Category: Tech tips

Tech Tip #68: Make Desktop Icons Big or Little

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: Make Desktop Icons Big or Little

Category: Problem-solving

Q: The desktop icons are tiny on my desktop. I don’t know how it happened, so I don’t know how to undo it. Please help!

A: This solution I learned in self-defense, like many other tips I share, when my students figured it out and made my desktop icons HUGE or tiny. Here’s how to fix that:

  • Highlight all desktop icons by clicking and dragging a box around them.
  • Push Ctrl and roll the mouse wheel.  It enlarges or delarges them.

That’s it. How wonderful. I no longer have to squint at icons too small for my eyes.

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What’s your favorite tech tip in your classroom? Share it in the comments below.


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Tech Tip #16: What’s Today’s Date?

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: What’s Today’s Date?

Category: PC, MSO, Keyboarding

Q:  I never remember the date. Is there a shortcut for people like me?

A:  Push Shift+Alt+D. That puts the current date into any Word document (use Ctrl+; in Excel and Google Sheets).

Be aware: This inserted date will update every time you open the document. If you want the date to memorialize the document, skip the shortkey.

Other ways:

  • Hover over the clock and it tells you the date.
  • Start typing the date in a Word doc and Word finishes it for you.

Sign up for a new tip each week or buy the entire 169 Real-world Ways to Put Tech into Your Classroom.

What’s your favorite tech tip in your classroom? Share it in the comments below.


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

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Tech Tip #91: Rollback Windows Updates

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: Rollback Windows Updates

Category: PCs, Problem-solving

Q: Windows automatically updated and now one of my programs freezes. What do I do?

A: Go into the Updates list and uninstall the one addressing your problem program. Here’s how you do it:

  • Go to Start button>All programs>Windows Updates; select ‘view updates’. Or, search ‘Windows Updates’.
  • Select ‘View update history’
  • Select ‘Uninstall updates’
  • That takes you to a screen with all of the updates. It will instruct you:

To uninstall an update, select it from the list and click Uninstall or Change’

If things don’t return to normal, see Tech Tip #41 to restore to an earlier date that worked.


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Tech Tip #75: Laptop Frozen? Here’s What You Do

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: Laptop frozen? Do this.

Category: Security, Problem-solving

Q: My laptop is frozen. I can’t even turn it off. What do I do?

A: Do a hard reboot. Hold the power button until the laptop turns off for ten seconds and reboot. If that doesn’t work, remove the battery, wait ten seconds, put it back, and start up. Usually, that’ll fix it.

Sign up for a new tip each week or buy the entire 169 Real-world Ways to Put Tech into Your Classroom.

What’s your favorite tech tip in your classroom? Share it in the comments below.

Tech Tip #27: Does MS Word Have ‘Research’?

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: Does MS Word Have ‘Research’?

Category: Google Apps, Keyboarding

Q: Is there a quick way to research on a PC, like we can do in Google Docs?

A: Sure. Use the ‘Reference‘ tab on the menu bar. It used to be Shift+F7 but that is now ‘Thesaurus’. That brings up the ‘Researcher’ sidebar (on the right side of the document).

In Google Apps, use Ctrl+Alt+Shift+I to Explore

Sign up for a new tip each week or buy the entire 169 Real-world Ways to Put Tech into Your Classroom.

What’s your favorite tech tip in your classroom? Share it in the comments below.

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Tech Tip #147: 5 Ways to Involve Parents

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: 5 Tips to Involve Parents

Category: Parents, Classroom Management

Here are five ways to involve parents in the classroom:

  1. have an open door policy
  2. create a family-friendly environment
  3. offer parent technology classes
  4. communicate often with parents
  5. solicit help in/out of the classroom

For more detail on these, visit “5 Ways to Involve Parents in Your Class”.

Sign up for a new tip each week or buy the entire 169 Real-world Ways to Put Tech into Your Classroom.

What’s your favorite tech tip in your classroom? Share it in the comments below.

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Tech Tip #159: Create a Macro

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: Create a Macro

Category: MSO, Problem-solving, Keyboarding

Here are basic steps for MS Word:

  1. Click View – Macros – Record Macros.
  2. Specify a name for the macro.
  3. Choose whether it should be a keyboard shortcut or a button.
  4. Once you click OK, your mouse becomes a cassette tape. Click all elements you would like to be part of your macro.
  5. Stop recording by clicking View – Stop Recording.

