Monday, December 8, 2014

Hour of Code

On Wednesday Dec. 10th and Thursday Dec. 11th the library is hosting an Hour of Code event. 

Students, teachers and staff are invited to come to the library during an off period or after school to find out what it takes to write just a few lines of code. The coding activities range from basic to intermediate. 

What is the “Hour of Code” all about?

Very simply, put aside one hour to introduce students to the basics of writing code through engaging self-guided tutorials and apps. 

The goal of this event is to demonstrate to students that computer science is a field anyone can pursue. created the "Hour of Code" to stress the importance of coding and encourage all schools to teach computer science.

Large tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon and many more are partnering up with to “inspire 100 million students worldwide to do an hour of hour by the end of 2014”. They all know that a foundational knowledge of coding is an skill essential needed for the workforce of tomorrow. Their site points out that 67% of software jobs are outside of the tech industry.

Hadi Partovi, the co-founder of, believes the pursuit of a computer science education is an opportunity that should be afforded to all students. Since computer science students average only 18% female, 3% black, and 8% Latino, they also hope to promote more diversity in the fields of technology and software development.

So come on by! I guarantee you will have a good time.

Below are a list of resources you might want to use with your own children at home or to begin coding yourself.

Monday, October 13, 2014

What is so great about iOS 8?

A few weeks ago, Apple released their newest iOS update. At first glance iOS 8 may not appear different, but there are some wonderful new features. 

Below are a few highlights from a document I wrote for faculty and staff about

Multitasking with App Switcher 
Double click the home button and all of your most recent contacts will appear across the top of your screen. Tap the contacts icon and immediately place a phone call, email, or send a text. When presenting in front of the class, you might want to consider hiding your recent contacts.

Predictive Text 
Typing just got a lot easier. When typing, suggested words appear just above the keyboard. The suggestions are based on common phrases and words that may come next in your sentence. It is also possible to download additional keyboard apps such as Swype that let you type without raising a finger

Send Last Location 
The “Find My Phone (iPad)” feature just go a lot better. Now when you have misplaced a device, you can track the last place it was before the battery went dead.

Phone calls on your iPad?  
If your iPhone is in close proximity to your iPad, your iPhone calls may now start showing up on your iPad. Your phone and iPad need to be using the same iCloud account (Apple ID).

Open in 
Rearrange the order of your app icons so that your favorites show up first. Simply hold down on an icon, and then drag it to the front of the line. Another way to do this is to tap on “More” and then arrange the order by dragging app bars .

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Moodle EZ

Thanks to Kate Slevin we now have an updated Moodle 2.0 video tutorial that explains the process students use to upload files to MyMitty. The soundtrack adds a peaceful touch! Thanks Kate

Please let me or any Spectrum member how we can best help you with your MyMitty page.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


This is a super easy app to view and quickly grade student work. I am using it in class and am really enjoying it. It has replaced uploading files on myMitty. 

Go paperless in your classroom! With Showbie, you can quickly and easily assign, collect and review student work on your iPad, then provide rich feedback to your students by adding annotations, text notes and voice notes directly onto their documents. Students can show their learning creatively by submitting to Showbie from thousands of compatible iPad apps, or by completing assignments with Showbie’s built in tools. Showbie keeps everyone organized with individual student assignment folders, email and push notifications.

Lots more how to videos @

Friday, August 22, 2014

The White House Student Film Festival

Last year the White House challenged students across the country to tell a story about how they are using technology in their classrooms. They were specifically asked to use film to articulate "why technology is important, and how it will change the educational experience for kids in the future." 
There were over 2,500 entries. Although he didn't make the final cut, my son Jeremy's film about student interns at the Buck Institute was among the finalists. It was incredibly exciting for my family to imagine that our son's dedication to film making could earn a guest appearance at the White House.
In the end only 16 films were officially selected to be viewed at private White House screening. Below are my favorites for each of the four major categories. I wonder what Mitty students will produce for this year's competition? 

Young Visionaries

Future Innovators

World of Tomorrow

Building Bridges

Friday, June 20, 2014

Getting up-to-Speed with myMitty 2

We have some new help docs on myMitty 2, but together by Rose. You can access them on the AMHS Knowledgebase.

Here are the direct links:
AMHS faculty also have access to a complete Moodle course on To sign-up for
To sign up for, enter your Mitty email address on:
Once you submit your email address, you will receive an email from with instructions to create your profile. This message will arrive within 5 minutes.

