Sunday, April 20, 2014
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Hacks are tips to make life easier.  Some hacks are simpler ways to do complicated tasks, while others might make better use a new or emerging form of technology. Some hacks exist just because they are fun! Our community is about open-source education and lifelong learning. Geekiness is encouraged; everyone is welcome.  Ways you can get involved include sharing a hack, trying someone else’s idea, commenting and rating our hacks.

Hacks

Teacher Hacks

Track Your Stolen Laptop - For Free!

Prey lets you keep track of your laptop, phone and tablet whenever stolen or missing -- easily and all in one place. It's lightweight, open source software that gives you full and remote control, 24/7.

 
Hacks

Teacher Hacks

Use Airsketch in the Classroom

Learn how to setup the Airsketch App so students can show their iPad screens to the rest of the class on an LCD projector quickly and easily.

 
Hacks

Teacher Hacks

How to Create Your Own iBook

Click 'Read More' to see comprehensive video tutorials that will guid you through the entire process.

 
Hacks

Teacher Hacks

Please Share.

688-1-join.me_Click 'Read More' to learn how you can share your computer or iPad screen with other users.

 
Hacks

Teacher Hacks

Create a Free Group Video Chat Room Anywhere!

broadcast-chat-How would you like to create a FREE group video chat anywhere, including your blog, website, learning management system?  Don't have a website, let this application create a blog and embedded video chat for you, in seconds!  Click 'Read More' to see a tutorial on Tokbox - free group video chats!

 
Hacks

Teacher Hacks

Declare Your Independence!

kiteboxImagine your hard drive just crashed or your laptop was stolen.  Do you have all of your important files backed up somewhere?  If not, then Dropbox is a must have.  Dropbox allows you to simultaneously save your documents, images, music, and video files to your computer's hard drive AND to the cloud.  If your hard drive crashes or your laptop is stolen, then all of your important files will be there in the cloud waiting for you.  Dropbox also allows you to share your files, large and small, with anybody via the web.  Click 'Read More' to see a tutorial on how to set up this effective and FREE tool!

 
Hacks

Parent Hacks

Hurray! Celebrate Change Your Passwords Day.

a3b014c506c24037d5e51e2f9b07fce1Using passwords to protect our private info is getting harder and perhaps more important too since most adults and many young people walk around all day everyday with a wealth of sensitive info stored on a computer in a backpack or back pocket. I've compiled a few pointers how to stay safe, from the experts at EFF and beyond.

First, read the best short explanation of password management that exists on why you can't remember all your passwords. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, "If it's human-readable, it's computer-breakable," and you should not be using the same password for multiple logins.

Then, before you give up entirely, slide to any of the excellent articles on passwording that have appeared recently at lifehacker.com:

 
Hacks

Student Hacks

Nine ways to lighten your backpack.

Everywhere I look it seems people are finding ways to be more minimalist about their 'daily carry'...except in the place where the overstuffed backpack is both a metaphor and a physical danger--middle and high schools. 

One: Don't carry what you don't need.  Maybe you do need colored pencils, a ruler, a stapler, 200 sheets of blank paper, a ukulele, and a flip camera, but if you don't, consider not carrying them around everyday. Often for a given class it is sufficient to have something to write with and something to write on. 

Two: Textbooks online. Most textbooks now have online availability sufficient not just to replace the giant brick in your bag but actually add functionality to it. If your school isn't transitioning, you may be able to get your hands on a single login for yourself by contacting the publisher directly.

Three: Keep a home copy and a classroom copy of each textbook so you needn't carry it between. Some classrooms do this already, but if yours doesn't you may be able to do it for yourself by grabbing a used copy from Amazon or ebay. Older textbooks can usually be had for just a few dollars.

 
Hacks

Student Hacks

Hacking the New Years Resolution: Un-procrastinate one time each day.

Resolution: Un-procrastinate one time each day. Everyday I will make the choice one time to do something right now, as soon as I consider it.

Hypothesis: I procrastinate because it makes me feel like I'm in control and because that feeling is habit-forming. If I am addicted to putting things off (feeling in control of when I do things), then I could build a habit around the feeling of doing things right now instead.

A year later:  Almost immediately I started doing tiny chores that I had overlooked hundreds of times before, and soon the big tasks were getting done too. Today, when I see a task large or small, from paying a bill or emptying the recycle bin to exercising or answering an email, most of the time I do it right then, instead of never. 

Based on my experience this year, I'm ready to theorize that procrastination is a mental habit that is best overcome by replacing it with a similar mental habit, un-procrastinating. The best way to promote one over the other is to start with very small things like throwing dirty socks in a hamper or returning a single email right away and then building up to bigger things like projects for school.

 
Hacks

Teacher Hacks

The Best Free Screencasting Tool for Teachers

screencast-o-maticInterested in 'flipping' your classroom or creating a quick and easy how-to tutorial?  If so, then Screencast-o-matic is the right tool for you!  Click 'Read More' to watch a quick tutorial on how you can use Screencast-O-Matic to record your computer's screen, audio, and even your webcam.  Screencast-o-matic is easy to use, functional, and free.  We cannot recommend it highly enough. 

 
Hacks

Student Hacks

How to get better results from Google Searches

Screen_Shot_2012-01-25_at_5.46.24_PMIn my experience virtually no one pays attention when you try to demonstrate any of the great strategies out there for narrowing, organizing, filtering or improving search results. Watching someone search at Google may be somehow symbolic of the internet. He/she types in some misspelled version of a concept that gets autocorrected and associated with tens of thousands of possible resources, from which the student selects one of the top three on the first page and moves on.

Thankfully teachers and hackers have joined forces again to try and make education impossible to avoid--this time in the form of an awesome info graphic that shows not just how the use Google search, but many of the shortcuts and strategies that can go along with doing research on the internet.

How to Get More out of Google (infographic) by Hackcollege.com --via LifeHacker, via How-To Geek

 
Hacks

Teacher Hacks

Use QR codes to build Interactive Worksheets

I'm not going to try to predict what level of tech experience my audience has since everyone is different, and attitude is a huge part of it. So here is my first lesson in augmented reality for teachers and students. This is all wicked experimental right now, so after trying my hack, let us know how your own efforts compare, okay?

 
Jon Potts

Commentary

Everything You Know is Sort-of Wrong

I'm going to file this under Commentary since, like a couple of the other ideas, there isn't an obvious hack being tested or shared. My only real comment is that the whole motivation for this website is coming out of my experience that a lot of things in education can be done better when based on better information. This article reinforces the importance of keeping up with the most current real info available, especially when it is relevent to something so important as how we think.

 
Hacks

Teacher Hacks

Put a stand-up desk in your room right away.

Put stand-up desks in your classroom now.

The pace with which science is changing what we know about the world overwhelms some people, and one of the phrases I see as indicative of the breakdown is, “I just don’t know what to think anymore.” I heard a comment like this yesterday in response to the media blitz of the last month about how unhealthy it might be to remain seated all day long.

 
Hacks

Teacher Hacks

Spend Less Time Grading Papers

Here’s a math problem that should seem familiar to every English teacher:

80 student writings X 10 minutes each = 13 1/3 hours of paper reading every time I want to individualize my feedback to students.

Here are some tricks and tips I’ve been working on to help me provide more meaningful feedback to student writers without giving up the rest of my life in the process.

 

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