The connected teacher of the 21st century has a need for speed. The following are 5 MacBook keyboard shortcuts that I find that I use everyday to get the job done for my class.

#1 Emoji Keyboard

Command + Control, Space Bar

The emoji keyboard shortcut not only allows teachers to communicate with students in fun ways as they learn to use social media, but it also serves a number of purposes throughout  my lessons – from arrows, checkmarks, to any symbol, really.

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 8.14.49 PM

I even use the emoji shortcut to make the play buttons on my videos (WordPress doesn’t let me embed videos unless I pay mo’).

#2 Link

Command + K

If you’re like me, you’re always wanting to give kids great links to great content, fast. I am constantly sending e-mails to students, commenting on forums and social media, and creating web pages on our LMS that require quick links. The link shortcut may be the most used keyboard shortcut in my teaching repertoire.

#3 Screen Shot

Screen Shot
Command + Control + Shift + 4

While you may have known that Command + Shift + 4 saves custom sized screenshots to your desktop (useful for many sites), did you know that you can save your screenshot to your clipboard with just the addition of one more key stroke?

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 8.27.09 PM
Screenshot of a beautiful website

I use this shortcut whenever I want to quickly paste a moment from a website onto almost any web page, textbox, or e-mail. I also quite often end up using the markup tool or Preview to make a few annotations before sharing my screenshots with my students.

#4 Switch Between Applications

Change applications
Command + Tab or ~

As teachers are constantly changing between applications and programs during lessons, this is one of those shortcuts that can make transitions easier and increase student attention and engagement. Press Q while holding the command key and you will quit whatever application you’re currently highlighting.


This shortcut is also one of the most natural feeling of the macbook shortcuts, and one that I definitely miss when switching to other devices. As we are a 1:1 iPad school, the students can do the same thing with a double-click to their home button, but I’m not how many mac users regularly switch between applications in this convenient way.

#5 Undo

Command + Z

An oldie, but a goodie! I make mistakes, and I make them a lot while I’m teaching. I sometimes wonder if the pioneers of the shortcut knew this when they designated the last letter of the alphabet and the first letter of my name to be the undo shortcut. If you’re not comfortable teaching with technology, I hope that you take this small piece of advice: Don’t worry about screwing up. There is always a way to undo what’s been done. Don’t be more afraid of mistakes than your students. And don’t be afraid to play around with edtech at school or on your couch. If you mess up, just push Command + Z!

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5 thoughts on “5 KeyBoard Shortcuts Every Teacher Needs

  1. Good stuff, but you should do a follow up with the ALT/Option key.

    No shift: œ ∑ ´ ® † ¥ ¨ ˆ ø π « æ … ¬ ˚ ∆ ˙ © ƒ ∂ ß å Ω ≈ ç √ ∫ ˜ µ ≤ ≥ ÷ `¡ ™ £ ¢ ∞ § ¶ • ª º – ≠

    With shift:Œ „ ´ ‰ ˇ Á ¨ ˆ Ø ∏ ” ’ » Å Í Î Ï ˝ Ó Ô  Ò Ú Æ ¸ ˛ Ç ◊ ı ˜  ¯ ˘ ¿ ` ⁄ € ‹ › fi fl ‡ ° · ‚ — ±

    Hit the option, then a vowel, and then the vowel again. é ê ë ê û ú î ô â á ä ü å ñ

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing these! I have given myself the target of using shortcuts. I didn’t know about these and they are definitively functions that I use on a daily basis (the long way). Very useful!

    Thanks again!


    Liked by 1 person

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