Category Archives: Hints, Tips & How To’s

3 Ways to Reconfigure an Old Computer Lab

New Computer Lab *

Bentley University transformed a largely forgotten, dreary lab space into a campus hotspot.

Not so long ago, Bentley University’s Computer Information Systems Lab was known affectionately as the “bat cave” because of its secluded location in a remote basement corner of a campus classroom building.

The CIS Lab, opened in 2000, was a typical computer lab for its time: 40 computers faced the walls and students went there to access the Internet and get help with homework. As wireless access grew, traffic declined, and tutors often spent more time doing their own homework than helping students or interacting with technology.

A fresh coat of paint and new furniture were the easy and obvious fixes when a Bentley team renovated the lab in 2011. More difficult was changing campus perceptions of what would take place inside. Rebranded in fall 2011 as the CIS Learning and Technology Sandbox, the new facility encourages students to learn both in person and online.

Read more: 3 Ways to Reconfigure an Old Computer Lab | EdTech Magazine.

8 Ways to Deliver More Bandwidth on Campus

Tablet Computer *
Credit: KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Colleges and universities can effectively and efficiently meet the explosion in demand for wireless networking on campus by following these steps.

  • Take time to redesign
  • Seek user input
  • Make capacity a priority
  • Plan for the unknown
  • Evaluate solutions onsite
  • Invest in robust radio-frequency management tools
  • Pay attention to I.P. pools
  • Think about 802.11ac

Read more: 8 Ways to Deliver More Bandwidth on Campus | EdTech Magazine.

Finding the Right Tech Tools Is Easy, If You Know Where to Look

Kathy Schrock has been a district tech director; an instructional tech specialist; and a school, academic, museum, and public librarian. She currently teaches online graduate courses for two universities and is an Adobe Education Leader, a Google Certified Teacher, and a Discovery Education Guru.

The common thread that runs through all of her work is her mission to help teachers keep up with the latest technology. Whether she is writing, speaking, blogging, or tweeting, her goal is to show educators where and how to find tech tools that will engage their students.

Read more: Finding the Right Tech Tools Is Easy, If You Know Where to Look — THE Journal.

Five Reasons To Love Using QR Codes in Class

QR Code *

There are so many tools that educators can use to get students interested and engaged in their work. Like most teachers today, I integrate technology into my instruction everyday. I’m lucky to work in a school with one-to-one technology and use iPads with my students throughout every school day. That makes it easy to use QR codes in my classroom — and there are many reasons I love using QR codes!

[Not sure what a QR code is? Read on to find out and get 5 great ideas for using them]

Read more: Five Reasons I Love Using QR Codes in My Classroom | Edutopia.

Teaching Kids to Curate Content Collections [ACTIVITY]

Coca-Cola
Image by DeusXFlorida

While there are a ton of essential skills that today’s students need in order to succeed in tomorrows world, learning to efficiently manage — and to evaluate the reliability of — the information that they stumble across online HAS to land somewhere near the top of the “Muy Importante” list.

Which is why I had a few of my students experimenting with Scoop.it this week. Specifically, they put together this collection of resources spotlighting the range of perspectives people have on New York City’s decision to ban the sale of sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.

Read more: Teaching Kids to Curate Content Collections [ACTIVITY] – The Tempered Radical.

PowerPoint: Create an Infographic

Infographics *

If you need to create an Infographic, there are better programs than PowerPoint that you could use. Photoshop would be a good choice, or maybe Fireworks. That being said, PowerPoint is likely on your office computer right now. Additionally, PowerPoint is often underutilized as a design platform and is surprisingly agile.

One reason PowerPoint isn’t the first program people think of for Infographics is that infographics are traditionally not the same size as a PowerPoint slide. To convey a hearty amount of information you’ll generally want it to be much longer. You can actually change the slide size pretty easily from within PowerPoint by choosing Design > Page Setup > Page Setup. From there you can adjust the width and height of the slide on the Page Setup dialog box. The issue with this is that it can be difficult to work within PowerPoint on that long of a canvas. Additionally, the proportions of any shapes you insert will automatically change if you change the slide size. If your infographic isn’t super big and if you know the size ahead of time and don’t change it, however, this might not be a bad option for you. Otherwise, if you’re willing to perform one extra step, there’s still no reason why you cant use PowerPoint. The following technique is similar to printing out slides on different pieces of paper and taping them together, but digitally instead.

First you’ll need to design your infographic. Think of it like any other presentation, but with a couple caveats, which I explain below.

Read more: I Came, I Saw, I Learned…: PowerPoint: Create an Infographic.

5 Steps To A PowerPoint Redesign

Paintbrush *

Years ago I felt a certain sense of pride because I didn’t know how to use PowerPoint. Those days are long gone. Now, PowerPoint slides are often the currency exchanged between subject matter experts and instructional designers and developers. I’ve accepted this protocol and probably, you have too.

The catch to this arrangement is the nearly guaranteed issue of poor slide design. We need a consistent process to transform messy slides into ones that will be instructionally effective. Here are some guidelines—with before and after examples—that you can use for PowerPoint makeovers.

Read More: 5 Steps To A PowerPoint Redesign: Instructional Design and eLearning.

1:1 and BYO Technology: What Works and What Doesn’t?

Roger W. Minier (i)
Roger W. Minier, Ph.D., Executive Director, Northwest Ohio Educational Technology Foundation, talks about a blended learning in education.

 

Research shared by Roger Minier indicates that blended learning really works and, with blended learning, virtually every student at every ability level experiences significant increases in achievement over those who are educated online or face-to-face only.  This advantage is fully transferable to college and career.

As districts plan and implement technology-related processes and policies, Minier pointed to several findings that are important to keep in mind.

Read More: 1:1 and BYO Technology: What Works and What Doesn’t? « Ohio’s Annual Statewide Education Conference 2012.

How to Take Advantage of Online Training Tools

As options for learning online continue to expand, a growing number of entrepreneurs are using them to keep their staff on the cutting edge. Using tools for online training, including videos, apps, and webinars, rather than sending employees to expensive training seminars or bringing in pricey consultants to train on site, can save start-ups and growing businesses both money and time.

Companies with fewer than 500 employees represent one of the fastest-growing markets for lynda.com, an online learning library with more than 1,450 video courses. “Small businesses are turning to online training for cost, quality, and access reasons,” says Nate Kimmons, vice president of enterprise marketing at lynda.com. “Gone are the days of sending employees off to a two-day, in-person class. Online training serves as a 24/7 resource that the learner can access any time  anywhere at their own pace from any device. Its simple to use.”

If you are thinking of trying online training, here are five things to consider and examples of tools to get you started

Read More: How to Take Advantage of Online Training Tools – Terra USA.

How to make BYOD work for your school

Students with own tablet (i)

“Bring your own device” (BYOD) initiatives are relatively new in education, cropping up in the last few years as schools—under tight budget constraints—seek ways to leverage student-owned devices for learning.

Supporters of the BYOD movement say students are instantly more attentive and better behaved when they are encouraged to use their own mobile devices in the classroom, but educators face a number of challenges in making BYOD work in their schools.

For instance, what if some students don’t bring a smart phone, laptop, or tablet computer of their own? How can educators make sure that students use their mobile devices only for educational purposes, or that these devices won’t compromise the district’s network security? How can school leaders address the concerns of parents?

We’ve talked with ed-tech leaders in a number of districts with BYOD initiatives, and here’s how they’re meeting these challenges in their schools.

Read More: How to make BYOD work for your schools | eSchool News.