Friday, July 21, 2017

Google Earth Review

Google has released their latest version of Google Earth for the Chrome Browser in April of 2017. This newer version is not a downloadable program, but rather website application. We will be discussing past versions of Google Earth, the differences, and the pros and cons for each version. 

Google has simplified their look and interface for quick navigation.

 Click to try it out!

Side by side comparison of all 3 Google Earth Versions:

Google Earth Desktop
Pros: Powerful program that has a ton of features and hidden easter eggs that make it the powerhouse it is. It loads the fastest of the three, has all the advanced features such as Google Ocean View, Google Space: Moon, Mars, Sky, Etc., Google Earth Historical Timeline, Google Earth Sunlight, and so on. (Which are all discussed in the lesson below.)
Cons: Only available for download, graphics load fast, but it seems that Google has not updated their Google Maps graphics back to Google Earth thus resulting in a more dated look.

Google Maps Earth / Satellite View (Online in any web browser)
Pros: The most user friendly address and direction search available anywhere. There are many, many options to use such as Map & Earth View, Google Earth / Satellite View, Street View, Time Machine. (Which have also been discussed in the first lesson of this unit.) The ability to switch between all these options makes Google Maps one of the best Go-to sites for any geography lesson. The landscape was originally just an extension of Google Earth’s landscape rendering which has been updated more recently than the original desktop version of Google Earth.
Cons: It has the middle-tier graphics for the landscape which also makes it the longest load time out of all three versions while using the Earth / Satellite view.

Google Earth for Google Chrome
Pros: A nice addition to internet based applications. You can use this with any device that has Google Chrome installed on it. There is also an Android exclusive that mirrors the same application. It has the best graphics of all the three and loads the second fastest out of all three versions. The landscape appears crisper and moving on the map does not seem like a chore compared to Google Maps Earth view version. The interface is simplified for users who are just beginning to explore with Google Earth. It also includes Pegman for entering into Street View which was imported from Google Maps.
Cons: This is the most limiting version of Google Earth available. When you hear the name, “Google Earth” you may think of the powerful reputation it carries because of all the tools available and the manipulation that can be done. So when you enter into something that carries that same name and is not, you may be left a little disappointed like I was. It’s a nice start, but Google Earth for Chrome is essentially a polished version of Google Maps Earth view, and that’s it.

Google has mentioned that several of Google Earth’s powerful tools are missing such as:
Measuring distances                  Historical Imagery (Timeline)                   Time Animations
GPS tracking                            Flight Simulator                                     Tour Guides
Google Earth for the desktop is our recommended version for those who have the devices and operating systems that are able to download and run the program for a fully immersive experience. Google Maps Earth view is an amazing option for all geography or map related lessons, while offering many useful options for an internet based experience, you will need patience for it to load. Google Earth for Chrome is a wonderful addition to those using Chromebooks so users can enjoy what makes Google Earth stand out, but really lacks the powerful tools to cater to the many, many possibilities of exploration. Hopefully in time, Google will add these features in, but until then it is just a nice visual explorer.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

How to Secure Your Google Account

Google hacked? Received a random e-mail from a co-worker about a shared Google Doc?
Did you find a lot of reading from forums to blogs, but still not sure which to trust or use?

We can help.

Our How to Secure Your Google Account video guide will have you back to using your Google account and Docs in no time!

The video is broken up into three parts:
1. What is the Google Docs Scam?
2. How can I fix it if I've been hacked?
3. Additional Google Security Settings to Implement

As a middle school Technology teacher, I shared and demonstrated many of the same resources provided in this video. I hope this video helps you gain a better understanding of what just happened this past week while also assisting you in helping others or yourself, if you have been a victim of this recent scam.

Click on the video below to begin a step-by-step tutorial through this year's "Google Scam".

From the author: "I apparently need to upgrade my screen recorder because my last word was cut off.
For those of you dying to know what my last word was....the word was "...scammed." #soclose

Here are the links used in the video: 

USA Today 
Google Docs warning: There's a phishing scam going around 
By Jeffereson Graham and Brett Molina 

This sophisticated phishing scam has the entire internet terrified By Chris Mills

The Electric Educator
How to protect your Google Account By John R. Sowash 

Share this video with your family, friends, and co-workers so they can stay protected!


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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Free TpT Borders

We would like to thank all our followers, visitors, and those working in the field of education! It's not easy juggling all the lessons, behavior plans, staff meetings, continuing education, and the list goes on. On top of that, you may be one of the many teachers or individuals that has taken the leap to create products on Teachers Pay Teachers or TpT for short. We want to pay it back to all those who post wonderful advice, guides, and most of all your experience!

Please enjoy 3 unique borders in PNG format.
Each border comes with transparent and white backgrounds.
*Click on the frame to claim your free borders!

Thank you for your continued support and happy teaching!
-Mr. and Mrs. Rooster

Monday, February 13, 2017

Technology Lesson - Google Maps GPS Buddy

*New Technology Lesson!

Google Maps - GPS Buddy is exactly what it sounds like. Students work in pairs while one acts as a “GPS” reading off directions to a classmate who is the “driving” on Google Maps. Map reading is a critical life skill that sometimes gets overlooked, what with our smart phones and GPS devices. Students need to have spatial awareness and geographic awareness.

I developed this lesson to compliment any Google Maps or map reading lessons or activities. When I taught this lesson to my middle school students, they were engaged and stayed on task. They were not trying to get out of the activity, but rather determined to reach their destinations. With predetermined address directions, I had students enter in the physical addresses and relay the information to their partner. The driver would in turn have only the starting location and would need to follow their partner’s directions. The driver would have the benefit of asking their “GPS” roads nearby -- (quite an advanced feature if you think about it.)

