Friday, 21 June 2013

June 21, 2013 – Technology is ‘Child’s Play’

Happy Summer Everyone!! 

As June is drawing to a close and school is about to take a hiatus for the summer months, so too will the Tech Tidbits Newsletter and Blog.  I have truly enjoyed writing the weekly tech tips and look forward to starting up again in the fall with many more new and interesting ideas.  Until then, I have one additional thought for you to take with you over the summer months - Technology is ‘Child’s Play’.  Earlier this week, I was speaking with a colleague about a recent visit with her granddaughter, who is just over two years old.  She was amazed to watch her adeptly maneuver the toy she was playing with.  Later she found out that the toy which had kept her interest for such a long time was in fact a smartphone.  This is just one example of the fearlessness and curiosity which takes over when children are given the opportunity to experiment with technology.  Over the summer months I challenge you to play with some form of technology.  Whether it is a tablet, a new app, the UGCloud or some other form of technology let your inner child out to play and explore. 

There are some fantastic opportunities to learn about utilizing technology in the classroom coming up and I encourage you to take advantage of some of these wonderful events.  The UGDSB Summer Institute will be held at Elora Public School on July 3rd and 4th and offers some exciting sessions on the UGCloud and Technology Fun.  You can sign up on PD Place.   In September, the board will be facilitating a series of online, face-to-face and afterschool workshops to help staff with introducing a ‘Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Program’ to your school.  Ask your administration for details if you are interested in attending.  Also, the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario will be having their Annual Conference, ‘Bring IT Together’, in Niagara Falls on October 23rd, 24th and 25th.  With over 200 speakers, numerous vendors and fantastic key notes, you are certain to learn some new tools to use in your classroom.  More information is available at 

Finally, thank you so much for participating in the weekly newsletter and blog over the past few months!  I never imagined it would gain the interest it has, and I look forward to connecting with you again in the fall.  Until then, if there is a topic you would like to revisit or a new technique you would like to try, all of my previous posts are available online at .  You can leave a comment or search out information on previous posts. 

Thanks again and have a very relaxing and playful summer,

Thursday, 13 June 2013

June 14, 2013 - Skywriting (Documents in the Cloud)

Happy Sunny June Friday Everyone!

I have been receiving many questions about the process of creating documents on the UGCloud.  As a result, I thought I would write up a quick set of step-by-step instructions on how to create a basic document on the cloud.  If you are interested in the other types of documents listed (presentations, forms, spreadsheets, etc.) please feel free to email me and I will gladly create a similar 'how to' file. Enjoy!

Log on to UGCloud
  1. Open Google Chrome web browser
  2. Type into the address bar
  3. Enter your user id and password (same as you use to log onto the computer - for students first 2 letters of the first name, first 3 letters of the last name and last four digits of their OEN - for teachers first initial and last name - don’t forget to change the domain to ‘staff’ if logging in as a teacher)
  4. You will land on the UGCloud Inbox page by default
  5. Click on Drive in the black toolbar to access the document creator.


Choose the type of document
  1. On the left hand side click on ‘Create’ and a list of possible types of documents will appear under the red ‘create’ box.
  2. These are the following options available:

Google Documents

his is a simple and straightforward word processing program which will allow the students and yourself to write letters, essays and prepare assignments.

Google Presentations
Similar to a powerpoint presentation, Google presentation allows you to change themes, layout, transitions, insert video, and pictures.

Google Spreadsheets
Google’s answer to an excel software, Google Spreadsheets lets you create data charts
and tables using formulas, and by sorting rows and columns.

Google Forms
Google Forms allows you to create online questionnaires, tests and surveys.  They can be combined with spreadsheets to automatically populate the spreadsheet with responses and even return scores to participants.

Google Drawing

Much like Microsoft Visio and Smart Ideas software, Google Drawing is a program which will create mind maps, and diagrams as well as insert images and text boxes

Google Documents
Once you have chosen to create a Google Document you will be brought to this screen.

To change the name of the document click on the ‘Untitled Document’ in the upper left hand corner and enter your chosen document name then click ‘ok’.  

Click anywhere in the white area and begin typing to create the letter, newsletter, etc.  

To change the font, simply highlight the text with a click and drag (or control and A to select all) then choose the desired font from the drop down menu next to ‘normal text’.  This is also how you can change the size of the font.  To underline, italicize, change the colour or boldface the text simply select the text as above and click on one of the following icons or use the drop down menu under ‘Format’.

To create numeric or dotted bullet points click on one of the following images:
or choose the type you wish from the ‘Format’ menu under ‘line styles’.

Creating a table in the document is easy to do by clicking on ‘Table’ then ‘Insert Table’.  You can hover over the correct number of rows and columns you would like in your table then click on the lower right hand corner of the table you would like created.  It will be inserted into the document where the cursor is being shown.  Additionally you can add or delete columns or rows by using the drop down menu under ‘Table’.

Students can email the document they have created to you (Select 'File' then 'Email as an Attachment') or simply ‘Share’ it with you for assessment or feedback.  By clicking on the Share box in the upper right hand corner they will be able to determine who can view, edit, comment or have ownership of the document.  Here they can also choose how private they would like the document to be (only persons with the link can access, private to only persons with the invitation or open to all of the world wide web).  

They may begin typing names (first or last) into the ‘add people’ bar to find email addresses to share the document with friends and teachers.

Finally, when a document has been shared with you by a student, all of the previous edits have been automatically saved on the Google Drive.  By clicking on the ‘Last edit saved on...’ link at the end of the tool bar you will open another window on the right hand side that will show all previous editions with the changes made in an alternate colour.  If more than one person has been collaborating on the project, each of their contributions will be displayed in separate colours.

I hope that this helps clarify the process of writing documents on the UGCloud and if there are any questions or if you would like additional clarification about the procedure, please feel free to contact me via email or on the blog.

May 31, 2013 – More Fun With Google

Happy Friday Everyone,

This week I have a couple of extensions for the Google Chrome Web Browser that can hopefully make your life easier. 

YouTube Options
YouTube Options is an extension of the chrome browser which will eliminate all advertising from the videos you search out on YouTube giving you a white screen with the YouTube video being featured centre stage. 

To access this extension, search for ‘Chrome Web Store’ or go to the Chrome web store type ‘YouTube options’ in the search box on the upper left hand side of the page.  The image at the right will appear under extensions (fourth one down in the list). 

Click on the green ‘Add to Chrome’ bar and a disclaimer page will appear.  Now, when you search out a YouTube video and click play, it will automatically engage the extension and the screen will switch to a white background.  There are additional settings that you can access by clicking on the following 
 (found in the upper right corner in the address bar) then choose Tools, Extensions, YouTube Options and  Options.  Here you can set up YouTube to play different quality or viewing size, as well as set up auto play, or play in a loop.

This will help alleviate the fear of having an inappropriate advertisement pop up when showing a YouTube video in your class. 

Google Dictionary
This is another Google extension which can be added for use when browsing the internet on Google Chrome.  When searching online and students come across a word and they are unsure of the definition, they simply highlight the word (click and drag across the letters) then click on the red dictionary logo in the address bar.  A small window will pop up giving the web definition.  To access this extension, search for ‘Chrome Web Store’ or go to  In the Chrome web store type ‘Google Dictionary’ in the search box on the upper left hand side of the page.  The image at the right

 will appear under extensions (fourth one down in the list). Click on the green ‘Add to Chrome’ bar and a small red book will appear in the upper right hand corner of the web address bar.

I hope these are useful in your classrooms,