Thursday, July 23, 2015

Safe Email for Kids and Teens (Free Too!)

Tocomail is a way to offer email to your children under 13!  It is available on iOS and Google Play.  Kids get their own email address to communicate with friends and family.  There is a simplified version for younger kids as well.  Tocomail allows kids to draw a piece of artwork and send to their Grandparents, for example.
Let's talk safety.  Parents approve a contact list for your child.  You approve who can and cannot email your child.  If your child gets an email that is not on the safe list, it is quarantined until a parent approves or rejects the email.  Tocomail also filters profanity and bullying too!

Tocomail for Gmail is designed for teens.  Integrating with their own gmail account, this allows parents a way to bridge the gap.  Parents can still create a safelist of trusted contacts and parents will receive any quarantined emails to approve or reject.  The Tocomail for Gmail is a great way to teach proper communication via email and messaging.

I started my own daughter using Tocomail in third grade as a means to justify the question, "Why do I have to learn how to type?"  Instantly, she found a reason and purpose.  She communicates with grandparents, friends and her third grade teacher.  It was so kind of her teacher to ask to be on her email safelist.  It has also been a wonderful tool to teach digital citizenship and how to communicate via email.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Broadcast a URL!

Have you ever sat next to someone and want them to get to the same web page as you?  Do you go through the 'directions' click here, no on the blue thingy, then look down and click here and so on until you get frustrated and you haven't even gotten to the web page yet?  Well, try Google Tone found in the Chrome Web Store!  I was shown this at the CUE Rockstar Camp I attended and thought of a ton of times this would have come in handy with fellow teachers, struggling students and entire classes! Check out this video:
I found that by afternoon many of us in the same session were shouting out "Send a Tone" and in seconds we were all on the same webpage.  I am going to use this with students, but will have to give my middle school students a few minutes to play with it....just like I did when I first discovered it! 

 Take a moment and add the Google Tone Extension.  Keep Calm, Click Undo!

The Best Bag Ever!

I needed a new bag to carry all of my tech gear.  I discovered the Baggallini Alfa Laptop Tote.  

The bag only weighs 2 pounds 1 ounce!  I can carry my MacBook, iPad and iPhone with plenty of room for cords and accessories!  The bag also has spots for cards and a coin purse with additional space for papers or files.  It has a straps for the shoulder, a removable cross body strap and a luggage access zipper.  I really like the versatility and the ability to leave a purse at home reducing the number of bags to carry.     

There are a lot of fancy gadgets to keep your cords organized, but I decided to purchase the Velcro One-Wrap Ties to keep my cords organized in my bag.  They cost a little more than $3 for a pack of 5 wraps!  

I purchased my bag from ebags on sale!  You can also find the Alfa Tote on Amazon and it does come in a variety of colors: Black/Tan, Charcoal/Fuschia, Mulberry and Pewter/Cheetah.  I personally own the Charcoal with Fuschia on the inside.  The bright color really helps me see and find what I need in the very bottom of my bag!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Camp Google! Fun for the Summer!

Do your students or child(ren) ask a lot of why and how questions?  If so, this may be for them!  Camp Google is a month-long online science camp! 

Camp Google is FREE, yes FREE!  It is ideal for ages 7-10 and starts July 13, 2015.  Each week has a different focus:
  • Ocean week with National Geographic
  • Space week with NASA
  • Nature week with a National Parks Ranger
  • Music week "jam out with an artist"
You do not need to register for the camp and it is free, but some activities will require using common household items.  Google states that students will explore and learn by doing and can earn badges.