Handy Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts are an amazing tool that make your life significantly easier in the classroom. Keyboard shortcuts are a quick and efficient way to perform certain tasks on a computer. They can save time and reduce the amount of mouse movement and clicks required to complete a task. Some benefits of using keyboard shortcuts include:
1. Increased productivity: Keyboard shortcuts allow you to perform tasks faster, so you can get more done in less time.
2. Reduced strain on your hands: Using keyboard shortcuts can reduce the amount of mouse movement and clicking required, which can help reduce strain on your hands and wrists.
3. Improved accuracy: Keyboard shortcuts can help you be more accurate when performing tasks, as you don't have to rely on pointing and clicking with a mouse.
4. Customisation: Many keyboard shortcuts can be customized to suit your personal preferences and workflow.
5. Consistency: Keyboard shortcuts can be used consistently across different applications and operating systems, which can make it easier to switch between different programs.
Overall, using keyboard shortcuts can help you work more efficiently and effectively on a computer. So, what are some common keyboard shortcuts that can make your life better. Here are TEN (10) useful keyboard shortcuts:
These are just TEN (10) keyboard shortcuts. Head to Google and search for 'keyboard shortcuts' and you will find hundreds of additional keyboard shortcuts that may be useful for you.
If you would like to download and share the keyboard shortcut graphics shown above just click here to access these and download them for free from our Infographics page.
What are some of your other favourite keyboard shortcuts? Send them to email@example.com and they may featured on future keyboard shortcut infographics from Evolve EdTech.
Welcome to the brand new Evolve EdTech website. We are so glad to have you here. This is also the first of our new regular blog posts on our website.
Today marks a new era for Evolve EdTech. After a rough 2022 personally and professionally, the team have decided to increase our focus and efforts in establishing and growing Evolve EdTech. Our goal here at Evolve EdTech is to provide educators from around the world with tips, tricks and tools to help you confidently integrate educational technology into your classroom.
So, what happened in 2022 that was the catalyst for the increase evolution and focus on building Evolve EdTech? Well, our interest in sharing our knowledge and helping other teachers has been simmering away for a few years now. Evolve EdTech started it's journey in 2020 as The EdTech Teacher. In 2021 we rebranded as Evolve EdTech to refocus our identity and to formalise our name. In 2022, our creator Tristan was offered the chance to undertake a Relieving Head Teacher English role at a high school in rural New South Wales, Australia. He jumped at this chance to develop his skills and refresh his focus on teaching and learning, and the integration of technology in the classroom. Unfortunately, Tristan decided to return to his home school after one semester for personal reasons. This change was positive, however it was also that one moment that he needed to fully realise his desire to become a full time educational technology specialist. And from this, his goal to develop Evolve EdTech began with an aim of being aim to reduce his teaching load over the next several years and focus more on supporting teachers with Evolve EdTech.
And this marks where we are now. Today we have launched our brand new website. It has taken Tristan almost 6 months to create this website (yes, Tristan does everything himself as we are an independent and finance business). A number of trusted friends and colleagues have been testers and have provided feedback about every aspect of our new website to ensure it can assist in achieving our goal of providing tips, tricks and tools, whilst also being something we can maintain whilst also being a full time high school teacher.
In addition, today we have also launched our brand new regular blog series. Regularly a new blog will be added to the website. And here you are right now, reading the very first Evolve EdTech blog post. We will also be introducing the new Evolve with EdTech podcast shortly, and you can now access a weekly Quick Tip of the Week video. Further to this, we will continue to create infographics, ebooks, tutorial videos and more as we move into the future. We want to be somewhere you go for assistance when it comes to educational technology.
We can't promise everything will be perfect, we might make mistakes, we are only human. We also can't promise that we might have some periods where we are tired or exhausted, because again we are only human. But we will do everything we can to make Evolve EdTech a one stop shop full of tips, tricks and tools to help you develop your confidence with using educational technology whether you are a beginner or an expert, we are here for everyone.
So, thank you for join our journey. We hope you stay with us. The one thing we ask is that you share our brand with your colleagues or school community, you engage with us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, you subscribe to our Youtube channel, you use our resources. We are here to help you.
We have big plans for this year, and as we move into the future. Are we scared? Yes, we are petrified. Are we keen to get going? Gosh, yes you bet we are. So, thank you for being part of our journey here at Evolve EdTech. We love and appreciate everyone who is ready to begin this journey with us.
