Technology Update #28

In this Issue

It may be a cold week complete with ice, but this issue of the Westside Technology.Update is red hot and jam packed! We’ll start off by taking a look at how to free up space on your MacBook using Google Drive, discover tips and tricks for iPad and then take a look at great example of technology use. These examples are designed to showcase the awesome uses of technology by teachers of all grade levels. Hopefully you see something that you’ll be able to implement in YOUR classroom.

Thought of the Week

By Paul Lindgren and Matt Lee
When Marty McFly first shows up on the 1950’s Doc Brown’s doorstep in the 1985 classic Back to the Future, the eccentric inventor immediately launches into a mind-reading session wearing an elaborate electronic and pneumatic contraption. After several failed attempts Doc exclaims: “Do you know what this means? It means that this #$&$@ thing doesn’t work at all!”

Wouldn’t we, along with all other educators, love to peer directly into the minds of our learners during instruction? We could see what they understand and what they don’t understand. We could see both their flashes of intuition and their stumbling, naive misconceptions. With that ability we could immediately diagnose problems and formulate remedies when needed—greatly streamlining the instructional process.

Read the rest of the story on Area 66.

The Doctor Is In

Question: I’m running out of space on my MacBook. Help! What can I do?


First, don’t panic! The message that your computer is out of space isn’t the end of the world, and there are several work around to free up storage. With the move to the 128gb drive this year, running out of space is becoming more common. We’ll have more posted soon on Area 66, but the first step might be to check out Google Drive.

In addition to email, Google also provides UNLIMITED storage for Westside students and staff. Google Drive storage is also automatically backed up and secured so you can feel safe keeping your Westside documents online provided you follow the best practices in document sharing.

For the best experience, access Google Drive through a web browser (i.e., Chrome or Safari). Once you upload a document to Drive, you can delete it from your computer, freeing up space.

When you upload a Microsoft Office file (i.e., Word, PowerPoint, Excel) Google can either convert it to a Google File, OR better yet keep it as a Microsoft file. If you subsequently download the Microsoft file and re-upload with the same name, Google is smart enough to not create a duplicate, but rather to keep it the same file and make it a new revision. If need be, you can revert it back to a previous version.

To tell Google to convert Office files or not, go to There will be a check box titled, “Convert Uploads”. If you wish to keep the files in their native Office format, leave that unchecked.

Tips and Tricks

For this week’s tips and tricks, we’re going to focus on two quick tips to help you get the most out of your iPad and iOS 11.

Create PDF from a webpage on iPad

It’s free and easy to create a PDF from a web page on your iPad! Why PDF a web page? Saving a webpage as a PDF is a great way to archive it for later, off line access, and to share it with student’s who might not have internet access at home.

When you are on a webpage that you want to save as a PDF, tap on the share button. Then, swipe the lower row until you see the option to create PDF. If you don’t see it, you may need to tap on the three dots/more button and enable it.

One you tap on ‘Create PDF’, you have the option to markup the PDF, save the PDF to Google Drive or the Files app, or send to any other app that you have on your iPad.

Mark up screen shot on iPad

You can also markup, or draw on PDFs and screen shots. After creating a PDF (see above) or screen shot (hold down the sleep/wake button and the home button), tap on the pencil icon in the top right corner. You will then be presented with a tool bar with markup tools. Draw, highlight and crop at will!

After you finish marking up the image, you can either save it to your camera roll, or use the share button to send to other services.


After reviewing the results of the 2018 Strategic Plan Survey, one piece of feedback we received was that as a whole, district staff would like to see examples of their peers using technology in their classroom. In issue 27, I started the first of a multi-part series to showcase the great things that are happening in our buildings with technology. If you have an example that you would like to share, let me know and you may be featured in a future issue!

Trello is a web service that students and staff can access using their WCS Google log in. While there is a paid version, the free version will do everything that you need. Trello allows you to create and organize ‘cards’ with tasks on them between different lists. It’s a great project management tool for students and staff alike. WHS teacher Jeanette Kleppinger uses it in her classes to great success. Personally, the Westside technology team used it to plan and implement the 2017 technology refresh. It was a great way to keep everyone on the same page and provide accountability.

Google Expeditions are a great way to take your students on a virtual field trip. Many elementary teachers use Expeditions on student iPads to allow their classes to explore different geographic regions after studying different habitats. At WMS, social studies teachers had students explore tenement housing and at WHS, students used their own smart phones and school provided viewers to explore ancient civilizations. More than just social studies and language arts, Expeditions can also be used in other subject areas! For example, in science class, students can take a tour of the human heart!

Math and iPads Technology can provide a tremendous benefit for students in a variety of content areas, including math. As reported by an elementary teacher, “For math, I send out the notes for the students to put into Notability where they can annotate and organize them if they choose. Students can also use Kahn Academy to practice skills/concepts at a level that matches their MAP RIT score.”

Tech in Physical Education iPad’s and student smartphones can enhance learning in PE class. WHS physical education teachers have students video themselves performing a series of weight lifting exercises. Students then import the video onto their laptops where they annotate and critique their technique. It’s a great way for them to think critically about how they are lifting and it provides artifacts that demonstrate their learning and progress.


As always, if you ever have any technology integration related questions, please let us know. We are happy to work with you to design lessons, develop workflows and even come into your classes and work with you and your students.