One Slide Wonder

yellow, blue, and white logo IACUE Inland Area CUEThis weekend is the Inland Area CUE Tech Fair and I (K) will be presenting on Google, Microsoft, and Apple accessibility tools and features:  “Accessibility for Some, Benefits for All”.

Accessibility tools are necessary for some, but many could be used by all students. In this session, we will review various tools for Microsoft, Google, and Apple products and discuss not only how they can assist those who need them, but how they could benefit all your students.

Back in November, I presented at the CETPA conference for Microsoft on the amazing Learning Tools and apps like Seeing AI and Office Lens with a PowerPoint that was shared. Also included was a OneNote collection of accessibility resources.

As I prepared for this presentation on a variety of tools, I debated the format, looking at Jeopardy games using PowerPoint or gameboards in Google Slides. I found a great PowerPoint template “Colorful product roadmap timeline” and loved the layout. At that moment, I decided to go with a ONE SLIDE PowerPoint presentation.

Wild thought? Maybe, but how often do you receive a slide deck after a presentation and never look at it again?

I’ll keep you posted with how it goes! Here’s my One Slide Wonder. Sounds like a good hashtag! #OneSlideWonder

Accessibility Roadmap PowerPoint slide https://delivr.com/2rpy3

 

K Gets Her FIRST Smartphone!

UPDATES BELOW

November 29, 2019 We recently merged our accounts, saving us $5 a month. G finally used up his referral credits. We have had a few instances where we did not have a signal, but they are few and far between. K realized she cannot connect to the wi-fi at work (seems to only affect Google Fi users – not sure why), but, again, not a big deal since she’s not sure she wants her phone on the work network anyway. Both of us have the Moto X4, one of the cheaper phones. Neither of us would change at this time and are loving the lower phone bills. We have also recommended the service to others.

Referral code, if interested.

January 17, 2019 So far, so good. Loaded Office Lens with Immersive Reader, which is an amazing FREE app that we highly recommend. Here’s our video of how it works in the Apple iOS version. Also, G is laughing at how often K sends a message using Bitmoji.

Google Fi Your monthly statement Here's a quick summary of your January 5 statement: Your total is $22.59. This is how much you'll be charged. Your total always consists of payment upfront for next month's calls & texts, plus data charges for this past month.

January 9, 2019: G’s phone arrived this afternoon. Still running updates and now we are spending a romantic evening learning about our new Moto X4 phones. LOL (Plus, K was sick with a cold today so not going out.)

Calls so far have been fine. One dropped when K called from a school gym (concrete block walls and calls have been bad on Verizon and AT&T, too, so no surprise there.)

January 7, 2019: This morning, we received our first bill. Billing works like this: You are charged for the next month’s calls and texts ($20 plus taxes and fees for me), then the data for the past month. (Currently 0 since I just got the phone.)  My AT&T basic phone was $26.23 a month. My Google Fi phone with a data plan is $22.59 this month.

Another feature I love is a call came the other day and it told me it was probably a junk call before I answered. Today, a call came, which I answered, but was able to mark it as junk after. My old basic phone did that, but had a limit of numbers I could block so we’ll see how this goes.

EVENING UPDATE! G just made the jump so BOTH of us will now be using Google Fi. We drove around to known dead spots near our home. At one point, a call dropped, but about 200 yards later, we had a signal again. Normally, we’d have nothing in that particular area. If you use a Fi phone, it can switch to find the strongest network: Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular. Check out the FAQ for more information. 

If you sign up using a referral code, you can get $20 in service credit: https://g.co/fi/r/89NCXJ.

We also each got $100 off the Moto X4 phones we ordered. Learn more about their phones. 

Original Post:

So you think that is an unusual title for a blogpost from 2 techies? While we each use a variety of technology, due to budgets, I (K) couldn’t see both of us spending money on a data plan so I have been using a Samsung Flight from 2009. Aren’t familiar with it? red Samsung Flight phone (slider with QWERTY keyboard exposed)It is a slider phone with a QWERTY keyboard and I loved it. So much so, I Frankensteined it with replacement parts to keep it running. It made calls, it sent texts, exactly what I needed. However, when the battery started to go once again, I had second thoughts.

Then this tweet was posted:

Off to search reviews and visit the Google Fi website where I found another $100 credit offer. PLUS, if you know someone already using Google Fi, you can get a referral code for another $20 (this one is good until January 8. I’ll post updated ones, too, or DM me on Twitter @Filibuster3 and I’ll send one directly). $220 to switch? That got our attention.

