Friday, June 19, 2015

Kahoot Tutorial

Kahoot is a great website that is used for fun classroom activities. The main purpose of kahoot is to make quizzes for a fun, competitive learning experience for all students, however you can also use kahoot to make polls and discussions. In order to make a quiz on kahoot, you must go to The quizzes made on kahoot have timed questions and for each second that a student hesitates, the points drop down lower, so the quicker you get your answer in the more amount of points you get! This makes for a fast-paced, but educational experience for all. Once the kahoot is ready to play, anyone with the code can join in as long as they go to on a web browser. Other than in-class work, people can use a kahoot for a fun, interactive portion of a presentation or use it to study with friends. 

To learn more about Kahoot and how to make quizzes, watch my tutorial below. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

iMovie with Ms. Lynch

Last week, Ms. Lynch asked us to come into her entrepreneurship class to teach herself and the class how to use iMovie on a Mac. The students were using iMovie to make a video about their field trip to Salem.

Ms. Lynch wanted the class to cohesively put the pictures they took from their trip into a video and use the voice over feature in iMovie to explain the pictures and what they learned. We helped students take pictures from Google Drive and transport them into iMovie so that they could begin this process.

We also sat down with Ms. Lynch to teach her how to use iMovie, and she started working on her own project just like the students were. We showed her how to import pictures, use effects like Ken Burns to zoom in, and how to adjust the length of time the image appears on screen. She was excited to learn, and it was a lot of fun to teach her how to use the technology.

Perhaps most rewarding is viewing some of the projects that resulted from Ms. Lynch's teaching, an engaging field trip, and the efforts of her students.  We were glad to be a small part of it.

Interview with Ms. Neil

We recently had the pleasure of engaging in an interview with Ms. Neil, a teacher from Florida who is looking to start up a help desk at her school. We talked about how Rockets Help Desk got started up and why we decided to join. Next, she asked us why we feel other schools should consider this type of learning in classrooms. To see and hear us answer these questions and talk about how we got the program off the ground, the biggest challenges along the way, our favorite memories, and other reflections on our program, you can watch the interview below. Also, Ms. Neil wrote her own post on the interview which is also worth checking out.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Dear Ms. Neil

Dear Ms. Neil,

I really appreciate what you wrote to us in your Dear RHD post. It means so much to me that you are inspired by what we do here at Rockets Help Desk. I'm so glad that you are eager and willing to start up your own Help Desk at your school.

Growing the Rockets Help Desk program over the past year has taught me so many things. The first of many is that when you love what your doing, you gain so much more out of it. At the beginning of Rockets Help Desk, I wasn't really sure what it was going to be but I was up for the adventure and it sounded like something I would enjoy being a part of. Since I joined the program in the fall, I've fallen in love with RHD a little more every day. At Rockets Help Desk, I feel that I have a purpose and that there is a point in what I'm doing.

In the past year, we have produced so many things that have impacted so many others. Here at Reading Memorial High School, our Evernote tutorial from the fall is one of our most watched tutorials and many teachers from our school have used it and shown it to their students. By presenting at conferences like Blue Ribbon, we are able to share our ideas and philosophies with teachers from Reading and other surrounding districts. We have even been able to reach people like you, which I think is so amazing.

I've also been given the opportunity to speak to people who do things like this for a job, which allows me to explore different fields and learn from the people in them. We have learned a lot about app production through Google Hangouts with people like Reshan Richards, creator of Explain Everything, and Swaroop Raju, creator of eduCanon. We also took a field trip to NaviSite and learned a lot about how and where data is stored, we even touched "the cloud".

There are also many valuable skills that I have learned during this program that I will hold with me for the rest of my life. I've developed my presentation and public speaking skills through our several presentations, and have learned how effectively communicate information to others by producing app tutorials.

I don't know exactly what the future of RHD holds, and I feel that's exactly how it should be. I hope that our program will continue to evolve next year and in the years to come. I hope it changes to fit the needs and wants of the students involved, so that they can gain as much from the program as I did.

I wish you the best as you grow your own help desk and I hope that you stay true to what you and the students feel is the right path for your program.

Megan Catalano

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

iMovie Tutorial for iPad & Mac

When producing video projects for school, or even just for fun, it's great to have a simple editing tool for mobile devices. Apple's iMovie can be used on either Mac or iPad. This post includes tutorials for both. iMovie allows you to add pictures, video and audio into one cohesive video. Below, you can watch the video made with the Swivl that shows you how to maneuver the iMovie app.