If you perviously had an account on the and remember your username and password, go ahead and click on the I've had an account button to transfer your history to your new profile. Otherwise, select the No, I’ve never had an account button. Most people at Mitty will select the No option.
Also remember at the bottom of every myMitty page is a link to the Moodle documentation on that feature.

If you get stuck, you can always ask a Spectrum member or contact the Help Desk.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Suspicious about your gmail account?

Google gives you access to the security logs related to your account. If you want to make sure that no one else is accessing your account, here are the instructions to check the logs.

Check your Mitty Gmail account activity:
  1. Log into Gmail
  2. Click the gear icon  in the upper right, then select Settings.
  3. If you're on a mobile device (like an iPad), switch to desktop view for the full list of settings.
  4. Click the Accounts tab.
  5. Click on Google Account settings
  6. In the 'Security' section, click View all events (In the Recent Activity Section).
  7. In the new window, enter your current password and your new password.
  8. If you see activity or access from locations that are not familiar, change your password immediately.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Password Security Information

This past week we have had at least 3 cases where an employee’s Gmail account was compromised and used to send email without the account holder’s consent or prior knowledge. 

Please take a few minutes today and check your Gmail account activity (directions below). If you see any account access from suspicious locations, change your password immediately and contact the help desk. We will help you do a through examination of all your Gmail Settings 

If you have a weak password (especially if you are still using mittyhs as your email password) please change your password immediately

When you change your password, you might want to think about using a pass phrase (e.g. ItWasADark&StormyNight) rather than a cryptic password (iwad$sn). Contrary to popular belief a longer, memorable password is actually more secure than a short, complicated password

You can test the strength of your candidate password at the Passfault site. Passfault will show you how long it would take a brute force attack to crack your password.

When you change your Gmail password, you will need to update the saved password in Mail on your Mac and/or iPad. 

Unfortunately, account and password security will continue to be a serious issue. Just as thieves may attempt to break into your home, cyber criminals will attempt to break into your accounts and digital spaces. Having a weak password is analogous to leaving your doors and windowed open when your leave the house. Using the same username and password at multiple sites is like passing out house keys to everyone you meet. We all need to diligent about keeping our accounts secure.

In the IT department, we all use a system called 1Password to create unique, complex passwords for our myriad accounts. I highly recommend itYou can watch a short video to get a sense of how using a password manager would help you.  We have purchased licenses for both your computer and iPad. If you are interested in getting started with 1Password on your own, please contact the Help Desk for instructions. If you would prefer more assistance, we will offer iPassword training session in the fall.

Friday, May 2, 2014

David Pogues top ten tech tricks

This is an entertaining and informative quick video highlighting David Pogue's (NYTimes) top ten tech tips. A lot of them you'll know already, but there were at least three I didn't.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Allow App and Book Assignments on Your iPad

We are in the process of improving the method we use to distribute apps and books to your iPads. Sometime today, you will receive a message on your iPad (or possibly your iPhone) asking you to Allow App and Book Assignment from

When this message arrives on your iPad (or iPhone), you will need to complete the following steps:
  • Allow App and Book Assignment from
  • Enter your Apple ID Password when prompted
  • Agree twice to the Terms and Conditions
The Apple ID association process takes less than 30 seconds. If you would like to see detailed overview of the process, directions are available here:

If you accidentally hit cancel on any of the windows, you will have another opportunity to associate your Apple ID with Mitty in the next 12 to 24 hours.

Once the association is in place, we will be able to assign apps and/or books to you and they will be added to your iPad in seconds.


Movenote is a one-of-a-kind video presentation tool online and on your portable devices. Movenote is incredibly versatile and is being used in education for blended and flipped learning, in sales and marketing and in everyday messaging. Recording your presentations is easy and quick and everything is sharable online by email or social media with a simple link. Since everything is on a cloud server, you can access your videos practically anywhere and with the statistics tool you will be able to see who watched your video and when. Movenote videos can be watched on any device that supports video, no matter if they have movenote on them or not. You can use movenote directly from your Gmail and your Google Drive and on any desktop computer, laptop, iOS or Android device. Movenote is here to change the way we communicate, join the move(note)meant!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Keyboard Command to Add Links in Google Products

Do you ever get tired of searching for and then clicking on the link button to add links to your class calendar, emails, or GoogleDocs?  Use Command-K in any Google-supported product to add links.   It makes the process much more efficient!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Partifi - create individual parts from a musical score

Just for my colleagues in the Music Department!

