Tag: lists

spring websites

14 Easy Spring Cleaning Steps for Your Computer

spring cleaningIf you followed my suggestion over the New Year’s holiday, you cleaned your computer out then so this will go much faster for you than others. But, it’s again time for Spring Cleaning. Set aside a couple of hours. Grab a litre of soda (unless you live in New York), get a comfortable chair. Put on your problem-solving hat, and get started:

  1. Make sure your firewall is working. Windows comes with a built-in one. Maybe Mac does too. Leave it active. It’s under Control Panel-Administrative Tools. Sometimes, they seem to turn off by themselves (I have no idea why). Check it to be sure it remains active.
  2. Defrag your computer. To quote Windows, Fragmentation makes your hard disk do extra work that can slow down your computer. Removable storage devices such as USB flash drives can also become fragmented. Disk Defragmenter rearranges fragmented data so your disks and drives can work more efficiently. Run Disc Defrag by going to Control Panel-Administrative Tools–Advanced Tools.
  3. Run Spybot or a similar antispyware program. Spybot is free, which is why I like it. I’ve had good luck with it. Download.com says this about Spybot: The program checks your system against a comprehensive database of adware and other system invaders. The Immunize feature blocks a plethora of uninvited Web-borne flotsam before it reaches your computer.
  4. Keep your antivirus software active. If you’re paranoid like me, run an antivirus scan weekly to be sure nothing is missed.
  5. Run Ad-aware once a week to keep malware and spyware off your computer. It has a stellar reputation and is still free to all (although there’s an upgrade that you can pay for).
  6. Sort through your My Documents files and get rid of those you don’t need anymore. It’s intimidating, like a file cabinet that hasn’t been opened in months–or years. Do it, though. You may not need the hard drive space, but you don’t need the computer fingering through unnecessary files every time it searches.
  7. Back up all of your files to an external drive or your cloud storage. If you have an automated system for that, skip this. If you don’t have one, consider getting Carbonite or similar. If you use Windows, try their ‘backup’ program. It’s easy to find: Click the Start Button and search ‘backup’.
  8. Empty the trash folder. Don’t even look in it. If you haven’t missed a file by now, it won’t be in there.
  9. Learn to use that program you’ve been promising you would. Evernote is a great example. Use it (and you won’t be sorry) or delete the email from your best friend exhorting you to. Move on.
  10. Go through your programs and delete the ones you no longer use. Here’s what you do:
    • go to Control Panel>Programs and Feature


5 Favorite Websites for K-5

One of the biggest problems I face as a technology teacher is the wealth of information out there for teachers, parents, students. I try to stay on top of it (as you who subscribe to my hook-76785_640Weekend Websites know), but there is so much more than I can cover with one-a-week.

So, this week, I’m giving you 5. You will love these. I find myself sharing them with colleagues in answer to their tech ed needs so decided it was time to share them with you also:

BrainPop Game Up

BrainPop offers a great group of games for science, math, social studies, and health–all easy to maneuver, age-appropriate and fun learning. The gamification of education is alive and well at BrainPop

Fly Across America

This is a gorgeous eight-minute tour across America via biplane. It took my classes by storm.


Filled with Free video tutorials and interactive materials for your students. This is a website and an app with tutorials, over 10,000 lessons, ‘knowledge maps’ for chemistry and biology, even a how-to for creating video lessons.


17 Topics to Teach K-8 About Digital Citizenship

Education has changed. No longer is it contained within four classroom walls or the physical site of a school building. Students aren’t confined by the eight hours between the school bell’s chimes or the struggling budget of an underfunded program.

Now, education can be found anywhere, by teaming up with students in Kenya or Skyping with an author in Sweden or chatting with an astrophysicist on the International Space Station. Students can use Google Earth to take a virtual tour of a zoo or a blog to collaborate on class research. Learning has no temporal or geographic borders, available wherever students and teachers find an internet connection.

This vast landscape of resources is offered digitally (more and more), freely (often), and equitably (hopefully), but to take that cerebral trek through the online world, children must know how to do it safely, securely, and responsibly. This used to mean limiting access to the internet, blocking websites, and layering rules upon rules hoping (vainly) that students would be discouraged from using an infinite and fascinating resource.

It didn’t work.

Best practices now suggest that instead of cocooning students, we teach them to be good digital citizens, confident and competent in 17 areas: