Sunday, January 27, 2013

Speeding Up Your Browser

Lately I have been hearing from a lot of colleagues that their "computer" is running very slow.  I know that when I am on the Internet it seems like I have been getting the "spinning wheel of death" more often lately.  I thought I had too many windows or tabs open. I tried closing tabs, windows, quitting out and opening the browser again. I tried shutting off the computer and restarting it. Nothing really seemed to work. Yesterday I was reading the Reader's Digest (big print edition, a present that someone gave us as a joke). The article talked about how cleaning up your browser can help with speed. So, I tried it and lo and behold, it worked! So here are my directions for all 3 browsers. I wouldn't bother doing it with all of them but just pick the one (or two) you use all the time.


Step 1.

Step 2

Clean up your bookmarks. You can save them if you wish first and then delete, delete, delete.
First - Export your bookmarks.

While you are in this window you can delete bookmarks. You will have them saved so only keep the ones you use on a daily basis.


Click on the word Firefox and choose Preferences:

When the Preferences panel opens:

Then Export and delete bookmarks.

Click on Bookmarks then Show All Bookmarks


 Reset Safari

Export Bookmarks
Click on Safari and select Export Bookmarks

To delete bookmarks click on Bookmarks and then Show All Bookmarks.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


  As you may know the Maine Laptop Initiative will be providing new machines to teachers next year.  What this means for everyone is that anything on your current device will need to be backed up.  One solution that we have been using a lot lately here at FHS is Dropbox.  This cloud-based solution offers a free membership that provides 2GB worth of space.  Not only is Dropbox a website but you can download it to your computer as well.  This video(2:18) explains well how Dropbox works and what the advantages are.  Google Drive can be used in a similar way, but Dropbox is not a document editor.   It only preserves whatever type of file you already have.

A few weeks ago a teacher at FHS wanted to help a first year teacher(friend) out in Hawaii.  Her problem was that she had all these files in folders on her desktop and she wanted to share them all with her buddy in paradise(Hawaii) in an organized manner.  After downloading Dropbox and making an account, we easily dragged the needed folders to her Dropbox.  As a result, her buddy in Hawaii was able to access all of the documents via the organized folders just seconds later.

If you are interested, check this demo.  The video was made by Drew Houston, the MIT graduate who created Dropbox in 2007.  He does a nice job explaining the uses of Dropbox.  But, if you need any help or guidance please come see any one of us (Dan,Peggy,Cathy, and Anne).

Finally, a natural concern about Dropbox might be the security of your stuff.  My personal feeling is that the cloud is more reliable, accessible, and safe than backing up on one or several hard drives. One thing I can now do thanks to Dropbpox is pull up any library receipt, personal teacher certification, schedule, calendar  or other document by scanning them in with the document feeder(3:44), emailing them to myself, and then moving to Dropbox.

It took Dropbox 4 years to reach 50 million users. Recently, Houston announced in November that Dropbox had 100 million users worldwide. The Dropbox service is also integrated with many devices, apps, and other services.

Barret, Victoria. "Dropbox: The Inside Story Of Tech's Hottest Startup." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 18 Oct. 2011. Web. 19 Jan. 2013. <>.

Houston, Drew. "The Dropbox Blog » Blog Archive » Thanks a (hundred) Million."The Dropbox Blog RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2013.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of...



What is Destiny? Destiny is our new library circulation system that was purchased for all three schools. It replaces our old system which was out-of-date. You'll notice that searching for material in the library catalog looks a bit different.

*The library catalog is web-based and may be accessed from any device that has internet access.

Visit your school library web site to access the library catalog.
Falmouth Elementary School Library
Falmouth Middle School Library
Falmouth High School Library

 Here's the "Classic" library catalog mode for Destiny.

Destiny Quest is the high-tech version of the library catalog that features Top 10 Books, New Arrivals, and Resource Lists.

Example of Destiny Quest search

Patrons may also search for web sites.

One of the many reasons we chose Destiny is the easy access to e-books through the catalog. We hope to purchase e-books with library budget money in the future.

Eventually students in grades 3-12 and teachers will be able to log into Destiny to see what materials they have checked out, put items on hold, access e-books & audio books, share book reviews, and create lists of books to read. More details about logging into Destiny will provided in the upcoming months. 

Stop by your school library to learn more about Destiny or to schedule a session for students to learn about how to search the catalog.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dan’s top ten ways to use the iPhone at school

At best, this post is only applicable to those with smart phones, but is really meant for those with iPhones. To those of you without smart phones this post might enlighten you as to some of the potential of a smart phone. The iPhone 5 pictured here has more computing power then the iMac also pictured here. The iMac cost around $1500 in 2000 and the iPhone 5 can be had for around $200 in certain instances.

