Friday, December 19, 2014

Create with Weebly

When I first started working as Tech Integration Specialist for my school district, I decided I needed a web tool that would allow me to share resources with my teachers beyond a blog.  I wanted to create a website, but the tools were limited and you needed to know HTML coding.  Personally, I wanted something that was easy and user-friendly to use.  A few of my technology colleagues recommended Wikispaces, so I started using that tool to create my resource pages.  I was also using the USD 495 Tech Integration page on our district website, but it was a little more cumbersome than I would have liked.  About two years ago, I was introduced to some new website creation tools including Weebly.  I started exploring the various tools, but was drawn to Weebly for its ease of use and the ability to create the layout I wanted on my pages.  I decided to move my resources from the district website and Wikispaces to a new website on Weebly.  (As I'm writing this, it just proves oncer again how quickly technology can change.)

Last spring, our tech director started looking at the possibility of moving to a new website host as our contract was ending with our provider.  After seeing me work with Weebly, he decided to give it a try himself.  Now, our district website has been moved to a Weebly account and several of our teachers are also using Weebly to create their own classroom pages.  They have been pleased with the easy drag & drop method for designing their page layouts.  Below is a video that provides a thorough introduction to setting up your own Weebly account and website.  I created this video as though I was sitting one-on-one with a teacher and walking them through the program.

More Resources

Weebly Support - Provides video and written instructions for various how-to topics on building your Weebly site.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Website Wednesday

  • For all those curiosity questions, Wonderopolis will meet your need. Check out the Wonder of
    the Day or explore various wonders from the category listings. Have a specific wonder? Then go to What are You Wondering and type in your question. Great tool for extended learning for learners of all ages!

  • Have a student interested in creating and recording their own music. Throw them at Soundtrap,
    an online music creator. You can connect your own instruments or use the software instruments to create your song recording. Use your computer mic to record your lyrics too. Soundtrap can be used on a variety of devices - Apple, Anrdoid, Linux, Windows and Chromebooks.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Out of My Comfort Zone at TIG

I just attended the Tech Integration Group last week and participated in some activities that are outside of my comfort zone.  Of course, anything that involves a photo of myself is out of my comfort zone.  So here are some of the activities and learning that occurred last week.

Creating Timelines:
We started out exploring tools, web-based and apps, that could be used for creating Timelines.  I started with Tiki-Toki which I've had in my "Try It" list for about a year.  As I started working with this web-based tool, I found that I couldn't upload photos from my computer.  They had to be hosted somewhere online like Facebook or Google Drive.  I also found that my free account was limited to creating only one timeline.  However, the real drawback for me was this tool just wasn't intuitive.  While there were tutorials I could have watched, I was looking for a tool that I could just mess with a little and figure it out.  If it takes me more than 10 minutes to get a web tool or app to work for me, I'm usually done.  There must be a good reason for me to stick with it and figure it out or breakdown and the watch the tutorials.  I set that guide for myself because I'm looking for tools that will be quick and easy for teachers and students to use in the classroom.

So, I dumped that tool and moved over to Dipity.  It was easier to upload photos and add text to my images.  Sadly, the free version is also limited to three timelines and 50MB of photos to upload.  However, you could delete timelines you didn't need any longer so you could create a new one.  You can embed your timeline or share it via a web link.  You can also share it via Twitter and Facebook.  You can share your timeline as a timeline, flipbook or list depending on your desired look.
Some of my colleagues used other web tools and apps to create their timelines:  Capzles, Thinglink, Tackk, Visme and Popplet.  We also talked about the idea of creating a timeline with Prezi, Animoto and the READTHINKWRITE timeline.  Some of these do give you the actual look of a traditional timeline, but some of them do not.  If you were having your students create a timeline, you would need to decide if that traditional look is important as part of the lesson or not.  While I haven't tried all these other options out, here are some samples from my colleagues.

