What’s going on?

Photo by Jeff Stapleton on Pexels.com

Well, it’s been a spell since I’ve posted anything. To be honest – I haven’t really been feeling the blog too much recently. I’ve had some family members pass away and school and family life has been busy and IT Babble has just sorted fallen off my priority list.

I’m not too sure how much longer I’ll be doing this, but I do know there are at least a few more posts left in me. In fact, I’ve got a big update to my Streaming events saga. If you’re looking for the history check out the posts below.

The big news is the addition of a computer running OBS. I am a total OBS newb and while it is fairly easy program to get the basics down, it is an open source project and there are always some surprises squirreled away. At any rate – keep an eye out for that coming up.

Edmodo – It’s been fun

Well here we are. The end of Edmodo is upon us and I’m a little sad – not gonna lie. For those of you who don’t know what Edmodo is (or was at this point), it was a Learning Management System started way back in 2008. It showed up at the right time.

School Information Systems had gradebooks for teachers, maybe a webpage, but little else. Teachers were clamoring for a system where they could make classes for their students, assign work to them, allow them to turn in said work and most of all communicate in or outside of class. Edmodo. It was simple, it was straightforward and it worked well.

My history

I’ve written a lot about Edmodo and was a big fan of it. I wrote a guide for teachers and published via Scribd and Edmodo found it and put it on the homepage of their new Support site – pretty cool ๐Ÿ™‚

I liked how easy it was to setup. It took the power out of the hands of an administrator and put it in the hands of a teacher, something that was not very common at that time.

It allowed me as a computer teacher to allow students to not only reach out to me during class but also find a way to get assistance after class too. I would set up “virtual office hours” for my students and most of all, other students would be able to help their classmates.

You have to remember the only big social network at the time was Facebook and Twitter was starting to explode and when you’re teaching middle school kids – not everyone had that and even if they did, they may not have had a smartphone to go along with it.

Edmodo became a social network (of sorts) for my classes and it was a little exciting.

What happened?

Money, well lack thereof. They published a FAQ stating that their monetization efforts did not really work and they could not support the site. Edmodo always promised to be free and they honored that promise to the end.

Maybe their free product was a little too good. They eventually offered a Pro version and had a marketplace where you could get third party services to integrate with Edmodo and I think Edmodo would take a cut.

What now?

Well it is a shame they’re gone. Their biggest competitor, Schoology, was gobbled up by PowerSchool and is now exclusively offered through them. Other competitors are paid services and while there is still Moodle that requires time to setup and while it is technically “free” you still need a place to host and someone to manage it.

Google Classroom is free, but you need a Google account. Edmodo and Schoology didn’t really care, in fact Edmodo didn’t need an email which made it so appealing for teachers of younger students.

I have fond memories of Edmodo, but its time has passed.

Sad face indeed ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Google Calendar – Tips & tricks

Google Inc., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Ahhh – Google Calendar – I do enjoy using you. I know that are a lot of different online calendars out there to chose from and many are free, but this has been my mainstay for well over a decade. It is simple to use, you can cram a lot of info into an event, but what I like most about it, is how easy it is to navigate and that’s what this post is all about.

Enable shortcut keys

The first thing you need to do is make sure that you can use shortcut keys. To do this head over to your settings by clicking on the gear near the top right hand corner of your screen.

Then you should see Keyboard shortcuts as an option on the left hand side. Click that and then tick the box to enable shortcuts.

Now when you head back to your calendar, if you type the ? you will see a whole list of them. There’s not a ton, which is good, it makes it a lot easier to memorize. Here are all of them.

My favorites

My personal favorite keys are the navigation keys. You can switch between day, week, month and even year view just by pressing the right key. Check out the video below to see it in action.

Creating a new event

If you’re in Google Calendar go ahead and hit “C” to create a new event. Of course you can just click on the day (and time if you’re on Day view) to create one as well, but what if you’re not in Google Calendar. There is a URL you can type to create an event.

You must be signed into your Google account for this to work and I’ve tested it on Chrome and Firefox and both worked. You just type “cal.new

That’s it and it will create a a new calendar event for you.

I know it is a short post, but I figured it would be a good one to write since we are getting pretty close to back-to-school time ๐Ÿ™‚

All done :)

Even though the school year is officially over, I still have plenty of projects and work to do through the summer. Keep checking into IT Babble every week to see what gets posted. For you younger readers out there. That gentleman above is none other than Roger Mosley who famously portrayed the character TC in the 80’s show Magnum PI.

iPad Pro vs MacBook Air M1

HOT TAKE ALERT!!!!!! The iPad Pro is not a good deal and schools should stay away from it!

I guess that’s not really a hot take but more of an obvious opinion. Let me explain where this is coming from.

My school assigns MacBooks to our staff. We like the build quality, the ease to use and manage MacOS and the fact that it has good battery life and updates don’t seem to break the OS (side glancing at you Microsoft). In short, they are good value for the money and when there are issues, Apple is quick to help us resolve them.

Continue reading “iPad Pro vs MacBook Air M1”

Forky – A review

Yes it is ๐Ÿ™‚

I like mind mapping tools. I use it every now and again to brainstorm solutions to complex issues. It helps get a good view of everything I need to consider and to prioritize which areas to focus on and how.

Forky.io is another in a long line of online options out there for mind mapping. The idea behind this is that it is a simple and collaborative tool that keeps the mind map front and center. No clunky windows, not a lot of unnecessary menus – just your mind map.

Continue reading “Forky – A review”