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  • ePortfolios with Google? DOCTOPUS!!! Whether you use Hapara or not, Doctopus is a great way to manage Google Doc patterns.  Using your Hapara groups is handy, but you can also create custom subgroups ...
    Posted Feb 20, 2013, 8:07 AM by Bram Moreinis
  • Convert PDFs to Word great!  Of course, if you have Adobe Acrobat Professional (NOT Acrobat Reader), that does it too.
    Posted Feb 20, 2013, 7:53 AM by Bram Moreinis
  • Download Your Google Site! If students have no Internet access at home (and many do!) you can download your class website to a Thumb Drive and give it to them! ...
    Posted Jan 7, 2013, 7:42 AM by Bram Moreinis
Showing posts 1 - 3 of 27. View more »

If a tip makes it to this page, it means that you'll be very happy once you understand and use it!

The three latest tips are listed above.  For a full, alphabetized list, click here.

ePortfolios with Google? DOCTOPUS!!!

posted Feb 20, 2013, 8:07 AM by Bram Moreinis

Whether you use Hapara or not, Doctopus is a great way to manage Google Doc patterns.  Using your Hapara groups is handy, but you can also create custom subgroups on the fly.  You can target Hapara folders so the files show up where they should.

Here's how it works
  1. Create a template starter document (or documents - like a worksheet AND a written project template)
  2. Use a spreadsheet of all your student names to share it.  The share message is an email form where you give instructions, file names, deadlines, and other useful things.
  3. When the student accepts the share, a new document is created  based on the title pattern you specify, though students can change it.
  4. The spreadsheet shows when they last edited the work, and provides columns for grades. 
  5. You can use the spreadsheet to email grades and feedback, and use an email template so you don't have to type the same thing each time!  The emails include a link to the document so students can click right there.
  6. You can continue to use this spreadsheet for new assignments with the same defaults if you copy it.

Here's how to install Doctopus and use it:

Convert PDFs to Word

posted Feb 20, 2013, 7:53 AM by Bram Moreinis

Works great! 

Of course, if you have Adobe Acrobat Professional (NOT Acrobat Reader), that does it too.

Download Your Google Site!

posted Jan 7, 2013, 7:42 AM by Bram Moreinis

If students have no Internet access at home (and many do!) you can download your class website to a Thumb Drive and give it to them!

I've tested it, and it works.  Here's how:
  1. Create a "target directory" - a blank folder on your desktop where you'll put your site files.
  2. Download the latest JAR file, run it, and the box below shows up.
  3. For us, you'd put "" for Domain, and mr-jones for Webspace (if your website URL was The username and password need to be yours (as an owner of the site). and create a folder on your computer to select as the Target Directory.

Internet Scavenger Hunt with Google Forms

posted Nov 2, 2012, 9:12 AM by Bram Moreinis

Internet Scavenger Hun Lesson with Google Form, Spreadsheet & Site.

Intro: Teaches students how to do Google searches and when to trust sites. Talk about diff between .org, .com, .edu, .gov.  Look at as example of how organizations aren't always trustworthy.  Do search to see who bought that, do a search on Don Black to see he's head of Stormfront and an ex-KKK Grand Dragon.  Okay, so we don't trust everything!  Now, let's have fun: find some answers, see if/why we trust them, with an Internet Scavenger Hunt. 

  1. Individual Activity: Students submit questions using Google Form

  2. Group Activity: Go over questions to make them tighter (e.g. not "world's tallest man" but "tallest man ever recorded")

  3. Individual Activity: Search for answers, enter them on Spreadsheet List
  4. Group Activity:  Evaluate relevance and validity of found answers.
Just ran this today!  Very easy, very fun.

How To Video:

Quicktime Video Recording (for Classroom Flipping)

posted Oct 17, 2012, 8:19 AM by Bram Moreinis

You can record your lessons with iMovie, if you angle your computer to show you teaching...but what if you want to record what's on the screen? 

