How To Lock Your Computer

windowskeyarrowWindows Key + a lower case L = a locked computer. This command is essential. It locks your screen so that your computer cannot be used until you put in a password (if it’s password protected) or until you “wake” the computer by moving the mouse (if it’s not password protected).

This command makes it so you can walk away from your computer, even while you have work in progress, and know that it’s secure. When you log back in, you will see the screen that you were working on when you locked the computer.

The only trick to remember is to hold both the Windows key and thelower case L down at the same time. It’s that simple.

Even The United Nations Loves Minecraft

Minecraft is not simply an online building game with virtual “Lego” style blocks–it’s also a tool that the United Nations has used in community planning! The report “Using Minecraft for Youth Participation in Urban Design and Governance” explains how Minecraft was used in Nairobi, Haiti, Mexico, and Nepal to engage youth and marginalized stakeholders in discussions with establishment about how to best use community spaces.

As an art project in 2012, LSH student Ben Young created a Minecraft version of Lima Senior High. It’s an amazing piece of work; now imagine if this framework were used for groups to create and discuss ways to improve and use the various campus spaces. That’s essentially what the UN did!


Twitter Tricks: A Way to Archive and Curate Tweets

twitterDisclaimer: This article is for people who already use Twitter and are looking for ways to use it better.

Twitter can be an easy way to connect socially with friends and celebrities, but with a bit of planning, it’s a powerful professional tool, too. Identify hastags that relate to your interests or profession, then use the Google Chrome add-on “Twitter Archiver” to create a live Google spreadsheet of all the tweets that use your chosen hashtag.

One clever suggestion about how this add-on could be used in education comes from  Google user Samra Bufkins, MJ, APR

 I teach in a journalism program and require Twitter in all my courses. Each course has a hashtag and students are required to tweet course material daily. I have struggled with documenting student activities, but Twitter Archiver is the perfect tool. I can sort the spreadsheet by student name or by date to track their activity. I can share the sheets with my teaching assistants, too. I also show this tool to my students because many of them will be tracking hashtags as part of their internships, jobs or research.

Link to get the add-on:  Google Chrome Add-on Twitter Archiver

Instructional video:



Watching & Learning: Thought-Provoking Films about Education

Dead Poet’s Society. Teachers. Lean on Me. To Sir With Love. Blackboard Jungle. Stand and Deliver. Mr. Holland’s Opus. Movies such as those have at times shaped American dialogue about education, sometimes even influencing policy as well as inspiring a generation of teachers. However, all of them, even the ones that are ostensibly based on a true story, have one thing in common: they are Hollywood movies, crafted around an essentially myopic, artifical structure; we know that everything will end up so “our hero” will be battle-worn but victorious.

At the Movies: Films Focused on Education Reform is an annotated list of movies–mainly documentaries–about education today. The list, which is found on The George Lucas Foundation’s Edutopia website, is heavily focused on the modern school reform agenda, but the characters and stories told in these movies are compelling. The thirty-three movies on this list could provide many stimulating conversations–and may be an interesting alternative for book discussion groups, parent-teacher organizations or professional developement.

Keeping Your Passwords Secure

password-1241638The article “15 Tips to Better Passwords” by Robert Siciliano, who is a McAfee Consultant and Identity Theft Expert, offers some very helpful tips for creating strong passwords and keeping them secure. Here are a few of the most helpful hints:

  • Using a phrase that you find a customized way to type (for instance, 2B_or_not2B (which is probaby too obvious), is an especially good idea.
  • Using any words or numbers associated with your life (birthday, kids’ names, etc) is a bad idea, but many people do that.
  • Don’t use  “password,” “123456,”  “abcdef” or similar obvious keyboard combinations like “qwerty.”
  • Every place you log in should have its own password. Reusing passwords increases the possibility of getting hacked.
  • Use at least 8 characters, mixing numbers, letters, and symbols. More characters is better.
  • If you need to write down passwords,  never keep them near your computer.
  • Instead of writing down your passwords, create a tip sheet. For instance: “Gmail  Shakespeare” could remind you that your gmail password is 2B_or_not2b (coding it to remind you of symbols and capitalization would be helpful)
  • If possible, avoid logging into sites that require a password (banking sites, email, etc) when you are on an insecure public network, such as an airport. 
  • Don’t share your passwords with people. (If you have a password that needs to be shared–Netflix or something similar–make sure it’s different from all your other passwords. Ideally, you shouldn’t share any passwords, but in the real world, that’s unrealistic.)

There are sites designed to keep your passwords secure. (The password manager that I use, LastPass, works with my Andriod phone as well as on my computer. There’s a free version that is highly rated) The article “5 Best Password Managers” can help guide you if you’re interested in trying this approach to password security.

Organizing Google Drive: Hacking Tags

Google Drive and the apps associated with it can get overwhelming to organize if you’re using your drive frequently. Ideally, tags would be a handy way to keep files quickly accessible.Tags are words that you add to a file as identifiers; for instance, a research paper on The Beatles might be tagged as 60s, music, Beatles, and research. There are two ways to add a file to multiple folders. Which method works for a file may depend on your web browser, so don’t give up if you don’t succeed first try.

For one method, you select a file in Google Drive, but don’t open it. Click Shift-Z, and you’ll get an Add dialogue box. Select the folders you want the file to appear in, click Save, and you’re done. For a more detailed guide, click Here.

The other method lets you add folders while you are working on a document. For more detailed directions and a video explaining the process, click here

Keeping your digital life organized can be a major challenge! Mastering a few tricks like this can help.