Here is the iMovie tutorial for the Mac:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Teacher's Guide to Pinterest Basics

Pinterest is an online inspiration board. While many people use it for recipes, fashion, or fitness, it has a lot of good ideas to find for classrooms as well.  Educators can find creative lesson plans, classroom designs, and fun projects. Pinterest is a great way to share your ideas through the use of creating personalized pins, while discovering the ideas of others. It helps you keep your ideas organized on pinboards. Pinterest is also very accessible with a beautifully designed app that is available on the Google Play and App Store for all devices. 

My mom is a fifth grade teacher who uses Pinterest all of the time.  She's found design ideas to make more space in her classroom, strategies to help struggling students, and even lesson plans. She follows other teachers on Pinterest and they get to share all of their favorite strategies and resources.

Here's a quick video tutorial on using Pinterest in a web browser:

If you prefer to use Pinterest through the mobile app, it has a gorgeous design and is very easy to use. I actually believe that it is much better than the website because it is so much easier. The screenshots below will help get you started.  Have fun exploring! 

This is your notification screen on the app to let you know who is following you, who pinned your pins and more. 

Pinterest home page 

Search bar for app that allows you to search through thousands of pins. 

Personal search bar in profile that allows you to search through your pins only.
Pinterest is a fabulous tool to use in your everyday and professional life. It has some awesome ideas for everyone to use. All you have to do now is head over to in order to explore the site by yourself. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Beginner's Guide to Instagram

Instagram is a mobile-based photo sharing service, allowing users to post pictures and videos and share their ideas. What sets Instagram apart from others is that while you can view photos and videos on its website, you can only post through the mobile app. Much like other social media, you can choose to make your account available to the public or private, where you can approve or reject followers that request to follow you.

Instagram can be used by everyone, students and teachers alike. For example, our teacher, Kerry Gallagher, uses her Instagram to showcase what her students do in the classroom. Teachers and students can utilize hashtags to keep photos organized neatly. Jennifer Gray, a 7th grade French and Spanish teacher, also wrote a great blog post about Instagram and how to incorporate it with school.

The Home Page

When you first open Instagram and make an account, you will be taken to your timeline of people you follow. There, you can watch, like, and comment on photos posted by others. This is represented by the house icon on the bottom left corner.

The photos can be geotagged, as seen in the photo to the left. If you tap on the location, it will open to show a map of where the location is as well as pictures other users had posted there. You can also tag other users on photos as well!
the direct message page

The home page is also where you can send direct messages to other users. That function is represented by the mailbox icon on the top left corner.

To send a direct message to someone, simply tap the "+" icon at the top right corner, take you picture or video, write your message, and select who to send it to. It is similar to posting a picture or video to your followers, which we will cover later.

The Discover/Search Page

The second icon with the magnifying glass is essentially two pages in one: a place to search for users and hashtags and discover new creations being uploaded by different people. 

Based on who you follow, Instagram compiles a list of people you might find interesting as well as photos you may like. 

The search bar on top allows you to type in users and hashtags.

The Activity Page

The activity page is split into two different parts: you and the people you follow. The first tab, labeled "Following," is where you can see what the people you follow are liking and who they are following. 

The second tab, "You," is a compilation of all the notifications you've received, sorted by time. It will notify you when a friend from Facebook joins Instagram (if you decide to connect your account to Facebook), when a person follows you, tags you, or likes one of your photos.

The Settings Page

Settings 2
Settings 1
Your profile
To access the settings page, you go to see your profile. On the top right corner, you will see a gear icon. Tap on it to access your settings. 

From there, you will see several subheadings. The ones labeled "Account," and "Settings," are the two that will be used the most. You will see in the screenshot provided (in Settings 1) that you can edit your profile, change your password and set your profile to a private account.

Under "Settings," you are able to link accounts to a number of social media. The "Push Notification Settings" is where you can choose whether or not to receive notifications from Instagram. "Cellular Data Use" is simply choosing to use more or less data when scrolling through Instagram.

Posting on Instagram

taking pictures
directly on app
selecting a photo
already on phone

Posting on Instagram is very simple - it's the blue camera icon in the bottom middle of the screen. You have several options when it comes to posting: you can take or film pictures and videos directly from the app, or select a photo or video you already have on your phone.

There are various filters you can choose from, and if you want you can use their tools to make slight adjustments until satisfied. 

When you're done and happy with your post, tap "Next" and the app will take you to the posting page. There, you can write down what you want for a caption, add hashtags, tag people, and simultaneously post your photo to other social services.

To tag others, tap words "Tag People" and your photo will pop up. You can then tap anywhere on the picture, type in the person you want to tag's username, and it's done!

Happy posting!