Demo with a Magnifying Glass for MacBooks

Nov 12, 2016 by

If you own a Mac and do software demonstrations or do presentations for people, you might want to learn this nifty trick for enabling a magnifying glass that can follow your cursor. It’s incredibly useful when you need to magnify just a small section of the screen for a brief moment (magnify the URL, the icon you’re clicking on, the code you’re examining).


Here are the steps to locating and turning on the magnifying glass that follows your cursor in macOS Sierra:

Find the Zoom preferences window:

  • Go to System Preferences
  • Select Accessibility
  • Select the “Zoom” section


To make a magnifying glass:

  • Select the box next to “Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom”
  • Select the box “Zoom follows keyboard focus”
  • Change “Zoom Style” to “Picture-in-picture”


To change the size of the magnifying box:

  • To the right of “Zoom Style” click on the “Options” button.
  • Click on the “Adjust Size and Location” button.
  • Drag the edges of the example magnifying box that appears until the box is the size you want. Then click OK in the center.


To change the magnification power:

  • To the right of “Zoom Style” click on the “Options” button.
  • Drag the slider next to “Magnification” to the desired power.


To use the magnifying glass

  • Press Cmd-Opt-8 to turn it on (it will follow your cursor).
  • Press Cmd-Opt-8 to turn it off.

Maybe you prefer your tutorials in video form, in which case, here you go!


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Surviving (and Thriving) in the Age of Technology-Enhanced Teaching

Mar 8, 2014 by

I’ve been giving versions of this presentation at several events lately: AlaMATYC, SXSWEdu, STEAM3, and Elgin CC’s Distance Learning Conference. I said I would post the slides, and so here they are in one version.

To see the video of students in the math classroom, here are some links to the YouTube videos:

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Phone Cameras Handle Information in a Snap!

Jun 23, 2012 by

This “Teaching with Tech” column was originally published for MAA Focus but is no longer available on the MAA website. This is a republish of the original column.

Recently, I found myself writing a College Algebra test in an airport lounge. Ideally, I write tests from the comfort of my office, with many alternative textbooks within an arm’s reach to use as a reference to find good test problems. But there I was in an airport, and although I didn’t have a shelf full of alternative texts with me (talk about an overweight suitcase), I did have the problems from those books. That’s when I realized I realized that I should share how I use my phone camera to make my professional life easier.  In this instance, before I left my office, I had taken a few minutes to use my phone camera to photograph a few pages of the problem sections of textbooks I typically use as reference.  I was carrying all those candidate test problems with me on my phone. [NOTE: While I could also use something like Coursesmart to access alternative texts, I could not rely on finding dependable or free Internet access in airports.]

Procrastinating now, I began scrolling through the 1000+ photos on my phone and I realized that at least half of those photos were related to my job responsibilities.  The camera on my phone has become almost as valuable to me as my computer, and I think it can be for you too.  Here are some suggestions for how you might get better use of that camera-phone you’re carrying around (or perhaps decide that it’s time to buy one of those smartphones after all).

Transfer an application problem from a text to the classroom projector:  If you’re in a classroom that has no document camera OR if you want to make sure that the application problem you’re about to go over is visible to a recorded screencast on the computer, you can transfer the problem to the computer in about 60 seconds (do it while the students are working on another problem).  Take a photo of the problem, email it to yourself, and bring it up on the screen (or as an alternative to email, use Bluetooth to do the transfer).

Carry the problem sections of many different textbooks with you for test/assignment creation:  Take 5-10 minutes and page through the problem sections of several older textbooks.  Take photos of the problems that you might consider putting on the assignment.  Now when you go home, or leave on that trip, the texts that were in your office can come along without all the extra weight.

Share your lecture notes from class: If you’re in a low-tech classroom, you can easily share the lecture notes with the class digitally (or keep a copy to remind yourself what you covered).  Simply take a photo of every board before you erase.  The photos can be shared in the online course shell – most everyone can open a jpg image or they could be pasted into a document, but that’s more work!  I should note that my students also use their phones to take photos of the problems that they work on the boards (so that they can later print them if they want to see the steps).

Keep a copy of the notes from a research or planning meeting: When our department is planning a schedule for a new semester or I get together with others to plan a big research project, we often take over several whiteboards as we try to make sense of the big picture.  At the end of the meeting, I always take photos of all the boards and share the photos with everyone at the meeting.  If you meet with graduate students about their research and you write down suggestions for research paths, photograph these notes before sending the student off with them.

Get a copy of that agenda/handout from a meeting:  If you’re in a meeting where there are too many participants and not enough handouts, just ask to borrow a handout from someone else and take a photo.  Now you have a copy to refer to as well.

Share students’ work for discussion about good critical thinking or nuse of notation: When you’re grading papers, you sometimes see an outstanding example of student work or alternately, you see the same error over and over.  Rather than talk about generalities in class, take out that phone and snap a picture of the student work before you begin to mark it up (without the students’ name of course).  Now you can share that work in the next class period to talk about why it is particularly excellent, or why the error is so egregious.  It is particularly powerful to take several photos of the same error made by different students in slightly different ways, or several great examples of student work so that you can discuss the good points of many different approaches.  I think this could be particularly powerful in a class involving lots of proofs, as students find it difficult to understand what makes up a good proof.  Seeing many student proofs side-by-side could help students to begin distinguishing the good from the bad.

Share a hint about a mathematical solution: If a student or colleague emails about a particular mathematical question, consider writing out a few steps on paper, taking a photo, and then emailing the photo for a prompt on what to do next.  This can often be faster than trying to formulate a response in an email program, especially since you can include annotation easily (arrows, circles, highlighting, etc).

