UTB Newsletter - Issue 8 - 2020

  • Welcome from Mike, our Founder, Visionary & Commander-in-Chief
  • Something to make you think
  • Something we think you'll like
  • New integrated workspace in Gmail
  • Tool of the week - Canva Tip
  • Microsoft, Google and Apple tips
  • Website of the week - Coolors.co
  • Upcoming Event - Getting Future Ready with G Suite 6 Part Webinar
  • NZ PLD Update - by Lara
  • YouTube Channel of the Week - Apple Support
  • Newsletter for School Leadership & Administration
  • Latest podcast digs into the role of technology in the classroom
  • Join the UTB Team
  • Win a free online course

Hi everyone,

Welcome to August...Yikes! I trust that wherever you find yourself, regardless of whether it is in lockdown like our Victorian trainers, holidays for those in the Northern Hemisphere, or in the classroom, that you are feeling inspired and energised.

The further we get into 2020 the more apparent it has become that social and emotional wellbeing of both staff and students is of such a high priority. Thankfully, if done well, this doesn't need to add to your workload!

Later this month Donna and Samantha will be hosting a practical session on how you can use the technology you have at your fingertips to help. It is part of the global Anywhere School project for Google. We'd love you to join us.

In the meantime, enjoy the following tips from the team, and as always, if there is anything we can do to help, just let us know.

- Mike

Something to make you think...

Innovation + Tech + Sport = Bringing people together

I have loved how many awesome ideas have been generated over the last few months. The very real challenges the world has faced have provided many opportunities for things to be done in new ways.

This announcement delighted me - ‘Reimagining how NBA fans and teams experience the game of basketball with Together mode in Microsoft Teams’. What a great way to bring people together using awesome technology.

Microsoft and the NBA are working together to connect fans and players for the season by using ‘Together Mode’ in Microsoft Teams.

“Together mode uses AI segmentation technology to bring people together into a shared background like a conference room, coffee shop, or arena. Using scientific principles of cognition and social perception, Together mode is more than a virtual background—it makes being together virtually actually feel like being together in-person.”

Like we’ve seen with so much during remote learning and working, connections with people is the most valuable thing, and using tech tools has allowed us all to stay connected.

Something we think you'll like

Dyson Challenge Cards

Ever had a Dyson vacuum cleaner? Or used one of their fancy hand dryers in a public bathroom? If you have, you probably know that Dyson are pretty good when it comes to innovative enginerring and design. Now they're finding ways to inspire the next generation of engineers through the James Dyson Foundation.

One of these is a free set of 44 science and engineering challenge cards. They are perfect for either the classroom or at home (hello remote learning!) as they use common household items.


New integrated workspace in Gmail

Last week Google announced that Gmail is getting an all new integrated workspace. This workspace will bring together email, chat, tasks, video calls and collaborative documents all in the one place.

Yep, you'll be able to collaborate on Google Docs without even leaving Gmail! This blog post gives you a comprehensive overiew (including pics!) of all the cool things that are on their way.

Tool or tip of the week

Canva Tip

In the past I used Canva a lot with my students for creating 2 dimensional posters and infographics - I loved how easy it was for them to create awesome looking digital outcomes.

I recently revisited Canva - and wow! All the new features are so useful. You can create videos or gifs, add animations, add background music and even present live while your audience interacts in real time.

If you are a teacher you are eligible to upgrade to the premium features at no cost.

If you are looking for creative ways to present information check out Canva. Be careful though, you might just disappear down a rabbit hole for awhile!

Microsoft Tip

Using OneNote and a Surface to make your language lessons sing!

Check out this awesome video by Adrian for some OneNote inspiration!

Google Tip

Use Google Photos to share collections of images

How often do you have a collection of photos that you want to share with your students, or even their families?

Google Photos can make the process super easy for you - especially if you are signed in on the device you are taking the photos on.

Create an album, add photos to it and choose who to share it with. Simple and easy to do - magic!

If you haven't used Google Photos before you can read about how to get started by clicking the link below.

Apple Tip

Notes for scanning

With the Notes App for iOS and iPad you can scan documents, annotate them and then upload them to your favourite platform such as Google Drive. Here's how:

Website of the week

Do you, or your students, need a hand with design ?

One of the most tricky things when presenting ideas on a Google Slide or a PowerPoint can be getting the colour scheme right. Too many colours and it's distracting from the content. No colours - too boring!

