“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.” —Bill Gates

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Automator to the rescue!

Just last week I was in need of separating each of the pages of a PDF file into individual JPG files. Hmm...how? My first thought was that I'd have to take a snapshot of each page. I'd probably have to resize the page view so it could fit on the screen, then take the snapshot, and hope the quality of the image wasn't that bad. But there were too many pages...there must be a better way! I searched Google and sure enough, I found the answer!

Automator! I've had the Automator application for the longest time but had never even taken a peek at it. The solution I found involved using Automator. I decided to give it a whirl. Turns out it's not complicated at all. Below you will find the steps I took to create my routine. 

1 Create a new workflow

2 Ask for Finder Items

3 Render PDF Pages as Images
4 Move Finder Items
5 Hit Run...and see the magic!

6 Check the Log for work report until it says completed.

I saved the routine for future use and I've also created other routines, just as helpful, that I will share at another time. Here's a quick tutorial to get you started with Automator.

If you have any experience with Automator that has made your job easier, I'd love to hear about it!



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Password Protect your MS Office Docs

When talking with parents about safety and security, they have had concerns regarding the privacy of individual documents. I put together this quick guide to show how to add a password to a Microsoft Office document when opening or modifying it.


1. Go to Word-Preferences

2. Enter Security

3. Write passwords to Open and/or Modify

(If you select “Read-Only”, the person opening it up will not be able to make modifications to the document.)


1. Enter File-Passwords

2. Write the password to Open and/or Modify


1. Enter File-Passwords

2. Choose the option to write the password to Open and/or Modify

Now, when you open up, for instance, a protected Word document, you will see something like this:

If you have any comments or want to share more suggestions, feel free to add a comment.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Safe Searching for Kids

Teachers and parents have asked me for recommended search tools for kids. I have compiled a list of search tools designed for kids. They are all friendly options for young students.
We all know that the number one search tool is Google. Fortunately it has the option to turn on Strict Filtering (it works for images too) and as a parent, you might also want to lock these preferences.

Some basic recommendations I make to kids so they can try to avoid encountering inappropriate material while searching are:
  • Don’t make-up web sites that you type directly in the address box. For example, the child is looking for information about pandas. He types www.pandas.com. Yes, it sometimes works, but most often it’s not what you were looking for.
  • Use correct spelling. The common typos lead you to inappropriate sites.
  • Use keywords. Narrow down your search and make it more specific to the topic you need.
  • Use phrases. Be more specific by using phrases rather than isolated words.
  • Prefer web sites that end with .org, .k12, or .gov. They are better trusted if they have an organization or institution that is backing them up.
Nothing can replace adult supervision, so stay close and aware of what the young learners are doing.