Visme -
Capzles (photos only) -
Capzles (text only) -
We did spend time during the day talking about Game-Based Learning and Coding with Students, but I am writing separate posts on these two topics as I have several links and resources to share on both topics.  Be sure to check out those posts.

Selfies in the Classroom?
The "Out of My Comfort Zone" moment came when one of the gals pulled out the book 101 Comedy Games and said we were going to do a "fun activity."  (I don't know about other people, but for me that means we are going to do something I deem as embarrassing.)  So, we were instructed to partner up and take selfies of each other making the facial expression that was read to us from this book.  The faces include things like...

  • Swatting a bee from your face
  • Trying to show emotion after having Botox
  • An Elvis impersonation with the sneered lip
  • A fish face
  • Someone just drove over your foot
  • And more

When we finished taking the photos, we created a photo collage (using any app of our choice) to share our selfies - or rather the selfies of our partner.  We then emailed them to our "teacher" so we could see everyone's collage.  I would share a sample, but we took an oath not to post the photos on social media.  Naturally we discussed how you might use selfies in the classroom.  With this activity, I instantly thought about drama class and practicing facial expressions.  Some other ideas included:
  • Sentence Selfies - Take a selfie expressing the different type of sentences (exclamatory, interrogative, declarative, imperative)
  • Life Story Selfies - Tell someone's life story through facial expressions.  You could use this with a historical figure, fiction character or yourself (as an introduction)
  • Action vs Passive Verb Selfies - Check student understanding by having them take selfies expressing action and passive verbs.  They could put this in a collage identifying the verb types.
  • Opposites Selfies - Have younger students take selfies of word opposites, like hot/cold, tall/short, etc.
  • Reflection Selfies - Students could create a blog post using selfies to share their reflection related to an assignment or project they just completed.  The writing comes in explaining why they felt the way they expressed in their selfie.
I'm sure many of you have other brilliant ideas on how to use selfies in the classroom, so please share in the comments section at the end of this blog post.

We did take the selfies concept a little further and created group selfies.  As a group, we got to choose a favorite Christmas song and create it in a group selfie so others could guess the song title.  Can you guess our songs?
This activity would be a fun way for students to recreate a piece of art, a scene from history, or scenes from a short story or book.  The variations of this project are numerous, but here is one option.

My class is studying Edgar Allan Poe and reading a variety of his short stories.  So, I break the class into small groups (about 4-5 students per group) and each group signs up for a short story.  As a group the students recreate the significant scenes from the story so they can retell it in photos.  They can use props they bring in or make, but they can also have a person be an inanimate object in their photo; for instance, the cat from "The Black Cat."  (I wouldn't give them much time for creating props, maybe a day.  They could do part of this as their homework and bring the props in the next day.)  Once they have their photos taken, they will put them together in any format - comic book, eBook, movie, animated slideshow, or any other teacher approved format.  My students might opt to use one of the following creation tools:  Prezi, Tackk, Book Creator, iBook Author, Comic Life, Story Me Strip Design, Animoto, Puppet Edu, Google Slide, Haiku Deck, iMovie.  Of course, they can use any other tool that will help them meet the requirements for the project.  I would provide them with a rubric and a planning sheet.  In fact, they don't take photos until I approve their planning sheet.  We would also have a preview day to view and peer edit the products, followed by a revision day before the final product was submitted.

As I stated, this is just one example.  Any ideas churning for you?  If so, please share in the comments below.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Website Wednesday

  • Create the code that will light up the holiday tree outside the White House. Enter your code and state, then receive the date and time your code will display on the White House holiday tree. This is a basic drag and drop process to introduce students to coding.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Google Calendar

As I've been polling the staff in our district this month, I'm finding that most of them use Google Calendars solely to view calendars shared with them by the administrators.  While this is one way to utilize Google Calendars, I bet there are some features and uses for Calendar that might surprise you.

