Friday, 26 April 2013

April 26, 2013 - Getting 'Googly' With It

Hello Everyone,

Last weekend I had the incredible opportunity to join with over 525 teachers, administrators and tech enthusiasts to learning about the possibilities of using Google Apps for Education in the classroom.  As a result, I would like to share a couple of the exciting apps and extensions we can use with the Google Chrome web browser. 

iSpeech is an extension of the chrome browser which will read aloud any highlighted online text.  To install, open the Google Chrome web browser by clicking on the icon.  Search for ‘Chrome Web Store’ or go to
In the Chrome web store type ‘iSpeech’ in the search box on the upper left hand
side of the page.  The image at the right will appear.  Click on ‘Add to Chrome’ and a small icon will appear in the upper right hand corner next to the address bar. 
When you come across some text online that you wish to have read for you, simply highlight the text (left click and drag) and click on the icon in the address bar.  A small text box will appear and the text will be read aloud.  You can pause or stop the reading or change the options (male/female voice, reading speed, etc.) from this text box.  When the reading is complete you can choose to highlight additional text to be read or click anywhere on the screen to remove the box. 
This is a fantastic program for students who use Kurzweil or other text to speech programs or for beginner readers to read along with the text.

Print Friendly & PDF  
Frequently students will research a topic on Wikipedia or similar web pages and consequently print off numerous pages of information that they do not require.  Print Friendly is an extension which allows you to select and delete information on a web page so that you are only printing the text you desire.
As with iSpeech, you need to open the Google Chrome web browser by clicking on the icon.  Search for ‘Chrome Web Store’ or go to
In the Chrome web store type ‘Print Friendly’ in the search box on the upper left hand side of the page.  The Print Friendly extension will be about the fourth app down (see image at right)
Click on ‘Add to Chrome’ and a small icon will appear in the upper right hand corner next to the address bar.  Then when you have found a page of information that you would like printed, simply click on the icon and the webpage will open in a new window.  Then you can select different text sections, tables or images to delete until you have only the information you would like to print.  Then simply click on the print icon in the top row of you r page.  Additionally, you can create a PDF with the information (download and save to a folder or drive) or e-mail it to yourself or another person.  Hopefully this will save many trees as students will only print out the information that they TRULY need and desire.

I hope these are helpful for you!  If there are any questions or problems using any of the ideas I have suggested please feel free to contact me.

Thanks and enjoy the sun today!

Friday, 19 April 2013

April 19, 2013 - Using 'Jing' to Capture Anything

Hello Everyone,

Have you ever wanted to capture an image or video from your computer to insert into a document or to share with others? Jing is the downloadable tool which will allow you to accomplish this task.  Available for Mac or Pc, Jing places a small ‘sun type’ icon tool on the edge of your desktop which is used to capture the image on your computer screen, save it to a location of your choice or share with others.

When you hover over the sun, three rays appear – ‘Capture’, ‘History’ and ‘More’.  By clicking on the perpendicular lines, the ‘Capture’ ray, your cursor will turn into a larger version of the lines.  You can then click and drag the lines on the screen to select the portion of the screen image that you would like to capture.   In the preview window, you can choose to annotate the image or with text, arrows or highlighting as well as name and choose where you would like to save your image (see image at lower right).      

The ray in the middle is ‘History’ where you can view all of your previous captures, and copy them to additional documents or share them via

The last ray is ‘More’ where you can manage your preferences, including placing the sun icon in your system tray (bottom row on your computer screen) if it becomes distracting and links to helpful information.

Jing is simple to download and easy to begin using.  Simply head to the website ( and click on the download box on the right hand side.  For further information you can watch one of their straightforward tutorials at
I have found Jing to be especially useful in creating documents and computer how tos; in fact, I used it to insert the images into this Tech Tidbits post.  

If you have any questions about how to use this tool, please feel free to contact me.


Friday, 12 April 2013

April 12, 2013 - Using an 'iPad As...'

Hello Everyone,

With the wide variety of apps available to teachers, it can become difficult to choose one which will accomplish the objectives you have set out for your students.  This week I have selected a website to share which makes choosing an iPad application for the class to use much more clear.  On Ipad As… , EdTechTeacher has designed a webpage which is easy for teachers to navigate and is based upon which learning goals they would like their students to achieve.  Choices include collaborate, blog, create digital stories, read audiobooks and more.  

By simply clicking on what you would like your students to achieve, you are taken to another page which lists the various apps which can be used.  In addition it gives the cost (if any) of the app, a description, usefulness and ease of use rating. 

Here is a screen capture of the page designed to illustrate which apps can be used to create and edit images.  I am hoping this webpage is useful to you as  you begin (or continue) working with iPads in the classroom. 

As always, if there is anything you would like to see investigated or discussed in a Tech Tidbit, please feel free to send me a message.


Friday, 5 April 2013

April 5, 2013 - Un-'PAC' Some Ministry Software

 Hello Everyone,

This week I venture into the world of OSAPAC software to highlight some of the lesser used ministry licensed software available to us.  First, OSAPAC stands for the Ontario Software Acquisition Program Advisory Committee which is a committee composed of English and French representatives from across the province who advises the Ministry of Education on the acquisition of provincial licenses for publicly funded schools in Ontario. With over 153 licensed programs available there is likely a program which would fit into your curriculum and grade level.

By logging into the staff portal on the UGDSB website ( and clicking on the link to the ‘OSAPAC Software for Teachers’ page (, you will gain access to software downloads as well as registration and activation codes.  Here teachers can download software such as Clicker, Comic Life, Frames, Geometer Sketchpad and Pixie to their home computer for lesson planning and teacher education. 

Following are a couple of examples of the software available, however you can find all of the licensed titles and curriculum connections on the OSAPAC Software website at .  Be sure to look for French language versions of the software as well. 

Math Trek 123 or Math Trek 456
This ministry licensed program is available on school computers and guides students through math concepts in a fun and easy to understand animated format.  Lively and entertaining videos illustrate math concepts and allow students to practice their skills with positive and encouraging feedback.  ‘Math Trek 123’ addresses math objectives typically found in kindergarten through grade 3 curriculums, while ‘Math Trek 456’ addresses concepts from grades 4 through 6.  Math Trek is available in the ‘Courseware’ folder on school computers and via CD from Terry James Resource Center for staff to take home for class preparation.

Smart Ideas 5.0 Concept Mapping
This mind mapping program is available on school computers to visually record concepts in a graphic display using colourful symbols, arrows, clip art and text.  This can be used by students to plot out food chains, organize ideas for a story line or even as an assessment tool to visually representing a concept or theory.  Available to students while at school computers in the ‘Courseware’ folder and for staff to take home for class preparation and by CD from Terry James Resource Center.

Just a reminder – if there is anything you would like more information about or you have a suggestion for a Tech Tidbit post, please feel free to contact me.


Stacey Manzerolle
Technology Resource Teacher
Hyland Heights Elementary School
Primary Planning Teacher
Princess Margaret Public School