I expanded upon this idea with seven destinations and an Exit Slip to check for students’ understanding. This lesson is meant for 3rd -12th grade…yes you saw that right. The beginning addresses are simple enough for the younger grades to try out and explore, but with each round, they get progressively harder. I would cap off the 3rd-5th at about round 4, but rounds 5-7 offer quite a bit of challenges even for high schoolers! I included QR-Codes for the younger grades so they can jump right into the action of reading directions instead of worrying about whether they typed the address correctly or not. Granted, for the older grades I recommend students typing in the physical address.

There are four delivery methods for participating in this activity:
-Type physical address
-Click on provided URL
-Type in the Bitly shortcut URL
-Use a QR Code scanner application.

The activity is divided into two players: Player 1 starts as the driver, Player 2 starts as the GPS. Once the driver reaches his or her destination, the players will switch roles, but don’t worry! All rotations are already made on each player’s file. Meaning, you hand Player 1 his or her file, they have everything they need for the entire activity! No confusion. No chaos.

The teacher “Cheat Sheet” makes pacing this lesson a breeze! This file includes all seven addresses and hyperlinks to the driving directions so the teacher can help any student at a moment's notice.

All of our technology lessons are aligned with Common Core and ISTE Standards.
Check out the lesson here:

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

This workstation does not meet minimum requirements for student testing. Contact your proctor or MAP System Administrator for Help. NWEA

This workstation does not meet minimum requirements for student testing. Contact your proctor or MAP System Administrator for Help. NWEA

If you are seeing these horrifying words on your computer screen, chances are you are trying to get your computers ready for your MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) testing. The problem is, your computer is now no longer supported.

What's the deal?
We have testing that HAS TO BE DONE and are budget can't afford new computers on such a short notice! In fact, after talking with a Tier-2 Specialist on the MAP technical support, they stated that last year (2015-16) upgrading to Windows 7 was recommended; this year it is REQUIRED.

This means if your entire school computer lab still has XP or Vista running, MAPS no longer works on these operating systems. Notice the key words, "operating systems."

As the IT Specialist at my school, I am here to give hope for those in a REALLY TOUGH position. There is way to use the same computers for your testing this year, no catches, gimmicks, or  money either! However, you will need time. Since MAPS no longer supports the older operating systems, what if we gave your computers a NEW operating system? Some questions you may have: "Do I need to reformat all my hard drives? Find new drivers for a new OS?" Answer: "Nope."

What you will need is the brilliant software from Cub Linux.
Cub Linux is a powerful, simple Chromebook-like interface. That said, this is NOT an official Google product. There are definitely similarities, but the biggest connection is the web browser, "Chromium". This looks, feels, and runs exactly as the Google Chrome browser, but goes under the "Chromium" title and is helped with Ubuntu in the Linux environment.


Read the reviews of the best Chrome OS's and this one is sure to come up!
If you've heard of Chromixium OS, guess is now Cub Linux!

Follow the tutorial they provide to create your bootable OS or USB. It comes in 32-bit and 64-bit.

Things you will need:
-Cub Linux Download (32 or 64-bit)
-Bootable OS DVD or USB of Cub Linux
-If you want Dual boot, Cub Linux does a great job offering this during the install. Some hard drives will need to be manually partitioned if Cub Linux doesn't recognize during the install.
I recommend creating several DVDs of the install disk so you don't have to wait for every single one.

Once installed, you will see an App in the Google Store for MAPS NWEA testing. Install the App and it will be treated as a shortcut to the testing website.

*Note the MAPS app in the Google Store does not lock the browser completely; it can be exited out of, but a half-step is better than no step at all.

Comment below on your progress or any questions you may have! You can send us an e-mail at for any questions about this process or to let us know that you found this post helpful! Take care and good luck testing this year!
-Mr. Rooster

Running Cub Linux Desktop on a partitioned Windows Vista PC
Cub Linux runs exactly like a Chromebook but for you PC! Google Apps, Classroom, Drive, Everything works just as good as on a real Chromebook!

28 Computers running dual-boot: Windows Vista & Cub Linux,
 1 Win 7/Cub Linux

MAPS (NWEA) is NOW working on all previously "outdated" machines.
Cub Linux: Save your school a lot of $$ and headache this year!
Install it for FREE!

Share this post with others who may need it!

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Best Online File Converter...Zamzar

Have a file that you need in a different format, but your program doesn't offer it?
Maybe you want your PDF converted into a Word document? is a tried and true converter.
I have used this since 2008 and they have only improved their FREE services!

They offer a ton of options to fit just about any need. Their website tells us:

How do I use it?
Simply follow their easy step-by-step tabs:

Did you see that? You get the converted file sent to your e-mail! It doesn't get easier than this.
Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Free House Warming Gift!

Welcome to our 1st post! Today, we have opened the door to a very big world out there and we are eager to share some of our computer related knowledge and hopefully a little humor along the way.

Let's just get down to it. When someone thinks of a housewarming gift, you think it's for the person who just moved into a new home and blah, blah, blah. We would rather skip the formalities and instead, break a little from tradition and give YOU the housewarming gift! Take a look below for our gift to you for visiting our blog! Jack Rugile over at has done a wonderful job bringing nostalgia back to us!

As you can see, not only do you get to re-live your childhood, but you now get to save your masterpieces and send them to your friends and loved ones! The smooth controls make this a fun and enjoyable experience for anyone of any age! We just loved this find and wanted more people to know about this little gem in the digital world!

Check back weekly! Leave a comment for anything you would like to see in the future!