The Monkey ‘Selfie’

While I was building a lesson on plagiarism and citations, I decided that I wanted to expand it and talk with my students in more detail about Copyright and Creative Commons licensing. And then our school librarian shared with me this story: “PETA suit claims monkey holds copyright to famous selfie.” I felt like I had just struck gold! This story is a great classroom discussion starter on the topic of ownership and how sticky this can sometimes be, especially when it comes to digital artifacts.

  • What is your take on this situation?
  • Who do you side with?

Is It Down Right Now?

Is It Down Right Now? – Check the online status of a website.

We’ve all been there: you try to access a website and watch as the progress bar stalls in place.

  • Did I type the website address in correctly?
  • Is my bookmark out-of-date?
  • Is the website down right now?
  • Is my ISP (Internet Service Provider) working and/or is my WiFi okay?

Once you’ve verified that you didn’t “fat-finger” the web address and before you call your ISP, try browsing to ( for short). This site lists 38 popular websites, their online status, and when their status was last verified. If your website isn’t listed, then copy-&-paste the site URL into the box at the top of the page. Once you have determined that a site is indeed down there’s not much you can do about it, but isn’t it nice to know that 1.) it’s not just you, and 2.) you’re not alone.

Is it down right now site screenshot

If you’d like a second opinion, copy-&-paste the website URL into Down For Everyone Or Just Me? ( for short).

Customizing Google Chrome (Hangout Archive)

This is an archived video from a Google Hangout ‘On-Air’ session at GAFE Peak in York, Maine.


In this hands-on session you will learn how to make Google Chrome work for you so that the apps, tools, and resources are easily accessible when you need them. Some of the topics we will cover include bookmark management, accessing tabs from other devices, managing extensions, omnibox shortcuts, and accessing the power of Google Search with your voice. Bring your laptop, mobile device, or Chromebook to the party!

HowTo – YouTube Editor: Audio

This tutorial investigates YouTube’s ‘Audio’ editing tool. YouTube provides a library of 150,000+ music tracks that can be added to a video, and many are ad-free. Browse tracks by musical genre or search by keyword. When using the search tool take note of the two additional parameters:

  1. Only show songs of a similar length to your video.
  2. Show ad-supported songs (i.e. when these songs are used they will cause ads to be displayed during your video).

Chrome, No Internet Access, & T-Rex

If you’re browsing the Internet and suddenly lose your connectionGoogle's T-Rex then your browser will inevitably display a blank page and perhaps some sort of an error message, neither of which does much to console you or provide an explanation for the outage. The Google Chrome browser is no different, although they do sympathize with your predicament. So, as a consolation prize enter the famous dinosaur Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex for short).

When you see the dinosaur, press the spacebar. T-Rex will jump in the air and then start of on an adventure across the Internet desert in a simple side-scrolling game. Use the spacebar to jump over any objects you encounter (mostly cacti) and try to beat your top score.

Losing access to the Internet is not fun, but if you’re using Chrome then at least you can help T-Rex get some exercise while you wait.

Chrome's T-Rex side-scrolling game


Ducksters (Gr. 2-8)

Ducksters – Safe research portal for students

Ducksters is a safe, educational research site designed with students in mind. The site is pretty basic without a lot of flash and fanfare so students can focus more on the content they are consuming. There are no ads on the site.

To get started:

  • Choose from one of the five content category buttons at the top of the site.
  • Choose a more specific topic from the available links in the center square of the site.
  • Use the Search box in the top-right corner if you have a specific topic in mind. Note that while the search results may look like a standard Google Search they are in fact a custom search that shows results only from

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 11.10.45 AM


Searching Twitter for Educational Resources

Twitter-iconI recently read a blog post by Richard Byrne on his FreeTech4Teachers blog (if you haven’t subscribed, you should), about using Twitter to search for educational content, resources, and ideas. First off, you do not need a Twitter account to search their system for resources, so this tip can work for anyone. The key is to take advantage of the built-in indexing system that Twitter uses called hashtags. Hashtags are keyword labels used to mark posts so that they will show up in a search by that keyword. Unlike a Google Search where the results are determined by algorithms, these results come from real people who have found resources and liked them enough that they took the time to share (a.k.a. ‘tweet’) them with others.

Great, but we are still dealing with a lot of information from a lot of sources. How can a teacher focus their search for educational content? Enter this fantastic website by Jerry Blumengarten. Jerry has amassed an impressive list of education-related hashtags to choose from. To speed up your search of Jerry’s page, use your browser’s ‘Find’ command (Ctrl+F for WIN, Cmd+F for MAC) to see if there is a hashtag based on the topic you are interested in. When you find a hashtag that fits, copy-&-paste it into the Twitter search box and let the results start pouring in!


  • If you are a Google Chrome user, then you can customize the omnibox search tool (that big bar at the top of the browser window) to quickly search databases like Twitter. Click here for more info.