Register today for Education on Air: It Takes a Teacher, a free online conference to connect educators around the globe. On December 3rd, attendees will have access to 100+ sessions featuring renowned thought leaders and opportunities to learn about how Google tools can be used to boost student engagement, collaboration and productivity.
Engadget reports the following good news for GoogleDocs users:
the Drive team added a couple more often-requested features to the product today, including: autocorrect for misspelled search terms, the ability to split documents into multiple columns and an auto-save feature that creates a copy whenever importing and converting non-Google formats.
Sure enough, you can find it quite easily:
One neat feature is that you can highlight the content on the page and format it in two columns, as shown below:
|Read this article|
How long have you been waiting for GoogleDocs to include columns?
|Read the rest online at TCEA TechNotes|
In this balanced piece on ePortfolio solutions, Google or Microsoft, I explore my biases :
Since there are a ton of folks starting to get into eBook reading–including bus drivers reading while driving–how can we easily create ePub documents for viewing on devices? There are a ton of ePub formatted ebooks available for reading in your iPad or Nook–and you can always use Calibre to convert them to the Mobi format for use in your Kindle–as I pointed out in this blog entry. And, ereaders are finding their way into schools. You can also create ePubs in a variety of ways.
You can also read ePub ebook format using Firefox browser and a special add-on. RonHoutman suggests GooReader for Windows computer; it is “a desktop application that allows you to search, download and read books and magazines available on Google Books.”
But what about turning your students into creators of ePub ebooks? There’s now a new player in town that many of us have been eagerly awaiting–Google!
In a recent blog entry, they share the following:
To make it easier for authors, publishers, and academic institutions to create works that can be consumed digitally, today we’re launching the ability to export Google Docs files as EPUB publications. Simply go to the File menu > Download as > EPUB Publication (.epub).
If you can save your document to HTML–and most word processors can these days–then you are in business. Here are some of the tools available to accomplish that:
- ePubBud.com – Find out more online in their FAQ.
- eCub Cross platform tool
- eScape ePub Creator – Converts OpenOffice documents to ePub format.
- ODFtoEpub – Converts OpenOffice files to ePub format.
- BookGlutton – Converts HTML web pages to ePub format.
- EasyEPub – Convert from Adobe InDesign or Quark format to ePub
- Dave Solon’s Resources
You can also use these tools to convert from existing documents to ePub format:
- Calibre – fantastic tool and comes with a great tutorial.
- Sigil – Free cross-platform tool to edit ePub books
Of course, I should also mention that Apple’s Pages allows you to create ePub documents as well, a point first brought to my attention by Tim Holt. Now that creating an ePub document is as easy as going save as an ePub on GoogleDocs, wow, that is just phenomenal!
You can also find existing sources of ePub ebooks…imagine sharing this list with students, or having this wide selection of books to choose from!
- Baen Free Library of Science Fiction (I love this site)
- Book Glutton
- eBooks.com – This site supports lots of formats, not just ePub. . .and tons of titles!
- Free ePub Books – They provide a nice list of eReaders supported, including the Nook. Tons of books here that I’m dying to explore.
- Free eBooks
- MobiBooks – You may have to convert these to ePub format using Calibre (free, cross platform tool).
Update 12/11/2015: Yes! Selected!!
Your Google for Education Certified Trainer application is now complete, as we have received recommendations from all of your references. You will be notified of a decision by December 8, 2015 and you can always check your status via the application portal: https://googleedu.onlineapplications.net
“Miguel,” asked an administrator colleague at a school district, “How do I save my emails in GoogleApps forever? I was told they disappear forever after 30 days or something. Is that true?”
The question is one that will occur to any administrator who has had to deal with discovery or open records request on short notice. While many school districts take advantage of email archiving solutions like Google Vault (available at no cost for GoogleApps for Education districts) or DataCove-type options, individual admins may be a little nervous about what’s archived. “Did the email archiving system get it all?”
Without what often involves superintendent approval–if not Human Resources Superintendent prior review–how do you safeguard your darlings?
Here are a few tips on how to archive your own email, most of which will certainly raise an eyebrow in light of email server hacking news stories:
1) Mozilla Thunderbird Offline Option or, if you have a Mac, use Apple’s Mail
Want to maintain an “offline” email archive, no matter what the archiving policy is for your district? Then consider installing a free copy of Mozilla Thunderbird, an email program that is available at no cost for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can set it up to save a copy of your email to your own home computer. Read these instructions to backup your Mozilla Thunderbird email now saved on your computer. Of course, be aware that any confidential or sensitive data you receive via email will also be archived. Are you taking precautions to safeguard (i.e. encrypt) that data? Before you save it to your computer, you may want to encrypt it and then delete the original, decrypted version.
2) Auto-forward Critical Emails (use GoogleApps filters) to Evernote Premium
While you’ll need an Evernote Premium account (approx $50 per year) for this, you can get a “secret” Evernote email address that you can auto-forward messages to from your Gmail account.
There are some other solutions…
A district-level administrator has a GoogleSheet with 500 Social Security Numbers for students and they accidentally drag it into a publicly shared GoogleDrive folder. A data breach has just occurred. What happens next?
If you take advantage of the right solution–like those reference in this email below–you can mitigate the negative effects of these “accidents.” But are these solutions even necessary? You decide.
This video from SysCloud, one of the vendors which I mention below, covers the basics of concerns:
Do you have the technology in place to catch that error? Here are two possible solutions, but they aren’t the only ones….
Solution #1 – CloudLock
|Find out more online at https://www.cloudlock.com/products/google-apps/|
- Several organizations use CloudLock to protect their content in mergers and acquisitions to safeguard data, as well their own internal data.
- Many organizations–some of the ones mentioned included GSA, BBVA, 100s of colleges/universities, Texas Technical College, Austin Community College, DART in Dallas, 250 K-12 schools (Lufkin ISD)
- 91,000 apps discovered that students can sign-in with Google
- 10 million users
- 1 billion files monitored
- One example shared was Kaizena – it allows students to use their GoogleApps login to get into apps that may be compromised in the future.
- Kim Kardashian app breach used as an example.
10 critical controls
- Promote digital citizenship and end-user awareness
- student welfare
- objectionable lang and content
- students sharing externally and domain wide
- public or domain wide sharing of student records
- staff sharing student info externally
- PII + student record information handling
- IEP information handling
- Discover and control 3rd Party apps
- Encrypting sensitive and confidential data in Google Drive
- Controlling against VPN (qualifies as suspicious behavior by students). They use these to get around network firewalls.
- CloudLock recommends focusing on these areas for cloud security:
- Compromised accounts
- cloud malware
- sensitive data
- security administration
- Cost-free, commitment-free commitment available.
Solution #2 – SysCloud
MyNotes from their Document
- Some of their core features include:
- Granular Level Control: Flexibility to create policy scopes at every level for greater policy control
- Document Policy Security: Implement granular data access controls through security policies
- Manual Control: Administrators can unshare or take complete control without waiting for user to take action
- Document Sharing Visibility: Gain visibility into users, documents and internal/external sharing of your data
- Messaging: Customizable messaging templates for policy announcements and policy violation notifications
- In-depth Auditing: Keep track of user access and actions with full audit capabilities
- End user exception management portal (self service)
- They provide compliance audit reporting and security policy templates for FERPA, CA 1584, HIPAA, PCI, CIPA
- They provide online backup of all GoogleApps accounts and the ability to export them as PST files which can be opened with Mozilla Thunderbird and other apps (e.g. MS Exchange)
- SysCloud Backup software is secured with a Starfield Technologies SSL Web Server Certificate. Transactions on the site are protected with 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption.
