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January 31, 2010

How to Turn any Room into a Presentation Room With Your Computer Part 2


Hope you are all doing well. Today I will be blogging about part 2 on how to turn your room into a presentation room. That's right, I will be giving you my own professional recipe, and also reveal the type of system I am currently using in my classroom. If you look at the picture to the left.  This is the wireless system I am using in the classroom.  This system requires no connection to your computer.

The students are amazed by it, especially when they get to talk on it, or give presentations. Just this past week, elementary students from first to fifth grade were able to hold the wireless microphone, while I used the lavaliere microphone clipped to my tie.  If you are interested in this system click on the picture above.

The students were so excited to hear their own voice over the speakers in my room. Several students were able to ask questions, read the daily objective, and give PowerPoint presentations while using the wireless microphones. I think they really cherished and enjoyed this experience.

The professional VHF wireless microphone comes with 4 wireless microphones. I have been using this system for the past 2 years and it is a pretty good system for students to use. Last year during the end of the school year party we pulled out all four microphones plus another corded one I had, and had a great Karaoke party in my room. The kids really enjoyed the experience to hear their voice amplified through the system. These are just a few uses you can use the system with.

This is a professional VHF wireless system from Pyle that comes with two handheld microphones, two belt pack transmitters that clip on to your belt with lavaliere and headset microphones, power on/standby/off switch, four 9 volt batteries and ¼ audio cable included, RF indicators, AF level meters, individual volume controls, ¼” individual and mixed output, frequency range: VHF 160-270MHz, operation range: up to 240 ft., power supply: 110/220 V Dimensions: 16.5” x 8.2” x 1.8”
Model Number: Pyle Pro PDWM4300

When you look at the picture on the left, you will see the VHF wireless system I am currently using with my students. I also use a corded microphone (not pictured) that you can buy separate. (I use the Memorex brand) I have the headsets put up in my room.

We get the headsets out on special occasions. I have a MPA-30 20 Watt PA amplifier 120V/12V by Radio Shack, which is connected to a little speaker that I place in the center of the room. (By the way, the amplifier, and the speaker were given to me by a close friend of mine, who found out I was using professional microphones in my room.

You see, when you are doing great things in your classroom, people tend to want to help you out!) There are several 20 watt PA amplifiers you can find online, just google them. As I was writing this post I saw some on Ebay, for as little as $10. Also you will need to get some small speakers (not computer speakers) to plug into the back of the amplifier. Once you connect all these together you are ready to use it.

By the way if you go to this site you can see the manufacturer’s manual: The manual will give you even more detail about the system. At the time I was blogging, this professional VHF wireless system retails for about $267. You can check it out from the Manufacturers web site at by clicking on Here. As I said you can build this system for under $200. When I purchased my system I paid around $110.

 Unfortunately the price has gone up. If you are interested in the VHF wireless system, check out the one above to see if these are in your budget. Ok, we will see you next week, coming up in a few weeks you will hear about the podcasting and vodcasting classes I am teaching with a colleague of mine. Talk to you later.

January 24, 2010

How to Turn any Room into a Presentation Room with Your Computer Part 1


Today I am blogging about how to set up a microphone PA system in your classroom. You can turn any room into a presentation room by using your computer, and your computer speakers.

 I think teachers should create a Great Experience for their students, and having a microphone, and speakers in their room does that. You can have students give presentations, and they can hear their voice amplified over your speakers. You can teach your students interview skills, and presentations skills. You can also teach them how to defend proposal, and premises in front of the class.

From my experience of visiting different elementary schools, I am finding about less than 1% of the teachers use microphones in their classrooms. So this can be a great way to help your students in having an unforgettable experience that they will never forget, while teaching them presentation skills at a young age.

It is as easy as connecting a microphone to the back of your computer through your sound card. You want to make sure you have computer speakers connected to your computer, so the sound can come through them. As you can see in the picture, you connect the round metal tip to the back of your sound card. At the end of the cord, it is usually color coded to match the color of your jack input in your soundcard. If it is not, then you are looking for an imprint or picture of a microphone on the back of your sound card.