Partifi is a free online tool made for musicians by musicians. If you have only a score and want to make parts from the score, you can import the PDF onto this website, do a bit of labeling, and then it will "cut and paste" each line of the score to create separate instrumental parts.

Here's the site:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

How to automatically skip the first 30 seconds of a YouTube video

Have you ever noticed that the first 30 seconds of some Youtube videos are not necessary, here is how to automatically skip the wasted time!

To automatically push past the first 30% of your Youtube video, just add  “&wadsworth=1” to the end of any YouTube URL.

To learn more about the studies and facts behind this helpful tip, please visit this article.

Go ahead and try it, it works pretty consistently!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How To Add Your Students' Email Addresses To Your Homework Calendar

This is an easy was to access all your students email address and use them to share your homework calendar. This is a good way to allow your students access to your live homework calendar without going through mymitty and going around the Google Drive issues.

1. Login to

2. Click on GRADES
 3. Click on EXPORT


5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click SELECT ALL/NONE-this will unselect all your assignments.

6. Click SUBMIT

7. click DOWNLOAD

8. The file will go to your download folder and if it does not open automatically go there to find it. It will be title your class name + grades.
9. Highlight all the emails and copy them.

10. Go to your homework calendar in Google Drive and click SHARE

 11. PASTE all the email address in to the invite people box and make sure to change can edit to CAN VIEW and then send.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Prezi is a free online tool that allows teachers and students to create engaging presentations. Teachers in most disciplines can replace a dry PowerPoint or Keynote with a more dynamic Prezi presentation. Furthermore, students can create and show Prezis in class using the iPad App or at home on their computers. Accounts are free. Here are some helpful links:

Video Introduction
Education Page
Prezi App

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sir Ken Robinson: How is Technology Transforming Education?

 This is a short (2m20s) video from Sir Ken Robinson about how technology is transforming education. My favorite line, "Technology isn't technology if it happened before you were born."

Here are a couple of technology related items from the (college class of) 2017 Beloit Mindset list to get you thinking about what may (or may not be) technology for our students:

  • They could always get rid of their outdated toys on eBay.
  • PayPal has replaced a pen pal as a best friend on line.
  • A tablet is no longer something you take in the morning.
  • Rites of passage have more to do with having their own cell phone and Skype accounts than with getting a driver’s license and car.
  • Courts have always been ordering computer network wiretaps.
  • With GPS, they have never needed directions to get someplace, just an address.
  • Java has never been just a cup of coffee. 
  • They have never really needed to go to their friend’s house so they could study together.

Monday, March 24, 2014

What's new in Google Drive?

We use Google Drive for a variety of things, but now it can be "super charged" to do a number of new and helpful things. Watch this to learn more!

There are a ton of new things you can do with Google Drive, to explore just open Google Drive, create a new document and click on "Add-ons" in the menu bar.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Creating groups quickly using Smart Seat

This short video will show you how to quickly set up partners or groups in your class using Smart Seat.

If you would like more information about Smart Seat, specifically how to set up classes in this app, here is Kate Slevin's post from last year.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

EdPuzzle: The Missing Piece For Flipping Your Instruction

Have you ever wanted to share a YouTube video with your students, but only the middle 27 seconds? Or share video from Khan Academy, but use your own words, because the explanation doesn't quite match up with the way you would explain the concept to your students? Or assign a video as homework and be sure that your students were watching and understanding?

EdPuzzle is a tool designed by a teacher to allow teachers to remix existing video by cropping, replacing portions of audio, or simply adding audio notes. Teachers can create a path through the video by by creating a pause points and embedding many types of quiz questions.

The Teacher dashboard on EdPuzzle will show you if your students actually watched a video. (You don't get credit for "watching" if you leave the video playing in the background while you look at another website.) It will also show how many times a student watched each section of a video.

EdPuzzle is simple to try, you don't even need to create a new account. Both you and your students can sign in with your Mitty email accounts.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Do you Geddit? More Importantly Do Your Students Geddit?

I was at EdCampSV on Saturday and had the opportunity to see an in person demonstration of Geddit by the co-founder and teacher, Justin Mann.