Next: the bill. My “basic” phone from AT&T had a base rate of $20 a month with no data, almost the same as G’s phone with a data plan ($25 base rate). (He has a Microsoft phone and loves it!)

Google Fi charges you a $20 base rate, plus taxes and fees (online estimates from others put those around 10%) and then $10 per GB of data THAT YOU ACTUALLY USE! Yes, they charge you at the END of the month for the actual amount of data that you USE. From what we can tell so far (and we will update this blogpost as we learn more), they break it down by tenths of a GB so if you use .1GB, you are charged $1.

Basically, it comes down to this for us:  since I’m often connected through other devices, we’ll probably save at least $120 a year on our bill AND I have phone that holds a charge.

silver blue Android One Moto X4 phone $249 today or from $10.38/mo $100 Fi service creditNow for the phone. Smartphones are EXPENSIVE! We didn’t want to waste the money we’d be saving so I debated between the Moto G6 and the Moto X4, both under $300. I liked the larger screen size of the G6, but ultimately preferred the camera quality and water resistance rating on the X4. The 32GB wasn’t available so we paid a bit more for the 64GB. About $299 + tax, but then $220 in service credit so basically about $100 for a smartphone. Not too shabby!

A few days later, I had my new phone. During the order process, I filled out my previous phone’s information so, within minutes of receiving my Moto X4, it transferred my old phone number over and I was ready to go!

As I mentioned at the beginning, this post will be updated as I use it to review signal strength, battery, and ease of us along with accessibility settings.

Day 1:

Have spent most of the day checking it periodically for updates. Wishing I hadn’t done the last update since I got an invalid SIM card error. Internet search seems to point to it as a known problem from Sprint. Message went away and phone seems fine, but I’m at home on our wi-fi.

G recorded our dogs barking as the ringtone for when he calls. Anyone else have their ringtones set by their spouse/partner? Mine has been Jingle Bells with quacking ducks, a goat he recorded bleating at a county fair, “Hey! Your phone is ringing. Answer the phone!”, etc. – usually changed without my knowledge.

Accessibility settings already started. With a quick 3 taps, I can zoom, similar to the 3 finger tap on my iPad. LOVE IT!

 

Change is a Step, Not an Escalator, A Ramp, Not an Elevator

Phillip Martin clipart of a colorful clock pointed at midnightNEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS! This is the time of year that everyone makes resolutions for the new year, usually a plan to improve yourself in some way, which is great, but remember that change is work and change can take time.

Below is a bit from an article K posted to LinkedIn about flexible seating, but since it is a change, January seemed a good month to post it to the blog.

Recently, we read an article talking about flexible classroom seating and how it is just a start, but pedagogy also needs to change. It reminded us of the class-size reduction era in California and how many thought just reducing the number of students in the classroom would “fix” everything. (For further analysis, this paper might interest you.)

At the time, there were a few voices speaking up about the need to change the teaching style when you have a smaller class. Those voices were rarely heard and eventually, most classes in California rose back to their previous numbers of 30 plus students.

So here is our thought for the day, our 2 cents, if you will. Making a change is only the beginning. Change is not an escalator or elevator that will carry you to where you want to be. Deciding to make a change is important, but there will need to be more.

As many of us learned as children watching Rankin-Bass Christmas specials, you’ve got to “Put one foot in front of the other.” (and if you don’t have a song stuck in your head now…)

#change #pedagogy #flexibleseating #education #business

Wedding Planning Made Easy with Microsoft

Usually our posts are education-related. This one strays a bit, but is definitely technology-related AND, though it was originally posted a few months ago, we’re sure at least a few people got engaged over the holidays and might appreciate the tips so this has had a few updates and been reposted! 

So you are engaged? Congratulations! When we got engaged, we had about 3 months to plan our wedding. (I (Karyn) wanted a Christmas time wedding.) There were brochures, quotes, notes, Post-Its, contact information, checklists, receipts, and more all to keep organized. After helping friends plan weddings since college, I was well-prepared.

If you are planning a wedding, let us help with some wedding planning (and other) advice. For any follow-up questions, you can message Karyn on Twitter @Filibuster3. We were not paid by any of the companies and businesses mentioned in this article. These are OUR opinions from OUR experiences from our own wedding in 2009.

