Tuesday, June 13, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - Google Photos

I blogged all about it before, and here I go again. If you've not yet downloaded, logged in, and setup Google Photos for backing up all the photos on your phones or tablet devices...what are you waiting for?

Since last blogging about it Google Photos has come along way to becoming your one stop shop for photo storage, slide show creation, and so much more.

Here are a few new tips for making sure you are getting the most out of your Google Photos app.

  • Login with your personal account
    • If you are using your personal phone to take photos then I highly recommend that you login with your personal Google account vs a school account
  • Make sure you open up the app every once and awhile to get the backup process started.
    • When the app first came out you could set it up to automatically backup your photos. You can still do this but the app requires that you open it and let it's assistant do the work for you.
  • Plug it in and let it backup every night or every other night. I like to plug my phone in at night, open up the app and turn the phone over (to avid the light of my phone lighting up the room) and let the assistant back those photos up. Check it in the morning to make sure it got all the photos from the day,
  • Click on the "Assistant" tab on the bottom left of the app. 
    • The assistant will show you the back up progress as well as create videos of a day's outing which can be saved. 
    • Bring up "memories" from days past, (which are always fun to reminisce over)
    • You can also create Albums, Photo Books, Collages, Animations, and Movies within this tab.

Download the app (iOS & Android) today and save those memories.
There's plenty of space at Google

Friday, June 9, 2017

Tech on the Side ep. 2

Thanks to anchor.fm for the innovative tools for helping to create this podcast. Check out more at anchor.fm and check out my weekly Anchorcast here

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - Multiple stops on Google Maps

If you are doing any traveling this summer then make sure you know this little tip with Google Maps. 

Learn how to add multiple stops while traveling using a single map.

Start by entering in your location and destination just like normal within the Google Maps app (iOS Android)

Then click the three dots on the right hand side of the menu

Next click "Add a stop"

Last thing to do is enter in a stop along the way. Adjust where you start and where you go to next by dragging the  destinations up or down 

Enjoy your travels, and remember it's all about the journey not the destination. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - Nuzzel

The absolute easiest and handiest way to keep track of links, news articles, medium posts, etc that your twitter friends are sharing. 

Nuzzel is a free app (Apple and Android) and website that allows you to see just the links that your twitter pals are sharing. Download the app, sign in with your twitter account and enjoy the streamlined view of just stories/articles/links your twitter world is sharing. Keep up to date on the info that is being shared minus all the tweets. 

I've been using this service for over a month now and love how easy it is to check out the articles and news that is being shared from all the people I follow on twitter. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - Google Takeout

 As the school year comes to an end you may find yourself moving to a new place, or perhaps you just want a nice clean backup of everything you created within Google this year. Lucky for us, Google has created a handy little tool called Take Out

Google Take Out allows you to quickly and easily archive/export all of your files, blogs, photos, etc from Google into zipped file.

If you are wanting to transfer your account to a new Google account then you can use the 
Take Out Transfer tool

Using the Transfer tool will allow you to move all of you Google created items directly to your new Google Account. Please note: this process will require you to have your new google account setup before you can transfer.

I would recommend you make the zipped backup before you do the transfer.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

#TechTipTuesday Adventuring into podcasting

I have been experimenting using Anchor.fm as a podcasting tool, much to my enjoyment I might add.

However in this generation of SnapChat like permanence Anchor.fm "anchorcasts"only last for 24 hours. Luckily they give you the option to archive and download your anchorcasts. Combining this with archive.org allows you to capture and share your recording at later dates like this one below.

Give it a listen, and check out Anchor.fm and Archive.org today.

Tech on the Side - Podcast ep. 1

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

Your regularly scheduled Sunday Post will return next week.

Taking time today to celebrate Mother's Day with my wife (@technokato) and mother (@samplermaker2)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - Google Keep

I have blogged about it before, and I must admit, Google Keep has only gotten even more amazing since then.

Google Keep (formerly Google's Best kept little secret) is an amazing tool for everyone.

Initially designed as a simple Note taking app, Google Keep has developed into quite the robust  utility app for note taking/to-do lists/reminders and more.

Since 2014 the web tool has added a plethora of new features including the ability to share notes with others. (Very useful when you need to help remind someone step by step what needs to be done) iOS and Android Apps. A direct web link (keep.google.com). Pinned notes, reminders...this list goes on and on.

How can I use this tool today?

  • Use it to keep notes about your day for later blog posts (you can also add pictures to notes)
  • Make and share to-do lists with learners/peers/colleagues to ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows when items have been completed. 
  • Create a Reminder which can notify you of when something needs to be done (set it to repeat when you need daily/weekly/or even monthly reminders) 
  • Document the learning each day in your learning space with pictures, text and even drawings.
The possibilities are endless and one of the best parts is that is accessible on your laptop/desktop/chromebook/tablet, and since it is all part of the Google Suite services it syncs across all platforms. Never leave home without your lists/reminders/notes/etc.