Some educators are using the invitation feature when they create a new event to invite others to attend.  When you invite others to an event, they are able to indicate if they will be able to attend or not.  With a simple click of yes, no or maybe from those invited, you will see who can make the meeting so you know if it needs to be rescheduled or who will need to be filled in on what they missed at the meeting.  Furthermore, when you invite someone to attend an event, they can add that event right to their own calendar.  No need to create a new event or find some way to remember that upcoming meeting.

This leads us to another great feature - event notifications.  I use this with almost every event I create.  I can choose to receive an email reminder, pop notification or text message.  Personally, I use the pop notification most often, but you do need to make sure that you have your calendar open on your computer or you will never get those notifications.  I have recently started using the text notifications for my online courses, but I'll talk about that more a little later.  If you opt to use text notification, you will need to go through the Mobile Setup in settings.  Please note that Google does not charge for sending text notifications, but your carrier might.  You will want to check with them before setting up this feature.  You will find instructions for completing Mobile Setup at this site - SMS Notifications or via the video below; and since we're talking about mobile devices, you can sync your calendars to Google and Apple mobile devices.  You can also sync your calendars with iCal on Apple.  For more information on syncing with your mobile devices or iCal, go to Sync Google Calendars.

Learn how to create an event with reminders including SMS(text).

Lesson Plans
Another use for Google Calendar is creating your lesson plans.  As I've worked the past few years with elementary teachers, I know they like the "pretty" lesson plan templates.  However, if the decorative decor isn't a priority for you, you might consider creating a new calendar just for your lesson plans.  You can include standards, links to sites, and attached files.  You can easily share your lesson plan calendar with you administrator and don't have to worry if you submitted them to your admin for the week or not.  They can view your lessons at any time.  Printing your lessons for the sub is also an easy task.  Go to the agenda view and display only your lesson plan calendar.  Then choose Print under the More button to the right of your calendar view options.

Video explaining how to use Google Calendar as your lesson planbook.

Assignments with due dates
Another great use for Google Calendar is to create an assignment calendar for your students and parents.  This will keep them informed of tests, spelling quizzes, projects, book reports, and any other class due dates.  The beauty with this type of calendar is you can also attach your instruction sheet, rubric and any other handouts a student might need for a specific assignment to that event.  If there is an upcoming spelling quiz, then attach a list of the words so students and parents have them available without looking for that illusive piece of paper.  Your assignment events can also include details in the description as well as web links to sites the students might need while completing that particular assignment.

As a student, I created a calendar for my online courses so I could set reminders to complete specific tasks.  For instance, most of my online courses require you to comment on blog posts and then respond to comments posted by other class members.  So, I set an event to make my initial comment and then another event to go in and read/comment on responses by class members.  I originally set these up as pop notifications, but some of the event dates were on the weekend and I didn't always have my computer on to receive these notifications.  I eventually moved to the text notifications so I got the reminder on my phone, which for me was harder to ignore.

Field Trips, Holidays and Other Special Events
As I mention earlier, paper is easily misplaced and lost, so a special events calendar would be a great resource for parents and students to remember specific activities coming up at school.  It could include everything from trips to the community center to see a play to a Spanish field trip.  Some schools are choosing to put this type of information on a building calendar, but if that calendar is not accessible to your students and parents, then you might want to create your own just for your classroom.

Embed Your Calendar on Your Website
Most web creation tools allow you to embed html code so you can add multimedia elements created with other web tools into your website.  Each of the calendars you create in Google Calendar has an embed code that you can simply copy and paste onto another website.  Below are the instructions on how to embed a calendar onto a Weebly website.  So why would you want to embed a Google Calendar?  It's a great way to communicate specific event times and dates without having to put them in multiple locations or send home slips of paper that get lost before they ever make it home.