Exploring Digital Teacher Diaries
One of my biggest gripes about being a teacher is how much unnecessary paper we use. And one of the most common paper wasters (in my opinion) is the 'teacher diary' that we have all had or used at some stage in our careers. I am not saying that I haven't used a physical paper-based teacher diary before. Heck I have several from previous years (sometimes I even like to get them out to look at what my planning used to be like). Shortly after I graduated, I started working for German supermarket Aldi in the Victorian town of Wangaratta. I wasn't having much luck obtaining a teaching position at that time, so I decided to step away from teaching when I was offered a Store Manager Traineeship with Aldi. I had spent almost 10 years working in retail before this, so it was not new to me. It was from this experience that I began to really understand the concept of efficiency. And this leads me to today's post on digital teacher diaries.
Why use digital teacher diary?
Digital teacher diaries are no different to physical teacher diaries, just well 'digital'. But there are a HUGE range of features that digital teacher diaries offer over physical paper-based editions. Some of these reasons include:
Despite all of the advantages that digital teacher diaries offer, there are also some key disadvantages such as:
Where can I find a digital teacher diary?
Digital teacher diaries are slowly creeping into our daily teaching sphere, but I still feel like there is work to be done to ensure that this option is useful for everyone. In my quest to find a digital teacher diary that I like I have tried many different companies and brands, most of them from American though. Here are some digital teacher diaries that I have played around with:
Planboard by Chalk: www.chalk.com - Planboard by Chalk has been my digital teacher diary of choice for several years now. I actually stumbled across Planboard during my 2019 summer holidays and feel in love with its features and functionality. In a similar fashion other ediaries Planboard does take some time to set up, this is primarily because it is not made for the Australian schooling system. But if you take some time to set it up the benefits outweigh this. Planboard offers a huge range of formatting options including tables, templates and a huge range of editing features (bold, underline, centre justification, colour, bullets etc). The other great feature I love with Planboard is the ability to create units and view the lessons for those units (great for registration purposes or when an Executive needs to know what you did on a certain date). In addition to similar features offered by other online planners Planboard also have attendance taking options and a markbook for keeping a personal copy of grades. The best part about Planboard is that is FREE. Although they have an $99USD Gold option for a range of additional functions, including Google Classroom and Schoology integration, exporting lessons and information to Google Calendar, sharing lessons with public links, searching your lesson plans, viewing lesson edit history and using custom colours.
To learn more about Chalk and Planboard access the Evolve EdTech The Planboard Series YouTube playlist.
Createl eDiary: www.ediaryschool.com.au - Createl eDiary is an Australia based ediary. The Createl eDiary is a teacher planner that pre-loads your timetabled subjects and classes throughout the year. You are able to customise and change your timetable based on different terms, semesters or learning periods. The diary allows you to add detailed lesson plans, and utilises a WYSIWYG interface where you can add a whole range of information, images, videos etc to help you create your lesson. The simplified lesson summary is also handy to keep track of your lesson content and planning. The diary can be viewed in a daily, weekly or monthly format and includes a range of additional functions including student management in your diary, assessment, attendance, reminders, resources and documents. The Createl eDiary is a functional digital teacher diary that could be used be any teacher no matter where they are located in the world. The eDiary is a subscription based product, with a 12 month subscription starting from $24.95. A 30 day free trial is also available from www.ediaryschool.com.au
Planbook: https://planbook.com/ - Planbook is a non-Australian based and designed digital teacher planner. This is one consideration that should be taken into before deciding to delve into using this product. However, despite that it still contains many similar features and functions to the Chalk and Createl eDairy options listed above. Planbook's website states that they contain 'all the functionality ... in terms of class scheduling, lesson development and management, teacher collaboration, administrator options, student views and more, you'll find that we offer far more capabilities than any other tool on the market'. The support and assistance offered by Planbook is second to none. A huge range of written and visual support is available through the Planbook knowledge base, they even offer FREE training webinars for teachers and schools. Planbook is also the cheapest option for an electronic teacher diary from the products listed so far. Planbook retails for $15USD annually with price discounts for multi-year purchases and school accounts, to help teachers and schools save more. Just like the Createl eDiary a free 30 day trial is also available from Planbook that allows you test out its features before determining if it is the right digital teacher diary for you.
So why a digital teacher diary?
The main reason that I went for a digital teacher diary was because I am a bit of perfectionist and I like things neat. This is something I could not achieve with a paper based teacher diary. If I made a mistake I would almost have to buy another day book to fix it, which just isn't something feasible. I also found that using a digital teacher diary meant that I was likely to use it more often and more regularly. I was also really happy to be able to take notes to remind myself to do things and add resources from my G Drive straight into my planning.
