Techie Teachers: Chemistry PLC- Mike Alsin, Cheryl Myers & Brad Banning

Chemistry has technology integration busting at the seams!!  Mike and Cheryl have spearheaded the logistics of this course. Brad Banning joined BVW this year and has been literally catapulted into technology… he has handled it like a champ! Here are a few of the technology WEB2oOLS that they use.

They list their daily plans in Google Slides and place links to all needed documents and media.  They often do slightly different activities and just note this on their slides.  They are actively collaborating, and also have some leeway to do different support activities. Here is a link to their daily plans:  Chemisty Lessons.


They also put student handouts in a Shared Google Folder. They have their kids make copies of those handouts when they expect them to complete them digitally.  As an example, they place their lab handouts in the shared Google folder, which is “View only”.  Students will “make a copy” and place it into their own Drive so they have edit rights.

Students will turn in their lab reports via  This is such a unique use of  Kids can turn it in 24/7 and this nicely organizes the incoming files.  In addition, this WEB2oOL helps to ensure that all students participate in the lab since they are required to write up their reports in their own words.  Cheryl has mastered the rubrics grading feature in  She says that it has streamlined the grading process, making it more efficient for all.  Students will get their results back much quicker as well.

They use Google Forms to collect data during labs to generate  large quantities of data and then share out the sheet for all to analyze.

For formative feedback, they use Socrative.  They create and share tests so that they can not only share the work load, but most importantly they can compare data in PLC.  Brad and Cheryl are both also using GradeCam for AFL’s and AOL’s.

Another WEB2oOL that is used is online simulations from Phet . One can simply get lost here.  What a wealth of information.  These are best viewed on their classroom iPads.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg.  These teachers are techie. This PLC is another example of “Only the Best at West”!


Google Drive: Forms

This is a great WEB2oOL to use to collect data. Do you get frustrated by the use of “Reply to All”?  With this 2oOL alone, you can start to change this phenomenon one human at a time 🙂

BV Staff and Students all have access to this WEB2oOL in their BV Google Drive account.  It is simple to use.  You can create one easily by logging into your BV Google Drive account. Then click NEW/ More/ Google Forms.  Give it a name in the upper left.


Watch my video tutorial to learn how to make and manage a basic Google Form.

Teacher Integration Ideas:

  • Collect parent information at Back to School Night.
  • Collect data from a science lab, then share the response sheet to the class for analysis.
  • Use as a sign up for limited seats, for example to sign up for JAG during PLC.  Use form limiter to limit the number in attendance.
  • Collect data with surveys.
  • Convert office/clerical forms to Google Forms.
  • Students can grade student presentations as they watch to provide additional feedback from their peers.
  • Use the Quizzes feature to collect AFL data from students.

Google Drive: Slides

This is a great WEB2oOL to use for collaborative presentations.  It is just like PowerPoint, but it is “in the cloud” (24/7 access).

BV Staff and Students all have access to this WEB2oOL in their BV Google Drive account.  It is simple to use.  You can create one easily by logging into your BV Google Drive account. Then click NEW/ Google Slides.  Give it a name in the upper left, and then use the toolbar to create.


Teacher Integration Ideas:

  • Create a Google Slide to hold your daily lesson plans. Here is an example from BVW’s Chemistry PLC.
  • Create a group presentation or review game with your class.  Each student is responsible for a certain number of slides with assigned content.
  • Create a presentation to promote activities and clubs and give access to the staff to create their own slide.  Here is an example of the clubs at BVW.  We have done this with staff introductions and birthdays too!

Google Drive: Create a Shareable Link Between Student and Teacher

Sharing Google Drive files is fairly straight forward; however, there is a caveat for BV users.  You can’t share between students and teachers with authentication (require that the user sign in) because students and teachers are in different domains (NET/ORG).  Staff can share with staff, and students can share with students (requiring authentication).  But students and teachers cannot share with each other and require that the user sign in.  The only way to share files and folders is to share as “Anyone with the Link”.  Please note that “anyone with a link” can access these files.  See this video to learn how!

In addition, you can share folders by right clicking the folder, and select Share.  Just like the video describes above, you will select “Anyone with the Link”.


NOTE:  Teachers, if you are sharing content with your students, be sure that you make it “Can view” unless you want them to have additional rights.

Google Forms carry this same issue.  However, you can select that they collect an email address. This requires that they login with any Google Account, and they can input any email address that they want. Bummer!


Additionally, these issue are replicated in O365 with some exceptions.  More to come on this.

Happy Sharing!

Google Drive: Forms New Feature – Collect Files

I have been patiently waiting for this.  Google Forms has added a new feature that allows you to collect documents!  See this help site to learn more:


Caveat for BV users.  You can’t share this with your students since they are in a different domain.  Staff can share with staff.  Here is an image that may help you understand the issue.


