URL Shortening

Don’t make someone type in a big long URL with lots of funny special characters in it!  Don’t waste the limited characters of a Twitter post with a long URL!  Use a URL Shortener tool!
Do you know how to shorten a URL?  There are several applications to do so  Google Link Shortener,  Tiny URL,  Bitly – give them a try.  Do you have a favorite link shortener?  

While I’m on this subject…how about using QR Codes?  Anyone have ideas of classroom uses?  Do you know how to create and use them?  QR-code-generator   I have used them in creating a building orientation for new students — the QR code had a clue which lead to a place in the building — but I didn’t tell them the exact place…I gave it to them in a riddle format.  I also used QR Codes for a scavenger-type game where they had to find clues hidden outdoors in glad “tupperware” containers.  I did this for a teacher professional development activity.

Career Coach – Career Assessment, Job Postings, Resume Building, Career Planning

CareerCoach Screenshot

It’s one of the best kept secrets!  CareerCoach!  Start by doing a Career Assessment — trust me, take the long version (about 20 minutes).  It will give you insights into the best career opportunities for you.  Search out the careers that interest you under the Career Tab and match those to the Education you need.  The Careers will show you jobs in a 30-mile radius of the Eastern Iowa Community College zip codes.  Want to work somewhere else?  We hope you will want to stay here, but if you don’t — just enter that zip code to see jobs in that area.  Ready to apply for that job?  Then let the Resume Builder get you off to a good start.  Export it to Word for the final polish.

Join the Twitter #EDU255Chat March 7th at 10:15am (Central)

Yes, you can use Twitter to hold a live chat session.  Here are some tips to keep up with the conversation:



  1. Use some Twitter Tool for the chat (I use TweetDeck).  
  2. Introduce yourself
  3. When the question graphic comes up, re-tweet it, quote it, then type A1: #EDU255CHAT – you will use A1, A2, etc to match Q1, Q2, Q3.  #EDU255CHAT is the chat hashtag.  By doing this, you can then go about answering the question by placing your cursor in between the answer identification and the hashtag so you have it correctly formatted for the tweet.
  4. Once you finish the answer to the question, go back and see the responses of others.  Like them, re-tweet them, follow them — just be careful not to go on too many tangents.  I found that I was gravitated to those who re-tweeted the question.  


Twitter Chat Graphic

Track Google Contacts Interactions

It must be my day to find Google gold nuggets!  I accidentally clicked on one of my Google Contact names and found something very useful: a history of interactions!

Some contacts have more information on them than others, and you might have to scroll down to get going, but if you do – you will find a list of the interactions you have had with that contact.

I will be the first to admit that I do a lot of searching through email to make sure I told people things.  Instead of heading for the Search box, now I’m going to head to their contact and see the interactions!  You can click on the emails and it will take you directly to the message.

This looks to be a great timesaver!

Google Contacts Graphic

Google Keep

Google Keep is one of the lesser-known members of the Google Family.  It is similar to MS OneNote or even the Windows Sticky Notes.  When I opened up a document that someone had shared with me today, I followed a pop-up tip that showed me that you could drag and drop comments from Google Keep into the document.  This might be a great way to save common comments and just drag them in.  What an easy way for teachers to grade papers!  Just put common errors or comments into a note in Google Keep, and drag over to grade and comment on the paper!  Give it a try!

Google Keep Graphic

Do Life

I have an addiction. I’m addicted to learning. Not just liking to learn new things, but a real obsession. I found Overdrive at our library. I find wonderful non-fiction audio books that I listen to during my short work commute. The last book I consumed was Do Life. While it talked about a journey from unfit to triathlon and Ironman, it also talked about how to enjoy life to the fullest. Well, last night I looked up the “Couch to 5k” program. Those who know me well know tat I only run if someone is chasing me. This morning was day one of the workout. Doable. I used an Interval training app that I already had on my phone. I got to listen to my new book that talks about queues and rewards, the Power of Habits. Next workout – Sunday. So it begins.

Making Laundry Soap


I have been making my own HE laundry soap for quite some time now. Here us the “recipe” I use;

7 oz finely grated Ivory soap
1c washing soda
1 c Borax
1/2 c OxyClean

(Use 1t per load of above mixture)

My washing soda was a bit lumpy, so I hit the side of the box with a rubber mallet to break it up a bit. I also found this neat vintage grater with star-shaped grating holes. I got a really fine powder when grating the soap. Give it a try, and you’ll never go back. If you want more fragrance. Add a few drops if lemon or your favorite essential oil.

Headmagnet and Quizlet

Headmagnet – Retain What You Have Learned — Just Before You Are Going To Forget It!


Spaced Repetition.

Applying What You Have Learned (As Soon As You Can).

Both are sound advice for lifelong learning.

Check out HeadMagnet.  It uses the same educational philosophy as Rosetta Stone.  It reminds you, just about the time you are going to forget something!  I am using this with my students.  While I can and do create my own HeadMagnets to share, it is more of a learning opportunity to have the students create the HeadMagnets themselves.  No excuse now for not being able to recall vocabulary words or technical terms or acronyms.  Give it a try!



Quizlet also lets you creat lists of things to remember.  It has an audio feature that will read the text to you.  It also has the ability to several ways to study the flash cards you or others create including a “Space Race!”  As with HeadMagnet, it is really beneficial if the students are creating and sharing their own lists.

Have any other tools that you use either personally or with your students?  Please let me know by registering and posting a comment.

Web Development – Introduction

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the long-time standard for creating web pages.  That grew into the eXtensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML).  The newest draft is HTML5 – some people like to drop the 5; but many like to distinguish from old and new.  It is like when our Business Computer Programming became Microcomputer Information Technology.  That was important because we were trying to differentiate from a mainframe-based curriculum to one of microcomputers (does anyone still call them that?).  Because PCs are no longer the “new” thing, we dropped the “Micro” and became Information Technology.  I think the same will happen with HTML/HTML5.

I was teaching classes that used gopher, usenet, and telenet — before the graphical browsers.  AOL, CompuServe, and Prodigy were the three big players that brought the GUI browsers to the public.  Yes, I did use Mosaic, Netscape, and now use mainly Firefox (sometimes Chrome) — IE, only if nothing else works (or for Microsoft sites).

It is important to keep current with what is happening in the IT area, and Web Development is no exception.  The W3C is a good site to monitor about what is going on with the standards.  One of the big topics is Universal Access — Section 508 of the Federal rehabilitation Act makes us very aware that we need to keep accessibility in mind in our web page design.

No matter how a website looks — people come to it for good, reliable, accurate information.CONTENT IS KING! But, good design is very important, too.  It is especially important to be able to find the content you are looking for.

“I need a picture of the knee to put in my Anatomy and Physiology report.  I’ll just right-click it, save image as,…there!  I’ve got it!”  WRONG — unless the content-creator and owner has given you permission — you are not allowed to do that without correctly citing the work and following copyright law.  Creative Commons was developed for the kind of sharing that the web encourages.

The internet does not exist with webpages alone, but a huge computer network is involved. This network consists of computers, storage devices, routers, switches, etc.  The connection of your computer through its browser to another computer on the internet is called the client-server model.  The server has information that is transferred and interpreted by your browser to display web pages.