There are a number of other ways to create digital teacher diaries using Google Slides, Sheets and even OneNote. The main reason I love a third-party developed diary is that it significantly reduces the number of additional information and functions I would be required to manually enter. For example, here in Australia we don't normally just teach one or two year groups in high school settings. We can teacher four, five, six or even more classes and they can be timetabled at different times and on different days. Most digital teacher diaries allow the class information to be automatically populated throughout the term/semester which reduces one painful task I would have to complete with a teacher diary I have created my own. This is not a criticism of those people who create their own diaries, but for me finding ways to be more efficient and effective have become second nature to me.
So have a think about whether or not that physical day book is still right for your needs. And remember that changing to a digital teacher diary won't necessarily be easy but it is achievable. I know, because I did it!
Nine Ways to use Book Creator
This week in the blog we are exploring Book Creator. If you haven't heard about Book Creator before you are really missing out on a powerful digital and collaborative tool that you could use in the classroom. So, what is Book Creator? Book Creator is a simple way to create content in the classroom. Users can incorporate text, images, drawings, audio, video and even AppSmash with a range of tools to create powerful and engaging resources and learning opportunities. Book Creator, and the power it possesses is only limited by your imagination. So, why does Book Creator work in the classroom? Check out the video from Book Creator below to help you get started.
Book Creator is accessible for free. However, like all free tools there are limitations. The Starter subscription for teachers is free and includes access to 1 library of 40 books. If you are looking to invest in Book Creator you can subscribe to the Premium plan for $12USD/month or $120USD/year. This includes all features available in the Starter plan, however, you also have access to unlimited libraries and 1000 books. To find out more about Book Creator's plans click here.
Now that you know a little bit more about Book Creator now, here are Nine (9) simple ways you could use this powerful edtech tool in your classroom.
#1: Create a portfolio of students work throughout a subject or semester. Allow students to creatively create their own portfolio of work. This could include images, typed work samples, video stories and even audio. These can then be shared with other students, or even with parents/carers to celebrate student success and achievement. A simple and easy way to create a digital portfolio of student work!
#2: Develop a textbook or resource for your student to use throughout the subject or semester. Textbooks are essential element of learning, however, they can quickly become out of date and they lack the digital features that help students in the 21st century engage with their learning. So, why not consider creating your own textbook or resource? This could be a fluid project that you continue to add to and update over time as you progress through a course or topic. You could also include videos and audio, as well as links to further develop students understanding of a topic.
#3: Create a comic or graphic novel on a historical figure or event. Comics and graphic novels are an awesome way to engage students and with Book Creator all students can feel successful. Students can create a comic or graphic novel on a historical figure or event, and even include biographical information with a short Flip video or an audio summary of what they have learnt and taken away from their research. These comics or graphic novels could then be combined into one Book Creator book and share with your students, colleagues and school community.
#4: Create a book to introduce yourselves to your students. At Evolve EdTech we believe that a great way to establish those relationships with your students is to tell them a little bit about who you are when you first meet your class, cohort or year group. When we say this, we mean to keep the introduction relevant and not disclose your debit card number! One way you could do this is by creating a short introduction in Book Creator. By incorporating text, images, video and audio your students or colleagues can get to know you. You could even provide students with access to the book and have them complete their own introduction page so you can learn more about them. Ditch the paper 'Getting to know you' handouts and complete it digitally with Book Creator.
#5: Create a multimodal ebook that incorporates text, images, video etc. In a similar fashion to textbooks, you could create engaging and relevant multimodal ebooks for your students exploring different parts of your syllabus, content or topic. In addition, you could perhaps even get your students to create multimodal presentations and ebooks using Book Creator. This would be an engaging way to move beyond the PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation and create a truly unique and interactive presentation.
#6: Create a storybook for younger students or children. Allocate your class into small groups and collaboratively agree on a topic and age group that will be the basis for an unique storybook that could be created for a local primary or elementary school, or even a kindergarten or preschool. You could further extend this by taking your students to a local school to present their Book Creator storybooks to students in person.
#7: Use Book Creator to create a collaborative summary for a subject or topic. Book Creator is a great tool for collaboration. Throughout a topic or unit you could allocate students to complete various summary pages or resources in a collaborative summary ebook. This would allow students the option to decide how to present the information, and whether they would like to incorporate text, images, video, audio or other apps to present their summary. This would be a truly collaborative approach to summarising and emphasising that everyone is responsible for completing their relevant components, otherwise they are letting other students in the class or cohort down.