- Complete data backup is done under a secured channel. The inbound data from source domain is completely encrypted using 512 bit encryption and stored in the destination.
- Software connects to the domain Google API servers using OAuth and doesn’t require any passwords to the source email accounts.
- Hosted by Amazon (AWS)
Note from Amy Mayer, actual Texan:
I spoke to Bill Mackenzie, firstname.lastname@example.org, a counterpart of ours in Canada, yesterday. Bill sincerely recommended creating these technical collaboratives in Texas. They’ve had great success in other states and in the great states to the North (and I don’t mean Oklahoma, I mean Canada). If you want to join, please fill out this form: bit.ly/joincollab
Some great sessions on GoogleApps, Chromebooks shared…
This one from Jeff St. Andre covered quite a bit of info.
- GoogleApps District since 2011 (City View ISD)
- APprox 1000 students k-12
- 1 to 1 Chromebooks (Lenovo N21), grades 5-12
- Macbook Air carts K-4
- 10 Resources about GoogleApps
- GoogleApps Status Email Notification – get email updates about service interruptions
- Recently, GoogleApps has had lots of outages. Toggle Apps outage Alert and any other change alerts that you would like to be notified about. Unless you like to get excessive email, be very selective. If you click on each alert, you can edit the alert name and which email addresses receives each alert. You will receive email alerts for any service disruptions or outages. Gmail disruptions and outages may hinder the delivery of alerts, obviously.
- Chromebook Inventory Google Sheets Add-on
- The simplest way to manage your Chromebook inventory.
- Chromebook Penalty Box (via Shawn Mahoney)
- Create a “PenaltyBox” OU
- Go into Chrome management, click on user settings…and change settings in the penalty box OU
- Under content settings, find “URL blocking” There you will find a “URL Blacklist,” etc.
- When you do this, you can whitelist sites (only allow certain sites).
- You can give every Chromebook a “penalty box” and this results in a unique wallpaper.
- Using Google Forms as a Free Student Help Desk
- GoogleApps Manager (GAM)
- GoogleApps Admin Help Center & Product Forums
- GoogleApps Administrator Certification
- Go Guardian
- Makes managing Chromebooks so simple.
- Gooru Daily Newsletter
- Google Admins Community
From another presentation by Edward Doan, some notes:
Special thanks to Diana Benner (Sprinkle Innovation) for sharing her notes from Edward Doan’s preso!
- TELPAS, STARR ALT 2, TAKS – through Test Nav 8 – Tests are administered online through Chrome kiosk
- Kiosk mode is required –
- Here’s how: Go to Device management > Chrome management > Device settings > Kiosk Apps. Click on Manage Kiosk Applications. In the dialog that appears select the exam kiosk app you want to use. You can search for it on the Chrome Web Store, or manually install it if you have the app ID and URL by selecting Specify a Custom App.
- View Google’s Resources
- ETS –
- STAAR may be done through a Chrome app. [As I recall, a colleague revealed that ETS would support Chromebooks, so yay!]
Lots more great stuff shared but these are the items that jumped out at me! BTW, another neat resource was the GAM Google Apps Manager!
While working on a handout for a colleague, I realized that I had to type in a few letters with accent marks over them. Since I haven’t had to work with accent marks in a long time, a 2-second Google search revealed that you can use the Google Input Tools Chrome add-on to get the job done!
Once the add-on is installed in your Chrome browser, you can follow the excellent instructions online at Typing Spanish Characters and Accent Marks:
Using the Spanish keyboard ()
The spanish keyboard is almost the same as an English keyboard except with a few additional shortcuts:
- To type an accented character, type an apostrophe (‘), followed by the letter. For example, to get á, type ‘ and then a.
- To type ñ, tap the semicolon (;) key.
- To type ¡, tap the equal sign (=) key
- To type ¿, hold down shift and tap the equal sign (=) key
You can also click the corresponding key on the virtual keyboard that appears.
Watch the video below that walks you through the process:
Earlier this year, I was introduced to the idea of using GoogleSlides as a page layout, newsletter publishing tool (see examples here, as well as these). You can watch a short video by Kern on this; Wanda Terrell is who introduced me to the idea). One question that came to mind, however, was how to insert an existing Slides creation into another as an embedded object. Think “picture in a picture” or “slideshow on a Slides page.”
Question: How can you embed another GoogleSlide slideshow within an existing Slideshow, not as full-size slides inserted into presentation but embedded into the page?
Here are 2 workflows that get around embedding a Google Slides into an existing Slides slide; I’m looking for something that doesn’t involve an external site:
1) Export Slides as PNG images
2) Import PNG images into WeVideo.com
3) Export the whole thing as a video
4) Upload to YouTube
5) Embed into a Google Slides newsletter.
Animated GIF Approach
1) Export Slides as PNG Images
2) Import PNG images into http://gifmaker.me and create animated GIF OR video (adjust milliseconds)
3) Export animated GIF created (if you created a video in step #2, you’ll have to put it up via YouTube)
4) Import animated GIF into Google Slides newsletter
Hard to believe, but last summer, a colleague asked me to craft a proposal for a “digital data archive,” exploring the various options. I did but then promptly forgot about it when the school decided to not pursue it. In chatting with a friend at iPadpalooza 15, I remembered that I had done this and had not shared it.
|Image Source: https://goo.gl/3MQRms|
As such, I hope someone will find this helpful!
Provide 4 teachers with the opportunity to track quantifiable data, notes (e.g. Student Data Profile), as well as student evidence of learning in digital format (e.g. Evidence).
Teachers will need to complete a series of self-paced and face to face sessions. The course overview includes professional development in the eGT digital tools.
Capturing handwritten notes, maps, drawing/images/photos
Capturing student responses to document-based questions (DBQs) and free-response questions.
Teachers need to be able to annotate–including text and/or audio–this student-generated content, as well as easily share that with students, parents, and be viewable by other administrators.
All data captured needs to be “portable” and follow students through their high school years and beyond.
A. GoogleClassroom & GoogleDrive
B. Evernote Business for Schools
Students and teachers would be given Evernote Premium accounts, allowing for sharing of content. Evernote also allows for export of notebooks so that students could take their work out of Evernote, as well as a free version which would not be reliant on the Premium version. You can literally put anything into Evernote, including audio recordings (the Evernote app facilitates audio recording), pictures, handwritten notes, and more. Evernote Premium has an age requirement (older than 13) but that should not be a problem for students.
Evernote Premium for each user: This is available at 75% discount of the regular pricing ($45 per year per user). For 800 students and 5 teachers, the cost would be approximately $9K.
Evernote Freemium for all students, Premium only for teachers: The free version of Evernote is available for free to each student 14 and older. Premium accounts are available to teachers at a cost of $45 per person. Total cost is $180. Additional digital scanners can be included per classroom to help students digitize their work. Otherwise, iPads with Evernote can be used, as can apps on mobile phones.
Google Classroom/ Drive
Evernote: Scenario 2
$180 for 4 teachers or $45 per teacher user.
Capture handwritten notes, maps, drawing/images/photos easily
No, but students can put content online.
