If you are a fan of student response systems (clickers), you might fall in love with Socrative: http://www.socrative.com.
Socrative is a free web application that turns any laptop, iOS or Android device into a clicker response system. Teachers can build a virtual response room online, create a variety of assessment questions, and then have students respond to questions from any wireless gadget. Socrative will even score the responses and prepare a grade report automagically.
Paired with district laptops or student owned tech devices, we now have access to a simple and useful classroom clicker system, for free.
Check out a demo video: http://www.socrative.com/how-it-works.php
We’ve all been taught never to use “password” as a personal password, right? Though it may seem obvious that such a password is easy to guess, “password” is a frequently used, and easily hacked, password according to a recent study preformed by SplashData. The mobile software company recently published their annual list of the worst passwords based on predictability and how easily hacked an account may be when a common word or series of numbers is used.
Now might be a good time to review your school and personal passwords. Remember that a lack of predictability is key. Choose a password that is difficult to guess. Selecting what is a seemingly random combination of letters or numbers is a great place to start. Consider the addition of special characters such as “%” or “&” as an added password security measure. Also, be sure to use different passwords for different accounts.
From the Mashable news site, here are the top 25 worst passwords for 2011 as published by SplashData:
PM High School student, Bri Reisinger, assisted with this article.
Saving a Microsoft Word file to PDF is rather easy; a range of tools provide free PDF file creation. Converting a PDF file back to a MS Word document is sometimes tricky and often akin to digital alchemy. To help facilitate the transmutation, NitroPDF offers a free online PDF to Word translator: http://www.pdftoword.com/. The NitroPDF site will take any uploaded Word file, convert it, and email the PDF to your inbox. Note that Nitro’s online converter works best with text. Documents with extensive drawing elements may not emerge with perfect formatting.
I love this new website: http://www.teachparentstech.org/. “Teach Parents Tech” is a clever Google side project offering dozens of quick videos to help parents or grandparents learn computer and Internet basics. The videos are short and the instructions are clear.
I was disappointed to recently read that drop.io, the super simple online file sharing website, would be shutting down subsequent to their acquisition by Facebook. However, two nice alternatives are worth a serious look.
Dropbox.com offers a great backup and sharing service allowing one to synch files from multiple devices to a single web account. Dropbox features a “public” folder where files could be shared to those who are given the URL. New accounts currently receive 2GB of file storage to start. Pro Plans provide more storage and start at $9.99/mo for 50GB of backup storage. I really like Dropbox: It’s highly intuitive, feature rich and works flawlessly between Macs, Windows and Linux.
Letscrate.com is an awesome new service boasting “ridiculously easy file-sharing”. This claim is not an exaggeration. File sharing is simple: One uploads a file by dragging and dropping the document from the desktop to an online “crate”. Next, Letscrate generates a URL shortlink that may be shared with friends. Shared files are accessible via the shortlink for 30 minutes. Alternately, one may create a Letscrate account to have the link be accessible indefinitely.
Letcrate features a lovely, clean interface and is an excellent alternative to drop.io. As of December 2010, they offer 200mb of free file storage. The site doesn’t yet reveal future plans for paid accounts with more storage or features.
Have you ever been frustrated by not having a copier or printer installed right when you needed it? Ever find yourself in a different building, needing to print and unable to do because the school’s copiers where not setup on your laptop? If so, you’ll love one of the newest tech tools- Self-Service printer installation for Mac laptops.
In the past, many Mac copier and printer setups required intervention from tech staff. Starting this August, teachers will begin noticing new printer options in the Casper Self-Service program on their Mac laptops. In addition to the current listing of System Updates and program installs, building copiers and laser printers are becoming available for fast installation. To install a copier, simply click on the building link where the copier resides, click on the copier description that you would like to use and then click the “install” button. Most of the copier setups will only take a few moments. After the setup is complete, you may begin printing to the copier immediately.
A big thank you to Matt Butch for spearheading this great new feature. We hope you find the new super fast copier/printer installation tools convenient and helpful!
Thanks to the magic of technology, converting a file to PDF is simple and free. Here are a few excellent resources for converting your files to PDF: Continue reading
The technology team often fields questions about home computer care, feeding and troubleshooting. Lately, we’ve been receiving a great number of inquiries regarding home anti-virus programs for Windows. While we continue to recommend Mac systems, staff and students who are running Windows at home may want to check out a no-cost alternative to paid anti-virus software such as Norton. The program is called AVG Anti-Virus and is available for free download here: http://free.grisoft.com/.
AVG Anti-Virus has been around for several years and has continuously provided excellent protection against all major “wild” Internet viruses. Next time your Norton subscription has expired, take a look Grisoft’s free AVG solution.
While Entourage and Outlook have their place, webmail is an awesome tool for checking your messages on-the-go. Based on some of the most frequently asked questions received by the tech team, here’s three tips for making webmail sing: Continue reading