Have you ever dreamt of stepping onto stage ready to perform your own masterpiece?  Or maybe you hope to hear that song you’ve been humming to yourself on Spotify or YouTube Music.  Perhaps you are working with young musicians in a classroom.  If you find yourself in any of these situations, especially the one involving young musicians, Chrome Music Lab has something for you.  

Chrome experiments is a great place to find new opportunities in technology. One that provides some interesting uses in music is the Chrome experiment called “Song Maker”.   read more

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If you haven’t heard about flippity.net, this is one awesome tool. Flippity allows you to create all sorts of cool things with a spreadsheet. Think word searches, bingo games, interactive spelling lists, flash cards, name pickers, scavenger hunts, and the list goes on and on.

I was presenting on this awesome tool at the G-Tech Summit earlier this month and I had all sorts of issues when it came to live demos. I chalked it up to internet issues, but it is more than that. This is directly from the developer: read more

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If you’ve taken Northern Buckeye’s Google Certified Educator Level 2 cohort, you’ve learned about Google Scholar. If you haven’t taken our cohort, it is likely you’ve never heard of Scholar. Allow me to enlighten you.

So what is Google Scholar? Well, Google has this to say:

Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. Search across a wide variety of disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions.


Google Scholar is a great tool to find articles and case law. It is a great companion to Google Books, which I will outline in a future tip. Scholar will be useful to your students (especially those in high school) and maybe even yourself if you have to do research or are furthering your own education.

Let’s dig in!

To get started, visit the Google Scholar website at scholar.google.com. Once you are there, you see the familiar Google search box, and you can choose from Articles or Case law.

When searching for case law, you can search for Federal court cases or those in Ohio courts. In this screenshot, I am searching for Brown v. Board of Education.

Once you’ve found what you are looking for, you can click the star to make it a favorite, which adds it to your Library. Or, click the quotation mark to cite it. The default citation is Bluebook.

You can also use Scholar to search for Articles in scholarly journals.

Here I did a search for Intermittent fasting. You’ll notice that I got a number of articles both in PDF and HTML format. I can also use the sidebar to narrow down the publication dates, change sorting, or even create an alert that will notify me when something is added that matches my search.

Again, you can make it a favorite, or cite the article. When citing, you have a choice of many formats including MLA, APA, Chicago and more. Simply copy the correct format into your Works Cited page.

Your library holds all of your favorites, both case law and scholarly articles. This is a great way to keep track of your findings.

I think Google Scholar is a great tool for teachers and students alike. I wish it was around when I was in college!

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In a post last August, I recommended you take a look at Seesaw. More recently I did a tip on the 4 New features of Seesaw.

For those of you who are getting started with Seesaw this year, I wanted to give you a heads up as to where to get some help. For those of you already using Seesaw and ready to learn more, you will be interested in the Pioneer program. Lastly the Help Center has answers for all of your frequently asked questions.


New to Seesaw?

The first place to get started is Seesaw’s built-in training.



Teachers can go through the steps to setup an account using the easy checklist then connect with your students via the Students Getting Started kit which includes lesson plans to get your students going with Seesaw.


Pioneer Program

If you have been using Seesaw for a while then you should check out the Pioneer Program which offers you a great opportunity to further your Seesaw experience.



The Seesaw Pioneer program is a completely free opportunity, available to any educator using Seesaw. Seesaw Pioneers have moved beyond the Seesaw basics and are ready to connect with inspiring educators who also love Seesaw!


Seesaw Help

All teachers should bookmark the help site for answers to all your questions.



The help site is a user friendly site that will help you get more our of your Seesaw account. You can search for topics or choose from a list of commonly asked questions.


The articles have screenshots and step by step instructions for you to follow.


For Northern Buckeye/NWOCA Members

If you are still stuck and need some help with Seesaw you can always contact NWOCA Professional Development and arrange a 1:1 virtual tech coaching session to get your questions answered. See the training site for more information.



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A screencast is a video recording of your device’s screen. A screencast is a fantastic way to create instructional videos, short “How-Tos,” and share ideas. If you are looking for a free screencasting app, you may want to try Screencastify, Screencast-O-Matic, or Flipgrid Video Shorts.


When creating a screencast, educators want to hold students’ attention and foster understanding of the material. The following tips may help you create instructional screencasts:


Organize Your Thoughts

By creating an outline, storyboard, or complete script will save you time in the long run. Your explanation will be more concise and clear. As teachers, we always recommend our students to create an outline. Let’s follow our sage advice.

Keep it Short and Sweet

You can create screencasts using free apps, such as Screencastify, Screencast-O-Matic, and Flipgrid Video Shorts, ranging from 5 minutes up to 15 minutes in length. I recommend creating a video no longer than 3 minutes. If your topic/lesson is longer, try breaking up the content into shorter videos

A Page from a Teacher’s Playbook

Tell them what you will tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them.

Organize Device

Before pressing the record button, you will want to complete some basic housekeeping to clean up your laptop desktop and close unnecessary tabs. Having an organized device is especially important if you opt to record the entire screen.

Minimize Distractions

In addition to fine-tuning the message you want to share, you will also need to make sure the backdrop image is tidy (if you opt to embed a Webcam thumbnail) and minimize background noise. It is probably not an ideal time to create a recording while the blender is pureeing jelly beans.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

Perhaps Brian Lies, NY Times bestselling children’s book author and illustrator, says it best, “Practice makes better.” Practice teaching the lesson. Practice using the screencast app. Practice using all the bells and whistles the screencast app offers.

Record Using Standard Dimensions

As a general rule, you will want to record using the standard dimensions (i.e. 480p, 720p). The recording will look best when played back on Youtube and other video hosting sites. If you do not use the standard dimensions, the video may have a black border at the top and bottom of the display screen.

Webcam: Yea or Nay?!

It depends. By seeing the instructor, it helps build rapport and a connection with the students. However, I do not recommend having the Webcam embedded during the entire clip because I think it can be distracting. I think adding the Webcam at the beginning of the recording and throughout as a means to emphasize a point is a wise move.

Zoom-In | Zoom-Out

Don’t forget to use the Chrome browser’s zoom-in | zoom-out tool.

To adjust the page zoom with the keyboard in Windows or Chromebook:

  • Press and hold the Ctrl key and then press the (zoom out) or + (zoom in) keys on the keyboard.
  • Press and hold the Ctrl key then press 0 to return the zoom to its default value.
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