More Ideas
Other GAFE Schools and Districts have also been embracing the use of Google Calendars in the following ways:
  • Athletic and Extra-Curricular Events Calendar - class & organization meetings, sporting events, concerts, plays, etc.
  • Practice Calendar - sports practice, play practice, scholar bowl practice, special music & band practice
  • Substitute Calendar
  • Library Schedule Calendar - includes teaching & library skill times, equipment reservations, special programs & events, etc.
  • Building Specific Calendar - PLC & faculty meetings, extra duty assignments, special events and more
  • District-wide Calendars - inservices, days off from school, holidays, school board meetings, grant deadlines, and more
As you can, these are just a few ways you can use Google Calendar to not only keep yourself organized, but to share important information with other educators, students, parents and community members.  Remember that not all calendars need to be viewed by everyone, so invite only those who need the information you are providing on your calendars.  For more on sharing your calendars, check out the video below.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It just has this little ding...

It's like a slow motion scene in the movies.  You set your laptop on the corner of your desk at home when the cat jumps up and bumps the laptop sending it tumbling to the wood floor.  Your arm and fingers are stretched out trying to desperately reach it before it hits the floor while the word "Noooooooo!"  is coming out of your mouth.  Alas, your fingers touch the tip of the laptop, but not enough to get a good grip and it hits the floor.  Your heart is racing as you gingerly pick up the fallen laptop and examine it for damage.  You notice it just has a little ding...

Naturally, if your laptop had flown out of your protective backpack while you were driving 195 mph on your motorcycle you would expect some major damage.  (That's what happened to this poor MacBook Pro.  The owner got lucky because the hard drive still worked.)

MacBook Pro 13" gets dropped at 195mph

However, it's just a little ding with a bent corner.  As long as it still starts, you'll be ok - right?

Dropped my MacBook Pro by Karl Baron

Over the past few years working in the tech department for our school district, we have had a few laptops tumble to the floor.  Most of them come in with corner dings, but a few have a little more damage.  In our district, we send damaged computers to AppleCare Services for repairs.  When the computer is returned, Apple includes a Product Repair Summary.  This summary provides a list of parts that were replaced and the symptom related to the damaged part.  For example:  Description - Bottom Case, Symptom - Enclosure - Mechanical/Cosmetic Damaged.

That sounds normal for a laptop like the one above, but would you believe other parts can get damaged from a little ding like this?  A minor ding to the case could cause the need to replace other parts like the keyboard (specific keys may not function properly), trackpad (the cursor may not track properly) and battery (no power; it's completely dead).  Sometimes, there is no visible ding from a dropped computer or even one involved in a car accident, but there can still be hidden damage like the need to replace the optical drive because the computer won't accept or read a DVD.

Minor fluid spills can also cause unseen damage to a computer.  A single drop into the keyboard can
A little drop of fluid under the keys can damage more than you realize.
trickle down into the memory, battery, logic board and more.  If you do a quick Google search for "fluid under the keyboard," you will get several suggestions on how to "dry out" your computer including the use of rice (which, by the way, is best saved for recovering a wet cell phone).  However, wiping up the computer and drying it off can still leave you with sticky keys and rust or mold under the keys.  Furthermore, the actual damage to the internal parts of your laptop may not start surfacing for weeks or even months after the initial spill.  Your best bet with water or liquid damage is to suck it up and turn it in for repair because once the case on a laptop is opened up, liquid damage is easy to spot.

So remember, while accidents do happen, don't assume a little ding or one drop of fluid will not impact you laptop.  Talk to your technology department or you computer repair store because a little damage can be as detrimental as major computer damage.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Website Wednesday

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

What happens in TIG...

As many of you know I attend a Tech Integration Group at Essdack once a month.  The group consists of other tech integration specialists, school librarians, teachers and those with a passion for using technology in the classroom.  We spend our time sharing and exploring new technology tools as well as discussing the uses within the classroom.  We make every effort to focus our time around a specific topic.  If instance, the main topic for our November meeting was Everything Google.  We also begin each meeting with an icebreaker - I may use some of these in future tech training sessions.

