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Paul Swanson
Making tech easier in Hanoi
Making tech easier in Hanoi


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I've seen lots of teachers get annoyed by Google Calendar popups that interrupt class and work. And yet, they can be useful in knowing when we need to be somewhere.

The solution: a Chrome extension called Checker Plus for Google Calendar. It sits in the upper right corner of your screen, and you can configure it so that it blocks Google's notifications, sends its own, or doesn't send any. When your next meeting is more than 30 minutes away it shows its time in blue, and when you have something coming up it shows the time until your event in red.

I've been using it for a while and love it. You can also click on it and see your Google Calendar schedule in whichever view you prefer.

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Searching for Creative Commons photos and then adding proper attributions is a bit cumbersome and time consuming for students and teachers alike.

Thanks to Debby for pointing out a new site,, that lets you easily search for age-appropriate, CC images and then automatically adds the attribution information to them when you download them.

If you've been using the Haiku gradebook you may know that if a student transfers out of your class section they "disappear" from the roster. Normally this is a good thing because it keeps the roster from being cluttered with inactive students.

However, when you need to look up or enter grades for old students this can be a problem. There is a simple solution.

Click Manage Class and Edit Roster:

Then click Manage Roster and Roster Settings:

Here you will see a tick box for "Hide removed students". If you uncheck this tick box, all the old students in your class will be visible once again in your roster and in your gradebook.

I wanted to clarify how we now go about booking different rooms. It's simple: Google Calendar. It doesn't matter if it's outdoors, in the Arts Center, or in the Admin building, you do it all from Google Calendar.

First, find a time for your event and open up the details for it. Then, next to Add click on Rooms, etc. Below you will find a list of rooms available during that time, organized by building. For outdoor events, use B00  Simply add the room to your event.

Some rooms, like the B06-G02 TLC Meeting Room, will automatically accept if they are available. Others, like the theater, will send an email to the manager for that building. In that case, you would probably receive a email with a form asking for specific details regarding use of the room.

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The Final Rendering is done! Take a look at my video for Course 5, or look at my blog post at Thanks to everyone who helped me finish this up!

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Here are a few excellent tools I can recommend that take one type of media and then smash another media layer on top of it. Very useful in assessment, flipped classroom, and more.

Kaizena Mini - Google Text Doc with Audio - Great for giving detailed feedback to students using different types of language skills

EdPuzzle - Video with Questions and Comments - Allow you to take a simple video and make it either tailored to your students with customized narration, or more interactive with quizzes and text

Curriculet - Texts with Comments, Quizzes and Video - Good to scaffold difficult texts with videos or supplemental notes, to build engagement

MoveNote - Google Slides with Video commentary - Most good slide shows don't stand on their own, but with MoveNote you can add a video commentary to it easily so that students who missed it can still see it all
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