WE SHOULD HAVE USED ONENOTE!!!Purple OneNote logo

First, if you can afford a wedding planner, that is great! They can handle the organization for you.

(Side note: IF YOU ARE a wedding planner, get OneNote! Read more to understand why.)

Why OneNote?

  • OneNote is free.
  • OneNote is cross-platform.
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Mac
    • Windows 10
    • Browser-based
  • OneNote is easy to use.
  • OneNote notebooks can be shared with others with viewing or editing rights.
  • You can insert multiple file types in OneNote (PowerPoint, Word, PDF, YouTube, etc.)
  • You can digitally ink in OneNote.
  • Did we mention that it is FREE and will sync across all your devices?

Being teachers, we didn’t have a giant budget for weddings, nor did we want to go broke for a one day event. We love our friends and family who celebrated with us, but we know they wouldn’t want us starting out married life in debt!

STEPS:

  1. If you don’t already have a Microsoft account, create one FOR FREE! Here’s a referral link to get you more free storage space.
  2. Log into your new account and click on the tiles icon. (Some call it the waffle or the Rubik’s cube.)
  3. Go to OneDrive and click New at the top to choose New OneNote notebook.
  4. Name your new notebook.

Now you are ready to get organized! (If you have never used OneNote, we posted a basic tutorial. It is for organizing special education paperwork, but should give you a basic idea.)

Create sections that will make sense to you. Some suggestions might be Flowers, Caterer or Food, Bridal Party, Guest List, Clothing, Venues, DJs or Music. Use the INSERT feature on pages to add images and other files. With the insert from camera feature, you can take pictures of paperwork and the text in the images is searchable! Insert contracts, take pictures of receipts, add random ideas you get while at other weddings, just about anything! Perfect for documenting offers from vendors. GET THINGS IN WRITING!

Excel logo on green backgroundSince you have a Microsoft account (and if not, go back up to the referral link and create one), use Excel to create and organize your guest list which then can turn into your gift list and thank you list. Create a budget in Excel to keep track of expenses. We used shared Excel files to update the lists, added a column to check off as we mailed thank you notes, and had a sheet for the budget.

green and white Flipgrid logoConsider using Flipgrid! @annkozma723  saw it used at a wedding to post messages for the couple. (Saves money and nice for people annoyed by a videographer in their face while they are eating.)

READ ON FOR MORE WEDDING TIPS AND TRICKS! 

SAVE MONEY AND YOUR SANITY!

Learn to negotiate and ask questions! Don’t always take the first quote. Our caterer gave us some alternatives to better fit our budget.  K won a “free bridal bouquet” at an event, which the company tried to say required ALL the flowers come through them. After some online searches proved scary (Thank you, Better Business Bureau), we decided not to use her “prize” and reported them to the bridal fair organizer and the BBB.

white on white wedding cake with random desserts around itNot every one loves wedding cake. Order a smaller cake with side desserts like brownies and tarts. These were a lot cheaper (and we learned later, VERY popular! In retrospect, we should have ordered more desserts and less buffet items.)

Our wedding venue did not allow alcohol. BIG savings! Sparkling apple cider or sparkling white grape juice are pleasant substitutes.

giant green Christmas wreaths hanging on a stone wall next to a carillon - Crystal Cathedral ArboretumWe saved by getting married during the Christmas season. The church was already decorated so we bought only the flowers people were wearing or carrying.

Technology is amazing! On top of the suggestion about using Excel above, we found templates online for name cards and printed them ourselves. Our wedding program was created in Microsoft Word.

Create a free wedding website. (We used Shutterfly.) Friends of ours married a few months before and the day of the wedding, we couldn’t find the invitation with the ceremony location. If web-based, we could have looked it up! (Side note: We found it in time.) Our website had a map for directions, times for events, and even bathroom locations. We also posted links to our photographer, caterer, and hair salon, in case others were interested.

Think of the trees, postage, and waste from extravagant wedding invitations. We made a handful of paper invitations for older friends and family and created digital ones for the rest.

Borrow items! K’s veil was borrowed from the best man’s wife.

IMG_2793_2_2_2Have some fun! G was living in Kansas at the time so K got red ruby slippers for the reception. Comfortable and playful! Though, the sequins snagged K’s crinoline a few times during our first dance. Minor issue.

On that note, know that things may NOT go as planned! As K has told future brides, as long as he is there at the front when you get there, that’s all that matters.

