Freedom Thank You Pixel 2!

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Wow I never thought a phone could have the ability to provide both freedom and independence. If you are a person of physical exceptionalities you might relate to this. I have a spine condition which sometimes challenges both my small and large motor movements. In the past this has prevented me from taking selfies and photos. I wasn’t able to apply enough pressure to activate a smartphone’s camera. Now thanks to the Pixel 2 and Google Assistant I can say, “Take a Selfie” or “Take a Photo”.

It is amazing how something so simple could help someone complete a task others take for granted. Due to my position as a Teaching Assistant I see students take on challenges everyday. When technology is integrated with a specific objective in mind it could support the student with becoming an independent learner. What better motivator then working without an adult hovering over you every second. Devices such as the Pixel 2 could provide this ability for students.

The speech to operational function the Pixel 2 offers is absolutely amazing. I can say, “Open a Google Doc” and the Google Docs APP opens. Then it is a matter of finding the doc and tapping it. Once the document is fully open all the user has to do is talk to type. The accuracy of the speech to text editor built into this device is absolutely amazing. Not only does the device type or read for the student but it can do a Google Voice search. This makes the research process much easier for those students who struggle due to lower reading or writing skills.  These are just a few reasons why I’m thankful for the Freedom a Pixel 2 Smartphone provides.

Why I’m Passionate about Using Tech…

Ability

Technology devices can be seen everywhere these days. People of all ages are using digital devices for both learning and entertainment. What I like most about using technology supports is the magic it may unfold for those with both learning and physical disabilities.  Many moons ago it was this very reason I fell in love with using technology. I had this dream of unlocking doors for students who were challenged by fitting into inclusion classrooms.  When looking at a whole classroom community one should not be able to distinguish the challenged student from their peers. This is where technology may be used to assist with supporting student’s independents during certain classroom activities.

Present day schools have a tendency to integrate 1to1 devices. This doesn’t necessarily mean one device per student all day to take home at the end of the day. However what it does is provides the opportunity to use a digital device throughout the day during certain activities. Thanks to this students with disabilities are able to interact with classmates without an adult hovering at their side. Independents maybe one of the best esteem builders for some challenged students.  Due to my position as a teaching assistant one of the most common statements students have made over the years is, “I can do this by myself.” Students often state this because they feel uncomfortable and zeroed out by their peers for having an adult assist them all the time.

Digital devices may unlock a student’s freedom by reading or writing for them. There are applications such as Google Calendar, and Keep which may be used to support student organization. These tools may also be used as a way to quietly communicate with a student. This is due to the sharing ability of calendars and Keep Notes. It allows an adult to indiscreetly edit the information a student types in. These tools also allow teachers and support staff to provide interactive links, videos, visuals, audios and etc… to help the students with learning the information presented in the classroom. I view using technology as a tool to bolstering a students esteem by helping them to independently interact within a classroom community. What better tool to use then one which empowers students to independently participate within a classroom community.

Crowdsourcing Powerful Edu Support

While preparing a “Google My Maps” presentation is when I discovered the “Power of Crowdsourcing”. Over my cup of morning java I had a revelation and created a map for sharing tips & ideas for using Google for Education Tools. I tweeted the map along with sharing how Laurie Guyon and myself were going to use it as part of our Learning with Innovative Technology Conference Presentation.

Immediately I was amazed by the responses from educators all over the world. This is when I realized what a “Powerful Tool” crowdsourcing could be. Thanks to the teachers who added ideas I  have expanded my knowledge bank with “NEW ideas” for integrating these tools. It opened my eyes to the benefits “Crowdsourcing” may have for supporting education.

How Crowdsourcing Supports Edu

  1. Use to gather information from anywhere in the world
  2. Creates an Authentic Learning experience outside the classroom
  3. Supports Collaboration skills
  4. Creates a new resource for information
    • Students can access info 24/7 from anywhere
    • On a variety of digital devices connected to Internet
  5. Strengthens communication skills
  6. Reinforces using Digital Citizenship Skills
  7. Builds a network of professionals
  8. Provides Authentic Feedback
  9. Supports Critical Thinking

Control Your Extensions…

I love the “Power” extensions and add-ons provide to a browser. Extensions provide a quick way to access helpful pieces of programs. A perfect example of a useful extension is “Save to Drive” this allows the user to save images of websites directly to the “Web Browser” Version of Google Drive. This is a helpful tool for students and researchers to use especially if they have limited internet connections because it allows them to save websites as images. Unfortunately sometimes third-party extensions can cause glitches to happen when interacting with other extensions and programs on the device. This is why I like using the Chrome Browser because it makes it easy to “Control Extensions”.

How to Control Chrome Extensions

It is easy to access Extensions from within the settings area of the Chrome Browser. This will allow you turn the extensions on and off as needed. I like leaving most of my extensions off except a few which might be used on a regular basis. When glitches occur it I can turn off the extensions one at a time to figure out which one has gone erratic.

Just follow these simple steps to turn extensions on and off:

  1. Click the Chrome Browser’s Settings 
  2. Scroll Down to More Tools
  3. Click Extensions
  4. Scroll Down List of Extensions
    • Check “Enable” to Turn On
    • Uncheck “Enable” to Turn Off
    • Click “Trash Can” to Uninstall

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NOTE: When the Extensions appear grayed out it is due to being disabled.

It is really easy to maintain and control ones extension through the Chrome Browser. This will help with preventing some of those unexpended glitches such as:

  • My page doesn’t load
  • I can’t see the button to…
  • Nothing works when I click…

Sure hope this helps you resolve some of those unexpected future glitches.

STEP 1: Creating Math Animated Image

During the summer I discovered an “Older” screencast program called LICEcap. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac Laptops. The program creates simple animated images. This program is very limited with its options but works well for creating quick demos without sound.

I like the simplicity and found by smashing this program with Google Slides amazing action can happen when creating animated gifs. This is the program I used to create the animated math equation in the Google Forms Math Support.

How to use LICEcap

  • First download from CNET:LICEcap
  • Followed by installing
  • I keep LICEcap in my task bar or toolbar for easy access
  • Click LICEcap
  •              Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 4.03.33 PM
  • Position it on the screen
  • Name the File
  • Add a location to save the file
  • Click Record
  • Click Stop or the x when recording is completed

Now I bet you are wondering what to do next? Next you would go to a Whiteboard Online website such as Ziteboard or Web Whiteboard to use for writing the Math Equation. Open the whiteboard site followed by opening and positioning the LICEcap program to record. It’s really that SIMPLE.

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Look Out for STEP 2a: Creating the Google Form

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  1. STEP 2a: Creating the Google Form
  2. Google Form Math Support Explained