Save all Your Photos in One Place

As a teacher, you probably take lots of photos of your students in the classroom. You may even have students or assistants act as photographers. It’s useful to save all those photos in one place. This lets you access the photos from any device, makes it easy for you to share photos and albums with everyone including parents, and protects your images from loss if a device breaks or becomes inaccessible. If your device is running out of space, you may also want to save your photos and videos in Google Photos so that you can delete them from your device and free up space. This is especially important if your school uses devices that only have 16 GB of space.

If your school uses G Suite, Google Photos is a good option, as it is included as an app in your G Suite account. Google Photos works on whatever devices your school may be using. To use Google Photos, you need a Google account. Then install Google Photos on your Android or iOS device, or on your Mac or Windows machine, or access Google Photos on the web. Once you have the app installed, you can setup Backup and Sync for Google Photos on your device.

Note that if you set the quality of your photos to high in Google Photos, your uploads do not count towards your available storage limits. This means that you can save an unlimited number of high quality images (up to 16 mega-pixel) and videos (up to 1080p), which is high enough quality for people who mostly access multimedia in digital formats.

What’s New in Google Classroom – August 2017

August 2017 Google Classroom Updates

help in Google ClassroomGoogle Classroom is Google’s learning management system, which was introduced in 2014. Throughout each school year, and over the summer, Google releases new features and updates to Classroom. If you have a suggestion of a feature for Google Classroom, click on Send Update inside Classroom to share you idea.

Google made a number of changes to Classroom over the summer holidays. There are two features that were on my wish list: the ability to display the class code full screen, and new page views where a student or teacher could see all the student’s work for a class, and the status of the work. Other updates include the ability to reorder classes on the home page, to grade quizzes question by question, assign decimal grades for assignments, use the Google bar to quickly switch to other G Suite products, and transfer ownership of a class to another teacher. Google Classroom now integrates with QuizizzEdcite, and Kami. You can get more details about the updates in the blog post from Google.

If you’re new to Google Classroom, or want to improve your use of Google Classroom, check out the Training Center. This hub contains video tutorials, tips and tricks from teachers, guides that you can download, and access links for webinars. If you have other questions (or tips to share), you can also take part in the Help Forum. For more tips, follow the #FirstDayofClassroom hashtag on Twitter.

Teach Digital Citizenship from the Start of the School Year

Phone in the Hands of a Bully

Phone in the Hands of a Bully, License: CC BY-SA 4.0

Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship refers to the appropriate behaviors for positive engagement with digital tools and in digital spaces. We can view digital citizenship as an extension of citizenship in the physical world, where we have rights, duties, and obligations depending on our national affiliations. In schools, much of the hidden curriculum is concerned with student behavior as well as interaction between individuals and groups of people. Teachers help students develop team building skills, cooperation, kindness, sharing and other such attributes within the course of classroom and extracurricular activities. These skills are even more important online, where it’s easier to be mean and misunderstandings occur more often without the nuances of speech and body language.

Mark Ribble, in his book Digital Citizenship in Schools, identifies 9 elements of digital citizenship. The elements are Digital Etiquette, Digital Communication, Digital Law, Digital Literacy, Digital Access, Digital Rights and Responsibilities, Digital Health and Wellness, Digital Commerce, and Digital Security.

Teaching Digital Citizenship

Experiences in the physical and virtual worlds work in tandem to create ways of thinking and being. Children have some experiences online before doing so in the physical world. They may also experiment and explore their identity online. Adults can help children unify their online and offline worlds, and help facilitate constructive and positive experiences through intentional conversations and guidance in both spaces. As children experience new situations and problems, and engage in steps to resolve them, they build resilience.

Students develop digital citizenship skills by engaging in online spaces, with appropriate support and guidance. Digital citizenship lessons are best taught within the context of technology use. Just as we can’t teach a child to ride a bike through pen and paper exercises, we can’t teach digital citizenship skills in that way. What we teach about digital citizenship and how we teach it should depend on the age of the child. In every class and subject, it is up to the teacher to highlight any relevant digital citizenship skill that students are using during the course of a lesson. The following essential questions for use with students, derived from Mark Ribble’s work, may help you develop lessons and activities for your classroom:

  • What are my rights and responsibilities in a digital society? (Digital Rights and Responsibilities)
  • How does my use of technology affect other people? (Digital Etiquette)
  • Am I using technology responsibly and appropriately? (Digital Law)
  • Do I communicate appropriately with others when using digital tools? (Digital Communication)
  • What technology can I use to improve my learning? How does technology help me learn? (Digital Literacy)
  • Does everyone have access to the appropriate technology tools when he/she needs them for learning, work, and for local and global collaboration? (Digital Access)
  • How can I protect myself and my equipment from being harmed by my online activities? (Digital Security)
  • What are the physical and psychological dangers of digital technology use? (Digital Health and Wellness)

Start the year with clear agreements with students about their use of technology at school and in the classroom. If your school has a technology use policy, discuss it with students and help them understand its contents and how it applies to their classes. Develop classroom rules that clarify and build upon existing school rules about technology use. Make sure that classroom rules address software installations, changes to computer configuration, and uses of technology devices. During orientation at the beginning of the school year, students in one grade 4 classroom made class agreements on taking photos and videos in the classroom and downloads and purchases on classroom iPads, learned about password strength, and made a list of trusted adults beside their parents/guardians to go for help in the physical world if they have a problem in the virtual world.