#8: Use Book Creator to create a course booklet or handbook. Each year we always have to update or create new course booklets or handbooks. So, why not create a digital course booklet or handbook that can be shared with your students, colleagues and school community digitally. This will mean a reduction in paper costs, whilst also allowing for the course booklet or handbook to be located somewhere like on a website or LMS. By integrating your course booklet into Book Creator you are also reducing the need to start something new each year, and can simply modify the previous course booklet or handbook to reflect the relevant changes that may have occurred.
#9: Use Book Creator to create a visually appealing and engaging year book or school magazine. School magazines and year books are an essential component of reflecting on our experiences and successes throughout the academic year. Despite this, they are often printed which means that we can include video or audio, as well as links to make them interactive. Yes, a digital school magazine or year book takes away from the ability to write nice notes or sign year books but this could be easily overcome with some creative thinking. By utilising Book Creator to create your school magazine or year book you are limited by page restrictions, how many colour pages you can have, and even printing costs. You can create a truly unique magazine or year book to represent the school year in a engaging format that everyone can access.
If you are looking for a downloadable copy of these NINE (9) ways to use Book Creator you can download the Nine (9) Ways to use Book Creator infographic from Evolve EdTech by clicking here.
The Evolve Template Collections
It is a known fact that teachers are busy people. According to research here in Australia teachers are working on average up to 60 hours + each week. That is ridiculous.
So, what suffers from our excessive workloads? What has to be neglected or removed in order to ensure a sustainable work/life balance? Well, it's probably our lesson preparation. Who is still using the same resources they were using when they first start teacher? Or who is still using the same Google Slides presentation from 2018?
Well, the team at Evolve EdTech are here to help you. Our aim at Evolve EdTech is to provide you with tips, tricks and tools so that you can confidently integrate educational technology into your classroom today. So to help you with this, we have create a HUGE range of Canva templates that can be customised to your hearts content.
All of our templates are created using Canva, and all of our templates are fully customisable so that you can get them just right for your particular class, subject or context. To access our template collections (click here). Make sure that you have a Canva account so that you are able to access the templates. All the moment most of our templates are FREE. At checkout, simply select 'checkout' and follow the prompts to access the downloadable file. Do not click on any payment icons, such as the GPay icon, as payment is not required for many of our templates. You will then be able to access a downloadable PDF document that contains the template Canva link. Each link is only available for FIVE (5) downloads only.
At the moment our Template Collections include (these templates are progressively being uploaded to the Evovle EdTech eStore):
So, save yourself some time and download as many templates as required. Do you have some ideas for other templates you would like to see created? Shoot the team at Evolve EdTech an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nine Ways to use Streamyard
In this weeks blog post we are going to explore Streamyard. The recent global pandemic resulted in a swift shift for the world, and in particular educators towards embracing video streaming and conferencing software and applications as we faced lockdowns and isolation required to minimise the spread of COVID-19. Streamyard is one of the many tools that we learnt about during this period, and it is a tool that we have decided to utilise here at Evolve EdTech to help with our video recording, and live streaming needs. So, what is Streamyard? Check out the short video from Streamyard below to learn more about this video streaming tool.
Streamyard is a versatile tool that can be used in many ways within a school or educational environment, and you can do this from your browser window - there is no need to harass admin and get softward downloaded and installed on your devices. Whilst Streamyard does offer some free functionality, the best functions arrive through the paid version (like most edtech products today). If you are lucky enough to have access to funds or you are able to self-fund a subscription to Streamyard it would be a sound investment. At the time of writing, Streamyard offers a free subscription, a basic subscription at $20USD/month and a pro subscription at $39USD/month. Check out the Streamyard website to learn more about the differences between these packages at streamyard.com/pricing
Well, enough about what Streamyard is and how much it costs. Let's get onto the good stuff in today's blog post. Today we are going to share NINE (9) ways that you could utilise Streamyard within your classroom, school, or community. So, checkout these NINE (9) ideas below:
#1: Present information sessions to your school community on multiple platforms. You are able to connect and stream to various platforms including Facebook pages, groups and profiles, Twitch, Linkedin pages and profiles, Twitter, Youtube and custom destinations. Even better, you can stream to multiple platforms at the same time!