Here’s a video on how to create a macro in MS Word.

If you use Chromebooks, you can adjust what some keys do (such as the Search key can become the Caps Lock) through Settings. Additionally, there are several add-ons like iMacro that will help you create macros.

Google Apps call them ‘scripts’ and they’re popular. Alice Keeler has a starter-project you can find on her website.

Mac calls them ‘substitutions’. Use the System Preferences.

Sign up for a new tip each week or buy the entire 169 Real-world Ways to Put Tech into Your Classroom.

What’s your favorite tech tip in your classroom? Share it in the comments below.

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Tech Tip #53: How to Make a Program Easy to Find

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: How to Make a Program Easy to Find

Category: Problem-solving

Q: There’s a program I use a lot, but it’s not on my desktop. I have to click Start>All-Programs and then try to find it. Is there an easier way?

A: Absolutely. In fact, there are three ways if you have a PC:

  • Add it to the Start button: Right click on the icon that opens the program and select ‘pin to start menu’ from the drop down menu. This will attach it to your Start button.
  • Add it to the PC’s Taskbar: Right click on the program icon and select ‘pin to task bar’ from the drop down menu.
  • Search for the program from the PC’s Start>Search (this is how most Middle Schoolers find programs).

For Chromebooks: Add it to the Chromebook’s Shelf by going to the webpage’s Menu Icon>More Tools>Add to Shelf.

 

For iPads: To save a website to the home button, use the universal ‘Send’ icon and ‘add to Homepage’.

Sign up for a new tip each week or buy the entire 169 Real-world Ways to Put Tech into Your Classroom.

What’s your favorite tech tip in your classroom? Share it in the comments below.

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World Backup Day–March 31st

March 31st is called World Backup Day. At least once a year, backup your data files to an external drive (like a flash drive). This is one that isn’t connected to your local computer so can’t be compromised if you get a virus. It’s good to always backup data to cloud drives or a different drive on your computer but once a year, do the entire collection of data files to what is called an ‘air gap’ drive–one that is separated from any internet connection.

How to do this 

There are various ways to back up your data. You can back up your data to an external device or a cloud-based backup service, or to both. You might even make more than one backup to external storage devices and keep the two copies in different places (providing protection and access to your data even if one of the backup devices is destroyed or inaccessible. Preserving your valuable documents and images for future access and use requires planning, as well as the use of automatic backup services.

To back up PC/Windows, use Windows Backup:world backup day

    • Click the start button.
    • Go to Control Panel
    • Select ‘Backup and Restore’
    • Select ‘Backup Now’

From there, select a drive with sufficient space and start. Be forewarned: If you have a lot of data, it takes a while. You can work on your computer while it’s backing up; it’ll just be slower.

Mac: Use the Time Machine tool.

Chromebook: No need. Everything is saved to the cloud. Now if you want to backup your cloud, use a service like Backupify.

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Teacher-Authors: What’s Happening on my Writer’s Blog

A lot of teacher-authors read my WordDreams blog. In this monthly column, I share the most popular post from the past month on my writer’s blog, WordDreams


tech tips for writersTech Tips for Writers is an occasional post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future tip.

I can’t believe it took me so long to find this. Windows has a native clipboard (I see some of you rolling your eyes, like of course you know this. Bear with me). The one in MS Office tracks multiple clips, but the one in Windows–I thought–tracked only one. Not true. It tracks as many as MS Office.

Why is this so exciting to me? As I read blogs or articles, I like to copy the parts that I am inspired to comment on, or copy a quote that requires attribution. I created tedious workarounds, but they were… tedious… This Windows clipboard holds twenty-ish bits. Look at the scrollbar in this image (where the orange arrow points).

That’s a big list.

Here’s how you access it:

  • Click the Windows Key and V.
  • That opens the multi-clip clipboard.
  • If you don’t have it activated, the shortkey will ask you to activate it.
  • If the clip is one you want to save–maybe a template piece for a query letter to agents–the three dots on the right side of the clip provide the option to ‘pin’.

One handy characteristic: The clipboard saves these across all of your Windows devices. So, if you save it to your desktop and are later working on your laptop, WinKey+V will bring up the clipboard list.

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