Office Lens

Have you ever been in a meeting, conference session or classroom and snapped a picture of a whiteboard or screen with your phone? Many times these photos can be blurry or off centered. An app solution to make this process substantially easier is Microsoft Office Lens.

Office Lens will automatically trim and enhance the pictures of whiteboards and screens into a readable format. The pictures from the app can be downloaded as pdf files, photos or as editable Microsoft Word or PowerPoint files. Office Lens is like having a portable scanner with you at all times.

Features and Mode Options:
– With Whiteboard mode, Office Lens trims and cleans up glare and shadows.
– With Document mode, Office Lens trims and colors images perfectly.
– Pictures can be saved to OneNote, OneDrive or other cloud storage.
– Business Card mode can extract contact information and save it into your address book and OneNote. This feature works best with the following business cards: English, German, Spanish and Simplified Chinese. Support for more languages is coming soon.
– Choose to convert images to Word (.docx), PowerPoint (.pptx) or PDF (.pdf) files that are automatically saved to OneDrive.

Scenarios:
– Capture and crop a picture of a whiteboard or blackboard and share your meeting notes with students or co-workers.
– Make digital copies of your printed documents, business cards or posters and trim them precisely.
– Printed and handwritten text will be automatically recognized (using OCR), so you can search for words in images and then copy and edit them.

With all of these great features, Office Lens has become one of our most used apps. The best news is that Office Lens is FREE and is compatible with IOS, Android and Windows. To learn more about Office Lens, visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/office-lens/9wzdncrfj3t8.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams

In January, we focused on using Slack to create and monitor classroom “teams” https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/slack/, but Microsoft Teams is another technology option.  If your institution subscribes to Office 365, you already have access to Microsoft Teams at no additional cost.  Furthermore, Microsoft Teams recently celebrated their first anniversary and they reported some very impressive statistics:

  • 200,000 organizations are using Microsoft Teams
  • Microsoft Team users span 181 markets across the globe
  • In the first year, over 3 million Microsoft Teams were created
  • Microsoft Team is available in 39 languages
  • 60% of Microsoft Team users reside outside of the United States
  • Almost 70% of Skype for Business enterprise customers are using Microsoft Teams

Like Slack, Microsoft Teams can bring classroom team communication and collaboration into one place.  In addition, the instructor can participate in and monitor the group activity.  The conversation experience in Microsoft Teams can make learning more accessible to your entire class. You can easily manage your class workflow while engaging the voice of every student.  Instructors can engage students in project-based learning with text, video, and voice over integrations.  If you are trying to connect with your students through social media, Microsoft Teams allows you to integrate emojis, stickers, and GIFs.  Educators can also feel confident in building a safer, more productive environment in Microsoft Teams.  The instructor has the ability to delete posts, mute students or pause class conversations.

As mentioned in our January post, employers and recent college graduates have informed us that we need to increase the number of team activities within our courses.  As educators, we tend to focus on individual student grades and grading group activities can be difficult.  As a result, new graduates can be unprepared for the large amount of team activities and projects that are imbedded into daily activities within many organizations.  Microsoft Teams can help educators achieve the goal of implementing and monitoring classroom team projects.

Watch the following video link to observe how organizations have successfully implemented Microsoft Teams into their work culture:  https://youtu.be/nKU-FMzZFF0

In addition, the Microsoft Teams Interactive Demo:  http://teamsdemo.office.com/ provides a hands on demonstration which can help determine if Microsoft Teams can work for you.  As a reminder, there are many options available to choose from, but you will need to determine what will work best for your team structure.

Best of all, you may already have “free” access to Microsoft Teams if you or your institution subscribes to Office 365. To learn more about the many features of Microsoft Teams, visit  https://products.office.com/en-us/academic/compare-office-365-education-plans.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Slack

slack_logo1

Have you been searching for an easy way to create and monitor classroom “teams”?  Slack may be the app that can help make this happen.  Slack can bring classroom team communication and collaboration into one place.  In addition, the instructor can participate in and monitor the group activity.

