Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Infinite Possibilities...

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Recently I had a student introduce me to a really terrific Google Extension. It's called Infinity, and it allows users to create an elegant, customizable, and intuitive home page for desktop or laptop. 

Google Infinity is designed to create a minimalist environment,  providing easy pathways to often used sites. I am using it personally with Google sites such as my mail, docs, and drive.


Chrome Browser
Infinity will require the installation of the Chrome Browser, which really is a topnotch browser anyways. Both the browser and the extension are free. They work on Macs and PCs, as well as Chromebooks. 

Once installed, anytime the user opens Chrome, they will be
Infinity Home Page
presented with the Infinity page. If they use Chrome and log into their Google account on another computer, regardless of the operating system, (Mac, PC, Chromebook) they will encounter the same Infinity page. 


With Google Infinity, walking into any public library, the user can replicate their computer experience. For many of our users, this type of continuity is crucial. 

For fun, anytime the user clicks on the pinwheel in the bottom right, a new background photo comes up. My student indicated some of the photos might be a little "inappropriate, but not too sexy" for younger students. I've yet to encounter any such issue, but I'll keep looking just in case. 

Happy Tuesday!

Hajimé


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

WARNING!!!

Hey Tek-Ninjas! If you are a user of iTunes for managing your iDevice apps, be warned, the new iTunes no longer manages apps. 

As in, there is no app tool anymore. At all. Instead, I guess you download everything wirelessly. You can still "file share" moving data to and from your apps, but no longer manage them that way.

So. Do not update your iTunes if that is a potential issue for you.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Dreamers

Hey Tek-ninjas! A lot going on in the world, and some of it is down right scary. 

If you work with DACA Dreamers, United We Dream is a tremendous resource for you and your students.  

United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation. Their powerful nonpartisan network is made up of over 100,000 immigrant youth and allies and 55
affiliate organizations in 26 states. They organize and advocate for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status.

If you are like me, and are committed to keeping families together, and our students in school, follow this link

That's all for now...

Friday, September 1, 2017

Change Agents

Hey Tek-Ninjas! We are at the end of our first week of school for our district. From my perspective it's been a whirl-wind of activity. Today a colleague shared this nice story with me, and I thought I'd pass it along. 

Last spring during an Exceptional Children (EC) adapted curriculum and EC Resource Professional Learning meeting, one of our school-based teams were discussing the game Hangman which was being used within a learning program called News2You (N2Y) that is offered internationally.

The team was discussing the historical messages that are associated with hanging and agreed that
"Build A Word"
they didn't want to reinforce those messages or portray them as a fun activity with their students.

So, rather than just abandon the activity, which they all deemed to have education value, they decided to advocate for their students and contact the company to request changes to the game.

They called and emailed with representatives from N2Y over several months.  After several productive conversations they were thrilled that the programmers heard their concerns and made terrific changes!

N2Y changed the name to Build a Word and the activity now focuses on building a character! Way to go N2Y!

For me, the take away from this story is that we all have the ability to be "change agents". Here is to hoping you all have great school years full of learning and rewarding relationships.

Hajimé!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Word Processor

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Last week I posted asking for help regarding the recent demise of the last sub $500 Stand-Alone-Word-Processor.

I am pleased to say, that with the help of the IT folks in our district I have a solution!

Our district is planning on re-purposing old laptops, and we will load a "Cloudready Chrome OS. This essentially turns any Mac or PC into a Chromebook. The OS can run on an older device, and does so remarkably fast, thus turning an outdated computer into a functional Chrome Book.

Next, we install the Chrome app "Note", or any other preferred/and free word processor app you like. We want a simple word processor, with minimum bells and whistles.

Finally, we turn on "Kiosk mode" so the laptop will boot only and always into the Note app. No internet, no youtube, no settings, no distractions.

The only downside is that right now, the only way to get the document off the laptop is with a fob, but that is proving to be navigable.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you do this, especially if you make improvements/changes!

Hajimè!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Help!!

$499.00
Hey Tek-Ninjas! I'm looking for ideas. If you are an Occupational Therapist, or educator, you may have noticed recently that the makers of the Fusion Writer, WriterLearning, has gone out of business. The good folks at Alpha-Smart of course have been long gone.

So, if you are looking for a dedicated word-processor for your student who requires key-boarding, but is too distractible by a full blown computer, you are going to be in a jam. The only one I can find, the Freewrite, retails for $499, which is easily the cost of two Chromebook.

So, I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions for ready made products? Or perhaps experience locking down a word processing function on a Chromebook, Linux, or Pi unit?

Thanks, and Hajimé

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What's the time?

Hey Tek-Ninjas! This is a quick share. Many of you classroom folks or therapists have needed timers to help students with focus, transitions, etc. I've shared this inexpensive and easy to use app a while back. 

Today I thought I'd share this free resource in the form of a website: http://www.online-stopwatch.com/classroom-timers/. As long as you can access the internet, it doesn't matter if you are using Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome, or any smartphone. 

The online stop watch is very easy to use. And, the makers offer many varied types of timers. Choose a timer that is simplistic, or find one that is whimsical, or sports themed. 

An online timer can easily be displayed on a Smartboard or other projected screen for a class. Or, for a smaller setting, the online timer can easily run on a smartphone. 

Hajimé