If you are unfamiliar with Google Forms, see this video!  It upgraded in 2015.  This video helps you with these changes as well.

Happy Collecting!

O365 for Students – Overview

This is an instructional video to assist BV students on how to use Blue Valley OneDrive so that they can access their electronic documents at home as well as at school. Note: the video shows you how to login from our old website.  You can access the link on the new website from Student Login / Office 365 (

This is a link to brief overview of some of the main features of Office 365 (o365) created to assist BV students.  o365-for-blue-valley-students


Technically Yours,



  • Class OneNote – this is takes OneNote to a new level.  It turns the “1 way” dissemination of class content into a “2 way” street.  Teachers can easily drop pages (assignments) into their student’s notebooks, with a couple of clicks!  Students can complete the assignments and then again, with a couple of clicks, the teacher can assess (grade) them.  They can easily provide annotative or recorded feedback.  Additional, teachers can use Screencast-O-Matic to provide a video screen cast form of feedback as well. Most of the math department is using this as a “1 way street”.  Are you next?
  • Office Mix: PowerPoint Add-In – This free WEB2oOL gives PowerPoint some new, and improved functionality.  You can add annotation and voice to your PowerPoints.  You can also share them online.  Check this out! Ask Kim Urenda, she is a pro!
  • GradeCam Student Portal – You can send your assessments to your students to take on their own device, or on our devices (phone, tablets, computers).  No more scanning lines!  Heather Hall is rocking this 2oOL!
  • SafeShare.TV – This is an easy WEB2oOL that will create a safe viewing experience for your YouTube videos. No registration or sign-in required!  Theresa Grospitch is loving this 2oOL!
  • Classroom Content WEB2oOLS Compared – I compared 3 easy ways of displaying classroom content and gave integration ideas for each.   OneNote, Google Drive Shared Folder and OneDrive Shared Folder. Kudos to Danna Ahnemann for sharing a OneDrive folder with her ACADEC kids – the PP’s were so large that it was the best option! Shout out to Mike Alsin, Brad Banning and Cheryl Myers for sharing class content of a Google Drive Folder! Woot Woot to most of math for sharing content using OneNote!  You all rock 🙂


  • Sync OneDrive as a Local Drive (PC and MAC directions included)- don’t you want to have access to your files when you are away from school?  OneDrive makes it easy to save your OneDrive files as a “Local Drive”.  This means you can work on them, anytime, even if you are offline (no Internet).  It is #CloudTime, folks!  Ask Donnie Campbell about it, he loves it. I just helped Jennifer Stanely make the jump this morning.  What are you waiting for? I am here to help you move to the Cloud!
  • Find your Synced OneDrive Files on Your Mac – you are included!  This post details how to find them, if you have not synced yet, directions are at the bottom of this post. Debbie Glenn has been file sharing with OneDrive for a while now!
  • Open in Word Workflow Feature: how our students can work in the cloud and still use full Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote giving them 24/7 access to their files. You all are on the “front line”, if you don’t understand how this works, please take time and preview this video and share this information with your students.
  • Open a Shared OneNote – I created directions that apply to both staff and students.  I posted this on Student Links as well since we have so many of you using OneNote to display your class content.


  • Window + P – This shortcut allows you to connect to a projector which is an essential technology function that everyone must know.  MAC directions included!
  • Window + L – When you walk away!  This locks your computer.  Get in the habit.
  • Fn + F1 – Putting your windows 10 laptop has proven to fix some of the docking issues as well as some other benefits!
  • Print to PDF – Print contents in a web browser to a PDF file. Ask Jenny Legrotte and Jennifer Stanley how they are using this.
  • Merge PDF’s – Do you have several PDF’s and want them to be combined.  This is how.
  • PDF and Email Shortcuts – Do you need an easy button (or 2), check out how you PDF and Email each in a click! Fran Hile and Ginny Johnson did it, and you can too!


THeresa Grospitch

Full Story Here

TIS-TALK_500Communication Reminders:

  • Did you know that OneNote is searchable by page, by section, and by notebook!  Try searching the Faculty OneNote next time you have a question that you think may be in there. Directions:  onenote-search-feature
  • Reminder that I am filing technology announcements in the Faculty OneNote.  I do not send out an email unless it affects most or all of you.  Please preview this from time to time to see if any of this information is helpful.  Look at this list – lots going on!tech-announcements-in-faculty-onenote

Tech Info:

  • Windows 10 Issues – I continue to hear about (and witness) Windows 10 black screen issues.  One suggestion is to put your laptop to sleep each time you dock and undock.  I confirm that this will fix some of the issues. This is how you put it to sleep:  Fn + F1
    • If you are still having issues that are robbing you of instructional time, please do a helpdesk ticket so Vong can discuss some options.
  • I suggest that you shut your laptop down when you take it home (off campus).  In addition, I would shut it down at least once / week and definitely if you start experiencing “tech weirdness”.
  • Videos or music not playing?  I suggest that you load VLC player.  It is the “universal player”.  It is in the BVApp Store!
  • If you are printing something off of the Internet, I suggest that you save it as a PDF first, and then print.  Gradecam sheets are an excellent example of when to use this.  Depending on the printer that you send it to, I have seen some bizarre printing when printed straight from the web browser.  Make it a habit.  See this 41 second video to learn how using the Print to Adobe PDF method: Print To PDF
  • Outlook going Offline?  This seems to be on the rise!  All of a sudden you have a red X on your Outlook icon and you stop receiving emails.  The culprit is that your Outlook just went “Offline”.  To get it back, go to the Send/Receive tab and click “Work Offline”.  It will toggle back to online.


  • COMING SOON – I will be sending your technology inventory.  EVERYONE moved over the summer (dramatic BVWTIS?).  It is taking me some time to iron that all out.  I know it will have errors, so reply and set me straight if it is wrong.  Thanks!


Have you ever heard of SnapChat?  Being a high school teacher, I am sure that you have!  Look at what our innovative World Language department has been up to.  Andrea Foxworthy, Emily Brown and Anna Dunn are using this with their students.  The primary purpose is to converse in their language and in “their electronic world”.  They have the students add them so that the students see their content, but the teacher does not see the students.  #TechInnovationIntegration!


And now to “teach the TIS” – thank Andrea Foxworthy for sharing just how you are integrating this wonderful tool!



This one made me smile!


And this happened…


Do you know a deserving BVW Techie Teacher?  Please submit them here for consideration:

Technically Yours,


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Fn + F1 = Sleep Mode

The advantages to putting your Windows 10 laptop to sleep anytime you travel are mounting.  The shortcut on your laptop’s keyboard is Fn + F1 (it has a little moon on it for sleep).  Or press: Start (Windows) / Power / Sleep (as shown in this image).


This essentially keeps your laptop in the state that it is currently in.  When you are ready to use it again, open the lid and you should notice the power button is “pulsing”. Press the power button once (do not hold down), just press it, and it will wake it up.  All of your applications should be active and in the state they were in when you put it to sleep.

When docking and undocking, you should put it to sleep before you do either of these.  So your computer needs to be “sleeping” when you dock and when you undock.


  1. Uses less battery.
  2. Keep laptop in the current state, issues with data transfer via a dock are minimized.
  3. All programs are where you left them.
  4. Laptop will not get as “hot” if you put it in a bag to travel.

Happy Sleeping!


WEB2oOLS Compared: What is the Best Way to Post my Class Content

In BV, we have choices!  That can be awesome and overwhelming all at once.  It is my goal to help direct you to the best WEB2oOL for your scenario.  I have examples below of some various Class Content Display options!  I have left off Class OneNote intentionally as this is a 2 way communication WEB2oOL between teacher and student!  This only compares these as “1 way street” WEB2oOLs.  Arguably, you can make all of these a 2 way street, but let’s start here!



  • Teacher can drag and drop files onto a canvas that is organized by sections and pages (just like a notebook) and up the content goes. So easy!
  • Almost any file type is accepted and it stays in the native form (as Word, Excel and PowerPoint).
  • Students can view on any device as long as the teacher has shared by invitation.  On their personal computer (Mac or PC), they can use the “Open In OneNote” feature for easy access later.  On a phone or tablet, they can open in the OneNote app.
  • It will expose students to a fairly new WEB2oOL that can help them with their own digital organization.  I am not aware of another 2oOL that acts quite like OneNote.
  • You can supply a guest link for parents to use, no sign in required.
  • Here is an example to illustrate the benefits.  This one is shared by 2 teachers:grospitch-onenote


  • Max file size is 19MB. I can’t decide if this is truly a disadvantage, as this is really large.  But we already hit the limit with one teacher who was using OneNote.   You can overcome this by uploading those larger files to OneDrive and sharing as a link.
  • If viewing as a “Guest Reader”, files won’t download in IE which is BV’s default browser. The workaround is to open in Firefox or other web browser. I advise my staff to send an email invitation for students and then they can post a guest link for parents.
  • The best user experience is to send the students an invitation.  So teachers need to invite each of them.  A workaround is to have them each add themselves and send.  NOTE:  don’t try to send too many at once. I have witnessed some “crashing” if you try to send one invite to 30 students at once.

When have I suggested this? This works great to display content in any classroom. BVW’s math department is using this the most.  They use one section to post a calendar and then others for notes.  Most of them post the PDF’s of their smart notes and some post class videos.  Social studies is also another good area to use this as they have large quantities of files that they like to share, many of them are PowerPoints.  What is great about it for the teacher is that they can drag and drop content into an organized container.  The learning curve has been with the students, but once they learn how to add it as an app on their phone and other devices, they are liking it as well.