Like Socrative and Infuse Learning, Geddit is a formative assessment tool. However, Geddit also Geddit also allows teachers to poll student's confidence in their understanding. The color-coded data makes it easy to see at a glance where your class is. Students don't even need to create a new account to join your GeddIt class - they can sign in with their MittyMonarch email account.

Take a look at the teacher resources available Geddit site:

If you want to start using Geddit with multiple classes, please let me know. I'm happy to import your class lists for you.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Accessing your Class from an iPad

Did you know that you can access all of your submissions from the TurnItIn iPad app?

Due to the fact that we have integrated with myMitty, signing into the iPad app takes a few steps. But it is well worth the effort. Here are the directions (adapted from the support site):


You will need a unique class access code in order to log in to your classes on Turnitin for iPad. To generate your unique class access code:

From your laptop:
  1. Sign into myMitty
  2. Open the document viewer for a TurnItIn assignment in the class
  3. Click on the iPad access button in the lower left
  4. Click “Generate code”
  5. The unique class access code will be displayed. Copy this code - you will need to enter it on your iPad.
From your iPad:
  1. Download the TurnItIn iPad app 
  2. Tap the “Access Code” button on the Turnitin for iPad app login screen
  3. Type in the class access code you have generated earlier
  4. Tap “Add”
You can now access your TurnItIn class through the TurnItIn iPad app.

NOTE: Class access codes are one-time use only. If you log out or “Unlink iPad from Turnitin,” you will need to generate a new access code for the class by repeating the steps above.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Text Expansion: aText

aText Basics
Ways to use text expansion to make your daily computer use easier.

aText is an app for your computer that allows you to create shortcut or "snippets" for things you type all the time. Below are some different ways you can easily use aText in your daily computer use. If you are interested in downloading the app please contact the IT department.

Example of a snippet- ;hc = Thanks, Ms. H-C

Mymitty Grading:
  • Online assignments: Create codes for things you find yourself saying over and over again. Positive feedback or suggestions.
  • Moodle 2.0: with the new moodle you can write comments directly on PDF’s, so you will be able to add specific comments that you use often to specific parts of an essay or assignment.
  • Emails to students: about make up exams, missing homework, etc.
  • Form emails like: parent emails, copy center request, and extracurricular emails (clubs, BC, sports, etc.)
  • Email sign off: personal vs. professional
  • Some emails have specific information that needs to be added based on who is receiving the email. You can create a “field” which allows you to leave an interactive blank where you need to import certain information. Then, it prompts you to enter the specific information into the field before it copies your text.
Parent Reports:
  • When sending parent reports there are certain pieces of information that are standard. You can create a boilerplate report and then add in specifics about the particular student as you go.
Other ways to use aText:
  • Observations
  • Also works with the PDF pen- can add set text on PDF’s
  • Kairos Cookies
  • When setting up your snippets think about what is easiest for you to make your codes unique. I use semi-colons, and some people use double letters. It is really up to you.
  • You can easily search your codes or “snippets” using the aText search snippets. Just start typing in what you think the code includes and all the quotes with that keyword will appear. This is helpful when you are first starting out as it allows you quick access to all your codes.
    • Example: If I type quote into the search box, all my snippets with the word quote in them will immediately pop up and I can see the shortcut.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Watching the Olympics

NBC (owned by Comcast) has restricted access to live viewing of the Olympics on the web. If you want to be able to view live coverage of the Olympics you will need to verify that you are an active CableTV subscriber.

If you are interested in watching the NBC Live Stream of the 2014 Winter Olympics please follow the directions below:

  • Acquire your cable/pay tv providers username and password. If you don’t know the username and password for you contact your tv provider:
    • Comcast: (800) 934-6489
    • DirectTV: (800) 531-5000
    • Dish: (855) 318-0572
    • UVerse: (800) 288-2020
    • Charter: (888) 438-2427
  • Go to
  • Log in with your cable provider's username and password
click on the image to enlarge
  • Enjoy

If anyone has any issues please contact the IT Help Desk (408-342-HELP or

Go Polina!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Design Thinking

I first came across the idea of "Design Thinking" last July when I attended the mid-summer IISME meeting at the Stanford "D" School. Design Thinking is presented as a collaborative process that begins with empathetic listening that evolves to defining issues and experimenting with solutions.

Design Thinking was presented in the classroom again last Friday when the World Languages Department spent the day at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in their Curriculum Planning class. My notes are below.

Here is a video, taken from the "Design Thinking for Educators" site: