Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Interactive Posters? Kick it Up Using QR Codes

Want to extend the message of your poster projects? Try using QR codes! What does a good poster do? First, it grabs your attention. Secondly, it conveys important information about the topic. Using QR codes is the perfectly simple solution. Chances are your students have gathered topical information using reputable internet sources. Select the best source for additional information on the topic and generate your own QR code to embed/attach/apply to your poster. The resources are numerous and the possibilities are limitless. Maybe there is a cute YouTube video that someone has made that further elaborates on the poster content. If so, create a QR code for the video link.

Shout Out to Sloan and Laurel - Winning Poster

In the example above, students were challenged to create a poster for the local Farm City contest based on the theme "Grown Safely - Extra Tasty". They were invited to look at several websites for inspiration, including When they decided on the content for their poster, the students attached a QR code linking to a farming brochure on this site. The brochure was packed with additional information about safe farming practices.

Now...with all this said, the question you may have is, "How do I do that?".
Answer: Simple, just check out my QR Codes on the Fast Track page (click the link or beside the Home tab on this page). There you will find a code generator link, recommended QR code reader app and other ideas.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Setting the Mood for Computer Lab

Sometimes the simplest things can liven up an environment, so I periodically change the desktop backgrounds in the computer lab. One of our favorites is the "Click or Treat" one that I created in Microsoft Publisher. Basically, I started with a blank publisher file. Setup the page size to be 16 x 9 (wide screen), inserted jack-o-lantern clipart (stretched the entire size of the page) and added the "Click or Treat"  text. Then I saved the file as a jpeg. Finally, when October rolls around I locate the picture, right click and select "Save as Desktop Background". Now, sit back and listen to the oohs and aahs.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

WGS - Fantastic High Tech Readers

This month Walnut Grove School is participating in the Be a Champion! Read! contest. The classrooms are encouraged to participate by reading and decorating an area for their class. All of this in hopes of winning prizes, gaining knowledge and making reading fun.
With that said, I didn't plan to participate. Mainly because I am a computer lab teacher and don't have a homeroom class to fulfill the reading part of the contest.
Then it hit me. WGS needs a board to represent the "High Tech" ways in which we read.

Footballs highlighted with the following media types
(and examples):
  • Online Encyclopedias (Wikipiedia, EB Kids...)
  • Search Engines (Google, Kids Click, Bing...)
  • Online News (Time for Kids,,
  • E-Reading (iBooks, nook, Kindle...)
  • Online Libraries - AVL
  • Social Networks (blogs, wikis, facebook, twitter...)
Gathering information through electronic media is not only commonplace but is a formidable means of learning.
So get out there kids and read to learn!

Help! I want to use my iPhone/iPad photos on my PC

If you are an avid iPhone/iPad user (especially iPhone users), your life moments are captured through camera apps. Am I right? We snap special occasions and silly everyday moments, important information and cute crafty ideas, or picturesque scenes. Now, we want to share or use these images. There are tons of sharing and manipulation apps, which I am not going to attempt to tackle.
But, if you still live in the PC world, there is a simple way to port images to the PC. Just follow these simple steps.
  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer using the USB -> iPhone cable. When you do this an "Apple iPhone"  dialog box will appear with several options (such as Dropbox, Microsoft Publisher, Word, etc.) 
  2. Highlight the Microsoft Scanner and Camera Wizard option and click the OK button. The wizard will step you through copying pictures from your iPhone/iPad to your computer.
  3. Select the pictures to copy, click Next.
  4. Name the picture group and choose a place/folder to store the group.
  5. Click Next and you are done.
Now, print those images, upload them to your blog and incorporate them into your Microsoft programs.
How simple is that?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Star Themed Computer Lab

