• Bookmark Frustrations? You’re Not Alone

    Posted by Tai Botkin on 4/5/2019 7:00:00 AM

    I am an avid bookmarks user.  I have single bookmarks and bookmark folders.  I have bookmarks displayed according to the frequency in which I use them so I can locate them with ease.  However, I am somewhat dissatisfied with the bookmarks format in Chrome. I don’t want to select an arrow to see the additional bookmarks that I don’t fit across the top.  I don’t want to go to my three dots, select bookmarks, and make multiple unnecessary clicks when I am not on my homepage. Please, excuse my pettiness, I know how trivial it all sounds.  Due to my issues with the format, I began to search for other avenues, and I found one!

    Bookmark Sidebar was created as the result of some of the same kind of problems that I had mentioned previously. It allows your bookmarks to hide to either side of the screen as determined by your choice.  Simply move the cursor over, and the bookmark ribbon will appear. One simple click will give you complete access to your bookmarks. In addition (and my personal favorite feature) you can color code your bookmarks!  If you have silently suffered the inconveniences of bookmarks, the volume of 148,312 users should prove that you are not alone.

    Tai   Tai Botkin, Teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

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  • The View of a Different Lense

    Posted by Tai Botkin on 2/22/2019 7:00:00 AM

    In the hope of gaining additional understanding of a student’s visual environment, I came upon the extension, Web Disability Simulator. Although I am unsure about the generalizations of each of the simulations presented, I am very sure that they provided me an opportunity to see web-based content through a very different lens, no pun intended.  I first searched for an article and then began experimenting with the various disabilities included in the simulator.

    • Sight
    • Total Color Blindness
    • Yellow/Blue Color Blindness
    • Reg/Green Color Blindness
    • Far Sightedness
    • Tunnel Vision
    • Sunshine
    • Mobility
    • Parkinsons
    • Read and Write
    • Dyslexia
    • Low Vocabulary
    • Concentration

    Within each of these subsets are additional things to consider when working with an individual who may experience one of these disabilities and additional links for better understanding.  Instantly I thought about links that appear in blue, although so automatic that I don’t give it much thought anymore. When displayed as a person with Total Color Blindness may see, I could imagine the frustration in trying to find the links on which to click.  Although this may not be an extension that you use on a regular basis, I would venture to guess that it would resonate with you often.

    Tai   Tai Botkin, Teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

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  • Free Writing and Grammar Activities

    Posted by Gretchen Wood on 2/8/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Quill.org is a FREE tool designed to help students become better writers and critical thinkers.   Quill provides over 300 writing, grammar, and proofreading activities using four different tools:  Quill Diagnostic; Quill Connect; Quill Grammar; and Quill Proofreader. Each exercise designed from the Common Core Standards helps students build sentence construction skills, taking only about 10-15 minutes.  After the exercise is completed, it is automatically graded, and the student is provided feedback and hints to help the student improve. How do you get started using this free tool in your classroom? Go to quill.org and sign up as an educator and create your classroom.  Once your classroom is created, students can be added and activities assigned.

    Gretchen Wood  Gretchen Wood, Technology Coordinator

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  • Choice Elimination for use in Google Forms

    Posted by Tai Botkin on 1/25/2019 7:00:00 AM

    I recently discovered a new tool that I plan to implement very soon, and I want to share it with all of you.  An add-on called Choice Eliminator 2 for use with Google Forms does exactly as it’s name suggests, it eliminates choices listed within your form.  It allows you to specify how many individuals are allowed to sign up for a particular time frame, task, or option.  It can be used with multiple choice, drop-downs, or checkbox options within Google Forms. I can think of endless possibilities in which to use this. Here a just a few just to get your own ideas started.  

    • Parent/Teacher Meeting Sign Ups
    • Donation list
    • Volunteer List
    • Student Topic Selection

    How else can you think to utilize this add-on?

     Tai   Tai Botkin, Teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

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  • Doodle for Google Contest

    Posted by Gretchen Wood on 1/11/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Doodle for Google is an annual contest open to students in grades K-12. Students are invited to create their own Google doodle for the chance to have it featured on Google.com, as well as win some great scholarships and tech packages for their schools.  The theme of the contest this year  is “When I grow up, I hope....”. The  contest is open January 9th through March 18, 2019.  Students can work with any materials they want, but all doodles must be entered using the entry form.  Entries can be mailed or submitted online. Prizes will also be awarded to state and territory winners.  

    Gretchen Wood  Gretchen Wood, Technology Coordinator

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  • Multi-Sensory Instruction for Engagement

    Posted by Tai Botkin on 12/7/2018 7:00:00 AM

    Google slides have taken over in many corporations where Power Point, was once, king.  I have been writing articles related to Google extensions, apps and add-ons for a year and can honestly say that I have only scratched the surface to unveiling the potential of these helper nuggets.  It really is not surprising to see the rising popularity of Google given its numerous components. Many of these supports are readily available without the addition of downloadable options.

    I had the honor of presenting at the PATINS Access to Education conference this past week.  I discussed my knowledge of supports in providing print transcription in addition to auditory content within the classroom, specifically, for the student identified as Deaf or Hard of Hearing.  I had studied the importance of print transcription over the course of the last few years and quickly discovered that it not only impacted students with hearing impairments, but was ideal in creating accessible content universally.  How many times have you missed something due to distractibility, illness, background noise? Personally, I would have to say a lot! Participants attending my session were amazed when I simply clicked the [CC] option within the presentation mode of Google Slides and my voice began to transcribe in print on the projected screen. While, this option is not perfect and there are some errors within the transcription, I still see it as an extremely valuable tool .  I witness teachers using Google Slides for instruction on a daily basis in the classroom and felt compelled to share this knowledge. Please, give this a try in your classroom. It just may engage students with your instruction more than you have seen in a very long time!

     Tai   Tai Botkin, Teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

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  • Extension Bridges that Abridge

    Posted by Tai Botkin on 11/2/2018 7:00:00 AM

    I love to read, but that was not always the case. Even today, when ASSIGNED with a reading task, my first thought is seldom one of elation.  Imagine my aversion if the reading did not interest me, contained numerous pages, or if reading was just plain difficult. I can’t be alone if Cliff’s Notes, Spark Notes, Shmoop,  and other abbreviated forms of literature are still going strong. Fortunately, several extensions have been developed to summarize web based text too. These summaries can condense articles to a much more acceptable length and lessen the blow of difficult reading assignments. Additionally, they can also be of great value to students who find it difficult to sift out the important information within text. I have listed just a few of my favorites for you to try.  

    Resoomer allows users to adjust the percentage of content that they feel is necessary to summarize text.  Access to “automatic”, “manual”, “analyze” and “filter” options will adjust the size of the summary.  These options also allow student to search for key detail within text they have already read.

    TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read) can specify a short, medium or long summary and easily allow users to return to the full size article.  It also provides options to find related articles and for checking the validity of an article. Users can simply click out of the program when they choose.

    Internet Abridged has less control than the others and provides less material in the form of a bulleted list in a smaller window within the frame.  This list can be very appealing and less overwhelming than paragraph form to some learners.

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  • Why Does My Gmail Look Different?

    Posted by Gretchen Wood on 10/4/2018 7:00:00 AM

    During last month you may have seen an option to try the new Gmail when you logged in to your account.  If you selected this option you may have noticed some new and exciting features. The option to opt-out will continue until October 16, 2018 when all users will automatically migrate to the the new experience.  These new features are designed to help you manage your time and your email.

    Snooze emails until later.  When you hover your mouse arrow over an email in your inbox, the snooze  icon will appear on the far right side. Click on the icon and you have the choice to “snooze” the email until the next day, later in the week, that weekend, or the next week.  When the selected email is snoozed, this will temporarily remove it from the inbox but will reappear at the top when the snooze expires.

    Gmail will now remind you to respond.  If your inbox gets flooded with incoming emails, some may slip through the cracks.  This feature will “nudge” users to reply to emails they may have missed and to follow up on emails to which they haven’t received a response.

    Save time with Smart Reply.  Smart Reply is a feature you may have seen previously on mobile devices.  Based on the email you received, three smart replies will be at the bottom of the message.  You can select one of the Smart Responses and quickly send or edit the response. Either way you are saving time.   

    Gretchen Wood  Gretchen Wood, Technology Coordinator

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  • Indiana Digital Citizenship Week

    Posted by Gretchen Wood on 9/20/2018 7:00:00 AM

    The Indiana Department of Education  celebrated Digital Citizenship Week September 10-14, 2018.  Why is digital citizenship important? Because many tasks done today involve the use of technology, it is our responsibility as educators to cover the elements of digital citizenship and teach students how to use technology appropriately.  Daily grade level activities for the week are available in the Resource Kit provided by eLearning Indiana Department of Education and Common Sense Education.

     Gretchen Wood  Gretchen Wood, Technology Coordinator

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  • Line Spacing Adjustments Made Easy

    Posted by Tai Botkin on 9/6/2018 7:00:00 AM

    There happen to be numerous options for adjusting the font, font size, color, or even highlighting and reading of web content.  But, what if a student doesn’t need all of those options? Too many bells and whistles can often end in wasted time, unnecessary adjustments, and prolonging the amount of time it would have taken to read the assigned material.  So, the extension, Line Height Adjuster, may be the solution.  Simply select the content that you find difficult to track, hit the icon, and adjust your line spacing.

    I have found that adjusting the line spacing can significantly improve the legibility of online articles for me, and studies have shown that comprehension is, indeed, dependent on line spacing.  According to the article, “Make it Big!  The Effect of Font Size and Line Spacing”, objective comprehension was lower for small line spacings: in the 0.8 line spacing condition, and comprehension was higher for the standard spacing compared to the largest spacing (1.8). (Marcos, Pielot & Rello, 2018).  Increased legibility and comprehension makes this extension a great option!

    (2018). Pielot.org. Retrieved 4 September 2018, from https://pielot.org/pubs/Rello2016-Fontsize.pdf


    Tai Botkin

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