Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.
More techie tips for teachers
June 18th, 2008

Had a great lunch today as once again staff gathered together to share their tips and tools. It has been a fortnight since our first get together. Today a variety of tools were shared… from SnapNDrag to Time Machine. From GarageBand to Wikis. There was a nice roll up of staff keen to check out new ideas. There was Lynda, Louise, David, Marion, Michelle, Clare, Steve, Peter, Wayne, Frank, Maria, Judy, Wayne and myself.

Today we were joined by Maria, Clare and Frank

David showed how incredible GarageBand can be for creating music tracks. Imports, edits and quick mixes were ably demonstrated by David. This worksheet for creating podcasts in Garageband will provide some good ideas regarding use of the tool. David pointed out how useful GarageBand was in the teaching of music and languages for example. Frank also indicated the value of GarageBand for recording and editing speeches given by students.


David also took the opportunity to show a tool that teachers would find useful if they ever need to de-stress a little. Goodness knows teachers need to chill out from time to time. Anyway, the site is Brain Train. There are a variety of activities that can give your brain a bit of a workout and take your mind of matters for a moment. Yes!

Brain Train

Lynda shared two of the most interesting features of the Mac OSX Leopard operating system… Spaces and Time Machine.

Spaces allows you to run multiple desktops so that you can spread out your running applications, files and documents across several screens. It allows you to have an uncluttered desktop. A simple keyboard shortcut will take you from one screen to the next. You may have a browser running in one space, image processing apps in a second space, word documents in a third space and iTunes in a fourth space. There is a good demo of Spaces by David Sparks of MacSparky fame on YouTube. David has quite a few Mac “How To” videos on his macsparydotcom YouTube page.


Time Machine is way overdue on the Mac. It is like Restore in the Windows environment. You can schedule backups of your data to an external hard drive. Time Machine has an excellent interface that allows you to track back in time to a particular back up date and restore your data as you wish.

Time Machine

Louise shared SnapNDrag with the group. This is an excellent screen capture tool for the Mac that allows you to programme your screen grabs. You can name the cpatures on the fly, alter the file type output and retreive captures made earlier. Very versatile.


Coincidentally, another collague, Kevin, shared a nifty little screen grab tool called SharpShooter that allows you to name your screen grabs on the fly. I like it! Louise also mentioned an excellent screen capture tool from the wonderful team that created Comic Life. It is called Skitch! Check it out

David raised a question about creating “How To” documents with labelled images that include arrows and the like. I mentioned how I like to use Comic Life to create How To documents like this one. Wayne added that he uses the clip art and symbols and in Microsoft office to create his documents. Lynda mentioned that she uses Keynote to create her how to documents. Interesting. That needs checking out.

Comic Life

I shared Wikispaces with the group and also shared some excellent wikis created by eduactors around the globe including:

Moving Forward
Mobile Technology In TAFE
Be an eduBlogger
Collaborative Learning
Mister Mak’s Learning Wiki
School 2.0
Web 2.0 Tutorial

Wikispace Example

There was one interesting observation… as we connected our Mac laptops to the projector VGA cable we utilsed at least three different dongles depending on the model Mac that we used. Apple, please get your act together and design a standard fitting.

Once again, a great lunch was had by all. Stay tuned for our next gathering or simply subscribe to this blog via email or through an RSS feed.

How did I create this blog post? This blog post was created using WordPress. The web browser was Flock. The images were captured using SharpShooter and processed using Adobe Photoshop Elements. The images were uploaded to my web host, ICDSoft, using CyberDuck. The digital photographs were taken with a Casio EX-760 digital camera that resides in my pocket. The digital photographs were uploaded to my MacBook Pro using a MobileGear USB 2.0 card reader.

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