Who is the STAR of computer lab? You are!!! That's the theme I set at the beginning of the school year and kids love it. This is how we create a STAR themed computer lab.
  • The computers are numbered with stars.
  • Desktops have a star backgound, created in publisher and saved as a jpeg.  PowerPoint slides can also be saved as jpegs.
  • In the Monitor Display Properties(right click on the desktop for properties) under the Screen Saver tab, select Marquee. There I set the Marquee to scroll "*** I'm the star of computer lab!!! ***".
  • We watch a PowerPoint titled "How to Be the Star of Computer Lab" which covers the basic rules of our environment
To complete the theme the Computer Lab door is covered with the American Flag look and stars reminding students of our does and don'ts. As the year goes on the stars can be changed to cover other technology topics, such as computer terms or Internet etiquette.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What to Blog About?

What keeps us from blogging? For me, there are two things or maybe three. The number one reason - I like to call it blogger’s block. Does anyone else suffer from bloggers block? Are my blog topics interesting or useful to my followers? What to blog about???
What is a blog? A blog can be a personal diary, how to information or it is really anything you want to put out there (the web). The possibilities are virtually limitless. Check out the Blogger Tour has to say about blogs.
Then it hit me…take the “lo” out of blog and replace it with “ra” and what do you have? That’s right, “Brag”. All I really have to do is brag or tell about all of the interesting things we at WGS are doing with technology. I have been encouraging our teachers to brag about (i.e. post to their blogs) all of the great things they are doing in the classroom. The classrooms and halls of WGS are looking awesome and the photo ops are just waiting.
So, the conclusion of the matter, WGS Tech Gal has her blogging juices flowing now...More posts, coming soon.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

WGS Lab - Sunny Side Up

Technology? We’ve got that!
 Computers?  Check!  *   Projector?  Check!  *   iPads?  Check!
Kids eager to use technology?  Check!  Check!  Check!
The only thing lacking in our lab?  Visual interest and a fresh coat of paint, but not anymore.  Being the computer teacher, I decided to “Google” for Computer Lab ideas. I was able to find several ideas and products. We were able to purchase a rug printed with technology terms from Bytes and Grins. My personal favorite is a the QR code 24x24 inch decal. The code will take you straight to the school’s website using one of many QR code reader apps. QR codes are one of the latest and coolest things in world of technology. It's fun and functional with an interesting visual.
Sunny Walls and QR Code

Just a Little Personality
Tech Terms Rug

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Google Docs - How To

For those in need of help with Google Docs, maybe the following will help.
Kurt's Google Docs How To#

Thanks to Mr. Kurt Schwengel for this information.

Dropbox Guide

Have you heard of Dr. Frank Buck? I learned of him while sitting in on his presentations at various technology conferences. Additionally, I subscribe to his blog Get Organized! which is devoted to organizational skills. Since I subscribe to the blog, I receive emails from Dr. Buck with extremely useful technology tips. The latest news had a free step-by-step guide for using Dropbox.
Check it out...

Friday, January 27, 2012

About Me...Her Vision

I laugh at myself when I think about the girl, that having never once used a computer (but she did take typing in high school) decided to pursue a degree in Computer Science. She did have a vision…
Computers would be the wave of the future. Businesses would have computers to do computations; computers would provide solutions to complicated mathematical equations; databases would be managed by computers and someone would be needed to program these machines and she was just the person to do it! And she did…
Until one day she decided to leave the world of computers to be a stay-at-home mom (for 14 years). When she returned to the working world of technology, it had changed, not just changed but morphed exponentially. She barely knew how to use Word, had never sent an email and was not a Googler.
Flash forward eight years… she runs a school Computer Lab, is the go-to person for computer hardware/software issues, is the school’s Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, iPad and iPod expert. She is a Googler and now a blogger.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

WGS New Apps

WGS Folks...Be sure and check out the new iPad and iPod apps recently. We have lots of math apps, sight word apps and creative writing apps (such as Toontastic).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Baby Blogger

Hello. Welcome to my blog. Just trying out my sea legs in the blogging world. Not too difficult. Hoping to dive into things with bells and whistles, soon!