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Snip&Sketch

So the October 2018 Windows 10 Update has provided a new snipping tool ... now, it surprises me that this would be the thing I'm most happy about, but it is! Making things we do very often each day as easy as possible has immediate payoffs in the classroom, so this is a huge leap forward. If your IT Department hasn't yet given you the Update, you can update yourself by downloading it from here.
Here's what makes the new Snip & Sketch so slick....
Press WINDOWS-SHIFT-S
The screen goes grey and along the top you have the option to rectangular, freefom or full-screen clip.  I typically use rectangular to grab student content from OneNote or the web.
Once you've finished the selection, up pops a success note in the Notification area of your screen.

Click on that notification and up pops the Snip&Sketch App (which you can pin to your Taskbar or Start if you want).

In the app, you can use #digitalink to draw and highlight content -- although I hope they just bring in…

Making your own font

Slid in amongst all the announcements for Ignite, Microsoft's big conference in September, as a tool that I thought was quite cool.  Not original, since similar things have existed elsewhere & when, but a nice option nevertheless.
Microsoft's Font Maker allows you to create your own font using digital ink.  You get all 26 characters, numbers and punctuation (for English languages) on which you draw your font for each character. (For me, it's the first 128 printable characters out of the ASCII table!)
 Using your #digitalink pen, you draw out what you want each character to look like. I just quickly wrote out the alphabet as you can see below:

You don't have to do it all at once and you can keep working on your Font as you go; it saves as a JSON Project File which means you can send these between collaborators.
Once you have your font done, you can adjust the spacing between characters & words to make it look good (it uses a scene from Hamlet -- I'm curious w…

Other folks, doing stuff in OneNote

When I'm working in OneNote on the night before classes, I always find it interesting to see who else is there working.  The Windows10 version of OneNote (and OneNote Online) both include a People Presence option to show you who else is working in the same Notebook/ClassNotebook.
When you click on the name of the page, you jump there -- so you can work together. While I was doing screenshots, you can see how another student has entered the ClassNotebook, and the first student has moved from one page to another as they do their homework.
And then, when I flipped over into our Faculty OneNote, I had one teacher looking at how to send emails to parents for one of her extracurricular programs (in our Tech Help section), while one was working on our Student Leadership Conference and the other two working on incoming pages.

While there is an aspect to this of "surveillance", it's meant to energize collaboration.  
In the ClassNotebook, it keeps me aware of when and how stu…

Teacher as Student in Anonymous Desmos

I thought that everybody did this! But apparently, not. 
So this was my XKCD 10,000 moment this week.  I happened to tweet the following -- and I think it's my popular tweet of all time.  And as you can see, I was just at the end of class and tapped it out quickly... error included!
The year is just starting and students aren't yet used to the expectations of responses when we do a Desmos activity, I've found I've had to prime the pump sometimes.
I am logged into Desmos as the teacher and I project the Dashboard on the projector.  I try to get to the dashboard as quickly as possible so that I can click Anonymize, which makes the students' login names those of famous mathematicians/scientists/engineers. (Suggestion to Desmos -- it would be nice to be able to enter an activity with Anonymous turned on.)  This means students can make errors without making them publicly although invariably, some students will yell out their pseudonym.
Then I use the PAUSE button on th…

How do you know you're right?

So I'm only on the 2nd class of the year in my Grade 10 Math course so far.  We start late, and we only see them for 3 hours a week, so yes, we move a little slow.
I had set them some review problems in Grade 9 Math, mostly questions of simple algebra, linear equations, graphs of lines, etc.  And had them work on the questions about as freely as I could -- but since they're new, they didn't express much freedom. They didn't talk much, they certainly didn't talk to each other, and they didn't check their work with each other. This will change.  I had deliberately told them that I did not put the answers at the bottom of the OneNote page and that they would have to check their work somehow.
Ten minutes in, I did a screen capture of a student's work from their OneNote Section and pasted it into my OneNote page for the day and asked them "How does the student know they're correct?"
The obvious answers came up:
Do it againCheck with another studentA…

Book 'em, Dano... using Office365

I don't usually talk about aspects of Office365 that require one of the paid subscriptions because, well, they cost money and I know teachers and schools have to prioritize their budgets (or have it prioritized for them). Remember that Office365 level A1 is free for schools, teachers & students and the tools you do get are very powerful -- you can check it out here.  But if you are a paid Office365 user, you have access to another handy little tool included in your subscription (and since you're paying for it, you might as well use it!)
Bookings is a (relatively simple) appointment booking web service.

It works like this:
Visit http://portal.office.com and click on "All your Apps".  It is hidden away under the main Office Apps -- and your admin could have it turned off, although it is turned on by default, so shhhh...  It's available in the paid A3/A5 levels, just not the free A1 :(   Now, it's okay that it's not immediately visible because your "c…

Your Team's Files, where you want them

Even though everything is in the cloud, we really like to have a copy on our computers (we work on public transit, in places with no or poor wifi, and we never really trust the cloud). So when we're working in a cloud space, here's how you can sync the files to your device.
We have a Math Department Team on Microsoft Teams (it is free if you'd like to do the same thing at your school) and a Channel within the Team for each course to discuss, build and share resources.
I teach MPM2D, our Grade 10 course, and so all I really care about is Grade 10 math.  Sorry, Calc & Stats!
So, within each Team Channel there's a dedicated file space - and we work on files together there. Course descriptions, tests, projects, you name it.  But I don't want to have to go to Teams to get the files! I'd like them on my hard drive and be able to get to them through File Explorer (like I have since 1995!)

Click on the FILES button when you're in the Channel that you want to s…

You need a Team to do that

So yesterday I mentioned about using Teams to do Screencasts - you can see that blog post by clicking here.  Here's a brief run-down of the process.
When you're in the Teams application, either as a reply to a message, or a brand new conversation, click on the MEET NOW button.  It looks like a little video camera.
You'll get Teams Meeting popping up... you'll be doing a call, but of course, there's no one on the other end.  Type in a Subject -- I'd choose the Course, Textbook, page and question number if it's applicable, otherwise some combination of curriculum standard.

Click on MEET NOW to being the meeting. 
We want to start recording in order to get the video part of the screencast.  Click on the 3-dot menu button and choose START RECORDING.  (It says "Preview" because recording is still in pretty active development -- see below).  The recording has now started and you'll see the red icon in the upper right of the screen.


Now, you're g…