Your other options are to buy a USB Microphone and just plug in the Microphone into a USB port. Many USB Microphones come with software you have to install before you connect the microphone to the computer. Once you do this, then all you have to do is to go into your sound and audio devices in your settings on your computer to turn on the microphone. To do this you have to left click on your green start button on the bottom left side of your computer screen. There are two views you could be using on your computer. (To enlarge the pictures you need to rapidly double click the pictures with the left side of the mouse)

The first view is the classic start menu and the second view is the new start menu. Let’s go over the first one, the classic start menu. Older computers have this menu and it looks like this Click on control panel and you are looking for an icon that says Sounds and Audio Devices Once you find it, rapidly double click with the left side of the mouse and you will see a menu like this

The second view is the newest view for Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. Left click on the green start button on the bottom left of your screen. You are now looking for this button on the right side of the start menu. You will need to left click on the control panel button. Next, you will see this menu You will need to rapidly double click with the left side of the mouse on the Sounds, Speech and Audio Devices. This is the next menu you will see after you have opened up your Sounds and Audio Devices Options. You will be on the sounds tab button. You can place a check by the Place volume icon in the taskbar and then you want to click the button below that Advanced and you will see a menu like this You will want to uncheck the box that says Mute under the button that says Microphone, so you can hear sound coming out of your microphone. Do not worry about the other checks. You can close the Playback Control box and close the Sounds and Audio Devices Menu. You should now be able to talk with your microphone and hear the voice sounds projecting through your computer speakers.

Hope this helps if you have any other challenges while setting this up, please visit this following resource site: We will see you next week with part 2 on how to create set up a four professional wireless microphone system in your room for under $200. That's right I will be giving you all the details of where I purchased my professional wireless microphone system fron under $100. See you next week!

January 17, 2010

How to Take Pictures of Your Computer Screen Using MS Office 2003


I hope you had a great week. Today I am sharing with you how to take screenshot pictures using MS Office 2003. Remember, all you have to do is push the print screen button on your keyboard. Whey you do this it will take a digital image or picture of your screen, like you see on the top. After you click it, you will not see any message that tells you that you have taken a picture and it is now ready to post. In fact you won’t notice anything different about your screen. When you click on the right side of the mouse chose the option paste and it will copy your picture in your office Document or PowerPoint. To edit the picture you have to double click fast on the left side of the mouse and you will see the Format Picture Box. If this does not work you will need to go to the very top of the screen and and chose the third option View. Then go down to the Toolbars option and check the option: picture and you will see a Picture tool bar appear on your screen like this Once you see the Picture option box, choose the little dog. It is the 4th Picture from the right side of the toolbox and choose the option Tight.

If you want to edit or crop the picture chose this icon Once you click on the little crop icon, you will see black lines around your picture. All you have to do is left click on the lines while holding the mouse and move the mouse to where you want to crop or cut the picture. Now if you double clicked on the picture you will see the following six tab options Color and Lines, Size, Layout, Picture, Text Box, and Web. You want to chose the third tab or the Layout option. When you chose this option you will see the following Next, you will click on the Tight option. It is located in the middle of the screen. Now you must decide if you want the picture aligned left, center, right or other. I would chose other and the when you click on the picture it will allow you to move it anywhere you want in your document. Once you chose the option you want click on the OK button on the bottom. You will see little white round dots around your picture (To see these white dots look very closely at the picture at the very top), which means you can now hold down the left side of the mouse to move it anywhere you want in your picture. You can also make the picture small or large by clicking on one of the dots and moving the mouse. Hope these directions help you out when you are practicing taking screen shot pictures and inserting them in your Documents or Power Points. We will see you next week.

January 10, 2010

How to Take Pictures of Your Computer Screen Using MS Office 2007

Hello fellow Colleagues,

Today I am blogging about a screen shot picture (a picture of your screen). Did you know that you can take pictures of your screen? Then you can crop (cut out the image you want out of the picture) and edit the picture and then you can put it in a Power Point or a word document.

This feature is the best kept secret for screen shot companies and they do not want you to know this. All it takes is one button and that one button is called the Print Screen button. It is located on your keyboard, right above the insert button. This button is also on the right side of the F12 button and left of the Scroll Lock button.

