Tech Rav
Discussions of Jewish EdTech

Friday, March 19, 2010

Creating protected stationary in Word 2007

I have been working on creating a protected  stationary in Word 2007. The challenge is to protect the section of your document which has  your stationary, a company letterhead for  example, so it cannot be tampered with, while  allowing complete formatting for pasting text  to the rest of the document. You can do this by  making 2 sections to your document, the  letterhead section and then the rest of the  document. You would protect the Letterhead  section while allowing everyone to edit the rest  of the document.

Here is a method that I have discovered with  step by step instructions below.

1 . First create your letterhead and paste it into  the top of the document. Do not use headers  since you probably only want your letterhead  on the first page and you want normal margins  for following pages. Then press the enter key to  go to the next line of your document.

2 . Next in the Home menu on the Paragraph tab  click "Show/Hide" (last icon on top right) to show  your paragraph marks and hidden symbols. You  will need this to keep track of your section  breaks.

3 . Now go to the Page Layout menu and in the  Page Setup tab, select Breaks and then click on  Continuous. This creates a new section on the  same page.

4 . Go to the Review menu and select Protect  Document and click on Restrict Formatting and  Editing.

5 . Put your cursor on the line with the Letterhead  and then under item 2. Editing Restrictions   select "Allow only this type of editing in the  document:" and select "No changes (Read only) " from the drop down menu. This will lock your  letterhead from editing.

6 . Move your cursor to the next section of your  document (below the section break) and under  "Exceptions (optional)" on the right hand side  select "Changes: Everyone". This will allow  everyone to edit the second part of your  document.

7 . On the bottom right tab under item 3. Start  enforcement, click "Yes Start Enforcing  Protection".

8 . You may add a password (required to stop  protecting) if you like.

9 . You can now paste text to your document in the  area highlighted in yellow while your  letterhead is protected from all changes.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What I learned at Smart Board Certification Training

I just finished an intensive 3 day Smart Notebook Certification Training. As a Smart Board user and teacher trainer for 3 years, I did not expect to get that much new information from this training although I wanted the certification and to make sure that I knew about the latest features so I could effectively support the teachers in my school. I was pleasantly surprised by how much new knowledge I gained and how many practices which I vaguely knew about I saw demonstrated effectively at the training.

Here is a list of Smart Board tips and tricks in no apparent order that I learned at the workshops.
  • In Smart Notebook, on the menu you can select View<"Show all links when page opens" so that all objects containing links will stand out on the page so you can quickly find them on each page.
  • When searching for an object like a picture, flash animation, or video in the Smart Notebook gallery search without an “s” at the end of a word. For example, search for “frog” instead of “frogs”.
  • The Lesson Activity Toolkit in the Smart Gallery is a great resource for interactive Flash based activities. Search for "vortex" and you will find a category or image sorting activity where correct answers are sucked into the swirling "vortex" while wrong answers are thrown back, a pretty neat game for students of all ages.
  • In Powerpoint, there is a Black command menu so that your slide goes dark so people will only focus on you and what you're saying. In Smart Notebook versions before 10.6 you can write on this blackened PowerPoint slide in a different color (red for example) and your writing will appear on the blackened slide.
  • Also when using Powerpoint with the Smart Board, if you tap on a PowerPoint slide and then tap to the right it advances slide. If you tap on slide and then click to left it goes to the previous slide. 
  • You can hide an object on a Notebook page (like your answer to a question) by writing over it with white pen and then when you use your eraser the answer magically appears.
  • Similarly, type all your text in white and then drag a colored pull tab (placed in the back of the slide) over your white text and the text will magically appear.
  • If you lose a stylus from your pen tray cover the sensor light with a sticky note. Do not cover it with a marker or else you or another teacher might mistakenly write with marker on the Smart Board.
  • Windex can clean dry erase marker writing from a Smart Board but make sure to spray the windex into a cloth and then wipe the board. If you spray the Windex directly on the board then cleaner will get into your pen tray and might mess up the sensors.
  • One of the options in the Onscreen keyboard is Shortcut. After selecting shortcut, you can write a letter and then select a function to use any keyboard shortcut. For example, write a Z and then press the Control button for Control Z and it works as an undo. 
  • MS Word, Powerpoint, or Excel cannot be in Read Only format for the Smart Ink Aware features to work.
  • In PowerPoint you can quickly add a blank slide from the Command Menu so you can add a “Parking lot” to take down audience questions that you wish to get back to.
  • Clear page on the drop down menu of a Smart Notebook page in the Page View will delete all items on a page that are not locked.
  • You can view all pages at once from the Page view by dragging the Page view tab to the right.
  • To create a personalized theme for your Notebook pages go to the Format menu and then select Themes
  • You can attach sound files to any object in Smart Notebook by right-clicking Insert Sound. Go to for a large library of historic speeches available in MP3 format for free download.
  • You can use the Smart Notebook Page Recorder to record actions on a Smart Notebook page and then play. It will only record per page. It will record any movement on the page including writing. The Notebook recorder does not work on a page with a Flash file like one taken from the Lesson Activity Tool Kit.
  • You can link to a Team Content folder anywhere in the Network and then link to it from My Content folder by clicking on the little icon next to the search in the gallery. 