Stay tuned and stay connected

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - Google Team Drive

I was recently introduced to Google Team Drive via @AveryHoneyBees and @Cmcgee200 

The concept is brilliant, instead of one person owning the Google Drive files and sharing them, the files own themselves and you grant access to those who need the files.

Ways to think about how you might benefit from this brilliant tool:

  • Create a Grade level Team Drive and relocate you shared files to that folder. IN this way if you ever change to a new grade level as an educator you can simply be added to a new tema drive with all your digital resources at your fingertips. No need to ask for a person to share all their documents with them and vice versa.
  • Department Team Drive - Have shared documents that you all use on a regular basis, add them to a team drive and grant access to all members who need to be able to view make copies and edit the documents. If they ever shift to a new department you can remove their access and grant access to whomever steps into their new role in your department.
  • Admin Teams - Tired of always having to ask that other admin to share a file with you? Just create a single Admin team drive and upload the files. Give access to whomever needs them and revoke access should they ever move up/out/or into a new position. 
  • The possibilities are endless (be sure to share how you are using Team drives in the comments of the blog or tweet me @TheTechSpec
If you are wondering where to create one of these new Google Team Drives look no further than your Goolge Drive.

 If you do not see this feature within your Google Drive reach out to your nearest Technology Support person and ask them to activate it for your school today.

As always, 
Stay tuned and stay connected.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - The NEW Google Earth

Google Earth is back and in 3D.

That's right, one of my Social Studies teacher's favorite tools is back and it's got a some awesome new features. 

Quick run down of new features:

1.Orbit in 3D: Start with a view of the world from outer space then zoom in to any location in the world and view the space in a new 3D model.
2. Knowledge Cards: While visiting new locations around the globe check out the built in 'knowledge cards" about the area. Information about the area will pop as you explore.
3. Voyager: Not sure where to start? Check out Voyager, curated spaces and adventures from the many places around our world. Check out built in cards, pictures and more
4. Feeling Lucky: Not sure what to check out? Click on the Feeling lucky link and let Google take you to a random location in the world and discover something new.

This great new tool is accessible to anyone with a web browser, no application needed. Just load Google Chrome and visit https://www.google.com/earth/

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - Clips

Apple has recently released a new app called Clips

Today I explored the many different functions it had to offer. Check out the video at the end of the post.

To sum the application up I would say it is a fantastic video editor for the SnapChat generation.

The basic concept: Capture and create a video "Story" disassociated with a single social media platform. 

Record live using the app or add video or pictures from your camera roll.

Some top cool features: 

  • Live subtitles of what ever you are saying.
  • User friendly interface
  • Fun filters

Some ideas on how this tool may be useful to you:
  • Capture moments throughout your day in a single place creating a story of your day
  • Upload your captured Clips at the end of your day when you can reflect back on the day instead of missing out on the moments you are capturing.
  • Great tool to capture the learning experience each day to upload a single post
Happy Clipping...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - Facebook Stories

Today Facebook launched the Stories feature within their main app. Stories is much like...well... Instagram Stories or SnapChat stories.

It's a fun and simple way to share something that's happening (Picture or Video) to you in the moment without having to take the time to craft a whole post. They are treating it much like a "new" camera app built inside of the application. 

After capturing a moment of your 24 hour story(That's right tt goes away after 24 hours) you can add it right to your story(which resides at the top of your Facebook app) or you can add it to a post.

It is a great quick and easy method to access and see what all your friends are up to. 

Who needs vertical scrolling feeds anymore!

Enjoy checking it out and creating new and fun stories

And as always,

Stay tuned and stay connected 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - Anchor.fm

A little more than a year ago I posted a blog post all about an app called Anchor. They have just recently updated the application with a plethora of new tools.

The app now functions much in the same way allowing you to record audio to the internet, the new features let your continually add content throughout a 24 hour period of time, creating a more podcast like experience. Within your "Anchor-cast"(the term used to describe your online broadcast) you can now add content from other anchor-casts, receive call in's from other "anchor-casters", add background music to your recording, find and add music into your anchorcasts and a few more tools. You can also auto archive your broadcasts daily so that you can export them and use them in other online venues (such as Soundcloud, archive.org, etc)

It is certainly something you should check out today. You can download the app for iOS or Android. And login using your Twitter or Facebook account.

