Two Mac Tricks I Love (that you might not even know about)

I’ve been a Mac user since August, so these two tricks may be old news for some of you, but for me, they were game-changers.

1. Zoom-in while presenting

It seems that during any presentation, the speaker will say something like, “If you look at the top right of the screen,” and attempt to describe something in the presentation display. If only the presenter could zoom in on a slide during the presentation… But he can! Check it out:


2. Create audio files from text

By highlighting text and right-clicking, you can turn any text into an iTunes audio file. This is great for personal use (listening to blog posts, for example), and it’s also great to help students who might be struggling readers.

Turn an article, PDF, or blog post (like the one pictured below) into an audio file like this:


Blog Post


Watch the short tutorial below to learn how:

I’m loving having a Mac, and these are just two of my favorite newly-discovered Mac tricks. It seems like I discover something new every day (or at least every week).

What do you think? Have any tricks you’d like to share? Comment below.


Evernote Use #22- Save Emergency Contact Forms #50EduEvernote

Any of us who travel with students must be prepared for emergencies so we often travel with valuable information.

  • Coaches carry an emergency contact form for each of our athletes.
  • Teachers carry field trips permission slips with emergency contact information for each student.
  • Bus drivers carry emergency information for each passenger.

Unfortunately, the forms are not always organized, sometimes they’re misplaced or forgotten, and often when there is an emergency, they are hard to find.

This past football season, a player from the visiting team was knocked unconscious. An ambulance was needed and the player was carted off the field. The visiting coach had left all of his players’ emergency contact information forms in his office and had no way of getting them before the ambulance arrived at the hospital.

Of all the times to forget the forms, this was the worst timing.

Our coaches and teachers won’t experience this. When students turn in their emergency contact forms, we scan them and save them as a PDF (using the Fujitsu ScanSnap). The forms are saved in a shared Evernote notebook and can be accessed when needed by our faculty.

It’s easy to forget to bring contact forms, but when they’re saved in Evernote, they can be accessed from anywhere.

10 Student Guidelines for Creating Awesome Projects

Student-created stained glass artwork project after reading The Alchemist

A stained-glass depiction of a scene from The Alchemist. The student who created this “always wanted to create a stained-glass” and worked with her dad to learn how.

1. You get what you put into this. If your goal is an A, you’ll completely miss the point.

2. If your goal is to be creative and really push yourself, you’ll probably have an awesome project that will obviously get an A.

3. If you don’t mess up, fail, or get frustrated at least 5 times, you’re not trying hard enough. Keep going.

4. If you try to find a “safe” project, it won’t be that great. If you attempt a “risky” project, it could potentially be great. Take the risk.

5. The second you begin to think of grand ideas and then start saying, “Yeah, but…”– keep going. You’re heading in the right direction.

6. This could be the coolest thing you’ve ever done or you could look for the easy way out. It’s your call. That’s how life works. If you want to be average and always wonder “What if” then go the easy way. If you want to be extraordinary, you could do that as well. Average people look for the easy way; awesome people try to make everything the coolest thing they’ve ever done. That’s life.

7. Many of your classmates will hold back and not take the extra step. Their projects will be OK, but they’ll be lacking something– you’ll know it and (more importantly) they’ll know it, too. Don’t be like them. Stand out. Take a risk.

8. If most of your friends think your project sounds great, it probably isn’t. If most of your friends think your project sounds too crazy or too difficult or too far out there, it’s probably an awesome idea! Do the latter.

9. Have fun.

10. Don’t focus on the grade. Focus on being awesome. The grade will be a bi-product.