Mac OS X Tips for Your Classroom

Several weeks ago, I attended an event at Apple that included a demonstration of several features built into OS X, the operating system that runs Mac laptops and desktop computers. Although the presentation was about the Mac's "Accessibility" features, I found many of these features to be useful for any teacher, student, or staff member.

You will find eight of my favorite features below:

Add to iTunes as Spoken Track
Create an iTunes audio track of selected text.
  • Open a document
  • Services > Add to iTunes as Spoken Track

Favorites Bar in Safari
Access websites quickly.
  • Click the web address in the address bar
    • Add items: click the favicon and drag to the Favorites Bar
    • Delete items: click the shortcut and drag from the Favorites Bar
    • Edit items: click and hold on the Favorites Bar

Summarize Text
Highlight text and summarize it.
  • Apple > Systems Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts
  • Select Services (left column)
  • Click the checkbox for Summarize (under Text)
  • Close System Preferences
  • Open a document
  • Select text (highlight it)
  • Application menu > Services > Summarize

Dictionary
Look up a word in a dictionary.
  • Open a document
  • Highlight a word
  • control+command+d

Help with Spelling
Get spelling suggestions for a word.
  • Open a document
  • Type a few letters of a word
  • Press the esc key

Take Screen Captures
Take a picture of all or part of a screen.
  • shift+command+3 (takes a picture of the entire screen)
  • shift+command+4 then drag a rectangle on the screen (takes a picture of a part of the screen)
  • Images appear on the Desktop

Make Screen Video Recordings
Take a video of all or part of a screen.
  • Launch QuickTime Player (in the Applications folder)
  • File > New Screen Recording
  • (Use the down arrow next to the red record button to select microphone)
  • Press the red record button
  • (Follow the on-screen directions)
  • Stop the recording by clicking the stop button in the menu bar toward the right

Reader View
Remove distractions from web pages in Safari.
  • Visit a webpage
  • Click the tool below that looks like stacked horizontal lines (appears only when available):



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