Demo Slam
In an effort to cover the specific Google topics that piqued our interests, we broke the topics into groups and could choose which group we wanted to join.  The group discussed the topic and addressed specific questions.  We were then challenged to create a 'Demo Slam' based on our topic.  I had not heard of a Demo Slam yet, but discovered that this term was coined by Google in an effort to make those boring tech demos more entertaining.  Since we didn't have time to make a video, we we were to create a quick slideshow with 8-10 slides demonstrating our topic.

Here are some official Google Demo Slams:

This video showcases how Google Goggles works.  Not familiar with Google Goggles?  Read more about it -  You can also get the app for your iPhone -

In this video, the creators use Google Presentation to create an animated project.  I don't know if I would have the patience to create something like this, but it's AMAZING!

While this Demo Slam isn't as dramatic, it does showcase an idea for having students share photos in a class blog.  This would be great for field trips, creation projects or other completed assignments.

While none of the groups actually created a Demo Slam over their topic (we ran out of time), we did have some good discussions on the various Google topics.

Google Tour Builder
Another tool we explored as a group was Google Tour Builder.  When Google Earth came out, teachers were able to create virtual trips to enhance learning in social studies, English, Spanish, science and other content areas.  However, the process was time-consuming and not for the technology novice.  Google Tour Builder allows you to create these virtual trips without the complicated procedures.  You can add locations, photos, videos, text and more.  This tool takes digital storytelling to a whole new level.

In this video a student quickly reflections on their project created in Google Tour Builder.

**Please note - You are required to download and install the Google Earth Plugin - - before you can use Google Tour Builder.

Other Google Tools
We discussed other Google Tools like Google Classroom, which I will be exploring and writing about more in the near future, and Google Cultural Institute, which I've shared in the past through Diigo. We also discussed the some Google Add-ons including Flubaroo, Doctopus and SuperQuiz.

Finally, the last web tool that I explored is one every educator needs bookmarked on their computer.  We all know that compliments are few and far between, especially if you are in education.  This web tool by Tony Vincent will help you end your days with a high quality compliment - ok maybe some of them are a little cheesy, but at least it's a compliment.  The great part is you can compliment yourself over and over again.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Changes to Google Spreadsheets

If you've worked on one of your Google spreadsheets recently, you may have seen this message:

According to  Google, you can tell if a spreadsheet has been created with or upgraded to the new Google Sheets if there is a green checkmark at the bottom of your document.  When you click on the green checkmark you will be able to take a tour of the new Google Sheets.  If you take the tour, you will discover that you can now edit your spreadsheets offline, scroll through them faster, utilize advanced formatting and more.

The process of updating your old spreadsheets to the new Google Sheets requires no action on your part.  Google has already started making this transition and anticipates the switch to be completed over the course of next year (2015).  Not all spreadsheets will be updated at the same time, so don't be surprised if some of your spreadsheets are update and others are not.  Google assures their users that no data should be affected in the updating process, but some formula results may be slightly different.  More specifically, the adjustments in formulas should resolve previously reported problems and bugs thereby improving the formula behaviors.

While you cannot revert an updated spreadsheet back to the old version, you can manually update your spreadsheets to the new version of Google Sheets.  Just follow the instructions in this article - Moving spreadsheets to the new Google Sheets.

If you would like to read more about the new Google Sheets, read this article posted on the Google Help site - Check out the new Google Sheets.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Website Wednesday

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Google Apps in the Classroom

I recently presented a session to some educators on Google Apps in the Classroom.  As I was preparing the presentation and gathering resources, I learned some new ideas, features, tips and pointers for various Google Apps.  I've decided to start a weekly series showcasing different Google Apps including Calendar, Drive, Classroom, Google+ and more.  I'll start each post with some basic how-tos regarding the application and then move on to other tips and ideas for using that application in education.  OH, one last note about this series - since my district is a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) school, I will be approaching the applications from this perspective.  I'll do my best to note if some of the tips and features do not work the same with a standard Google account, but I might miss something, so don't hold it against me.