Tips for Conferences

  • Slides: If you’re at a talk on unpublished work and the slides are flying by too fast to take notes, try snapping pictures of each slide instead. Try to sit off to the side so that you’re not too distracting, and don’t use a flash.

  • Receipts: If you go out to eat in a group and the restaurant will not give you individual receipts, just take a photo of the group receipt for your records. For that matter, you can take a photo of all your receipts for your own records before you submit them.
  • Name Badges: If you meet someone you want to remember and they don’t have a business card, photograph their name badge instead. I usually take a photo of my own name badge too, in case I show up for a session and have forgotten my badge in my hotel room.
  • Buy it later: If you find a book you want, but don’t want to carry it in your luggage, take a photo of it instead of writing it down. This works for articles you mean to read later too (capture the title & authors with a picture).
  • As a copier: Remember that your phone can act as a copier (of sorts) on the road. If you need to share a handwritten document with others, you don’t need a copy machine.  For example, I needed to share the handwritten exam solutions I wrote on the plane with the exam proctor.  I photographed the solutions and emailed them to her.

  • Logistics: When you park in the airport parking before the event, take a picture of where your car is (then when you arrive home tired and jet-lagged, you’ll be able to find your car again). Take a photo of your luggage tag from the airlines before your luggage is sent off to the cargo hold.  Now if your luggage is lost, you have all the information that was on that original tag AND a photo of the luggage.  If you rent a car, take a photo of the license plate to make it easier to register the car at the hotel.

Most of us did not grow up with an ever-present phone in our pockets and It involves a paradigm shift to stop treating photos as an expensive resource. Challenge yourself to take more photos to streamline your workflow, improve your teaching, and help your students learn more.  It’s a snap!

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Web Tools to Enhance Learning

Jun 1, 2012 by

Here’s a new mindmap containing my recently organized collection of great sites and tools for learning and teaching.  The collections are:

  • Google Sites and Apps
  • Video Collections
  • Synchronous Communication Tools
  • Asynchronous Communication Tools
  • Mindmapping Tools
  • Data Visualization
  • Scheduling, Appointments, and Information Collecting

Mindmap: Web Tools to Enhance Learning

To see more digital mindmaps, go to Resources: Mindmaps.

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Report from the 1st TaLDA Workshop

May 29, 2012 by

During the 2nd week of May, a group of faculty and instructional designers gathered for the first ever TaLDA Workshop at Muskegon Community College. TaLDA = Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age. This was a workshop inspired from the success of the annual Math & Technology Workshop, but designed for faculty and staff from any discipline. This year, instructional designers and distance ed coordinators joined faculty who teach Theater, Humanities, Psychology, Education, Library Sciences, Information Literacy, and Computer Information Systems joined to create a truly unique and fun week of technology experiences.

This was a tech conference unlike most any other. There was laughing, dancing, and even some crying. [Note: The crying was tears of joy.]

The TaLDA workshop is designed to layer on technology skills as the week progresses.  Participants must attend for the whole week – there’s no picking and choosing.  From years of experience, I can tell you that we all have gaps in our knowledge base, and the more of these gaps that get filled, the better our technology experiences will be.

View our FlickR Photostream from TaLDA 2012

Some of the topics at TaLDA included:

  • HTML Basics (so you can do a little bit of hacking when a website or course page doesn’t behave)
  • Jing (for sharing images or video on both the student and instructor side)
  • Search tips, browser tips and online bookmarking (aka “The Secret Technology Club”)
  • Web Tools for Enhancing Online Courses (see mindmap by following link)
  • Data visualizations
  • Building your own web presence (primarily LinkedIn and Google Sites)
  • Using digital mindmaps to organize and retrieve information
  • Online learning design
  • Social media for learning and for educational use (primarily Twitter and Facebook)
  • Presentation design
  • Copyright and Copyleft
  • Using SnagIt to create any image you can imagine
  • Synchronous Communications (SAVI = synchronous audio visual interactions)
  • Using Camtasia Studio to edit and produce videos
  • Mobile and Tablet Apps for learning and professional use
  • Using games to teach/learn concepts
  • Finding and using Classroom Response Questions
  • Wolfram Alpha Workshop (trust me, it’s not just for math folks)
  • Google Docs, Forms, etc.
  • Organize Your Digital Self

The big surprise (for everyone, including me) was the great joy we found in using Instructure Canvas (an LMS that is about 15 months old now).  The operative word of TaLDA turned out to be “gobsmacked” as in “we were all gobsmacked when we discovered that there is an LMS that is intuitive and easy to use from both the student and teacher side.”

Click on the image of the infographic to enlarge.

One of the participants (Christopher) created a great “infographic” to demonstrate the great power to misuse infographics.  It cracked us all up, and so I share it here.

Also, it’s true. There was dancing.  At some point, we decided that every mouse action should have a dance move, and the rest is history.  Yeah, there’s a video of the silliness that ensued too.

I’m not sure if we’ll do this again at MCC as the timing seemed to be bad for many potential participants, but we have to run these things between semesters to get lab space.  However, TaLDA can definitely be taken on the road, so let me know if you want one in your neck of the woods.

Also, I have to say a HUGE Thank You to our sponsors for this year’s workshop: Muskegon Community College, TechSmith, and Mindomo – we’re truly grateful for your continued support!

Update: Oh my gosh! How could I possibly forget about thanking Anna?  Anna was a godsend!  Couldn’t have done it without her.  I wish I could just keep her around all the time!

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