The ideas for how you may use this application with your learners are endless but here are a few suggestions to get your brainstorming how this tool may help expand the learning and cultivate a wider audience for your learners.

- Daily learning reports from Classrooms
- Poetry readings
- Math challenges with call in responses
- A platform for sharing short stories
- Book reviews/talks

As always
Stay tuned and stay connected.

Find my Anchorcast here:

Monday, March 6, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - Google Meet

Google has created a rival to the ever popular Skype tool and it's called Google Meet.

Invite and have up to 30 people on a single video conferencing call.

Create a unique "meeting code" and get a unique url to always use when having a video conference call.

For starters head over to meet.google.com

Create a conference call or join one with a meeting code shared with you.

First things first, allow access to your microphone and camera

Create a unique code and hold onto the digital meeting space for ever 
Invite others to join your chat room by sharing the url with them, emailing then, or posting it to Google+

As always
Stay tuned and
Stay Connected

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Guest Blog Post - The return of "Unlimited Data"

If you've wanted an Unlimited Data plan, get it now while you can, because all four carriers now once again offer unlimited data. In this article we'll compare them and look at the restrictions each carrier placed on them.


Intro: AT&T's Unlimited Plan was revived in January 2016. As of 2/17/17 anyone can sign up for the plan. Previously you had to have DirecTV or U-Verse TV to sign up for the plan, but after Verizon reintroduced its unlimited data plan on Sunday, AT&T announced Thursday that anyone will be able to get their unlimited data plan.

Restrictions: AT&T's "Stream Saver" which reduces video quality to standard definition (480p) is enabled by default. You can turn it off (or back on again) to enjoy HD (or higher) quality video. You can call AT&T or use the My AT&T app to turn the feature off. AT&T reserves the right to de-prioritize your data speed over other users if you use more than 22 GB a month and connect to a congested cell tower.

Mobile Hotspot: Mobile Hotspot usage is prohibited unless your device is a connected car.

Pricing: The first line is $100.00. Each additional line is $40.00. The fourth line is free (bill credits may take two cycles to be applied). Smartphones or tablets can be added to the plan. 


Intro: The only carrier that's always had an Unlimited Data plan in some form is Sprint. It's network coverage is dramatically smaller than the rest of the competition, but it provides the best value by far.

Restrictions: As of 2/17/17 Sprint allows to video stream in HD (1080p) but no higher, caps music streaming to 1.5mbps and gaming to 8 MB/second. Sprint reserves the right to de-prioritize your connection over other users if you use more than 22 GB per month and connect to a congested cell tower.

Mobile Hotspot: Sprint will give you 10 GB of 4G LTE Hotspot data per month. If you use that up, you'll see your speed reduced to 2G until your next bill cycle.

Pricing: Sprint is offering a limited time promo where the first line cost $50.00, the second line costs $40.00 and lines 3-5 are free. Starting in March of 2018 you'll have to pay full price. Smartphones can be added to the plan. If you want to add a tablet to Sprint's Unlimited Plan you'll have to purchase it directly from them and agree to a 24 month EIP Plan. Sprint doesn't allow tablets purchased from another retailer to be added to their Unlimited Plan.


Intro: The carrier that's gone rogue and dragged the rest of the industry along with it offers an unlimited plan that evolves as customers needs change. They call the plan T-Mobile ONE, and it is updated quite frequently to address complaints. This article will address the plan that will take effect on 2/17/17. 

Restrictions: T-Mobile ONE includes HD (or higher) video in the base price. Customers will have to flip a switch in the T-Mobile app to activate the HD quality video. Unlike previous T-Mobile ONE plans, once customers activate HD streaming, they won't have to turn it on again unless they choose to turn it off. If customers don't activate the HD quality, they will receive video at 480p. T-Mobile reserves the right to de-prioritize you connection if you use more than 28 GB of data per month and connect to a congested cell tower.

Mobile Hotspot: T-Mobile ONE includes 10 GB of 4G LTE Hotspot data for free. If you use more than 10 GB they will slow the Hotspot down to 512kbps. Customers can pay $25/month more and get Unlimited Hotspot Data at 4G LTE speeds.

Pricing: T-Mobile ONE costs $70 for the first line, $50.00 for the second and $20 for each additional line up to nine lines. Each line after that will cost $30. Unlike all other carriers, this price includes taxes and fees. Customers must enroll in AutoPay. If they choose not to enable AutoPay they'll be charged $5/more per line. If a line on the account uses less than 2 GB in a billing cycle, T-Mobile will give a $10 discount in the form of a bill credit. This discount applies to all lines on the account, so if two lines use less than 2 GB, T-Mobile will give you a $20 discount.