Submit via email, app, computer, web interface
Submit via mobile app, computer, or web interface
No, but students can put content online.
Annotate student-generated content
Add audio,text annotations to each note.
Data is portable and follow students in District and out
Yes with Evernote Freemium account or notebook export
Yes, data is “save-able”
Yes, accounts remain.
Restricted access to teacher, student, parent
Supports Teacher-only editing of Student Data Profile (allows for student viewing only)
Centralized management of accounts
Yes linked to AD/GoogleApps accounts
No…labor intensive but better than paper folder
Yes linked to AD
Yes linked to AD
Teacher Level of Expertise Required
Low to Medium
Low to Medium
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) of handwritten documents
Setup time per student
Be sure to check out exciting summer events…here’s one more:
A short time ago, I indulged and allowed myself to facilitate a workshop for paraeducators. What a wonderful experience that was, doing something I hadn’t done in a long time–how to training on spreadsheets. I’ve often reflected at the simple fact that “how-to” training is often unnecessary these days. . .many of us just watch a YouTube video and learn that way. Of course, teachers and those in K-12 education still have a profound need to learn how to do technology related tasks in a face to face environment.
|Image Source: http://goo.gl/F8cAxG|
Often, though, we assume that since folks do have access to an abundance of online tutorials–printed tutorials, videos–that anyone who begins to create how-to resources must surely ask himself, “Should I do this if there’s already tons of stuff online via YouTube and WikiHow?“
The answer should be, “Yes, of course.” I have arrived at that answer through the pleasant experience of re-discovering how much fun preparing for a workshop can be. It may be that we have all the answers, but no one is asking the questions. With the Web, though, it’s so easy to share and realize that some may find your contribution worthwhile.
Below is a sample “real life” problem I am able to solve with spreadsheets. I had not played with this myself, having left those tasks to others. I hope you’ll find these resources helpful. Of course, they feature one or two of my work colleagues.
You can find the original online in the “real problems” section at my Spreadsheet Magic site. I don’t want to suggest that any of this is brilliantly original work…only that it’s my attempt at working through a few items and I hope you find it useful.
Wish you could do more with GoogleForms and GoogleSheets? Then check out these “You can’t live without ’em!” add-ons to our favorite Google tools!
Do you use GoogleForms and/or Google Sheets regularly? I’m amazed at how many neat tools are available to enhance these two Google tools.
Here are a few of the ones I’ve noticed and, when possible, begun slipping into my arsenal of tools to take these two to the next level:
- autoCrat: A nifty tool for blending your GoogleForm responses into PDF templates. Imagine collecting data via GoogleForm then merging it into a PDF form you can print out. Here’s how it’s described: “Automates the creation and sharing of personalized (e.g. merged) Google Docs or PDF email attachments from columns of data in a Google Sheet. Optionally merge documents when forms are submitted!”
- FormLimiter: This has to be THE form enhancer that everyone has been clamoring for: “formLimiter automatically sets Google Forms to stop accepting responses after a maximum number of responses, at a specific date and time, or when a spreadsheet cell contains a specified value.”
- FormPublisher: This is simply amazing, and solves one of the big challenges for folks–how to “disaggregate” data from GoogleForm responses into separate documents without having to export it into a database program or something else. “Form Publisher Add-On generates Google Docs or Google Sheets from a created template, using a Google Form responses.”
- Form Router: Although only available to a “test group” (which it is easy to join, then you get access), “FormRouter appends Google Form question responses to additional Google Spreadsheet destinations.” That means, you can send ONE Google Form responses to MANY destinations. That’s cool.
- Flubaroo & Forms: This combination allows you to have self-graded assessments, as well as push the ability to notify students of their grades. Rather than use an LMS (e.g. Moodle, Edmodo) to assess teachers on digital citizenship with a multiple choice quiz (yes, we still do those), we used Flubaroo and a GoogleForm. Worked great! You may want to read this blog entry that goes into more detail.
- MailMerge Add-ons: If you’re like me, you may have been using a bulk email program of some sort (e.g. MaxBulk Mailer) to get messages out to lists of people. Now that I carry a Chromebook, I want the same ability with GoogleApps.
Although this is the view of “Yet Another Mail Merge” add on, the brightly colored box to the right highlights “Styles” add on for GoogleSheets. It makes it easier for you to format the data in your cells.
Here are two solutions that help you do this:
- Yet Another Mail Merge – While it may be “yet another” one, I’ve used this one to great effect. Folks have no idea that you’ve done a mail merge from a GoogleSheet, and it makes it easier for you as the email sender to customize the information. There are a zillion uses of this in education, especially for campus/district administrators.
- ValMerge – I ran across this one at Spreadsheet Madness and haven’t used it yet. Looks fairly straightforward.
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As the use of educational technology increases, the need for highly experienced, innovative educators who can support and demonstrate the effective use of technology in the classroom will also increase.
Overwhelmed by your digital life? Take control! Here is my checklist for digital file management and eliminating clutter. This rumination inspired by Doug “Blue Skunk” Johnson’s blog post, A Clutter-Free 2015?
De-cluttering my environment–physical or digital–remains a long-term goal and to that end, I have come up with my own checklist. It may not be incredibly original, but flows from the needs each of us to organize the digital flotsam and jetsam that washes up on our shores. After all, who wants a bunch of junk crowding around you, imposing on your space, catching dust?
Since I’ve already written much about how I accomplish these goals I’ve included links to my “how to” blog entries, hoping you will find them helpful. Since there are many ways to get things done, I’ve included a few of my favorites. I include my “go-to” tools at the end of the email for daily work in case the list is too overwhelming.
Here’s my checklist for getting organized:
- Re-organize my digital files, moving them into their appropriate “buckets” such as Work, Photos, Consulting, etc. Tools I’ve used include the following:
- File Commanders:
- Compression Software (e.g. zip, 7z)
- Backup all my cloud storage sites, dumping the temporary files I typically place online for various creative projects. Tools I’ve used to make this easier include:
- Cloud Backup
- CloudHQ – Makes it easy to copy/move content from one Gmail account to another. Use this link if interested, please.
- BitTorrent Sync – an easy way to backup all your large videos and photos off your mobile device, as well as have a “private cloud”* backup (*using the term loosely here)
- Google Takeout – When you just want to have an “out-of-the-cloud” experience with your data. Saved all my Google Drive data to local hard drive.
- Save images/photos to the Cloud. Although Facebook and Instagram are fun image sites for quick sharing with family and friends, I prefer something a little more robust to back images up to. Of course, I keep a copy of all pictures handy on external USB drives, but Flickr is my go-to backup site. I’ve noticed folks playing around with SmugMug, but to be honest, it’s too easy to switch then realize you should have “stuck” with one service. Flickr is easy, widely-supported and most of my content is already there.
- Double-check confidential files to make sure they are all encrypted individually and stored on encrypted drives. Tools I used to accomplish this include the following:
- AESCrypt.com – Free, open source tool I use daily.
- ParanoiaWorks’ Secure Space Encryptor – Cross-platform tool that works great to encrypt individual files AND folders, which is a rarity among encryption tools.
