Converting AIFF files to MP3 with iTunes

I thought that just like I have needed this, someone else might 🙂

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How to type accents on the mac

Often, Spanish and French students and teachers ask me how to type accents and other punctuation marks on their Macs. Here it is:

´ (accute accent) Opt-e, then vowel
` (grave accent) Opt-`, then vowel
ˆ (circumflex) Opt-i, then vowel
¨ (dieresis) Opt-u, then vowel
˜ (tilde) Opt-n, then letter
Ç Opt-Shift-c     ç Opt-c
¿  Opt-Shift-/     ¡ Opt-1
Œ Opt-Shift-q   œ Opt-q
Æ Opt-Shift-‘     æ Opt-‘

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How to password protect a video using Vimeo

Part of the school’s new social media policy requires you to password protect any images or videos of identifiable students or student work. You may also be aware that YouTube does not readily allow you to password protect videos (you can mark them private, and then invite up to 25 specific users to view the video. You can also make the link unpublished, so that it can’t be accessed by searching you tube—however neither of these options really allow you to make a video open to only people with a password).

Vimeo, an alternative video sharing service does allow you to password protect individual videos, and even complete albums of videos.

Here’s how you do it:

    1. Start by joining Vimeo with a basic account
    2. After registering, click the upload video link
    3. Choose and upload your video.
    4. After uploading, click on the privacy tab in the left sidebar.
    5. Press the radio button for password protected and set a password. It would also be a good idea to unselect the options “allow other people to download source video” and “allow other people to add this video to groups, channels and albums.”

  1. Save your changes with the “save changes” button on the left sidebar and you’re done.
  2. Now you can email people the link to the video and the password to see it, or you can embed it in a blog by clicking on the embed button in the upper right corner of the video.

If you’d prefer video instructions for how to do this, here’s a video I found that explains the process:

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My closet of web bookmarklet ninja tricks

Yesterday, I did a repeat of theWebsurfing Ninja Class I gave last summer. This time, the five attendees were wowed by all the cool things you can do with little javascript bookmarklets, and so I thought I would share my collection of Ninja bookmarklets that I use most often.

  • Diigolet bookmarklet: I’ve become a big fan of Diigo for collecting bookmarks, and now I basically bookmark and tag everything useful I find on the internet. This bookmarklet gives me a quick hotkey to create a diigo bookmark. It’s still a little slower than the my previous favorite app for bookmarking, delibar, but the extra social features of diigo more than make up for the couple of seconds it takes for the javascript bookmarkelt to mark the page. You can follow me (occam98) if you like—I tend to tag a wide range of stuff (all sorts of science, technology, and metacognition).
  • Readability: I read a lot of stuff on the internet. Often, I find the text on a page or article to be so badly formatted that it’s difficult to read. Readability solves this and instantly extracts the text making a single column of gorgeous, easy-to-read text before my eyes. If the article is super long or I want to read it later, I use Instapaper (see below), but for smaller, I want to read this now without all the garbage moments, Readability is a champ.
  • Instapaper: Instapaper is a killer app. How many times have you found a logn article or blog post (perhaps even on this blog) that you want to read later, but you don’t really want to create a bookmark and save it? Instapaper solves that problem by extracting the text and storing it for you to read at your leisure on the instapaper site along with the entire library of articles you’ve saved. Even better, Instapaper for the iPhone/iPad downloads all these articles to your phone/tablet for reading offline in a beautiful interface. This app alone makes me seek out super long pieces to read for enjoyment. Luckily, there’s Longreads.
  • Squrl and Watchlater: Instapaper for videos—what could be better? Many times I find what seems to be a useful video that I just don’t have time to watch in the moment. Squrl and Watchlater are two sites that allow you to collect videos on major video sites (they really only play nicely with YouTube and Vimeo—not your run of the mill flash based video embedded on a news site) and then watch them later on a custom video page, or on their iOS apps.
  • Huffduffer: Instapaer for audio files. Occasionally, I’ll stumble upon some sort of embedded recording of an interview or lecture I’d like to hear. Huffduffer allows you to take that audio and turn it into a custom podcast feed you can susbscribe and listen to on your iPod.
  • Amazon wishlist: This is a great little button that lets you add anything you find on the web to your amazon wishlist. I find it super useful for keeping a wishlist of lab equipment I’d like to purchase at some point in the future.
  • Page Zipper: This bookmarklet brings an end to all those next page clicks you need to press to read mutli-page articles. When you activate page zipper it loads all the next pages and concatenates them into a single easy-scrolling webpage.
  • Print Friendly: I don’t use this that often, but it makes a printer-friendly version of any webpage—stripping away ads, navigation and all clutter from a page you want to print.
  • Subscribe to Google Reader: One click to add a webpage to my Google Reader feed? Yes please. In Google Reader, go to “Settings” and then the “Goodies” tab. There you will find the “subscribe” bookmarklet — right-click and drag the link into your browser’s toolbar.
  • lets you take a webage and draw/write all over it, and then share that edited page with anyone you like. It’s an awesome tool to give feedback on web designs, etc, but I’ve found it equally useful for giving students feedback on blog posts when I need to mark up a specific section/image.
  • Edit Page: Click on this bookmarklet and you can literally type on the webpage as if it were a fully editable document. Change headlines on the NYT, delete images, whatever. As far as I know, you can really save or share your edits (other than printing as a pdf). A language teacher friend of mine said this would be an excellent tool for making small edits to foreign langauge news-papers to allow the teacher to substitute in easier vocabulary for lower level students.
  • X-ray Goggles: This is an excellent new bookmarklet developed by the Mozilla Foundation that lets you see how a website is put together. Click on it and highlight a particular element and it will tell you the type of element it is (<div>,<p>,<a>,<h2>,etc). There are more powerful tools out there to do this like Firebug, but X-Ray goggles is wonderful for its simplicity and great for people who are just getting started with peeking under the hood of websites.
  • Quix: Quix is the swiss army knife of bookmarklets. Activating it pops up a command line window that lets you do all sorts of things with just a few key presses: google image search, amazon search, email a link, and way more.