Coolors.co is just what you need. It's a website designed to help you with colour palettes. You can even upload an image and it will create a complementary range of colours.

Share it with your students and encourage them to consider not only their content, but their design as well. You'll have awesome looking slides in no time!

Upcoming events

Getting Future Ready with G Suite - 6 Part Webinar Series

Learn how G Suite tools can help you equip your students with the skills they need in a future workforce.

The Noteworthy Details

It's a 6 part webinar series held over a 6 week period, starting Tuesday 4th August.

Starting time: 4:00pm - 5:30pm AEST each Tuesday.

We encourage you to attend the whole series and to implement your learning between each webinar to get the most value from this series.

Each webinar is 90 minutes long. From week 2 onward, the first 15 minutes will be an optional open Q&A so that you can get assistance with implementing your learning.

Attend all 6 webinars and you will receive a 12 month subscription for UTB's Learn On Demand courses valued at $588.

All webinars will be recorded and sent directly to you.

Register your spot below.

NZ PLD Update

We’ve loved hearing from so many of you that your applications for PLD have been successful. From schools at the very bottom of the South Island to schools in the far north - we can’t wait to start working with you and your staff.

Once you have heard that you have been allocated hours you will need to login and select your facilitators. Check out the user guide from the Ministry of Education here. We are really happy to help you with this process via a video call, just email lara@usingtechnologybetter.com and we can schedule a time.

YouTube Channel of the Week

Apple Support

The Apple Support channel on YouTube hosts a range of tutorials for Mac, iPad and iPhone.

UTB updates you may have missed

Outclassed Podcast: If you’re not focused on this…your vision won’t become a reality Ep 13 – In this week’s OutClassed Podcast, Mike and Blake continue on their discussion regarding the school transformation framework and dig into the power of culture and how this can derail your vision and strategy.

Some of the elements of culture discussed in this episode include:

  • A Twitter spat about what is better – Google or Microsoft
  • The definition or culture and the number 1 conversation you must have to develop a great culture
  • Wins like Minecraft becoming available on Chromebooks!

An interview with Neil Selwyn: The role of technology in education, data analytics and more Ep 10 - In this week’s OutClassed Podcast, Mike and Blake Speak with Neil Selwyn from Monash University in Australia about the role of technology in schools.

In this episode we discuss a range of topics including:

  • The place of data in education and a discussion around assessment
  • What role does educational research research play in schools?
  • Learning analytics and data driven schooling
  • Blended learning and advice on how to move forward post COVID and school closures

To see all the OutClassed episodes go to utb.fyi/outclassed

- Mike Reading

Something you want us to blog about? Make a request here or check out our website to see all our posts.

Join the UTB Team as a trainer!

We have a few training opportunities to join the UTB training team in Australia and New Zealand.

We're keen to hear from people who may be interested in full time, part time or casual work with us.

If you are a passionate educator, digitally savvy and keen to explore training options fill in this form to express your interest. We'll get back to you with more details!



We love getting your feedback about ideas you've used from this newsletter or from one of our training sessions!

In fact, we get such a kick out of it that every fortnight we want to give someone who shares the love a free online course of your choice - valued at up to $300!

All you need to do is a share a photo or video of an activity that was inspired by something we shared with you (could be from face to face, online training or the newsletter), with a quick caption telling us what's happening in it!

Here are a couple of ways you can share...

  • Share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag us in with @Usingtechbetter, #utbSHARE and #utbPD
  • Not on Facebook, Twitter or Insta? No worries - email it to us at support@usingtechnologybetter.com and we'll share it out on our social media


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Created with images by Colby Thomas - "untitled image" • Geordanna Cordero - "Sabras b y Geordanna Cordero www.geordannatheartist.com www.instagram.com/geordannatheartist" • Austin Distel - "If you use this photo, I would be very appreciative if you would please credit in the caption or meta to "www.useproof.com"." • Andreas Weiland - "Balloons on a string" • Tim Mossholder - "Colorful Hands 2 of 3 / George Fox students Annabelle Wombacher, Jared Mar, Sierra Ratcliff and Benjamin Cahoon collaborated on the mural. / Article: https://www.orartswatch.org/painting-the-town-in-newberg/ " • Gilles Lambert - "man on a smartphone"