These are not necessarily in order of my favorites.

1. Remote Mouse is an app I use to turn my phone into a mouse so I can plug my computer into the LCD projector and stay mobile.

2. I have all my emails sent to my phone and I get a notification when I get one to my school account.

3. The Easy Bib scanner(important for a librarian) allows me to scan barcodes and get perfect bibliographic citations which I can then email to myself or students.

4. Accessing Socrative, a web-based instant student assessment and response system. Socrative can be accessed by any device.

5. It's tough being the librarian and stuck as a disorganized 13 year old boy. I use Jotnot Pro (which cost me $0.99) as a scanner to turn all papers I really need to save into a PDF.

6.  I think that more than half of the student body and staff at FHS have an iPhone. I like to connect an Apple TV with a dongle to an LCD projector. With this set up, all of us with iPhones, iPads, and Apple Air's can project wirelessly. This set up will cost your classroom about $125 but can be set up upon request. At the elementary school, you all have it!

7.  I like to use Egg Timer to let students know how much time they have to complete a task. You can also access a stop watch via the iPhone's native Clock app. 

8.  The native Notepad app is a great place to write things down. If you have an iPhone 4S, Siri or Voice-to-Text can be used to take notes with your voice. Also, if you have an iPad your notes will sync between devices.

9. iCal is also terrific. I have my Google Calendar's synced up and when I add an event on my phone it easily syncs between all my devices

10. I use the Reminders app as my to do list. Siri works with reminders and can easily set them. For example, when I am driving I can ask Siri to remind to do a task when I arrive at work or home since my Phone knows where "Work" and "Home" is!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Tech for Teachers - from Cathy, Dan, Peg, and Anne

Coming up in January - your opportunity to keep up with the technology tools you have heard about or have always wanted to try. We'll provide food, time and helping hands for learning and practicing lots of web 2.0 tools.

Improving your Teaching Through Technology

The Library & Tech Team is planning a series of tech afternoons from January through April. 

Classes will meet once a month at FES (likely).

Do you want to spice up your teaching painlessly? Earn PD time as you network with your peers in a laid back technology environment.  Are you tech timid? Are you tech savvy? Are you a tech savant?  

What we offer:
a tech class built for advanced and novice users and all those in between.
For advanced users we offer some flexibility on when class is done and assignments completed
For Novice users we offer a small group setting with lots of one on one help.

Topics will cover use of tech tools to improve your teaching. Topics: Blogging with your students for authentic writing skills, use of social media such as Twitter to stay up-to-date with your peers, use of Edmodo and Diigo to gather and use info.  Not already Skyping with experts in your field? Now is the time to learn and try it out. Have you used Google+ to hold a "hangout"? Why not give a self-graded test in Flubaroo?  How can you use the work that Khan Academy has already produced? 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Nearpod and Tools4Students - 2 Great iPad Apps

I couldn't decide which of these apps I liked better so I decided to tell you about both. Nearpod is an app that allows you to synchronize all the iPads in your classroom. So if you had a presentation of website you wanted to share with your students, all at once, you could do that. You can use it with any grade level. It has some pre-made presentations that you can choose them that include videos, quizzes and links to websites. You can also add your own quiz, poll, or video and see the results immediately. It is free and amazingly simple to use. Watch the short video (1 1/2 min) below to get an idea of what this app can do but be sure to visit the website to get the full picture. 

The second app is Tools for Students, an app with tons of templates that students can write into right on their iPad. 

Here is a partial list of some of the templates:

There are many other templates such as KWL, Drawing Conclusions, Fact/Opinion, Main Idea?Detail, Begin, Middle, End.

Here is an example of one of the Cause and Effect templates:
Notice that there is a place for the Topic or Book and the page number if using a book.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Posterous: A Blog Option for Novices with Minimal Clicks

Unfortunately Posterous has shut down and is no longer and option for blogging.

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of options to publish content to the web.  What makes different?  Posterous allows users to post by sending their information via email.  Want to try it?  Find a YouTube video or some content that you love to watch or would like to share (appropriate of course).  Then email to as an attachment or a link. In the subject area, put your name so we know who posted. Email it anyway you know how and Posterous will figure it out.

I will get an email you have posted and I will approve the post.  You can see everyone's posts at mrwolotsky's Space - Home  Remember, you will not see your post right away because I have to approve it. To help you set up your own Posterous website please email your technology integrator or give it a try yourself. Posterous is a super easy solution which requires minimal clicks for both staff and students. Below are some examples.

Students, in Ms. Hjorts AP Civics class, shared quality articles they found in Marvel.

Staff and Students collaborate for a Benefit Concert and use Posterous to share musical selections.