Today, we're going to kick off this series with commonly asked questions about GAFE and Google Apps.

Which browser should I use?
According to Google, their apps are supported in Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.  You can also use other less common browsers, like Slepinir, Opera and Iron.  However, seeing that the Chrome browser is owned by Google, this is the top recommended browser when using Google Apps.

What is Google Apps for Education (GAFE)?
It is a collection of productivity applications provided for free to schools and other educational institutions.  These applications focus on the ability to communicate and collaborate.  School districts also gain the ability to administer all teacher and student accounts under one domain.  This provides a more secure environment for students to work in as they create documents, presentations and more in their Google account.

Why are schools choosing to use GAFE?
Districts choose to use GAFE for various reasons, but some of the top reasons include cost savings, privacy and security of data, collaboration abilities, and adoption ease.  For more on why your district should choose GAFE, check out these articles:

What tools are included in the GAFE for teachers and students?
The list is rather extensive, but the top tools are:
  • Gmail
  • Calendar
  • Drive
  • Docs
  • Sheets
  • Slides
  • Sites
In September, Google announced they will be adding Vault as an additional tool for GAFE schools and user storage space will jump from 30GB to 5TB.  (Update:  Google did increase storage space for education accounts to unlimited.  They are still working on adding Vault to education accounts.)  You may be asking yourself, "Is that a lot of space?" or "How much can I actually store with 5 Terabytes?"  Let's get some perspective...

One gigabyte (GB) equals a pickup truck filled with paper.  It takes 1,024GB to equal one terabyte (TB).  One terabyte is equivalent to 50,000 trees made into paper and printed.  You will be getting five times that, so you do the math.  Here's another view, on average the memory capacity of the human brain is equivalent to three terabytes.  So you're two terabytes short from calling your brain 'The Vault.'  Want to know more about data storage measurements?  Check out this infographic:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Website Wednesday

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Help Your Tech Department Help You

As a technology user, nothing is more frustrating than trying to get a computer issue resolved.  You try to explain the problem to the best of your ability, but then get a communication back asking for more information.  This use to annoy me to no end until I started working in the technology department.  Then I started receiving the communications regarding computer issues and having to decipher what they meant.  For instance, Susie Smith might call the office stating my computer doesn't work.  If I went solely on that information, my first assumption would be the computer doesn't even turn on.  However, as I begin to ask questions like what are you trying to do on your computer, I might discover that Susie isn't able to access the Internet.  Of course this leads me in a different troubleshooting direction than the statement my computer doesn't work.  Due to limited or misinformation, a tech must resort to a series of questions to actually narrow down the specific problem occurring on the computer.  So how can you as a computer user help your tech department understand the issue occurring on your computer?