- Digitize content and dump paper. I use Evernote for this and it works great! Shred old files using one of the recommended programs:
- Change and securely store my passwords to critical services, ensuring the email I use for certain accounts is different than my popularly known email account (e.g. “mguhlin at gmail”). Here are six steps to take to protect yourself, as well as a quick list of tools I use for this include the following:
- Dump print books, switch to digital, DRM-free ebooks. I have quite an extensive collection of print books (or did since I’ve been weeding them out over the last few years). Every year, I accumulate some more but try to get rid of all the extraneous books (sorry, authors) and dump them at Half-Price Books for pennies (sigh). I’ve made great progress and now only have my “special” available in print only books to safeguard. These are books that are gifts and I want to keep for sentimental value.
- A great list of Digital Rights Management (DRM) Free ebooks
- Five Reasons to Liberate Your DRM eBooks and this provocative post at Operator Beats.
- Backup my Blogger blog to WordPress friendly format: Since Google suspended my Blogger-based blog a few years ago, shortly after I became a Google-Certified-Teacher (GCT) no joke, then re-instated, I have been careful to make frequent backups of my blog and import it into WordPress.com (mguhlin.wordpress.com). Backing up (Go to Settings–>Other–>Export Blog at top of page) is pretty easy these days from Blogger.
My Go-To Tools:
Copying and moving files can get to be a pain using a GUI so I find it easier to use a file manager.
Since I spend most of my time on LubuntuLinux, my file commander of choice is Midnight Commander. It took me awhile to get comfortable with it, but it reminds me of my old DOS days with Directory Freedom. On Mac, I use Fast Commander.
For encrypting confidential data, I rely on SSE for files and folders. It works great and I can always unencrypt content on my phone if needed.
For cloud backup, GoogleTakeout is great for GoogleApps, but I rely on CloudHQ for all the other stuff (and Google, too). It works great and I highly recommend it!
Tools I haven’t Tried Yet but Want To:
These are tools I’d like to use but haven’t had a chance to:
- VeraCrypt Disk Encryption – This is a possible cross-platform replacement for TrueCrypt, which you may recall went belly-up for unknown reasons.
- ParanoiaWorks’ Text Encryption on iOS – Although I’m a heavy SSE user on Mac, Windows, Linux and Android, I haven’t yet tried Text Encryption on my iOS device (e.g. iPad).
- Some services similar to CloudHQ: Although I’ve used services like Otixo and MultiCloud, it’s important to revisit them from time to time because they have new features! For example, Otixo added Flickr support while I was writing this blog entry!
Something New I Learned While Writing This Post:
I had no idea you can re-color an image in GoogleDraw! What a neat trick to be aware about…pretty cool! You can see I’ve selected cardboard box (which started out brown, by the way) and can color it. This works with images you insert from anywhere on the web! What a neat way to make an image one’s own!!
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Aside: This blog entry started out as a blend of old and new ideas for facilitating online learning–building on an article I wrote in 2009, but has been fun to write as an exploration of neat tools (mostly, Google) that have emerged since then. The end result is an “updated” article. What would you include that I’ve left out?
Source: The Thinking Stick Blog
This online learning experience kept my interest and provided me with learning that I know will benefit me as an educator and, thus, will positively impact student learning. I especially enjoyed being able to login at my convenience and from multiple portals (home and work). The content was challenging and interesting and I found that the activities/projects were relevant and, thus, met my needs as an adult learner.
Source: Texas public school district Online Course Participant
LEARNING IS SOCIAL
Learning IS social…and online learning environments engage students in that way. But we have to be careful to avoid trying to engage students in online learning environments with face to face approaches. . .the effects of F2F engagement methods may be different than what we expect. We have discovered this through our own professional learning experiences online as students and facilitators. Here are 8 tips that may be helpful to you:
Tip #1 – Address the logistics of the course in your course materials and make sure they are obvious and easily accessible rather than buried in a syllabus or other document. Logistics can include how often students should login and participate in the course, assessment rubrics, etc.
- Craft a syllabus
- Develop an assignment checklist
- Streamline organization of the course by chunking or “modularizing” content. This makes it easy for learners to break off and then dive back into the content that comes in bite-sized pieces (e.g. 5 minutes).
- Blend text, audio and video into the content.
These tips, that are perhaps obvious now in light of blended learning information shared, enables your virtual students to work their way through the content for a specific topic within the overall course of study.
I too am a Middle School Math teacher. I teach 7th grade. What grade do you teach?Is this your first technology course? I just finished the [online] course and it was an awesome experience. . .It’s nice to meet you and I look forward to working with you this week.Source: Introduce Yourself Forum, Online Course
Organizing a course using Google Sites, as you can see from these examples, is a matter of organization and fun:
One of the challenges for any online course is keeping content up to date. Not having to deal with arcane systems makes it easier to accomplish!
Tip #2 – Personalize your online learning environment with multimedia.
“These videos and articles put so much more into place and answered many of my questions that I had,” shared one online course participant. You can accomplish this by including audio+picture or video testimonials from former students and course introductions by district facilitators. One of my favorite examples of this approach was, when designing a course for librarians being introduced to Web 2.0, to request audio introductions to the topics from well-known library advocates such as Doug “Blue Skunk” Johnson and Joyce Valenza. The expectation was that they would provide a brief introduction from their “library” perspective for each topic. This kind of personalization helps build a real connection with course participants.
In one online class, participants had the opportunity to view videos that illustrated how to accomplish something relevant to the class. Some of the positive feedback from using the videos:
Before I took this class, I had no idea how blogging could be so helpful to myself and my class. I had wanted to create a classroom web page; however I see that a blogging site would be so much better. I think it will really help my class communicate with other classes and to gather ideas from other children their age. I can use it to reflect on lessons and classroom management. I can also use it to post special projects, lessons, homework as well as showcase their work. Subscribing to RSS feeds has made it easier to obtain information.
Source: Blogging Online Course
Some screencast and video recording tools you can advantage of include the following:
- Screencast Creation Tools –
- Computer and Web:
- Use either Vocaroo.com (web) or Audacity (computer) to record audio narrations. Both are free, works on all computer types.
- Screencast-o-Matic is a web-based screen-recording tool that allows you to record your computer’s screen.
- TechSmith’s SnagIt – This is the premiere $20 program to record screencasts on your computer.
- Screencastify – Absolutely my favorite for easy to use, allowing you to save videos for hosting at YouTube or GoogleDrive. For GoogleApps users, this is phenomenal since you have unlimited storage and GoogleDrive makes it easy to share the video, including with embed code. There is a slight delay while Drive converts Screencastify’s webm video format to a more compatible one with most web users.
- TechSmith’s Snagit app and extension combo – A solid choice that combines image and screencasting.
- ClipChamp – A very easy to use tool that works in tandem with a web site to facilitate the entire process.
- MediaCore Capture – Another easy tool to use to record your screen, as well as yourself (picture in a picture).
- Touchcast (Free) – This is a tool to flip communications,create videos while reading a script right on the screen. Read this blog post to see examples.
- Explain Everything ($2.99) – This is the must-have, go-to tool for creating screencasts on iPad and Android tablets. Let’s you create and share content via GoogleDrive, Dropbox, etc. Watch this video highlighting its features.
- Knowmia (free) – It’s a versatile tool like Explain Everything, although it does not allow you save your content as a video file, only host it on theknowmia.com web site. This is used by Domingo Martinez at ECHS!
- EduCreations (free) – Try EduCreations. Works great, is free, and easy to share online through their web site. Drawbacks: Can’t export video and their web site is slow to load.
