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Interactive board for Chromebooks

Our school like many have some aging SMART boards that need to be replaced soon.   We are also a 1:1 Chromebook school so I wanted to find something that was compatible with them.    I found 2 setups that I really like, the Epson BrightLink Interactive projectors, and the Infocus jTouch boards.   Both Interacitve devices worked instantly when connected to a Chromebook.


I only got to use the Epson for a short time, but it was certainly a great tool.   Being a projector it was able to cover a very large surface area.   It uses a standard whiteboard, and the newer versions can be used without any special pens.
The Infocus jTouch board is a different approach.  It is basically a 65" touchscreen.   It is very reliable, and being a TV the images are very crisp and clear.  However it is only 65" which is quite small for many classrooms.     I also looked at the SMART TV, and the Promethean versions.   The SMART TV did not work with a Chromebooks and cost over $4000, while the Promethean was a very nice alternative, and one I certainly would consider, however it's cost was in the $3000-$4000 range.   The jTouch starts just under $2000 which makes it very appealing interactive board.  To Promethean's defense they are a 70" 4K TV where the jTouch is only a 65" 1080p screen, so the extra cost is justified.

Here is a video I made of me using he jTouch board with a chromebook:




When moving away from SMART, it also meant moving away form SMART Notebook.   This actually has proven to be the harder task.   While I can get the SMART Notebook separately now, and they will work with both interactive setups above, it doesn't work with a Chromebook.   So in my research I have come up with 2 tools that I thought were very well built and were necessarily to show teachers when introducing them to the new interactive hardware.

The first one is Web Paint.  This is a chrome extension that will allow the user to annotate over any webpage.  It works with touch and is quite intuitive.

The next one took me a little longer to find, and that was an actual whiteboard.  There are a lot of them out there, but none that really stood out.   https://app.ziteboard.com/ was the first one that I felt was clean, collaborative and ready to use out of the box.

Here is a quick video I made of Ziteboard:









Announcing Buzz-in Google Sheets Add-on

Buzz In is a buzzer / clicker to use in the classroom.  Great for classroom games, the free version will allow you to see who clicked first.  The paid version adds a Text Box, Select or Check Box question that can be completed when they Buzz In.



After launching the Flippity Add-on, I was asked by a teacher if I knew of any buzzer tools that could be used with it.  After some research I didn't find anything that I really felt worked well, so the Buzz In add-on was born.

I decided to release this as a free/paid add-on.   The free version is just a buzzer to find out who chose first.  The paid version adds assessment to the buzzer so that teachers can get feedback from the students.  I can see this being used for impromptu tests, lunch counts, topic selection, and more.

Here is a quick tutorial video I created:

How to properly insert google documents from Gmail

Attaching a Google Doc to an email is surprisingly easy, provided you use the correct button.  When you compose an email click the drive triangle instead of the paperclip to insert a Google Doc.


Once you send the document if the recipient doesn't already have permission to view the file it will ask you to set the permissions.   The default is "Anyone with a link can view" but that can be changed in the same window to get more granular share settings. 


or if you click More options




Announcing the Flippity.net Add-on

Flippity.net is a series of web apps that can easily turn a google spreadsheet into a set of online Flashcards or Quiz Show.   There are cards for helping a teacher create random groups, or mix and match activities.   Students accomplishments can be tracked using the Badge Tracker and the Certificate Quiz.   There is even a Spelling Words that can read the word to you.


These great tools from Flippity.net were created and are maintained by Steve Fortna, and now available as an add-on thanks to a partnership with Bjorn Behrendt of Edlisten.com.