Access Your Files Anywhere with Dropbox

Do you email yourself documents so you can work on them at home?  Are you always transferring documents from your school account onto a USB so you can work on them at home?  Do you find logging into the portal to access your school documents from home to be tedious?  Are you running out of space in your school ‘My Documents’?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, then Dropbox is the solution for you!

Click HERE to get your free account with 2GB of space now!



Tools for the 21st Century Teacher Vol. 2

Are you looking for some new ways to integration technology into your curriculum?  If so, there are some great resources included in Tools for the 21st Century Teacher Vol. 2 by Matt Zimmer.  If you didn’t see the first volume, be sure to check that out as well!  You may also be interested in following Matt’s blog, The Pursuit of Technology Happiness.  I found some great resources in this blog.

Skype in the Classroom

How many of you have considered using Skype during your lessons?  Having conversations with people, outside of ISM, is a great way to enhance your lessons.  I’m sure you can think of something in your curriculum that could be enhanced through a Skype conversation.

Need some ideas on how you can use Skype in your classroom?

Now, you just have to find someone to Skype.  The links below will help.

If you need any assistance in setting up a Skype call, be sure to contact the integrator in your division and they will be happy to help.

Simple Solutions to View All Text and Plug-ins when Composing a Post

Since we upgraded to the latest version of Word press, you may have noticed that when you are creating a new post, you might not be able to see all of the text or plug-in buttons.  There are several ways to fix this problem so you can easily add new posts.  One way is to create your post in the HTML tab instead of the Visual Tab. You can also press the Full Screen Mode Button.  To exit the Full Screen Mode you just need to select the button again.  The other way is to collapse the Publish menu and Categories menu that appears on the right had side of the dashboard when you are drafting a post.  The images below will give you a visual of what you need to do.  If you continue to have any trouble, be sure to ask the IT people in your division.


AnswerGarden is a great tool for getting quick feedback from your blog audience.  This tool is completely free and does not require an account in order to create your AnswerGarden. Give it a try.  Type the answer to the question and press SUBMIT.

If you would like to embed your own AnswerGarden, go to the site, type your question, and the press the CREATE button.  Copy and paste the coded under the heading EMBED NORMAL SIZE.

If you encounter any problems, make sure you activate the ADDITIONAL TAGS plugin.  If you still encounter problems, go to Settings (in your dashboard), select EXTEND KSES, and then make sure all of the boxes are ticked.

How can you use AnswerGarden with your students?… at


Tagxedo is a tool that you can use to turn words into art.  It is similar to wordle in that you can create word clouds using text from a specific URL or text that you add.   Both tools allow you to choose font, layout and style.  Tagxedo offers more choices when creating your word cloud.

To add words to  a word cloud you can enter a url, twitter ID news keyword, search term, or RSS Feed.  You can also enter your own text.  I created the following word cloud using the URL of this blog.

All words are from this blog site- I just entered the URL

A few of the shape options

Using tagxedo, you can make a unique word cloud in minutes.  Once you have a group of words that you want to use, the real fun begins.  You will want to choose the shape of your layout.  You are also able to choose the font and theme.  After you create your customized word cloud, you are able to save this in a variety of ways.   (I did try to use the html code to embed the image into the blog, but it didn’t work.)

Do you need some ideas on how you can use this tool?  If so, have a quick look at this presentation,  101 Ways to Use Tagxedo

Sketch Cast

Sketchcast is another free tool which you can use to enhance student learning in your classroom.   Getting started with this is easy!  You will first need to create an account.  You can record a sketchcast that  only shows the image or you can also record a voice.  Once you publish the creation, you will be able to share your sketchcast with others by emailing it using the embed code to add it to your blog.

This is a tool that can be used by teachers and students alike.  Wouldn’t this be a great way to have your students explain how to solve a math problem?  How could you get your students to use this?

Fotobabble- Talking Images

Fotobabble is a web tool that I picked up during the ISTE Conference in Denver.  This tool allows you to upload an image and record a narration.  Once you create your fotobabble, you will want to share it.  You can share it by using the web link, embed code or through other web applications.

This tool can be used in a variety of ways with multiple age groups.  I could see this tool being used for book talks, current events,  reflections, and a way for students to share their understanding.

You will need to activate the Additional Tags plug-in before you can embed the HTML code.

How could you use this with your students?

Change it up! Making the switch from iNove to Nelo

Nelo Theme in Blog Layout

The Nelo theme offers a variety of layout choices for your blog.  You want to make sure that you choose the layout that will meet your needs. In the dashboard, got to Theme Options, you have two layout choices, blog homepage or custom homepage. If you choose blog homepage for your layout choice, your posts will appear just like they did when you were using iNove.

The custom homepage layout gives you the choice to show only a custom post, recent post, or both custom post with recent post.

Custom Post

Nelo Theme Custom Post on Custom Homepage

If you choose to show only a custom post, the image and post you create will always be displayed on your blog homepage.
Think of it like a static page.  It may look like all of your content is gone- don’t stress! Your other posts are on your blog, but will have to be accessed through category links, tags, or pages.   If you want to change the image for the Custom Image and Custom Post, you will need to go to your blog dashboard, then Appearance, and select Custom Homepage

Recent Post

This setting will show your most recent posts on your custom homepage. The most recent post, will wrap around the custom image that you upload to your custom homepage.  The your recent posts will appear under the Latest News heading.  If there is an image in your post, it will be displayed to the left of the post summary.  The text of the summary will start at the left margin if there is not an image present in the blog post.

Custom Post with Recent Post

Use this setting if you want to have a static image and post appear on your homepage along with the most recent posts that you have added to your blog.  When using this setting, however, you may run into a problem.  If you have added images to your media library, the most recent image will be repeated.  So if you want to keep the custom post and show your recent posts without having a repeated image, you can just add a plain white image to your media library.  Then, the plain white image is repeated, but you can’t see it if you are using a white background.  I know it is not the most “technical” solution, but it works!  The Nelo Theme developers are in the process of fixing this issue.  We will let you know when the problem has been resolved.

Nelo is a great theme once you understand the difference between the blog homepage and custom homepage.  If you are looking for some inspiration on ways that you can use Nelo to set up your blog, check out the following elementary blogs.

Mr. McCallum- ECLC

Ms. Grabow- Grade 1

Ms. Juteau- Grade 1

Mr. Rea- Grade 2

Ms. McGrath- Grade 3

Ms. Hines- Grade 4

Embedding Video from Vado Camera

Recording and embedding video from the VADO cameras is really easy as long as you have everything set up correctly.  The default Video Quality setting is HD +.  If you record your videos in this setting, the files will be too large to upload to your blog media library.  Changing the setting to VGA will allow a quality video recording and create a file size that can easily be uploaded to your media library.  Below is an example of a video recorded using the VGA setting.

  [quicktime width=”300″ height=”225″][/quicktime]

Change the video quality setting by holding down the MODE button on the side of the Vado.  The MODE button is the one that you would press to switch between video and camera.  Once you have changed the setting, record your video. 

Before you add video to your blog, make sure that you have activiated Viper’s Video Quicktags.  If you do not see the last three icon on the right, you will need to go to Settings, Video Quicktags and make sure that all of the boxes are ticked.  Then save your changes. 

You are now ready to embed video into your post. 

  1. Upload video into your media library. 
  2. Copy the URL for your video
  3. Paste it into the Quicktime plugin. ( Generic Video for Jing .swf videos.)