Tip #3 – Develop and share materials. Making course materials available online–including organizing your class calendar and gradebook–is important, but it’s also necessary to share the print resources you are using to advertise the class online. Often, course participants request access to the flyer that enticed them to sign-up for the online course. By revisiting the flyer, they can visually remember what their purpose for registering for the course was.with potential participants
If you want someone to learn something online, “old-timers” may want to print and read content rather than view it all online. That’s why making content print-friendly can help bridge their movement from 100% face to face and print to blended learning environments.
It’s now much easier, especially with GoogleSheets and Gmail, to stay in contact with folks via email. Here are some helpful add-ons that can streamline communications:
- Ultradox – Karen Harris shares the following: “I am using Ultradox to automatically email Certificates of Completion. I am using a Google Form to generate a personalized email message with a PDF of the Certificate attached. This add-on can do more, but this is a very nice start.”
- Yet Another Mail Merge – This is a simple add-on that empowers you to use GoogleSheets and Gmail to send out information. From their web site: “This mail merge script will let you select a draft written in Gmail, replace template keys with names and other information from the spreadsheet and automatically send the email. Also, users can configure the add-on to notify one or more email addresses whenever a form is submitted. Another option will send an email to an address submitted by the form.”
Another neat tool is one that allows for students to submit content via a GoogleForm, allowing you to respond and then have your response sent back to students through the magic of Flubaroo, as explained in their blog (#3):
When emailing grades, you can optionally send each student individualized feedback. The message will be delivered to the student in the email with their grades, along with any message you may have also supplied for the entire class
One quick solution for making a Google Form more secure is to create a dropdown list with your students names, as you can spot duplicates immediately. This works fairly well if you use the form only with one class and if the poll doesn’t have to be anonymous, like in the case of student – teacher feedback. Imagine, however, 500 students voting for their representative in school. In such a case a nice and easy solution would be to use verification numbers (or TAN/transaction numbers). Each students gets assigned (preferably emailed) a number which can be used to submit a form only once.
Question from Learner #1: I just received and email saying that our district server was going to be down Friday through Saturday. Does this affect our internet course? Also I wanted to follow up on the blog request form. Is there still a problem with the setting up of our blogs? I submitted the request and still haven’t heard anything. I’m just concerned about completing the assigments on time. I know that something was mentioned about an extension, but I wanted to know if that still applied and also how much longer we had. Thank you
Response from Learner #2: Yes, will we be allowed extra time to complete our assignments? With the blog site down and then the entire network down it will be hard to complete assignments on time.
The power of Support Forums is that when your online learners start to come together as a community of learners, they start to help each other out and respond. As facilitator, I did not get a chance to respond quickly enough but another participant stepped up…and stepping up to help others learn fundamentally changes–in a positive way–the teaching and learning dynamic.
Even if you’re not using a traditional LMS, you can quickly facilitate online conversations–and presentations, like this one about MOOCs, using tools like WizIQ–using social media, from Google+ Communities which can be open or closed. Nellie Deutsch does just that for Moodle session participants:
|Check it out online at https://plus.google.com/communities/113606017575012750254|
In all honesty, I prefer the “bounded” nature of Google+ Community–readily available to school districts using GoogleApps for Education–to the openness of Twitter chats managed via hashtags, subject to easy hijacking by vendors or Internet trolls.
Tip #5 – Remember to scaffold and support learning conversations rather than dominate them. Part of your scaffolding and support is providing regular feedback and interacting with participants online. This is especially important up front since your level of activity serves as a model for the level of interaction students will exhibit when you are present but not as active.
This initial high interactivity sloping down to omni-presence enables participants to learn to rely on each other for answers, rather than you. Consider this exchange between participants in their first attempts to create a podcast using a free online service that, unfortunately, was blocked within the District (unblocked later):
Learner #1: After trying repeatedly at school to create a podcast without success I was very determined to accomplish this task. Finally, at home I had success.I find it very rewarding to achieve this. It was actually very simple once I was blocked by school servers. The possibilities are endless for this. I can envision student comments as they work on a project or go on a field trip as Ms Farias suggested. If I was undertaking a project on butterflies I would have my students comment on each life stage we observe. Once it was uploaded onto a blog it would be there for review. Pictures could be added to go with the dialogue.
Learner #2: Great to hear of your success – I listened to your podcast and was inspired to give it a try – I too was successful and you’re correct – despite the multi-steps, not too difficult.
Learner #3: I like your idea about the butterfly, Jenny! As you already know since we work at the same school next year our campus will incorporate a gallery walk. The purpose of the gallery walk is to showcase student learning. Podcasting would be a great way to showcase a theme while incorporating technology. The students would showcase their expertise on the life cycles of the butterfly. Maybe each student could comment on a different stage of the butterfly and so forth. You could also discuss habitat and food. Great ideas, Thanks
Tip #6 – Don’t be afraid to pull in guest speakers.
- iPadifying the Writing Workshop with Cynthia Rodriguez (@msrodz97)
- Digital Tools for the Writer’s Workshop with Lisa Monthie (@lisamonthie)
- Mobile Writing on the Go with KidBlog and WordPress with Dr. Wesley Fryer (@wfryer)
- Digital Storytelling with Amy Stengel
- Digital Storytelling with Jennifer Woolven (@jenwoollven)
Of course, it’s even more exciting to pull in folks in your own organization (e.g. school district, university) who have wisdom to share that reflects the context and culture of your school.
Tip #7 – Avoid long discussion posts, as well as posts that feature a lot of questions. Focus discussions around ONE central question that resembles an ill-structured problem. For example, consider how many questions are introduced in this discussion prompt. Each question achieves equal status for the participant; how could one question or scenario help participants focus?
Discuss the solutions to the following questions:
A possible alternative way to introduce these topics for discussion:
“Ms. Jones,” began Teri the new assistant principal in conversation with the principal, “Mr. Cervantez was absent from work yesterday and the substitute teacher marked attendance wrong in the electronic gradebook. What we think happened is that the substitute marked Ramon Johnson tardy, but it was really Ramon Jimenez that was absent. Ramon Johnson actually transferred from Mr. Cervantez’ class to Ms. Derrick’s class. What should I tell Mr. Cervantez about changing his gradebook? And, is there any way we can run a report on attendance totals to see what other issues there may be?”
While this is one attempt to weave in various questions and issues into a real life scenario, it’s critical to engage course participants with ill-structured problems. Ill-structured problems can be an effective way of engaging students with experiences that scaffold higher order thinking. Such problems need to achieve curriculum objectives, be engaging but not frustrating, and be developmentally appropriate for the learner.
Tip #8 – Encourage people to discover each other’s strengths and what they each have to bring to the table. One of the most rewarding aspects of online learning conversations is that people discover each other–and themselves–online. Some of the feedback that can result includes the following:
I have found that this course has made sharing information with my students and their families. Online professional learning/development for work-related purposes is a great experience. It allows for you to learn at your own pace and still offers support for those who need support. I enjoy trying to solve each task set forth independently and only seek assistance when needed…I got many ideas and helpful suggestions from the other participants.
Online courses make it easy to obtain professional development in different areas of need…This online learning experience kept my interest and provided me with learning that I know will benefit me as an educator and, thus, will positively impact student learning. I especially enjoyed being able to login at my convenience and from multiple portals (home and work). The content was challenging and interesting and I found that the activities/projects were relevant and, thus, met my needs as an adult learner.