Intro: Verizon, the largest wireless carrier in America in terms of both subscribers and coverage by leaps and bounds, insisted for years customers didn't need unlimited data. It even disconnected grandfathered accounts that used more than 200 GB/month. However in a sudden 180° turn it reintroduced its unlimited data plan last week. And it didn't hold any punches when it did, going all in on the holy grail plan for data hogs.

Restrictions: Uhh, unlike the other carriers, there aren't a whole lot. The only "restriction" is like with all other carriers, customers who use more than 22 GB a month and connect to a connect cell tower may see reduced speeds until they move into a non congested area at which point data speeds will return to full speed. Otherwise customers may use their data without restrictions, even when they stream video.

Hotspot: Customers can use 10 GB of 4G LTE Hotspot data for free each month. If they exhaust that, speed will be reduced to 3G for the remainder of the billing cycle.

Pricing: The first line is $80. Line 2 costs $60. Lines 3-10 cost $20/each. Customers must enroll in AutoPay, paperless billing and pay with their checking account or debit card or pay $10.00 more per month.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - Boomerang for Gmail

If you have ever wanted to  schedule an email, or recall and email or a wide variety of other things with email  then look no further than the Boomerang extension

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sunday Post


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - G Suite App Status

Today, for a good portion of the day, we seemed to be experiencing some issues within our Google Ecosphere.

The first place I checked was: https://www.google.com/appsstatus

Anytime Google has issues with a G Suite Product (Google document, slides, Hangouts, Calendar, Classrooms, etc.) they update this page to let users know that they are not alone with their issue.

If you click on the indicator

You can get a  detailed overview of what the issue reported is and often a timeline of the repair

As always,

Stay tuned and 
Stay connected.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sunday Post

From the Flipboard magazine

It's the Sunday post.
An editorial exploration of curated content

Vine is Going away, well sort of from 9to5 Mac 
For those of you who have invested time creating a plethora of 6 second videos within the Twitter created Vine application then make sure you download your videos out of the application by Jan 17th. They are shutting down the social media aspect of the service and then will launch Vine Camera app, which will let you record 6 seconds videos...which yes you can do with your regular camera but not in the same way, allegedly.

Did you use Vine? Are you sad to see it go?  Let us know in the comments. 

As a Teaching Professor - Reaffirming Commitments from Merlene Gilb 
My good friend Merlene shares the ideals which inform her teaching as well as eloquently describe the art of teaching. The key components she embraces while preparing the next generation of educators are Respect and RiskDemocracy, Critical Reflection, and Deliberation; and Hope and Autonomy

What ideals drive your teaching? How might these ideals influence the learning happening in your space?

When procrastination becomes inspiration - from Manuel Herrera

Manuel, educator/creative/friend, shares the tale of how his passion of illustration and technology combined with elements of procrastination has transformed into a collaborative  learning opportunity. He's partnered up with Pixel Press, creators of Bloxels, to share his visual learning process when designing projects for kids.

What occupies your time when you should be doing something else, perhaps it may inspire others, share it in the comments.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

#TechTipTuesday - New Year

Happy new year to all of my readers, subscribers, writers, creators, makers and learners.

It's 2017, and the perfect time to try something new.
It's a great big world wide web out there and so many ways to connect.

Today's tip is: Try something new.

If you are on Facebook, join Twitter. Using Instagram, check out SnapChat. Prefer the Microsoft suite, check out what Google has to offer.

The gist is TRY it out. Give it a solid month or two to see what you think of it. 

Happy 2017 everyone, and remember you're not alone out there. Your friendly neighborhood technology specialist is always a Tweet away.

And as always,

Stay tuned and stay connected.

You can find me across the internet at TheTechSpec

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sunday Post - 2017

From the Flipboard magazine            Tech on the Side

An editorial exploration of curated content

Better presentations are only a click away - from Leslie Creath
Tired of power point presentations that all look the same? Leslie has mapped out some great suggestions, tips and tools to getting your learners to design something with much more meaning and that you may just enjoy looking at a little bit more.

Have a favorite presentation tool or tip, share it in the comments.

New Microsoft Translator - from GeekWire
Microsoft has launched a new feature within it's translator program. The way it is suppose to work should allow for a person to speak one language which will be automatically translated into another. Check it out within the app or on it's dedicated website. 

Speak or teach a foreign language? We would love hear how you might use this tool in your learning space or life.

Instagram Stories, save 'em if you got 'em - from Jason P. Heisel
Instagram added a "stories" feature a while back and has recently added the ability to download your entire story, in what feels like a way to keep up with SnapChat. It's a great feature to use to hold onto those memories if you want them to last longer than 24 hours, or if you'd like to share them later.


As always,

Stay tuned and s
tay connected.