To make a "screencast" on a Mac, use Quicktime Player (it's in your Applications folder inside Macintosh HD, top right corner of your Macbook).
  1. File => New Screen Recording

You can ALSO record audio while doing this, if you plan to join them together later using iMovie:

  1. File => New Audio Recording

You'll get two controllers with red "record" buttons on them.  Start one, then start the other, and both will record.  You can then pull them into iMovie to synchronize them.

If you want to be REALLY fancy, start recording with iMovie (which will record from your computer's camera, as well as audio) and THEN start Quicktime.  You can then select clips from Quicktime when the screen is doing interesting things, and mix them with your face talking - more interesting for students that way.  iMovie lets you layer clips on top of each other and choose which ones to show.


Ergonomic Laptop / Macbook Use

posted Sep 14, 2012, 10:41 AM by Bram Moreinis

If you have a desk with a keyboard tray or a top drawer, you can avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or neck tension with a set-up like the image at right.   Note the USB keyboard and mouse resting in the tray (on books and a mouse pad), and the computer resting on a thin box to raise screen height.  

The important things:
  • Don't have your wrists bending up to type, or arms - keyboard is below elbows.
  • Don't let your wrists touch the hard edge of a table top.
  • Have your screen high,  eyes level with top. 
  • IDEAL: Don't have your hands resting on the edges of anything - suspend them.
  • IDEAL: Arms sit on arm-wrests.

Windows => Mac

posted Jul 6, 2012, 9:19 AM by Bram Moreinis

MS Teachers (and students!) at LTS are moving from Windows to Mac this year!  What's different? What's involved?

These are, of course, general help.  For LTS specific help (our local FAQ / Wiki), visit

Put your Google Group on a web page - looks MUCH better!

posted Jan 25, 2012, 10:52 AM by

The Google Groups interface is very disappointing - particularly because it does not show "HTML Markup" on messages (no bold, italic, etc):

But you can have your groups look MUCH more wonderful, WITH HTML AND IMAGES IN MESSAGES, by embedding a "Google Groups" gadget on one or the pages on your class website ... like this:

Here's How:

  1. Create a New Web Page, and choose the more complex One Column layout, which separates a Header, Body, and Footer area:
  2. Click into the bottom section.
  3. Click INSERT and then ... More Gadgets
  4. Search for "Google Group" (must be capitalized!)
  5. Click on the result.
  6. Click "Select" at the bottom - ignore all the confusing stuff.

  7. Find the address of your Group home page (remove the /topics... part) - e.g.
  8. Paste that where it says Group URL, and click on "include a scrollbar on gadget when necessary". Then click OK.
  9. The first time you visit the page after saving you'll see this option to select what your postig profile should be.  Very easy, just pick your Google profile.

  10. Click "Save My Changes" and Voila! You now have your existing group, but with much nicer buttons and the ability to add a new topic here, and do many other things.  Only people who are members of the group can see these things, and what's below is a "Group Owner" screen:
  11. You can even create and view messages in HTML Markup, and choose whether your message is an ANNOUNCEMENT (no comments) or whether you want to Start A Discussion.

Try it!

Automatically Grade Tests from Google Forms

posted Jan 11, 2012, 11:07 AM by

Full demo & instructions, made when Bram worked at Danville:

Using Flubaroo to Grade Tests

Uploading Videos to Google

posted Dec 19, 2011, 5:35 AM by

Because we have a limited amount of space for videos (and because it is so tempting to upload entire movies and use up all that space), individual users are not granted the ability to upload videos to Google.  Rather, there is a separate account,, for this purpose.

Email me ( if you would like to use this account to upload a video, and I will send you the password and assist you if you need help.

There is a program on most teacher ACER laptops (those that run Windows 7, which have circular Windows icons in the lower left - the older ones have rectangular buttons that say START) which records up to 10 minute videos, either as screen capture or as webcam captures, called Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 Screen Capture. Very handy! 

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