All you have to do is push the Print Scrn button. That's it, it is that easy. Then you open up MS Word or Power Point and you right click with your mouse and select the paste button and it will paste the screenshot in your document. To crop the picture you will need to double click on the screenshot with the left side of the mouse. Then you will left click on the crop feature button it looks like this picture. It is located on the right side of the ribbon. Once you have clicked on the button it will create lines around your picture in which you can left click to control how much you want to cut or edit out of the picture. Then you will look for the text wrapping button on the ribbon. It is usually a picture of a little Dog with horizontal lines around it. Next, left click on the text wrapping button and chose the Tight option. After you have done these steps you can now move it anwhere you would like it in your document. If you want to make the picture smaller or larger just left click on the picture and left click on the little circles around the picture and move the mouse. You can also copy and paste it into another document if you want.

Once you get the hang of taking screenshots you will be taking many screenshots of your screen. If you are looking for more information on this feature go to google and type "print screen in MS Word 2003 or 2007" Please keep in mind that these instructions are for MS Office 2007 version only. I hope to publish the MS Office 2003 version next week. Now, if you do not have MS Office 2007 I have posted a link where you can get it. Stay tuned and we will see you next week.

January 3, 2010

The New Flip Camcord Camera by Pure Digital

Happy New Year!

Greetings Colleagues and Friends,

Today is the day; I know you have all been waiting for the amazing video we shot on my trip to Abilene, TX on Christmas Eve. Remember we were taking a trip from Dallas to Abilene, which is usually a 3 hour trip, but on that day it took us over 9 hours to get to Abilene due to the winter storm we were caught in. Now, I must admit, I drove and my wife shot the video from the front seat while heading west on Interstate 20. I was driving about 20 to 40 miles per hour, until we eventually arrived to a complete stop for about 2-3 hours on the highway. We eventually had to exit near Cisco, TX. I hope you enjoy the winter adventure.

The video was shot with the new Digital Flip Camcord Camera by Pure Digital and I have been asking others about the video we shot and we have been getting great reviews. Remember I said before in an earlier blog that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, what is a video worth that tells a story? I really like the convenience of just pulling the camera out and pushing the button and capturing video. In fact, it is too easy to shoot video anywhere and at anytime. It is even easier to share the video you just shot with others by replaying it on the screen. By the way, the video was edited in Windows Movie Maker 2.

The camera retails for about $150 and you can find more information on their new HD Flip camera at I would recommend this camera, if you do not have an iphone. I personally like the iphone camera, except you have to quickly push a few buttons on the screen to get to it. So, if you are just shooting events, family or friends this camera will make a great addition to all the new tech gadgets that are out. Another thing I like about the flip camera is that on the side you will find a USB connection which you can plug in your USB port in your computer.

One of the great features is that the software and the capability to edit your video clips come with the camera. No CD to load into your computer. The software is built in the camera. That's right! So all you have to do is load the software when you plug it in to any computer. The flip camera lets you record up to 120 minutes, but this has not been a problem since you can unload the clips you shoot on your computer. If I had to improve the camera, I would let flip know to add a light so you can capture shooting at night. I hope you enjoy the film we shot and produced. Stay tuned to more exciting videos in the future.

Package Includes: camcorder, 4 GB built-in flash memory (records up to 120 minutes), 2 AA batteries, tv cable, wrist trap, soft case & quick start guide. You can also buy the optional rechargeable battery pack.

The Digital Video Format: H.264 video and AAC stereo audio in MP4 file format, Video

Resolution: VGA 640 x 480 at 30 frames per second The Minimum Computer System

Requirements Include: PC: 2.0 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or faster processor, Windows XP SP2 with 512 MB or RAM or Vista with 1 GB of RAM, and USB 2.0 port MAC: 1.0GHz PowerPC G4, Intel Core or faster processor, 512 MB of RAM, OS X Tiger 10.4 or Leopard 10.5, and USB 2.0 Port

Next week, I will be talking about how to easily capture pictures or take screen shot pictures in Ms Word. I will also be sharing with you how to edit and crop (cut) the pictures so you can insert them into documents or Power Point presentations. I will also be sharing a few photo sharing sites in which you can post photos for free.