Finally, as online learners discover the benefits of learning online for themselves–especially when they work with other people–that positive reaction will encompass your online professional learning program. I encourage you to employ these 8 tips for successful online course facilitation. Be sure to share back other tips you learn along the way!
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As I was reading about Google updating the Chrome browser on Mac to 64-bit, reading about other stuff that would be great for my team at work to have access to, I wondered how I could get the information to them. There are lots of ways to “tag” work or save it for others and I’ve played around with those (e.g. RSS).
For fun, though, I wondered what would happen if I had IFTTT.com save anything tagged “2ecto” to a GoogleSheet saved in GoogleDrive. I went that route because I already had my personal Gmail set up as a channel; IFTTT only allows you to have one email per Gmail channel. I didn’t want to have to change that since I use it for other recipes.
By creating an IFTTT channel based on GoogleDrive, I could use my GoogleApps account to save stuff then auto-share it on a web site.
What Success Looks Like
So, here’s what success looks like: http://tinyurl.com/ectoplan (scroll down to see the list of articles)
As you can see from the image, I have a spreadsheet embedded into my GoogleSites page. A brief excerpt from the page appears, as does a link in case folks want to click through to the main page.
A cleaned up version featuring a snapshot of embedded HTML version of the spreadsheet:
Here’s the flow:
1) I happen to see a web site I want my team to see. So, I tag it in ReadItLater’s Pocket with the tag, “2ecto”
What’s neat is that I can tag items from anywhere–phone, tablet, computer–and they immediately show up in Pocket, and then get pushed out to my web page.
2) My IFTTT.com recipe takes anything tagged with “2ecto” and saves it to a spreadsheet in my work GoogleApps/Drive account.
|Get Recipe: Publish Pocket Tagged Items to Drive Spreadsheet|
3) In the GoogleSheet itself, I have played around with formatting a bit and set up two sheets…one where the raw data comes in, and the other where the data is auto-sorted in descending order (Z to A). This is the equivalent of reverse chronological order.
This is accomplished using this formula (thanks to this web site for the solution!)…put TRUE for Ascending, FALSE for Descending order on the sort:
=sort(Shared!A:D, 1, FALSE)
This means that this sheet (“Shared”):
Gets auto-sorted and shows up like this:
Note: You may have noticed that my example has the first row with an incorrect date…sorry about that. I actually re-tagged that item and Nov 15th was the original tag date, but chronologically, it’s the most recent to be put in the spreadsheet. 🙂
4) The final step, I suppose, would be to get folks to actually visit the web page or email them anytime there is a change. This could be done several ways but I will leave those for another blog post.
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As technology changes at an astounding rate, and given how many people are making how-to tutorials in video and print, making how-to tutorials has fallen by the wayside. Why bother making a tutorial for teachers if you can just find them online in infinite variety and languages?
Thanks to inpictures, these tutorials are available for free to educators:
My company creates illustration-based computer tutorials that are free for any teacher or student to use. Around the Corner readers might appreciate knowing about them.
The tutorials are available at www.inpics.net. They were developed through a research study funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education.
We’ve recently created many new tutorials, several on Google Drive applications. Considering the rapid adoption of Google Apps in schools, this might be of interest to readers of your blog.
That aside, you may want to check these tutorials out. Although MS Office and OpenOffice tutorials are available, you can also find some for:
Will this be helpful for you?
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Recently, a colleague asked, “What would be the best way to convert a 200+ page PDF file to a format like Rich Text Format (RTF) or Word? GoogleDocs won’t work because the file is 33megs and the limit is about 10 megs.”
The following approaches–which I used on a GNU/Linux machine at the command line–will convert the PDF to text, but depending on formatting, you will get just text without anything else (looks atrocious):
Approach #1 – Use LibreOffice to convert PDF to ODT
This is a command line option…what you actually type in on a computer running GNU/Linux and that has Libreoffice installed.
- libreoffice –headless –invisible –convert-to odt –outdir ~/dir ~/dir/filename.pdf
Approach #2 – Use AbiWord to Convert PDF to RTF, Txt, etc.
This is a command line option…what you actually type in on a computer running GNU/Linux and that has Abiword installed.
- abiword –to=rtf *.pdf
- abiword –to=txt *.pdf
- abiword –to=odt *.pdf
- abiword –to=doc *.pdf
Of the options, the best was CloudConvert because it worked very well, keeping original formatting, is not specific to an operating system (e.g. GNU/Linux), and allows you to save converted file directly to Dropbox, GoogleDrive, or to your own computer/device .
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I’m going to be shifting schools next year and the my domain admin have disabled the ability to transfer ownership of the docs I’ve made in the past three years. What’s the best way to migrate/download/archive my stuff to my personal google account so I don’t lose everything when I leave?
I know that google takeout does something similar, or I could do the more time consuming download of each folder, but is there an easier way?
There are various ways to approach this problem. Here are two that I’m aware of for moving content from GoogleDrive to somewhere else:
Approach #1 – Use Cloud HQ
This is a great approach that I highly recommend because it allows you to easily backup all your GoogleDrive content from a GoogleApps for Education account to a personal Drive account, or a variety of other storage locations. I’ve used it several times, and it works flawlessly.
|Check out CloudHQ|
Approach #2 – Use Google TakeOut
If you just want to get your files OUT of GoogleDrive and save them to your hard drive, then this approach may work a lot better for you. While CloudHQ will send stuff from one cloud storage to another, Takeout allows you to save your work to your computer’s hard drive (or an external drive).
|Try Google TakeOut|
I recommend you read Eric Simmons’ instructions on the subject, an excerpt of which appears below:
Google Takeout is a tool that let’s you download a copy of almost all your Google Apps data on the web. You can also choose to just download the data you need, such as Drive and YouTube.
It downloads all of your online stuff as one LARGE file, depending on how many things you have uploaded to the cloud. You can use that downloaded folder to transfer (upload) your data and information to another school or personal Google Account in the future.
What solutions have you used?
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Earlier this year (last month in fact), I encountered advertisements in GoogleApps for Education–something that wasn’t supposed to happen, especially since ads were switched off in the Google Admin panel.
Although the ads are now gone, this remained a “perception” issue for Google. Should it be scanning information in GAFE, accessing potentially sensitive information to provide better ads to its non-GAFE users? The answer is NO.
Today’s announcement from Google confirms that and directly addresses the perception issue. Will it be enough to resolve fears people have? Probably not unless you’re a dedicated GAFE user.
We’ve permanently removed the “enable/disable” toggle for ads in the Apps for Education Administrator console. This means ads in Apps for Education services are turned off and administrators no longer have the option or ability to turn ads in these services on.We’ve permanently removed all ads scanning in Gmail for Apps for Education, which means Google cannot collect or use student data in Apps for Education services for advertising purposes.
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Watching a presentation by two book authors at a conference earlier this year, a colleague sitting next to me remarked, “Wow, they included all the low-hanging fruit. I expected more.” It was a valid criticism if you imagine that every book or publication should address technology integration strategies of some sort.
|Image Source: http://goo.gl/o0l3lY|
However, while I agree that this type of sharing is “low-level,” it’s important that we continue to share. The act of sharing can be fun and enjoyable for educators, as well as anyone. To insist that sharing always aim for the uppermost branches of learning can be a tough, stressful series of actions.
