Why App Smash?

(Graphic via iPad4schools.org)

App Smashing* is a hot topic in the Ed Tech world right now, and was recently covered in a blog post on iPad4schools.org by New Zealand educator Richard Wells.

To Summarize . . .

What is App Smashing?
Chances are you have already App Smashed and you didn’t realize that it had such a cool name.  App Smashing is when you use multiple apps to create and enhance a project.  When content is created in one app, enhanced in a different app and possibly further improved by additional apps for a shared final project apps have been smashed.

Why App Smash?
The challenge of App Smashing adds a layer of creative problem solving to projects, and by using multiple apps there are no limitations or restrictions to how students can demonstrate their understanding of a topic.

For more information make sure you read this Why App Smash? blog post, with examples and a video from “The App Smashing Chronicles.”

Have you App Smashed with your students?  Let us know the details in the comments.  Are you interested in getting started with an App Smash project this spring or make a plan for the fall?  Let the Tech Department know and we are happy to help.

* Fun Fact: The term App Smash was coined by Greg Kulowiec from EdTech Teacher, who was at Pike to conduct a few training sessions last spring and fall.

Student Tech Team

Meet the Pike Student Tech Team!

photo 1

This spring 12 students in the Upper School are participating in our new Student Tech Team elective.  The team is eager to help the community solve problems and answer technology questions.  To start off, everyone has been working in pairs to compose blog posts and they will be sharing their tech expertise in this space soon.  Leave a comment if you have any suggested topics for the Student Tech Team to investigate in the future.

Web Browser Search Tip – Use the Find Feature

When searching online for specific information the find feature is very handy. Let’s say you are looking for information on Abraham Lincoln and you come across a web page that has a lot information about the Civil War.  You know there are a few paragraphs relating to Abraham Lincoln but your not sure where.  Using the find feature you can quickly find Abraham on the page without having to read the entire text. This is a great feature that really speeds up research.   The two short videos below demonstrate the find feature on a laptop and an iPad.

Laptop Find Feature

iPad Find Feature


Making a Hyperlink in Notability

If you would like to link to a webpage in Notability click on the + button in the upper right and select Web ClipIMG_0037

Next type in the url that you would like to link to, select Go on your keyboard and after the website loads select done.  IMG_0038

A Web Clip will appear in your outline.  To access the web page click on the Web Clip and select browser from the menu and the webpage will open in a browser.IMG_0039If you have any handy Notability tips let us know what they are in the comments.

Make Typing Faster on Your iPad

iPadKeyboardShortcutTyping on the iPad screen keyboard is definitely an acquired taste.  Keyboard shortcuts can make things better especially for those long words or phrases,like your email address, that you type all the time.

A  keyboard shortcut consists of a phrase (the long word or phrase you want to type) and the shortcut.



  • Phrase = On my way
  • Shortcut = omw

When you type “omw” the phrase “On my way!” will show up in blue just like the autofill (see picture above). You can hit the space bar to replace “omw” with “On my way!” and continue to type.

I have created keyboard shortcuts for all of my email addresses as well as other phrases that I type alot like thank you and I’ll get back to you soon.

To create shortcuts

  1. Settings App
  2. General > Keyboard
  3. Scroll down in the keyboard settings and click on  Add New Shortcut…
  4. Enter the phrase and the shortcut and click Save

What are your most used iPad keyboard shortcuts?

Google Notifier is Dead

Google Notifier is a small application that will notify you when you get an email and when you have Google Calendar events coming up.  When it is running (on a mac), two icons will be seen on the Menu Bar that look like this.

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 11.41.45 AM



At Pike we also use this app to set Gmail as our default email browser.  Unfortunately Google Notifier is being removed by Google and will no longer work.

Most people have this app set to start up when the computer boots.  You will want to turn this off as it will continue to notify you that it no longer works until you turn it off.

Stop Google Notifier from automatically starting at boot up.  

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Open the Users & Groups preference
  3. Click on the Login Items tab
  4. Select Google Notifier in the list of items that will open automatically.
  5. Click the minus button at the bottom to remove Google Notifier from the list.
  6. Next, click on the either icon on the menu bar and choose Quit all Google Notifiers.

This is really all you need to do but if you want to uninstall the program completely, and you have admin rights on your computer (Pike teachers don’t), then you can follow these instructions put out by google.

How to get notified that you have email now that Notifier doesn’t work. 

  • Check out the list of alternatives at the top of this page.

Looking for a way to set Gmail as your default email program?

  • This depends on which web browser you use.  The setting has to be made for each browser.
  • This page gives you instructions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

Free Spring Webinars

EdTechTeacher has many free, live webinars coming up this spring.  This is a great opportunity learn something new as well as to network with other teachers from across the country and around the world.

  • March 11th – Small Tech Changes – BIG Learning Impact!
  • March 18th – “Google is the new resume.”
  • March 20th – iPads, language learning, the MFL twitterati & sharing good practice – a UK perspective
  • March 27th – Empowering Elementary Learners with Technology
  • April 1st – iPads And… combining the physical & digital to create multimedia content
  • April 8th – All Things Google!
  • April 15th – Leading Change in 1:1 Classrooms
  • April 24th – Technology in Humanities Classrooms
  • April 29th – Games Are Good for You! What Games Teach Us About STEM & Learning

Click here for more information about any of the above offerings.

Diigo on the iPad

by Aaron Hovel

Up to this point each blog post has described how to use Diigo on a computer.  This post will explain how to use Diigo on the iPad. Diigo has created a Web Highlighter tool for Safari on the iPad.  It is a litle tricky to install, but once it is installed, you can bookmark, highlight, and add sticknotes to websites directly in Safari on the iPad.

Installing “Web Highlighter” on Safari for iOS 7
Diigo has written a good set of directions. Or you can watch the video below for installation instructions.   If you are receiving this as an email you will need to click the link at the bottom to view the full post or click here for the video.

iOS Security Update 7.0.6

Apple released a new version of their iOS (7.0.6) this week.  The update patches a security flaw in the SSL connection verification part of the iOS. I reccomend all faculty update their iPads and iPhones if you have one.   SSL is the encryption mechanism used when connecting securely to websites. When you enter a password or buy something online, you are relying on SSL to keep your information secure as it is transfered over the internet.

If students ask, we recommend they update as well. Prefereably at home to keep from bogging down our network.

To Update your iOS device.  

-Settings App>General>Software Update

-Follow instructions on device to install update