Employer’s and recent college graduates have informed us that we need to increase the number of team activities within our courses.  As educators, we tend to focus on individual student grades and grading group activities can be difficult.  As a result, new graduates can be unprepared for the large amount of team activities and projects that are imbedded into daily activities within many organizations.  A bonus to using Slack in your classroom is that Slack already has a market presence in many organizations where team activity is vital to their success.   Therefore, it is an easy transition for students to utilize the same technology tools in their future jobs that they used in the classroom.

When using Slack in the classroom, each group will be assigned their own “team” channel.  The channel tracks the conversation and progress of the group activity or project.  Having access to the “team” channel aids in grading student contributions to the activity or project.  Also, Slack has migrated from being only a communication tool into a community platform.  Slack has the functionality of a message board and social media tool. Furthermore, it is easy to set up topic channels and have students provide input for the class topics that interest them.  Slack provides all your team communication in one place.  You can instantly search key words or topics and the information in available on any device.  Slack can be used from a computer or mobile apps compatible with iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

In addition, most organizations that utilize Slack have created some best practice rules of engagement for their team members.  Best practices might include: emphasizing appropriate behavior that will be read by others, no gifs, and setting snooze or do not disturb options when team members are unavailable.  There are many options available to choose from, but you will need to determine what will work best for your team structure.

Best of all, the “free” version of Slack works well for the classroom environment.  To learn more about the many features of Slack and to set up your free Slack account, visit  https://slack.com/features.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Microsoft Power BI

Power BI - 3

Do you already use Excel in your daily life?  Are you looking for an easy way to develop some Data Analytics skills?  Power BI is a Microsoft product that was originally developed as an Excel business intelligence (BI) solution upgrade and it may just be the tool to help introduce you to the world of business analytics.

Business intelligence encompasses the strategies and technologies used for data analysis of business information and Power BI is a tool which allows non-technical users the ability to assemble, analyze and share data.  Many individuals who currently use Excel have discovered Power BI to be a natural fit.   The interfaces of Excel and Power BI are very similar and simple visuals are easy to create and import.  Power BI is a natural migration for analyzing data sets when they become too large for Excel’s capabilities.  In addition, many extra analysis tools are available in Power BI compared to Excel.  Power BI allows users to create relationships between data sources and create various visualizations.

Review the following links to learn how Power BI can fit your data analytic needs:

Power BI Introduction Video:  https://youtu.be/_OOyJfszJXY

Power BI Frequently Asked Questions:  https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/powerbi-frequently-asked-questions/

Getting Started with Power BI:  https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/powerbi-service-get-started/

PowerBI VideoTutorial Playlist:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1N57mwBHtN0JFoKSR0n-tBkUJHeMP2cP

The best part is that you can get started for free today with the Power BI single user version, which includes 1GB of storage.  Create your free account at:  https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/

NOTE:  For an additional Business Intelligence analytics tool option, view our Teaching and Learning Toolbox Tip of the Month – April 2017 –  Tableau

© 2017 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Snagit

Snagit

Are you looking for a way to easily express yourself “visually” to students in an online environment?  Snagit may be the tool that you have been looking for.  With Snagit you can effortlessly utilize screen capture technology to create online lectures, demonstration problems or to help explain student questions.  Snagit allows you to create quick videos, imbed images and make edits before you share the link.  Anything on your screen can be captured, explained and shared to your students utilizing Snagit.  This allows students to instantly feel a personal connection to the course instructor.

Experience the benefits of Snagit by clicking on the following video link:

Snagit Screen Capture Software & Screen Recorder | TechSmith

Snagit software allows you to create recordings on Windows and Mac.  In addition, your school may already have Snagit available for you.  If not, you can start using Snagit for 15 days free or purchase Snagit for a one-time discounted educator price of $29.95 (Regular price $49.95).   Click on the following link for the educator discount:  http://shop.techsmith.com/store/techsm/en_US/buy/productID.289742700

What are you waiting for?  Become a superstar with your students today with Snagit!

