Snag A Free Chromebook(and some memory) With A New Samsung Galaxy S9 — Chrome Unboxed – The Latest Chrome OS News

You read that right. From now until August 13th, Samsung is giving away a $200 credit towards a new Chromebook with the purchase of any Galaxy S9 or S9+ smartphone. That means picking up the Chromebook 3 for pretty much free or a Chromebook Pro for only $399! To make the deal even sweeter, Samsung…

via Snag A Free Chromebook(and some memory) With A New Samsung Galaxy S9 — Chrome Unboxed – The Latest Chrome OS News

The Nature of Summer

Every day of summer vacation includes some professional time. I’m not one to take the summer off. Even if I could truly take the summer off, I’m sure I’d fill my time with professional development or a project of some kind. I’m not good at vacating!

While summer gives me time to regroup and change up my routine, it also allows me time to reflect on what’s truly important in my career as well as my home life. What parts of your work life spill over into your home life? If you’re an educator, then probably a lot.

beach during sunset
Photo by b. on

Educational professionals lead a different kind of life. There is a constant need to reinvent oneself as technology changes, curriculum changes, schools change and demands change. It can cross into your personal life in such a way that you never truly feel like you are away from your job.

So how do you balance it? Every person does it differently, but I find that I have to still teach all summer. Maybe you teach at a summer camp. Maybe you give professional development sessions to other teachers. Maybe you teach your own kids. Or maybe you teach yourself new things. I try to combine as much of that as I can but on a less demanding schedule than the traditional school year.

I teach teachers online for the New England Institute for Teacher Education. Two of my established technology classes are running concurrently right now. The summer is the only time to run two at the same time while working full-time! This adventure is full of new things every time I do it. These teachers find new angles that I hadn’t even thought of! I get a “2-fer” – I get to teach and I get to learn at the same time. Now that’s a great summer!

The nature of my summer might look a lot different than yours. Yes, sometimes I long to go take a really long walk on a beach somewhere, but my family has other demands that just don’t allow for much of that. It’s all good, though. I’m able to help them out and still get to do something I love: educate and learn.

How about you? What’s your “Nature of Summer”?


Learning Never Stops

Those of you that know me well know how much I love what I do. I may be well-aged, but my learning doesn’t stop. I am challenged daily by my colleagues to be better. Twitter, Professional readings, workshops, collaborative interaction and the like make me realize just how little I really know.

woman sitting on chair using black ipad
Photo by on

Last week Marlo Gaddis, Interim Chief Technology Officer and Senior Director for Instructional Technology and Library Media Services for the Wake County Public School System challenged her followers to read professional articles for an hour a day. At first, I thought, I can barely find an hour to sleep! But as the enormity of what she had said sunk in, I realized that not only should I read professional material an hour a day, but I must read this way.

Education and technology change constantly. Sometimes daily or hourly. It is the responsibility of every professional educator – and especially those in coaching roles – to remain invested in expanding our knowledge base. Summer break is the perfect time to begin this new habit.

While I am not yet devoting a full hour daily while on vacation, my goal is to use technology to help me develop this habit. Daily Wunderlist and Google Calendar reminders, using Feedly to curate relative content and posting via Buffer to spread that knowledge to the greater community is now in my daily routine.

So now it’s my turn. I am challenging you to invest some time in your professional development on a daily basis. Whether you are a teacher, business professional, homeschool parent, chef, stay-at-home parent, a student or whatever your job is, you can benefit from spending some time reading about your profession and the areas that affect your situation. Dig deeper. Expand your circle of influence. Join me on the journey!

5 steps to guarantee your PD for PBL is on point

What kind of professional development (PD) is needed in order for project-based learning (PBL) to be done well, spread throughout a school, and stick? Short answer: a lot. Long answer: participant-driven, interactive, ongoing, job-embedded, and… a lot.

Source: 5 steps to guarantee your PD for PBL is on point

Does Online Education Help Low-income Students Succeed?

From the start, access has been the defining achievement of online learning. Or so I thought. For a couple of decades, I championed online learning for its ability to uproot entrenched ideas in education, especially by engaging students in active learning, a pedagogical style rarely practiced on campus.

Source: Does Online Education Help Low-income Students Succeed?

Even “Littles” Can Use Google Tools

As the end of the school year approaches, I find myself feeling as if there was so much more I could have and should have done. The kids have been so inspiring this year. My student Tech Team was awesome. My Morning Show news crew have become completely self-sufficient. Oh, what even the youngest students can do!

Slide with cat eyes

I use Google Classroom for all of my students (children and adults). My 2nd graders created e-books using Google Slides. Included in that project was masking and cropping images, using capital letters, punctuation and spelling. I’m always amazed at their creativity and how they use their research in a meaningful way. Many of them used Audacity to do an audio version of their “books” so that it could be published for non-readers. Teaching UDL (Universal Design for Learning) to 7 and 8-year-olds. Easy!

Never underestimate what Elementary students can do. They are used to finding ways to be creative if they’re given the tools to create with. Need more ideas about how to use Google Suite of tools with “Littles”? Drop me a line or join one of my summer online classes!

New England Institute for Teacher Education | Technology for Educators Course
Barbara Vinal is a Google for Education Certified Trainer

Developing Your PLN (Professional Learning Network)

The school year is coming to a close for most of us. As I look over what I planned to do this year and what I did this year, I see that mostly I was on track. I do see that I didn’t write enough blog posts, attend enough Twitter Chats or go to enough off site professional development. While my goals are always lofty, that’s exactly what they are: goals.

I did, however, still spend a significant amount of time both giving and receiving professional development (PD). When I begin to sum up all that I’ve accomplished in a year, I’m still amazed that there was enough time to sleep a little. (Not on the job, however!)

While many teachers feel like they don’t have time for PD outside of the school day, I contend that using social media works well, if not better, for this purpose. Twitter has become the go-to place for getting information live time from anywhere in the world. There are so many Twitter Chats that you can take part in. If you don’t know how to take part in a Twitter chat, come on over and see me this summer in my Professional Learning Course: Technology for Educators with The New England Institute for Teacher Education.

Come join me this summer!

Google Home Now Plays Movies

In what can only be considered a glaringly obvious omission, Google Home has not been able to spin up content from your Google Play Movies up to this point. Announced over 2 years ago, Google Home has somehow been incapable of one of the features you most definitely would have expected it to be equipped…

via Google Home Can Finally Cast Content From Google Play Movies — Chrome Unboxed – The Latest Chrome OS News

Detachable Chromebooks – Your Thoughts?

We’ve told you they were coming. We’ve told you there were multiple detachable Chromebooks in the works. We just didn’t know when exactly they would break cover or who would be the first to market. Those questions have now been answered, and we couldn’t be more delighted to share with you all the fantastic details!…

via HP Unveils The World’s First Detachable Chromebook — Chrome Unboxed – The Latest Chrome OS News

Do You Have The Chrome OS Bug?

At the end of 2017, an odd bug showed up in Chrome OS that caused some issue with users’ ability to control the size of elements on the screen in Android apps. For many of us, until the bug began being pointed out, we didn’t even think about resizing the display for Android apps. After…

via Bug Fix: Android App Display Size Fixed In Chrome OS 65 — Chrome Unboxed – The Latest Chrome OS News