Computer Tips and Tricks

This past week I have had to do a few things on the computer that appear not to be common knowledge.  Here is a brief run-down of computer tips and tricks that I think might be useful to everyone:

Microsoft Excel

The University of Wisconsin-EauClaire has a wonderful summary of functions needed to use Excel as a Gradebook.  My favorite one is the ‘SMALL’ function, which makes it very easy to drop the lowest score, the second lowest score, etc.

This week I also came across a situation where I had to add double quotes around a name and slanted brackets around an e-mail address.  This is very tedious to do for a list of hundreds of names.  But there is hope since there is a very simple formula that can be used to do this.


Turning off CAPS LOCK

This week a friend of mine asked me how to turn off caps lock.  It really is not that hard to do as long as you have the guts to alter the binary code.  Now it is dawning on me that this may have been a good exercise for my Everyday Math class when we studied our chapter on cryptography.


If you don’t want to turn off caps lock permanently, but you still find yourself typing with the caps lock more often than you would like, Convert Case is a very nice web-based tool that will allow you to convert your uppercase text to lowercase text without having to start again and retype it all.


Saving Webpages as PDF Files for Easy Reading

This semester I had my Everyday Math students do presentations on current events in the field of mathematics.  I picked about 35 articles from sources such as The New York Times, The Seattle Times, and Science Daily, and I wanted a way to keep the articles to about 1-page front and back each.   JoliPrint and PrintFriendly were absolutely perfect for this cause.  Once printed, I put all 35 articles up on the board around the classroom and had the students pick the article that interested them the most.  The students read the article at home and presented a summary of the article during the next class.  I found it to be a nice activity for this particular group of students.