First, take the time to learn some basic technology terminology.  For example, the Internet is the great World Wide Web that you peruse for information, but the browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari) is the application on your computer that allows you to access the Internet.  If you tell me the browser isn't working, then I might tell you try a different browser.  But when you tell me the Internet isn't working I can make several assumptions.  There is an issue with an Internet page you are trying to open, the WiFi isn't turned on or isn't connecting, or you don't have your ethernet cable plugged into the computer.  To assist you in learning some computer jargon, here are the basic computer terms you should know (some may be specific to a Mac computer):
  • Browser - A software program that allows a person to explore the Internet in an easy to use way. Examples of popular browsers include Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
  • Internet - Also known as the web or the net, the Internet contains billions of web pages created by people and companies from around the world, making it a limitless location to locate information and entertainment.
  • Network - A collection of computers, servers, mainframes, network devices, peripherals, or other devices connected to one another allowing for data to be shared and used.  A network is internal so a printer at the high school cannot be used by someone sitting in their home across the street because their device is not part of our network.
  • Server - Servers are used to manage network resources. For example, a user may setup a server to control access to a network, send/receive e-mail, manage print jobs, or host a website.  The servers in our district control access to things like FASTT Math, student login accounts and the time clock.
  • WiFi - Short for Wireless Fidelity, WiFi is how you connect to the network without a cable tying you down.  Ethernet Cable - An Ethernet cable is one of the most popular forms of network cable used on wired networks. Ethernet cables connect devices on local area networks by being plugged into the Ethernet port on your computer.
  • Dock - A bar located at the bottom of the Apple computers running Mac OS that allows quick access to programs you frequently use as well as running programs and files.  It is similar to the Task Bar on a PC.
  • Window - A section of the computer's display that shows the program currently being used.  When you click on Finder or the hard drive on you computer, you also get a window that shows you the folders on your computer.
  • Dialogue Box - A new window that appears above the rest that lists additional information, errors, or options.
  • Monitor - A video display screen and the hard shell that holds it.  It is not a computer, but rather a means for viewing what is available from the computer
  • Desktop - A type of computer that fits on or under a desk, usually laying horizontally, compared to a tower that lays vertically. Unlike a laptop, a desktop computer is a stationary computer that remains at a desk.
  • Laptop - A portable computer with the same abilities as a desktop, but is small enough for easy mobility.
  • Hard Drive - The computer's main storage media device that permanently stores all data on the computer - abbreviated as HD.
  • URL - Short for Uniform Resource Locator, a URL is a standardized naming convention for addressing documents accessible over the Internet, for example
  • Address bar - Alternatively referred to as the address box, location bar, or URL bar, the address bar is a name used to describe the text box used to enter a websites address in a browser.  The address bar allows the user to enter a URL or IP address of the page they want to visit or save that page for later.
  • Search Bar- This is the process of locating letters, words, files, websites, etc.  When you are in an Internet browser, the search bar is usually located on the top right side of the page.  However, Chrome and Safari have combined the search bar and address bar into one.
  • Operating System (OS) - A software program that enables the computer hardware to communicate and operate with the computer software. Without a computer operating system, a computer and software programs would be useless.  On the Mac computers in our district we are running OS X 10.9, also known as Mavericks.
  • iOS - The name of the operating system that runs on Apple iPhone, Apple iPad, and Apple iPad Touch devices given to the devices.  The most current iOS for Apple devices is iOS 8.

Second, complete some basic troubleshooting before contacting your technology department.  While your tech department enjoys assisting you, there are several things you can do to try and help yourself.  Although different situations will require different troubleshooting tasks, here is a standard go to list for troubleshooting:
  • Check all your cable connections - unplug and plug in your cables (If an outlet is involved, make sure the outlet is working properly by plugging something else in that you know is currently working.)
  • Restart the computer or equipment - shut it down, count to 10 or 20 and then restart it
  • Check the help resources and emails provided by your technology department
If you are having specific issues connecting to a page on the Internet or just connecting to the Internet, try this list:

  • Try a different web page - my go to is ESPN or CNN because it has loads of information on the page and if it loads everything then I know it's an issue with the specific page I'm trying to access
  • Try a different browser and see if you get the same result
  • Use   to see if the website is down for other people or just you
  • Turn the WiFi on the computer off and back on (If using an ethernet cable, unplug it and plug it back in.)

Finally, include as much information as you can related to the issue.  In Susie's issue with not being able to access the Internet, she might start by telling me what website she is trying to access, that she has tried using both Firefox and Chrome, and she has tried accessing more than one website - she could even tell me which sites to be more specific.  Here is a list of information you can include in your communication with the tech department:
  • What were you trying to do that you couldn't do?
  • What type of device or computer are you using?
  • What program/application were you using?
  • What have you done to try and resolve the issue yourself? 
  • Did you receive an error message?  If so, what did it say? 
If you do nothing else to help your process when working with any tech department or support service, start off by telling them what you are trying to do that you can't do.

*Technology Terms from Computer Hope (