© 2017 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Use the Summer to Prepare for the New Academic Year!

Toolbox

Let’s get ready for the new academic year!  This is a great time to reflect and utilize technology that can help organize yourself and your classroom for the upcoming year.   Where should you start?  Cathy and I think that this is the perfect time to share how we stay organized and to recap some of our favorite and most useful technology tools.

To maintain easy access to our documents from anywhere or any device, Cathy and I utilize Dropbox for document cloud storage.  In addition, Dropbox allows us to easily share documents with anyone.  Other cloud storage services that we recommend are Google Drive (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/google-drive/), Microsoft One Drive and Apple iCloud.

In addition, a great note taking app is a must have for increasing productivity.  Both Notability (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/notability/) and Evernote (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/evernote/) are tools that we utilize on a weekly basis.  Additional note taking tools that we recommend are GoodNotes, Notes Plus, Noteshelf and Apple Notes.

Furthermore, Cathy and I utilize technology to convert our typical classroom into an interactive whiteboard environment.  Doceri (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2015/09/18/doceri/) allows our hand held devices to project images through the classroom overhead projector and to record our lectures.  Additional whiteboard and/or lecture capture technology that we recommend are Explain Everything, Educreations, ShowMe, Notability, Splashtop, Scoodle Jam, Camtasia, Tegrity and Snagit.

Other useful organization technology that we utilize and recommend are Future Me (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/connect-with-your-future-you/), Remind (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/remind/) and Group Me.

We hope that you take this opportunity to discover at least one technology that can help you become more organized throughout the upcoming year.  We recommend checking with your institution to see if they currently provide any of these technologies at little or no cost to faculty.  Many technologies provide similar benefits, therefore, we identified several tools within each organizational category listed above.  We suggest utilizing tools that compliment your teaching style and that can be acquired for the least amount of resources.  Good luck and have a great academic year.

© 2017 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Tableau

Tableau logo

Are you looking for a way to easily provide your students with a marketable Data Analytics skillset?  Many of us already use Microsoft Excel and/or Microsoft Access in our Accounting and Business courses to organize, sort and analyze data.  We know that Excel and Access work great for smaller amounts of data, but Tableau can analyze larger amounts of data very quickly.  In addition, Tableau is easy to use and it can incorporate visual analytics into your curriculum.  Tableau allows a user to keep asking questions of the data until they find the root cause of an issue.  Furthermore, Tableau has the ability to display a bigger picture of the data by creating powerful interactive dashboards.  An advantage of using Tableau is that we have the ability to make better decisions by quickly finding trends and identifying opportunities for improvement.

You don’t have to be an expert to try Tableau.  To help you get started, Tableau provides free ready-made curriculum materials, including lecture notes, student handouts, and assignments.  Visit the Tableau Instructor Resource Page at https://community.tableau.com/community/teachers/overview

Benefits of Utilizing Tableau:

  • Free Instructor and Student Tableau Software
  • Free Start Up and Training Materials
  • Free Curriculum Materials
  • Free Learning Resources
  • Free Tutorial and On Demand Training Videos
  • Basic and Advanced Functionality for any Field of Study
  • Network Community for Tableau Academic Users
  • Allows for Cloud Based Document Sharing for Students and Instructors
  • Basic and Advanced Functionality for any Field of Study

What are you waiting for?  Get started today with Tableau by completing the simple license request process at https://www.tableau.com/academic

© 2017 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Don’t Use Technology Without a Backup Plan

Cathy and I promote and use a lot of technology on a daily basis. Whether we are on the road presenting at a conference or utilizing technology in our classrooms to engage our students, we ALWAYS have a Backup Plan for the unfortunate event of when our technology fails. The question is not “if” we will encounter technology issues, but “when” will our technology fail? For several years, Cathy and I have promoted technology use within the classroom to increase student engagement, but we always encourage an environment of being prepared for technology failure with a solid backup plan.

