Technology:

iBA Collaborative:

iPad Ed:

iPad Apps:



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Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 9.06.19 AMNeed a way to take notes easily and quickly? For those lucky enough to be attending the ISTE 2014 conference right now, perhaps one of these mobile apps can help, though anyone could always use handy note-taking app.

  • Evernote – You’ve no doubt heard of this app by now: take notes via text, photos, or voice, then view them on any device.
  • Notability – Here’s a powerful alternative to Evernote with similar features, plus handwriting recognition and PDF annotation.
  • Penultimate – If you want to stay in the Evernote family, this app turns your iPad into a digital drawing pad and syncs with Evernote.
  • Google Keep – Or if you want to stay in the Google family, this Android and Chromebook app has similar features to Evernote.
  • AudioNote – This iOS and Android app lets you take notes (text or drawings) and sync them with audio for dynamic notes.

Want more? Check out these collections of tools created by members like you.

Enjoy these great tools for educators!

– Mike Lee, Co-founder of edshelf

PS:  Thanks Mike for all your great resource and always sharing. 


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Google docs has transformed the writing instruction of the classes I teach. Prior to our school’s adoption of Google Aps, I gave significant feedback on the margins of student papers. I also used the comment boxes in Pages or MSWord when my students began to hand in their papers electronically via email. I liked the freedom that the infinite space of the comment box gave me. This space enabled me to rework students sentences and to specifically and directly target individual words and sentences. It did take a bit longer as I found myself giving more feedback, but ultimately I liked the improvements I saw in my students writing as a result of the increase in comments I was able to given them.

Read the full story, CLICK HERE

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See on Scoop.itTechnology in the Classroom , 1:1 Laptops & iPads and MORE

Over the last few months I have had the good fortune to introduce many educators to using Google Drive to help their students meet Common Core Standards in English Language Arts. All of those introductions have come in the form of in-person workshops. After many requests for this and after much planning I am now offering Google Drive and the Common Core as a three hour webinar series. While the webinar series is not free it is significantly less than cost of flying me to your school for the day.

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See on Scoop.itTechnology in the Classroom , 1:1 Laptops & iPads and MORE

Cloud storage of files is one of my favorite aspects of the modern Internet. Cloud storage services make it easy to access all of my important files from any computer and most mobile devices. And for students cloud storage eliminates the I forgot my flashdrive excuse for not having an assignment ready for class.

The potential problem with cloud storage, and any other online service for that matter, is having your account compromised. One way to make it more difficult for your account to be compromised is to enable two-step authentication.

Two-step authentication for a Google account requires entering a verification code that Google sends to your cell phone. Click here for directions or watch this video to learn more.
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See on Scoop.itTechnology in the Classroom , 1:1 Laptops & iPads and MORE

So you are looking fog Google best apps for iOS ? Well you landed in the right place. I have just finished compiling and reviewing a bunch of Google apps that you can use on your iPad. All of these apps work perfectly well and can have some educational value as well.

Of course this list is not exhaustive but we have focused our attention only on the most important ones for us as teachers and educators. If you think we have missed any app that should be included in this list then please make sure you share it with us in the comment form below.
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With seemingly endless tools, uses, and resources, Google is a virtual powerhouse for all things learning. Of course, Google’s even better if you know how to step beyond the simple search box and take advantage of everything the search giant has to offer. That’s why we’re highlighting 52 different tricks that you can use this back-to-school season, whether you’re heading off to college or getting started on your online degree.

Check out the list, CLICK HERE

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Last year all of the students in our school district received Google Docs accounts and I was kept quite busy all year getting students up and running and then finding innovative ways to use the tools for learning. Upon reflection,if I got the opportunity to do it all over again there are three things I would make sure to do at the start of the year to kick off Google Docs.

1. Encourage Teachers to Create an In Box with a Google Form

One of the challenges of using Google Docs with a class full of students is in managing all those Google Docs. While it’s fairly easy for students to learn to share their work with you, the clutter that ends up in your email box can be overwhelming. Last year I was thrilled to discover an awesome idea from John Miller that utilizes a Google Form as an Assignment Tracker. The idea is innovative, efficient and simple. Here’s how John’s invention works:

See the full story:

See on Scoop.itTechnology in the Classroom , 1:1 Laptops & iPads and MORE

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Why Integrate Map Making into Curriculum?