Have multiple announcements about silencing cell phones and have people ready to assist those who don’t know how. (Trust us on this! A cell phone ringing during your vows is distracting.)

Tide to go stain remover pen

TIDE PEN! Pack one or THREE! After pictures, K noticed marks on her dress. Tide pen to the rescue! Other companies make similar pens. Pack a few to share.

Joel Austell Studio logoPhotographer: Get a good one! If you are in California, we used Joel Austell and he was amazing! Joel and his wife make a fantastic team. K saw pictures from the bridal room and commented that she didn’t realize Joel’s wife was there (yes, they are THAT good!). Check Yelp reviews and your photographer’s portfolio before signing a contract. Rather than hire a separate videographer, we paid Joel a little more and he did both.

woman in ivory wedding dress looking out hotel room doors that overlook California Adventure with balloons, wedding Mickey ears, and character photos on the bed to the leftAlterations: K had an amazing seamstress and worked with her to redesign parts of her dress purchased at a local bridal store. Her seamstress recommended a French bustle, which was perfect. It was easy to move around in, and there were bright ribbons to make the ties easier to find under the dress. This image of it was from our hotel room at the Grand Californian, discounted thanks to a family member who works for Disney. Another budget saver!

Newly engaged couple huggingRemember that though the day is all about the two of you, don’t forget the others who are there to celebrate WITH you. We chose a variety of music, each set of parents picked a song that was special to them, and made sure the music wasn’t too loud so people could have conversations. Also, we chose to orchestrate our garter/bouquet toss by agreeing to K’s brother’s request to propose to his girlfriend that night. K let her friends know so they wouldn’t go out on the floor and G’s friends were married so K’s brother was alone. He caught the garter and stood by while his girlfriend caught the bouquet and K handed him the microphone. BEAUTIFUL family moment! (They were married a year later and also used Joel Austell as their photographer!)

To save money, we wouldn’t recommend a sit down dinner. Much of the food is wasted. People are trapped at the tables and it is a big expense. We chose finger foods and our caterer (Country Garden Caterers) had the best idea: garlic mashed potato bar in martini glasses! GORGEOUS and everyone could make their own and be free to walk around and socialize.

garlic mashed potato bar with martini glasses and topics in silver hammered containers with lighted trees in the background

Parents: Both sets of parents lit the unity candles rather than just the mothers. In our minds, we had been influenced by watching both marriages and wanted our dads, as well as our moms, to participate.

Speak up! This wedding is for the two of you so you should have the final say (unless someone is paying for everything and then they should have a small amount of input). K was grateful for her dad speaking up to get china rather than paper plates (which were free). The china was only $1 more a person. We think he thought $165 was worth the smile on his daughter’s face. The church wedding volunteer questioned having both sets of parents lighting the unity candle. “Well, that’s different.” Yes, and we wouldn’t have it any other way! It was OUR wedding, not hers. Our future sister-in-law handled another issue with the same volunteer trying to tell the bridesmaids how to walk, not knowing that one attendant has a physical issue. (Sis-in-law didn’t tell us until later so we wouldn’t be upset. Smart move.)

Chair covers: Sure, you see them in movie weddings, but they are an added cost and a trip hazard. If on a budget, focus on the table, not the chairs (as long as the chairs are decent).

buffet table with silver hammered containers and red and green centerpieces with a wreath in the middleCOMPROMISE! (or Win-Win) When the caterer asked us about centerpieces, we each pointed at a different one. Solution? Every other table had one of our choices. We also had a win-win on the exit music since G preferred traditional and K wanted “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder. We left the altar on the traditional music and halfway down the aisle, it switched. Big smiles from everyone!

More about music: Look around to see who you know. K went to college with the organist of the Crystal Cathedral (our venue) and her college roommate is an amazing singer. Another note to remember others – when K’s parents were married, her mom wanted the Sound of Music wedding processional, but the organist refused. Happily, our organist did not feel the same and it was a nice tribute to K’s mom.  For budget, do you really need a DJ when there are iTunes playlists? Maybe. Check out the sound system at the venue and ask around. Again, negotiate! We saved a lot by getting married on a weeknight during Christmas break.

Finally, RELAX, SMILE, and ENJOY THE DAY!

bride and groom feeding each other wedding cake and smiling

There are multiple pictures of us laughing. Our photographer said we were one of the best cake feeders since we didn’t smash it in each other’s faces, but were playful. This meant less time cleaning up to enjoy the rest of the reception, too.