Windows 8 Shutdown Button

Launch the desktop app, right-click an empty part of the desktop and click New > Shortcut.

Browse to the application you’d like to launch here. For the sake of this example, enter:

shutdown.exe -s -t 00

to shut down your PC, or

shutdown.exe -h -t 00

to hibernate it, and click Next. Type a shortcut name – ‘Hibernate’, say – and click Finish.

Right-click the shortcut, select Pin to Start and it should appear on the far right of the Start screen – just drag the tile wherever you like.


Retrieved from:


Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Win : switch between the Start screen and the last-running Windows 8 app
  • Win + C : displays the Charms: the Settings, Devices, Share and Search options
  • Win + D : launches the desktop
  • Win + E : launches Explorer
  • Win + F : opens the File Search pane
  • Win + H : opens the Share pane
  • Win + I : opens Settings
  • Win + K : opens the Devices pane
  • Win + L : locks your PC
  • Win + M : minimises the current Explorer or Internet Explorer window (works in the full-screen IE, too)
  • Win + O : toggles device orientation lock on and off
  • Win + P : switch your display to a second display or projector
  • Win + Q : open the App Search pane
  • Win + R : opens the Run box
  • Win + U : open the Ease of Access Centre
  • Win + V : cycle through toasts (notifications)
  • Win + W : search your system settings (type POWER for links to all power-related options, say)
  • Win + X : displays a text menu of useful Windows tools and applets
  • Win + Z : displays the right-click context menu when in a full-screen app
  • Win + + : launch Magnifier and zoom in
  • Win + – : zoom out
  • Win + , : Aero peek at the desktop
  • Win + Enter : launch Narrator
  • Win + PgUp : move the current screen to the left-hand monitor
  • Win + PgDn : move the current screen to the right-hand monitor
  • Win + PrtSc : capture the current screen and save it to your Pictures folder
  • Win + Tab : switch between running apps

InstaGrok – Wonder Wheel Search Returns

I always liked Google’s Wonder Wheel because it offered an easy means of identifying relationships when researching a topic.  This tool was particularly useful in helping students in the researching process since related concepts were displayed in a mind map format.  Unfortunately, Google eliminated the Wonder Wheel search option in the summer of 2011 as a part of their search engine upgrade.

The visual search is back with the launch of InstaGrok, this time with a few enhancements.  In addition to the visual search, InstaGrok includes links to more detailed information through an accordion style menu system.  Search options include key facts, websites, videos, images, quizzes and concepts.  Give InstaGrok a test run here:

Google New

I have long been a fan of Google’s releases for both personal and professional productivity.  The company is constantly adding new features and tools at a staggering pace.  Keeping up with all of the latest developments is a real challenge.

To keep track of all of the changes, Google has launched a blog named Google New that makes keeping current simple and painless.  Check it out at:

Peer Tutoring Like Never Before

There is a large body of educational research on the value of peer tutoring.  See The Access Center’s research on peer tutoring for math and other research on best practices here.  Why don’t teachers us the approach more often?  There are many answers to that question but I think that both sides would agree that one of the challenges is getting the right pairing of students for effective peer tutoring on a consistent basis.  One teacher in California looked beyond his classroom walls and to the Internet to address this issue. is the work of Eric Marcos and the students of Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica, California.  The students use screen capture software to create tutorials about what they are learning.  The videos are then reviewed, and if needed, edited by a math teacher.  Since the videos are social by design, their is an incentive for the student instructor to do their best since they are creating for and receiving comments from an audience of fellow middle schoolers worldwide.

Your students can create their own tutorials and submit them to Mathtrain.  Need screencasting software?  Jing from Techsmith, CamStudio (open source software), and the screen recording tools native to both Promethean and SMART software are all no cost options.

Mr. Marcos is to be applauded for this venture.  He has created a means for getting his students to reflect on their learning in a way that a math journal never can.  He is also making a contribution to the greater educational community in the process that we all benefit from. 

The Final Frontiers Get a Little More Accessible

Jules Verne would have liked Robert Ballard.  Verne wrote about the mysteries of the seas while Ballard actually explored them.  Dr. Ballard is best described as an underwater archaeologist; the man who led explorations that uncovered sunken vessels including the Titanic, the Bismarck, and John F. Kennedy’s PT-109.  Robert Ballard has had a long and successful career fueled by curiosity and an interest in using technology to transform how we explore the world around us.  We need more of today’s students to become tomorrow’s  Robert Ballards.  Creating interest in science and technology careers is the purpose of STEM, the Obama administration’s “Educate to Innovate” initiative.  Two tools that bring the depths of the ocean and the expanse of the universe a little closer are Nautilus Live and Worldwide Telescope.

Thanks to the Internet, access to the real-time exploration efforts of scientists like Robert Ballard is now a possibility.  Ballard’s new website, Nautilus Live, provides 24 hour live video and audio streaming from twenty different cameras on board multiple ships and exploration craft.  Engineers will be exploring the Black and Aegean Seas as well as the Pacific in the pursuit of discovering ancient wrecks and learning more about aquatic life.

Microsoft has teamed with NASA to bring the cosmos to life with their Worldwide Telescope project.  The beauty of the Worldwide Telescope is that the vast amount of data and images has been blended together to create a rich visual experience for the user.  Information that has been traditionally limited to scientists working in observatories is now available for free.  The Worldwide Telescope can be download at and includes various tours and tools for engaging astronomers of all ages.

Do you find either of these useful and how has it made learning science, math or technology more relevant?

Transforming Your Classroom Blog into a Published Book

Many teachers across the district have successfully integrated the district’s WordPress blog platform to create a safe, digital space for students to engage in educational conversations with one another and the greater global community.  We find that students have become accustomed to interacting with an audience beyond their peer group outside of school with tools like social networking sites and gaming communities through consoles from Sony and Microsoft.  Blogging has become a natural activity for citizens of the “digital nation” (see

One of the advantages of a blog is that it can act as a digital portfolio for a classroom or individual students.  Sites like,, and take online publishing a step further by turning a blog into a print book (  For example, one school turned a school mural project into a picture book using (see  Books from range in size from 7″x7″ to 13″x11″ and lengths from 20 to 440 pages.  Prices start at $12.95 for a single copy.

A book based on a classroom blog could easily turn in to a class or school fund raiser while giving students a meaningful purpose for writing.

Teach for Greenville County Schools and don’t have a blog?  Setting one up is easy by following the print or video tutorials at  Blogging ideas and research is located at sure to carefully follow the steps for configuring the “moderation” settings when creating your blog.  This is a critical step in exercising control over the content that appears on your blog.