  • It’s fun and engaging!
  • Creates ties between content and place
  • Maps are interactive and easy to update
  • Maps can be great assessment tools

Good Content for Map Making

  • You have information or data that is place-based.
  • You want to show
    • information that varies depending on location.
    • distribution of something over an area.
    • a path or route of travel.

What Can Be Included in a Map

  • Text
  • Hyperlinks
  • Photos and Images
  • Video

Examples of Maps

Examples from QUEST

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Back in 2009, we published 100+ Google Tricks That Will Save You Time in School. But in nearly three years, Google has developed new products, discontinued a few, and offered new features, and more people have found great ways to save time with Google. So we’ve gone and found even more great tips for saving time with Google, and this time around, the list has made it all the way to 181 different tricks. Explore our collection of tricks to find new, faster ways to search, read email, manage your time, and more.

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Learn everything you could hope to learn about Google’s browser. It’s all outlined in “Browsing at Warp Speed: Your Guide to Chrome!”. This free manual, from author Lachlan Roy, covers the basics of using Google Chrome and also outlines more than a few advanced tricks.

DOWNLOAD Browsing at Warp Speed: Your Guide to Chrome
(download password: makeuseof)

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Today as I was reading my mail I came across a great resource about 52 Great Google Docs Secrets for Students as featured in Online Colleges website. After reviewing these secrets which took me so much time, I surprisingly realised that I have missed  several of them.Yes budies Google Docs will always continue to take you aback by its hidden treasures that only few people get to know and experience. As educators and teachers I do want you to discover the full  potential of this great tool and also share it with you students.

The folks at have gathered these 52 secrets from different online resources. This means that you will be directed to different web pages each time you want to learn about a secret.Anyway, I have checked all the links , they are valid and working properly.

Edudemic has also posted a great article that I want you to read about 50 Little Known Ways Google Docs Can Help in Education.

Click on this  link to read  the original post

Here are the 52 secrets of the Google Docs :

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Google Docs is one of my favorite resources for myself, other teachers, and students. I use it constantly and when I share it with other teachers, friends, or my students, they are usually impressed and start using it too.

There are tons of features and functions in Google Docs that make using it extremely useful and effective as an educational tool. The fact that it’s free, online, and collaborative make it great for students. Word Processing, Presentations, Forms, Drawings, and Spreadsheets. Google keeps adding more features too.

Read the full story, CLICK HERE

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I have had a bunch of folks ask me about this very topic and low & behold, my friend, Wesley Fryer, has a great tutorial on how to set up your calendar and make it work with Google calendar too.

Unlike the previous version of MobileMe, Apple’s new iCloud service does not appear to provide a direct way to share a “read-only” webpage or embeddable version of a calendar. In this post, I’ll share how to use the free web service 30boxes to publish a combined iCloud Calendar and Google Calendar. This can be handy if you want to publicly or privately share your calendars from iCloud and Google Calendar with other folks on a webpage.

Read the full story and see the step-by-step instructions.

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Although Google+ is not yet available for under 18s, there are still a number of ways you can harness it for learning in and out of school. Here are a few ideas we have seen from teachers:
(1) Universities- Tking or teaching university classes? Visit the new Google+ community page for universities:
(2) Lesson resources- Looking for a lesson starter? An image to illustrate a difficult concept? Current events? Within Google+ you can now search public posts and web results. For example type [supply demand] into the bar and find news articles bringing the concept to life, images, etc.
(3) Guest speakers- Looking for a guest speaker but can’t afford to bring them to your class or Career Day? Consider having them join via a Hangout, projecting them into your class.
(4) Holidays- Looking for easy ways to edit and create images for the holidays? Within Google+ Photos you can choose “Edit” and then “Creative Kit” to access fun editing tools. Add a Christmas hat, a birthday present, and other fun edits