FCIS 2014 Convention: iAnnotate

Presentation materials from the FCIS 2014 Convention can be found in the navigation menu under “Presentation Resources.”

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me or leave a comment!



Automator: Batch Resize Images on a Mac

Automator for Mac

Computers really are magic!  If you are a blogger or a facebooker or one who handles tons of images, this one’s for you!

At the end of this last school year,  a colleague of mine, Jessie, was promoted to an administrative position in another division. Congrats, Jessie!  Consequently, the middle school blog which she authored was left author-less.  Since every blog needs an author, I have been asked to be The Keeper of the Blog, a job that I happily accepted.

Fast forward a few weeks.  As I’m getting ready to draft my first blog post, complete with a photo show, I find myself needing to resize a dozen pictures.  Hm.  It seemed like it should be a simple enough task, but I was having trouble finding an effective way to do it that didn’t take too much time.  Jessie had suggested Pixlr, but I just couldn’t get the hang of it in under 30 seconds (the maximum amount of time I give to most things before I try to find something different…I know, I know…).

So, I did what I always do: I googled it.  After trying out two programs to no avail, I landed upon this magnificent page and met Automator.

Mac’s Automator tool allows you to set up a string of commands that it runs automatically once triggered, no coding required.  So, in under 30 seconds, I was able to create a script that automatically resizes any images I place into a particular folder and then spits out the resized images into another folder.  It handled a dozen images in fewer than ten seconds.  Magic.

There are several great tutorials on how to use Automator, but I am going to send you here: 3 Ways to Easily Batch Resize Images with Automator.  I liked this tutorial because the author gives you the choice of downloading the pre-made scripts or learning how to create it yourself.  (I created one myself because I like to learn how things work, but you may prefer the ready made scripts.)

Actions for Windows PC
Actions for Windows PC

Automator is a Mac only tool, but if you are a Windows user, you can use the Actions app to do the same thing.  Here is a tutorial for automating repetitive tasks on a Windows PC.


Google for Education Exams are No Joke!

I love Google.  I really do!  So, with the encouragement of our Director of Educational Technology, I began the journey to become a Google Educator.  Not a Google Certified Teacher, mind you (though I recently mistakenly tweeted such), just a plain, old Google Educator.  You know, the one where you study five areas of Google, take an exam on each, and get a nifty certificate once you pass all five tests.

I was excited to begin, and, I’ll admit, a bit over-confident.  I’ve been using Google products for years, so what could there be that I didn’t already know?  I figured I’d chew these exams up and spit them out.  As it turns out, there is a lot I didn’t know.

I’m three tests in, and I’ve passed each of them, but not until I’d spent hours skimming and scanning the copious documents associated with each test.  And while I have spent more time than I anticipated on this task, I don’t regret a single minute.  I’ve learned so many new things about using Google Docs and Gmail and Google Calendar that I can’t wait to share with anyone who will listen; I feel more confident in my usage of these programs and in my ability to train others in the way of Google, and I’m starting to see new ways to use these programs in my classroom.

If you use any of the programs in Google’s suite, I highly recommend that you complete the Google Educator training.

It is never too late to learn something new!