These are just a few of the tips that I learned about the Smart Board at my training. Share with me your own Smart Board tricks by commenting on this posting.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Using the Internet to prepare for Passover

A number of years ago, I started creating Internet scavenger hunts where students were asked a series of questions like a standard worksheet which they could only use specific websites to answer.

My goal was two-fold: 1) to introduce students to various Jewish websites and illustrate their usefulness in answering real world problems and 2) to create hands-on activities for students to discover the answers to halachic questions themselves instead of the boring lecture style so common for classes in Jewish law. I felt that as a Torah teacher who wanted to foster life-long learning in my students, I could not guarantee that they would always have access to Jewish teachers or seforim especially when living on college campus. But I knew that they would always have access to the Internet. If they realized that they could use the Internet to help answer questions as advanced as "How to kasher your kitchen for Passover?" and as basic as "When is Shabbat candle lighting this week?" then this might just strengthen their Jewish identity and their ties to Talmud Torah and Shemirat Hamitzvot. I also wanted to point them to legitimate Jewish websites and resources since unfortunately so much online is still of questionable origin and dubious authority.

Two of my worksheets appear below. The first is a pretty high level worksheet on the laws of Passover based mostly on one of my favorite websites both for Jewish content and it's fun sense of style

Here it is:
Internet Worksheet on Hilchot Pesach

The second is a more basic Internet Jewish Scavenger Hunt designed for students of all levels.
Here it is:
Internet Jewish World Scavenger Hunt

Please feel free to share these with your own classes and tell me how it goes. Happy Passover and Chag Sameach!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The end of sick days? It's possible with Etherpad.

I had a very interesting experience with one of my classes this past Friday using the online application Etherpad. Etherpad is an online application that lets you set up a pad where multiple users can type using the shared URL. The program records the typing session, saving every version of the pad, and identifying each user with a different name and color. I have already blogged about the educational benefits of Etherpad.

For my latest class project, I set up an Etherpad for each group so they could show their work. I told the students that if they did all of their research and writing on the Etherpad, I would only require one term paper per group, since I would have a record that every student in the group contributed to the paper.

This Friday, we were working in the library on the project. One of my students was absent. His partner called him and asked him to open the shared project wiki page and their Etherpad. Throughout the period, I watched as the 2 students researched and chatted together their ideas on the pad, one student in front of me in the school library and the other at home. By the end of the period, they had made substantial headway in their research and had even come up with an idea for an exciting visual presentation of their work.

I then realized one of the tremendous benefits of Etherpad and other Web 2.0 technologies. Since these applications allow for real-time group collaboration with the same give and take as a regular class, there can be no more sick days or snow days for that matter. Students can be working together, on task and participating, wherever they may be. The assistant principal happened to be in the library and I asked him if I should mark this student absent since even though he was not physically in school he clearly did his work. The principal said to mark him absent for the class but give him credit for doing his class work. Go figure.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Technology Presentations on Jewish Web 2.0 and Educationally Effective Presentations

On March 4, 2010, I gave two presentations at Yeshiva University for the Azrieli Graduate School Educational Technology Fair on Jewish Web 2.0: Using Blogs and Wikis to enhance communication and collaboration and on Creating Educationally Effective Presentations: More than just PowerPoint. My presentations appear below. I uploaded them as Flash Presentations using ISpring to Slideboom. Enjoy!