Google Drive Share Folder 


  • You can drag and drop all files into this folder for students to see if you have this drive synced locally.
  • You can share to anyone with a link, so outside of BV is included (parents for example) with no sign in required. Drive offers a wider scope of sharing options.
  • Wider file type acceptance on viewing videos “upstairs”.
  • Real time collaboration is much smoother with larger groups of individuals.


  • When viewing from a computer, files open in a “PDF” style format.  For most file types this is OK; however, PowerPoint files “flatten”, so you can lose the “click-able” functionality.  The workaround is to advise students to download and view.  On a mobile device, the get converted to the comparable app (Docs, Sheets and Slides) which again, losses the “click-able” functionality.
  • Max file size is confusing.  Documents can be up to 50MB, Spreadsheets up to 2 million cells, Presentations (Slides) up to 100 MB, all other files up to 5 TB. So basically, most anything will go up, but there are limits once it is up there when you convert to Docs/Sheets and Slides. Here is a resource:

When have I suggested this?  Our Journalism teacher was provisioned a shared folder for her students and was storing over 1.6 TB of data.  They really needed 24/7 access.  Using the folder uploader in Google Drive in Chrome, I was able to move this content for her class. It took over about 2 weeks time, as I had to leave it uploading overnight for a few of the folders to move up.  The students mainly use InDesign and Photoshop, so there was no reason to keep documents in their native format.  They were already using Google Drive for some other file sharing, so it was the perfect choice.

BV OneDrive Share Folder


  • You can drag and drop all files into this folder for students to see if you have this drive synced locally.
  • Files open and remain in their native form (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
  • We are on Windows 10, so the synced folder is set up and integrated into the applications. This shared folder is already in the correct location if synced and set up correctly.


  • You can only share by link with BV accounts.  You can send an invite to “outside of BV” accounts.  Recipients will be prompted to create a free account.   There does not appear to be a way to share a folder of content to a guest reader like you can in OneNote or in Google Drive.
  • Only certain types will play “upstairs”.  I have verified that MP4 will play in the “upstairs” player.  When it does not play, the experience was not good for the user. It says there was an error trying to play the video instead of explaining that the file type is not supported.  But downloading and playing does work.
  • Max file size is 10 GB.  Not sure that this is a disadvantage?

When have I suggested this?  We had a teacher who needed to share a folder of PowerPoints that were very large (300 MB).  OneNote would not work due to the individual file size limitation.  And Google Drive flattened all content and would not play upstairs due to the large file size. OneDrive was the best option in this scenario.

When will I suggest this?  If keeping files in their native form is important (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).   For Business and ELA courses, for example.

Techie Teacher – Theresa Grospitch


Theresa Grospitch

I think you will all agree that Theresa Grospitch (Mrs. G) is one of the best teachers at BVW.  Her primary focus is to improve her instruction so that her students learn at the highest level possible.  She has made it a priority to be sure that her students have “access to her” not only during class, but also outside.   For many years, she has “video recorded” her instruction and posted these to her website so that her students can view them later.   She uses the built in Smartboard recorder to do a video screen cast. She uses a microphone so that it not only captures all that she writes on her Smartboard, but also her voice.  As her technology integration specialist, I appreciate her incredibly positive attitude through the “trial and error” stages of the technology integration process.  She knows more about playback devices and file types than she should have to know.

One of her latest technology integration accomplishments has been to post her videos to YouTube.  Her goal was to make it easy for her students to access her videos on any device, anytime, 24/7.  She created a YouTube channel with her BV Google Account and posts these to  She uses to create a safe link to her videos, thus avoiding the distracting ads and additional  videos that populate on YouTube.  She also wanted a better platform to post all of this to the Internet.  She also decided to use O365’s OneNote Online because of it’s natural ability to organize everything in a digital notebook.  It makes the “teacher work” of posting to the Internet a BREEZE.  She uses her OneNote desktop application and simply drags any needed files to the page and up they go!  She invited them via email, so her students can view it in a web browser (as shown below), or on a desktop application, on their smart phone or tablet via a free app.  Students at BV also get the desktop version of OneNote for Free (Word, Excel and PowerPoint included) on PC or MAC.  All are included, #DeviceHarmony!

Theresa setup her OneNote as a “Class OneNote”, but at this time she is using it as a “one way street” to disseminate materials.  But knowing Mrs. G, she is being thoughtful about the potential of a “two way street” by using the full features of the Class Notebook Add In tab.  So look for more to come from Mrs. G’s integration!


Theresa recently received the ultimate teacher compliment.   One of her students is taking an advanced math class in college and she and her study group are using her instructional videos.  That is awesome, and so is Theresa!

Keep being Techie, Theresa!