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Archive for October, 2012

Today, I wanted to upload one page of a PDF to Google Docs. PDF documents are great, but they are not all that user friendly. I have split documents before using different programs that are downloaded to the computer. However, many of these only look free. They watermark your copies and then want payment in order to get them removed. Then you have to remove the program from your computer.
SPLIT PDF is a handy online app that makes pulling a page out of a PDF painless. No downloading is required. Just upload the file, choose the page or pages you want removed from the PDF and click SPLIT. The job is done. You can then save the new page to your computer.

This is one of those really simple apps that can save a person from getting a big headache!

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Several of my classes are in the process of writing research papers. One of my rules is that students have to use sources that have an author. To put it plainly, this makes the research hard to do. I have encouraged students to use Ebscohost, as the resources found here will always have an author.

This works well for many students, but when someone wants to write a paper on snowmobiles, this using Ebscohost becomes problematic. There are not a whole lot of good journal articles explaining how a snowmobile runs or which brand is the best. In this case, Ebsco just doesn’t work.

Students are going to have to look elsewhere on the web. The best means I have found to find good resources from the web is to type in a search term (whatever that might be) and then put “mag” or “magazine” behind it. This has brought great results for the students in my class. There are a bunch of online magazines out there on almost any topic imaginable. Many of these list the authors with the articles giving students an at least half decent source.

At the moment, if my students can find anything on the web with an author, I am satisfied. At least is shows that they did some work in trying to find good information before copying down their notes. Including “magazine” in the search term has helped out tremendously.

Doing this has kind of been my “Aha!” moment for the week and maybe the month!

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First World Problems

This is just too good not to share. It kind of makes a person think a little bit. Enjoy!

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In the past week, I have made several lessons to teach using my interactive whiteboard. I know what you’re thinking. Here’s another cool lesson that is going to take 2 hours to prepare. Believe me, I’ve had the same thoughts numerous times after reading blogs.

There are some really cool things that can be done with an interactive whiteboard, but yes, many of them take quite a bit of up front preparation, time that most teachers don’t have. For the time it takes, most of the time it just doesn’t seem worth it.

The lessons that I planned this week weren’t anything fancy. Most of the activities were prepared in a matter of minutes. Most of them probably could have been done in some manner on a normal old whiteboard. They certainly could have been done with an overhead projector.

But here’s the deal: I have a $15oo dollar interactive whiteboard on the wall and it works good, even for simple lessons.

One lesson I did revolved around vocabulary. I typed each of the words on a separate page along with a sentence that contained the word. I applied the screen shade so I could show the word first and do a few different activities with the words alone before revealing the sentence. Making the slides took about 15 minutes, not bad for a lesson I am teaching in 6 different class periods.

Another lesson simply consisted of grammar worksheets I found online. I printed them to SmartNotebook pages using the document printer. I applied the screen shade, and we went through the sentences one at a time as a class. I had students come up and write on the board to show correct answers. Preparing this lesson took about 2 minutes.

Using the interactive whiteboard doesn’t have to be a big production. Sometimes, teachers think too hard about it and all that money spent on technology was wasted because it sits unused. What we need to do is find ways to use technology to make the simple tasks simpler not harder.

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