As I was working my way through various emails, I ran across the following from Stacy Behmer:
Hold on to your hats boys and girls because we will try to fly through 60 great Chrome web apps and extensions in 60 minutes! Chrome apps and extensions are what help you make the most of the web. Web apps are those shortcuts to websites you can use and I’ll showcase some that tie in with Google Drive and then we will look at some of my favorite Chrome extensions to help make your browsing experience more efficient and these extensions can also be used to help support accommodations for students! READY… SET…GO!
It immediately made me think of Dr. Scott Mcleod’s blog entry, 60 apps in 60 seconds, where he points out:
How many sessions like these have we seen at educational technology conferences? (fess up: how many have we delivered?!) Teachers attend, they scribble notes madly, they ask for the slides afterward because “they missed some.” The long-term substantive impact of these spray-and-pray workshops on teachers’ day-to-day practice? Zero.
I must disagree with Dr. Mcleod. While not all teachers will embrace ALL of what has been shared, some teachers will reach for the one item that engaged them. The spray-and-pray approach reminds me of Stephen Krashen’s second language acquisition theory of comprehensible input, or i+1.
According to this hypothesis, the learner improves and progresses along the ‘natural order’ when he/she receives second language ‘input’ that is one step beyond his/her current stage of linguistic competence. (Source)
In technology parlance, that would be, learning how to use technology that is one step beyond current usage. For example, MS Word to GoogleDocs.
Here’s the text:
Language acquisition does not require extensive use of conscious grammatical rules, and does not require tedious drill. Acquisition requires meaningful interaction in the target language – natural communication – in which speakers are concerned not with the form of their utterances but with the messages they are conveying and understanding.
The best methods are therefore those that supply ‘comprehensible input’ in low anxiety situations, containing messages that students really want to hear. These methods do not force early production in the second language, but allow students to produce when they are ‘ready’, recognizing that improvement comes from supplying communicative and comprehensible input, and not from forcing and correcting production.
In the real world, conversations with sympathetic native speakers who are willing to help the acquirer understand are very helpful. Source: Stephen Krashen as cited online
While we are talking about language acquisition here, I suppose that this theory might lend itself to using technology as well. Let’s revise this perspective–totally unsubstantiated by research, of course–to reflect technology instruction:
- Technology integration does not require extensive use of conscious pedagogical rules, or tedious drill. Integration requires meaningful interaction in the use of technology-blended instruction in which learners are concerned, not with what technology, but the how the technology expands their learning.
Example: Share popular apps with learners that help them achieve something relevant and meaningful to them. Although not all apps shared in 60 seconds will be useful to all, some will be.
- The best methods are therefore those that supply technology use scenarios in low anxiety situations, focused around uses that learners really want to adopt for their own. These methods do not force early production at a high level, but allow learners to produce when they are ‘ready,’ recognizing that integration comes from supplying comprehensible input.
Example: Can you think of a more low anxiety situation as a conference where someone is promising to share apps with you? Not only can you practice lecture student role–which all of us are familiar with and agree is fairly non-threatening–you can revisit the presentation at your leisure.
- In the real world, technology use with sympathetic learners who regularly use technology and are willing to help are more helpful than ivory tower academics proclaiming from their perches atop well-respected blogs.
Example: It’s so easy to be critical of folks, but those who are sharing “where the rubber meets the road” technology uses provide an entry point to higher learning.
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By Conner Forrest January 28, 2014, 10:46 AM PST
The article cited above has some great takeaways regarding the use of Chromebooks, and GoogleApps for Education that are worth reflecting on. You’ll want to read the entire article, but here are my notes.
- According to an estimate by Futuresource Consulting, Chromebooks accounted for almost 20 percent of the mobile computing market for K-12 schools in 2013.
- Kentucky Country Day (KCD), an independent private school, has had a 1:1 laptop program for their high school students since 2005, but they recently began requiring the purchase of Chromebooks for their middle school students to use in the classroom.
- Simultaneous to the Chromebook experiment was the school’s rollout of Google Apps, which the students use to create and share content and access their assignments.
- Students were using their devices to create non-assigned projects like short stories and share them with their peers and instructors for feedback. The faculty quickly realized that the star of the show wasn’t the Chromebooks themselves, but the Google Apps suite they were all now using.
- “What ever direction we took,” said Tim Rice, “the device was going to be our last consideration.”
- Devices are enrolled under the KCD domain, then they use the Google apps management to break students into groups based on their grade level, control how much email access they have, blacklist websites and put filters on the computers.
- Then they use Hapara to help organize the students Google Drive.
- Once they settled on Chromebooks, the students adopted the technology organically. The school never mandated the use of Chromebooks in the classroom, or even explicitly encouraged their students to use them.
- Classrooms with technology can still be teacher-centered or reflective of what Paulo Freire describes as the ‘banking method.’ We can use laptops for ‘drill and kill’ activities, or rote memorization, or for online test prep—or we can use laptops and associated apps as a medium for creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.”
- “Chromebooks present a number of benefits to the education market which goes further than just offering cheaper hardware,” he said. “While cost savings can be made on the cost of the hardware alone, the majority of the cost savings originate from savings made from infrastructure and device management.
- The use of Google Apps has increased transparency and led to fewer misunderstandings between parents and teachers over assignments and due dates. An added bonus for parents is that it’s harder for the students to lose their homework.
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|Image Source: http://goo.gl/fPrZLW|
Google Apps for Education (GAfE) is often considered a blessing for small, large school districts, and is relied on by many. Still, people often want to ask, Why is Google providing such great services to schools at no cost? Simply, how is Google benefiting from having so many school districts and statewide education systems relying on Google tools to the exclusion of all others (e.g. Microsoft)?
The inability to answer the “What’s in it for me?” question will haunt all of us that rely on Google’s education-focused product, GAfE. EdWeek has an article posted, entitled Google Under Fire for Data Mining and authored by Benjamin Herold. It asserts the following points:
- giant online-services provider Google has acknowledged scanning the contents of millions of email messages sent and received by student users of the company’s Apps for Education tool suite for schools.
- A Google spokeswoman confirmed to Education Week that the company “scans and indexes” the emails of all Apps for Education users for a variety of purposes, including potential advertising, via automated processes that cannot be turned off—even for Apps for Education customers who elect not to receive ads.
- That means not only mining students’ email messages for key words and other information, but also using resulting data—including newly created derivative information, or “metadata”—for “secret user profiling” that could serve as the basis for such activities as delivering targeted ads in Google products other than Apps for Education, such as Google Search, Google+, and YouTube.
Those points in mind, surrounded by a lot of words, boil down to the scanning of GAfE emails for the potential use of creating targeted ads. The question is, Has Google done that? Their response is as follows and is elaborated in this Privacy statement:
- When ads in Gmail are turned off for Google Apps for Education, automated scanning that is done in Gmail is not used to target ads to Education users, whether inside Gmail or in other Google products (e.g. YouTube, Google Search, etc.).
- We do not scan information stored in Google Drive or Docs (or Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms) to target ads to Apps for Education customers.
Seems straightforward to me. . .Google’s answer is NO. Maybe they might consider adding this statement:
Any data gathered by automated scanning in Google Apps for Education’s Gmail service is NOT used in any way (e.g. target ads) outside of Google Apps for Education.
Perhaps the statement (#1) says that, but I’d write it differently. Of course, Google–and any other providers of email, calendar, productivity tools–should be grilled if they were scanning information then using it to target ads. It’s sad that we’re getting to the point that everyone has to police how data is being used.