That’s my list—if you’ve got a super cool bookmarklet or other web ninja trick to share, I’d love to hear about it.

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How to separate audio from a video track in iMovie

Have you ever wanted to view a video without hearing the audio? Have you ever wanted to hear a video without seeing the video? If you have a video (either something of your own or a video downloaded from the internet), here’s how:

In prepping our course feedback for last year’s Spanish PLT, I learned a nifty trick (thanks to the Knowledge Bar’s Kevin and Eddie for talking me through the problem) in iMovie: how to separate a video clip’s audio track from it’s video track.

  1. After importing your video clip into iMovie, select the video clip you wish to detach.
  2. Right click and select “Detach Audio.”
  3. You can now delete one of the tracks (either audio or video), move it to another place in the video timeline or manipulate it.

Here’s how:

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Teachers in Teams–A report from Little Rock

Though this post isn’t particularly helpful to new Mac Users (but I AM typing this on my new Mac), I want faculty to know about the good work your colleagues are doing to learn more about collaborative teacher teams.

Lauren DuPriest, Laura Pattison, Marlene Getzendanner, Sue Davenport, Stacy Chalmers, Julie Moor, Linda Cherniavsky, Patty Johnson, Anna Major, Maureen Miller, Sam Gough, Ellen Vesey, Jim Justice, and I are attending a “PLCs at Work” conference in Little Rock (special thanks to Arkansas native Becky Doster for local recommendations!).

Westminster teachers collaborate every day, and many of us are already involved in teams–such as PLCs–that have a specific focus on student learning and growth. 

Like many of you, we’ve been inspired to focus more on such things as:

  • Learning rather than teaching
  • Collaboration rather than isolation
  • Defining essential learnings
  • Supporting ALL students (not just those in our classes)
  • Using common and formative assessments, research, and data to improve instruction and learning
We can’t wait to get back to school and learn more. I hope you’ll consider listening to some of our experiences–and sharing some of your own. 





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Managing your “Home” screen in Google Docs

If it looks like someone has hacked your GoogleDocs account recently, inserting dozens of files in your “Home” screen, there’s an easy remedy.

Your Grade Chairs have recently shared documents with you for each child in the Junior High.  Actually, they shared a “Collection” with you and are now saving student files to that collection.  As a result, they may appear in your “Home” screen.  That is, until you decide that you don’t want them in your “Home” screen.

To make these files vanish, select them, then right click and select "Don't show in home"
To reduce the clutter of your Google Docs account, follow these easy steps:

  • Put a check mark in the box of the first file you want to remove from your “Home” screen. (Simply click in the box to the left of the file name.
  • If there are multiple files below that one, hold down the SHIFT key and press the down arrow.  This will allow you to select multiple files.
  • When you are done selecting files, right click on these files, opening up an options menu.
  • Select “Don’t show in home.”
  • Files will then disappear from your “Home” screen.  You can always access them by opening the “Collection” that the Grade Chair shared with you.
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