How would you react if technology failed in your classroom? Our philosophy is that “the show must go on”, therefore, having a paper backup copy or reverting to a group textbook exercise can insure that your classroom momentum is not stalled when technology fails. Typically, students do not demand instructors to be technology experts, but they do have an expectation that we will not panic, but rather adjust to unforeseen technology issues. Each time that Cathy and I enter a classroom or presentation situation, we always have a “Plan B” in our back pocket.

Cathy and I have had to react to technology failures within our classrooms (even once during a faculty evaluation classroom visit). In addition, we have had to respond to technology disasters when presenting at conferences. Throughout the years, internet failures, lack of cell phone / hot spot service, app crashes and equipment breakdowns have afflicted us. Having video clips downloaded and web screen shots imbedded into our presentation materials have aided in a smooth presentation. In addition, having a presentation file backup is a requirement before we hit the road or enter the classroom.

No one can fully anticipate every possible technology failure, but entering a presentation situation with a “Backup Plan” can provide you with the confidence to react quickly and deliver a great lecture.

© 2017 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

LastPass

lastpass

We encourage everyone to make a New Year’s resolution to better protect yourselves from identity theft.  The high tech internet and cloud based world in which we operate our personal and professional lives within exposes our private information to hackers on a daily basis.  It is no longer a question of “if our personal information will be stolen, but when?”  LastPass is a password protection tool that can help safeguard your personal data.

The “free” version of LastPass provides the following benefits:

  • Access on All Devices
  • Save & Fill Passwords
  • Password Generator
  • Secure Notes
  • Share Passwords & Notes
  • Security Challenge
  • Two-Factor Authentication

LastPass provides unlimited password storage for all your online accounts.  Once you save a password in LastPass, you’ll always have it when you need it, therefore, logging in is fast and easy.  In addition, LastPass works great in protecting your information when you shop online.  Furthermore, you can store insurance card information and membership account numbers in LastPass.

Getting started with LastPass is a simple process.  After installing the free app, you’ll be instructed to set up a new account.  It is recommended that you set up a strong master password that no one else could easily guess, and that you have not used for any other application.  Once your account is set up, you can begin adding your website usernames and have LastPass generate new safe passwords to all your online accounts.  Both, Cathy and I have been impressed with the ease of utilizing LastPass in protecting our information working in the online environment.

So make a 2017 resolution to protect your personal information by downloading LastPass today.  For more information visit https://www.lastpass.com/

© 2016 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Trello

trello

Are you looking for a technology tool to help monitor tasks and checklists for classroom group assignments (or for your own collaborative projects)? Trello could be the free project management tool to help you.  Trello is a highly visual online tool that helps groups easily collaborate from a computer or by using a free app for iPhones, iPads, Kindle Fire or Android phones and tablets.

In Trello, you can create boards (projects) and within boards, cards (tasks) are created. In addition, the cards contain lists which can be used to categorize items or track the progress of any team project.  Trello has everything you need to organize projects of any size.

You can invite as many people to your board (project), all for free.  You have the ability to add people to cards (tasks) and easily distribute the work load.  All team members see the same board (project) and the task progress (and what still needs to be completed) at the same time.

With Trello, comments, photos and attachments can be easily uploaded to the board (project). You have the option to mention a member in a comment and they can receive an instant notification.  Files can be uploaded from your computer, Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive.

Whenever something important happens, you can instantly be notified with Trello. You have the option to receive notifications from inside the app, via email, desktop notifications, or via mobile push notifications.  Notifications stay in sync across all your devices.

Trello is a great addition for instructors to keep track of projects. This tool allows instructors to create group project task templates and then share them with each team.  The templates are extremely helpful when students are introduced to class group projects for the first time.  The templates allow students to approach a group project in an organized manner and allow the instructor to monitor project progress.  Furthermore, students become familiar with how to organize projects using instructor templates, which teaches them how to organize future projects using Trello on their own.

Begin using Trello for free today and discover how easy it can be to track your collaborative projects.  For more information visit https://trello.com/

© 2016 Teaching and Learning Toolbox