Once upon a time, you could appeal to the U.S. Government, legislators, and hope for assistance. Now, well, argh.
So…We should all learn how to encrypt our communications. It’s hard to imagine children doing this, but remember, A Christmas Story. How many of us had decoder rings in the U.S. and abroad (I grew up in Panama)? Encrypting our communications is a part of digital citizenship.
The reason I share this is that we should be encrypting our files, documents, emails when they are sensitive in nature. Some would argue to encrypt everything. With Google Drive pricing dropping below Dropbox, learning to protect your confidential data is important. Obviously, there are some projects that won’t be encrypted in K-16 settings and that’s fine. But what a great opportunity for educators.
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|Create a “Digital” Sub Tub
Image Source: http://goo.gl/jpKSB8
Colleague Lisa Duffin (Twitter: @wrinkleninja) http://twitter.com/@wrinkleninjashares a neat idea–creating a digital “sub-tub” for when you’re out of class. You can read her rationale below:
Several years ago I created a “sub tub” for my classroom in the event that if I was out on an emergency I knew that at the least my class would be taken care of in my absence. However over the years creating the sub tub has made preparing for a sub easier and organized.
Below is the link to my google drive folder where I keep sub tub documents. Feel free to use or not use any of these. If you’d like to see how I have mine set up I’m happy to show you. It is a rubbermaid tub with a binder, similar to a sub folder…along with extra assignments and what ever I deem necessary to throw in there.
This website http://classroom.4teachers.org/ allows you to create your classroom layout and print it. I use it to create seating arrangements for each period and then have it posted on the board and additionally on several clipboards for easy access by myself, another instructor or substitute. I have made specific notes for substitutes to look for seating arrangements on yellow clip on white board.
What a neat idea, Lisa!
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A few announcements from the Google Education branch that may get some folks excited:
New Chromebook Announced
Google Play for Education Announcements (source)
- Reassign apps as needed – When students transfer or change grades, schools shouldn’t lose the investments they’ve made in great apps. That’s why we’re adding the ability to reassign licenses for the educator-approved apps in Google Play for Education, starting on April 2. We’re also making it easier for schools to keep tablets clutter-free by uninstalling apps remotely, right from Google Play for Education.
- Starting today, K-12 books are available to all schools using Google Play for Education. With a broad catalog ranging from classic literature to recent textbooks, it’s easy for teachers to get the right reading to each student.
- Reviews from Google Play give a quick view into pros and cons, and new app details show the grades, subjects, and common core standards an app supports
Google Teacher Academy Dates Announced
2014 GTA Dates
The Google Teacher Academy (GTA) is a free professional development experience designed to help primary and secondary educators from around the globe get the most from innovative technologies. Each GTA is an intensive, two-day event during which participants get hands-on experience with Google tools, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse themselves in a supportive community of educators making impact.
- June 24-25: Atlanta, USA
- July 30-31: Mountain View, USA
- December 2-3: Austin, Tx, USA
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The following question was recently posted to the Google-Certified-Teachers list, and since it echoes recent experiences of my own, I thought I’d share it:
Can anyone help advise what to do. We are suddenly unable to send mails from our gafe accounts
We keep getting the error bellow.
Our domain hosts say the problem is not by them… Has anyone got some advice?
DNS Error: Timeout while contacting DNS servers
Technical details of temporary failure:
Here is my response, which I typed up on my mobile phone using @CloudMagic, a great email app for Android and iOS devices, but have edited a bit for readability:
Your domain servers house the info that identify your organization to GoogleApps. If Google cannot connect to them, you will be unable to send or receive email.
In my recent experience, this is caused when your domain servers has 1) Failed, 2) They cannot be reached via the web, perhaps your internet service provider is offline.
If you still have internet then it is prob #1. If your server and network are ok but no internet it is prob #2. There may be other reasons but try to investigate those of two.
A mail exchanger record (MX record) is a type of resource record in the Domain Name System that specifies a mail server responsible for accepting email messages on behalf of a recipient’s domain, and a preference value used to prioritize mail delivery if multiple mail servers are available. The set of MX records of a domain name specifies how email should be routed with the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). Source: Wikipedia
What other suggestions would you offer?
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Every few weeks, someone asks the same question I did so long ago–Is GoogleApps for Education really safe to use in K-12 education? This blog entry shares some ideas about that.
While I’ve made my peace with GoogleApps for Education and found it a tremendous benefit and cost savings for schools, there’s always a nagging doubt in the back of my mind. Is it too good to be true?
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What a fun podcast featuring the co-founder of Securly.com, as well as Mark Gabehart (RoundRock ISD CTO) and his wife, Yolanda Gabehart.
Did you know about this product?
Securly protects students on computers throughout the school while giving them safe access to 21st century learning tools like YouTube, Google and Wikipedia. No hardware. No software.
Very informative, especially for GoogleApps for Education districts/schools!
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|Listen to Kern Kelley
View Session materials
At this session–my apologies for poor audio and photo from the back of the room–I had the opportunity to listen to Kern Kelley on Districtwide Implementation of Google Apps for Education. It was heartening to hear such an enthusiastic embrace of GoogleApps for a variety of projects.
The session description read as follows:
This session for school administrators covers districtwide implementation of GoogleApps for Education going beyond the use of individual tools. We will discuss building a system for administrators where students and teachers can use the tools all within an educational framework.
One of the points Kern makes is how he doesn’t want kids to be stuck in a system they can’t get out of, citing Google’s Data Liberation Front:
Google‘s Data Liberation Front is an engineering team at Google whose “goal is to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products.” The team, which consults with other engineering teams within Google on how to “liberate” Google products, currently supports 27 products. The purpose of the Data Liberation Front is to ensure that data can be migrated from Google once an individual or company stops using their services. (Source: Wikipedia)
He also mentions Backupify as another solution to move content out of GoogleApps. Kern also addresses other key questions people have before switching to GoogleApps for Education.
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At mid-day today, as Jacob Ortega (Instructional Technology Specialist for the ECISD) and I crossed paths on the way to an exciting activity at the Google Academy at the TCEA 2014 State Conference, I had the opportunity to get his insights and reflections on the sessions thus far.
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Here are a few Google Academy (ok, maybe one Science Academy item thrown in) from tweets shared this morning!
- Notes from Google A-Z http://goo.gl/Z6K2jv – Monica Martinez
- Get Going with Google Sites – Lisa Thumann (listen to podcast)
- Rev Up Classroom w/Google Dr at #TCEA14 Resources can be found here: http://ow.ly/tehdM
- The basics of what iBooks Author can do (video) http://www.apple.com/ibooks-author/
- Great copyright info #TCEA14 #googleacademy http://ow.ly/te8B6
- Teach Parents (or anyone else) Technology – Technical Support via video tutorials http://goo.gl/QxfxK
- Google Scripts + Spreadsheets = Bacon session resources and notes with @edtech2020 http://resources.edtech2020.org/google-scripts
- Explore different constitutions around the world! Constitute Project http://goo.gl/q2aLS2
- Apps for Google Drive w/ @jbergland http://ow.ly/2b4vr6
- PowerPoint / Handout / Parallax eBook PDFs : http://mrgober.com/ #TCEAroboticsacademy
- Missing retired google services? Go to google graveyard
- How to filter Google searches by reading level
- MIT’s App Inventor Site
- The Dead Sea Scrolls
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