#2: Deliver weekly or regular virtual assemblies with your students and school communities. Stay connected with your school commununity by delivering virtual assemblies through Streamyard. You can create custom graphics and format your virtual assembly to replicate a physical assembly. This option also allows parents/carers who can not attend in person to be more actively involved in their child/s life.
#3: Record presentations and use the Streamyard effects to improve your recordings. Streamyard is also capable of being used as a video recording tool. With this option you can access and use all of the Streamyard effects and functions to create a powerful video. At Evolve EdTech we use Streamyard to record our videos before they are finalised in WeVideo. These can be downloaded and saved locally or in cloud devices for future access.
#4: Download video recordings in an audio format. Yes, Streamyard also allow you to download your recordings or live streams in audio format. From this you can use these as potential podcasts, or share them with your students, colleagues or school community.
#5: Present professional learning virtually with your school or learning community. Professional learning doesn't just have to happen in person now. The COVID-19 pandemic created a shift in the way that professional learning is delivered to our colleagues and school community as we moved to virtual meetings using zoom, Teams, Google Meet etc, but Streamyard is another alternative to use for presenting virtual learning. With Streamyard you can create a professional looking webinar incorporating video, visuals, audio, and you can even engage your participants with the chat function.
#6: Customise Streamyard to reflect your school, department or district brands, colours etc. Create a truly unique experience by branding your stream to reflect your school, department or district. With the free version of Streamyard you have the capacity to customise the colour of assets in broadcasts (assets are elements such as banner's, comments and people's names etc). With the Basic and Professional versions you are able to customise the colour of elements, and remove Streamyard branding from your streams.
#7: Record and distribute interviews on your school website or social media platforms. Have you ever wanted to interview someone but you have found it challenging to find a time to meet in person? Well, why not consider using Streamyard to record an interview. This can then be customised with the visual elements of Streamyard to create a powerful and professional video recording that can then be shared on platforms such as your school website or social media. Interviewing professionals, former staff and students, or even current staff, students or parents is a great way to create engagement with your school community.
#8: Use Streamyard to live stream presentations, ceremonies, sporting events with your community. Once again, the global COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that we can live stream most aspects of the school day with our local community. Streamyard is another powerful platform the complete this task. You can stream to multiple locations, it doesn't require people to 'sign-in' to access the stream, and you can create a very professional looking live stream yourself.
#9: Use Streamyard to host live demonstrations or training exercises. Streamyard is the platform of choice for many people when it comes to host demonstrations or training exercises virtually. The simplicity of the platform makes it one of the most accessible and functional ways to engage with your community virtually. In addition to presenting live, your recordings are also available to download in video and audio formats which can then be shared with participants or uploaded on your LMS for future learning needs or access.
If you are looking for a downloadable copy of these NINE (9) ways to use Streamyard you can download the Nine (9) Ways to use Streamyard infographic from Evolve EdTech by clicking here.
EdTech Header Sizes
Customising edtech tools for your class, faculty, school, department or district is something that has become more common throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, it just looks nice. Consistency in branding is key. It took many hours of trail and error to create the branding right here on the Evolve EdTech website.
However, in saying this sometimes it is so difficult to find or know exactly what the dimensions are for common edtech tools that we may use in our classroom. No fear, Evolve EdTech is here to help you with this conundrum. In today's blog post we are going to share with you the dimension sizes for a range of common edtech tools to help you create the perfect branding. To model each tool we have also created a sample header using Canva. If you haven't got onto the Canva train yet, you are really missing out. You can probably find most of the header sizes listed below pre-set in Canva, however if you are using Google Slides, Drawings or another platform you will manually need to adjust the sizes. All dimensions listed below are in pixels.
#1: Google Keep - 800x450 (wide) or 800x800 (square)
#2: Google Forms - 1600x400
#3: Youtube - 2560x1440. Youtube recommends this as the ideal dimension for headers. Be mindful that different devices will have different viewing areas above the dimensions listed. This assists with optimising the viewing experience across multiple devices.
#4: Twitter - 1500x500
#5: Seesaw Blog - 1000x200
#6: Flip (Formally known as Flipgrid) - 1500x450
#7: Wakelet - 800x600
#8: Google Sites - 1920x1920 (large header) or 1920x1080 (for a banner). With Google Sites be aware that different devices will result in cropped headers.
#9: Google Classroom - 1500x375. With Google Classroom the class name will be displayed over part of the header and a dark filter will be applied to assist with accessibility.
At Evolve EdTech we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. Always was, always will be Aboriginal Land.
At Evolve EdTech we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. Always was, always will be Aboriginal Land.