Throughout the year, reinforce the agreements, concepts and skills from the start of the year. As you plan your lessons and units, select the essential question relevant to the content area, and to the use of technology by students. Use this essential question to include relevant tasks and conversations in your lessons. Also model digital citizenship skills in your own teaching. Finally, include descriptions of digital citizenship skills that students are learning in your regular communication home.

Teaching digital citizenship in Elementary School

Throughout elementary school, teachers should share reliable, relevant websites with children. One way to do that is through a bulletin board of QR codes that students can quickly use to access websites. Other tools for sharing include social bookmarking tools like Diigo, Google Classroom or other learning management systems, and tools like Chirp. It’s important to emphasize which tools and websites students may use, the process for selecting a new website or tool, and how to identify unsafe situations online.

In lower elementary school, most of the tools used by students at school will be found and shared by the teacher. The major focus of digital citizenship for students should be on finding and using safe, appropriate sites, and on what to do if they find themselves in a new or scary place.  Common Sense Media has a lesson using the analogy of traffic lights for K-2 students where green light sites are those that are appropriate for the child. If you’re an elementary school teacher, you may want to make a poster or bulletin board of green light sites for the classroom. You can involve students in evaluating the sites, and in posting them. You may connect this idea to a QR code bulletin board, for students to quickly access green light sites.

In upper elementary school, students will begin to find more of their own websites to use. They start to make accounts independently and need to learn about strong passwords, and protecting their accounts. It’s important for teachers to help children develop independence in selecting appropriate resources for use in their learning. My favorite lesson for helping children in Grades 3 – 5 recognize the opportunity and responsibility of digital citizenship is Rings of Responsibility from Common Sense Media.This lesson can be done each year, customized to the grade level of the children. It’s also a good idea to send related material home, with ideas for connections at home.

Even though students in Grades 3 – 5 do not meet the requirement for many online sites and tools, many of them have these accounts, with or without their parents’ permission. Discussions of cyberbullying, online civility, and privacy are especially important as children engage more in virtual spaces. As a teacher, you can facilitate conversations with students about their choices and habits when using digital tools. It’s important in this lesson to be a listener, and facilitator, and to guide students’ choices without being bossy.

Teaching Digital Citizenship in Middle and High School

Students in middle and high school generally have much more independence in using their digital devices. They engage in social media and in social networks. It’s important to teach about cyberbullying, time management, and mental and physical health, as topics connect to the digital lives of teens. Common Sense Media has a variety of kits and lessons to help you. Since many students have their own devices at home, issues of Digital Commerce and Digital Security are relevant to them. They should learn about these topics as part of core courses of technology, maths, and other relevant subject areas. Alternatively, some schools organize a digital citizenship bootcamp for students during the first days of school.

Favorite Resources for Teaching Digital Citizenship

I have used many different websites for teaching digital citizenship, but in the past few years, I’ve focused on the following 3 resources:

I’ve recently learned about one more tool, which sounds exciting, the Digital Intelligence Quotient (DQ). The DQ includes 8 digital skills: digital citizen identity, screen time management, cyber bullying management, cyber security management, digital empathy, digital footprints, critical thinking and privacy management. DQ World is an online game with free access for kids ages 9 to 12 to develop their digital citizenship skills. You can create a school/classroom account to use the site in your classroom. If you try it out, please leave me a comment.

Another resource – Tech Time Digital Citizenship wiki based on Mark Ribble’s book

15 Resources for Free Summer PD for Teachers

By the time summer comes around, most teachers are ready for the break. It’s important to take time to rest and rejuvenate, whether that means spending time alone or with friends and family. For many teachers, summer is also a time for professional learning, and personal growth. I’ve spent time each summer engaged in learning, whether by attending conferences, taking online courses, completing work for a graduate degree, exploring and playing with my many bookmarks and saved links, participating in educational twitter chats, etc. Some summers, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on courses. This summer, I’m staying in Prague and minimizing my expenses. I’d like to share with you some of the free resources that I am exploring for professional/personal development this summer.

  1. Explore online resources for teaching and learning. Some suggestions are The Current by Educator Innovator, and The Teaching Channel.
  2. Explore the available resources on the ISTE Conference page, by session. The conference takes place June 25 – 28. Even if you can’t be at the conference, participate in ISTE Unplugged Live (I’m presenting on using Google Tools for Organization). Also, you could follow the #ISTE17 and #NotatISTE hashtags for free resources motivated by the ISTE conference. Also join the NotatISTE Google + community
  3. Participate in a MOOC from the Friday Institute
  4. Learn something new on AtomicLearning for 90 days with code NOTATISTE
  5. Take a course on Coursera
    1. Get Organized: How to be a Together Teacher
  6. Learn Computer Science Fundamentals from Code.org
  7. Complete a Google certification or Digital Citizenship and Safety course
  8. Complete a Computational Thinking course
  9. Become an Apple Teacher
  10. Join and participate in the Facebook community for Apple Teachers
  11. Participate in the Microsoft Innovative Educator Program
  12. Take an Intel Teach Elements Course
  13. Take a self paced course from the Library of Congress
  14. Take the Tinkering Fundamentals: A Constructionist Approach to STEM Learning Course created by Exploratorium
  15. Attend Edmodocon on August 1, 2017 to learn how Edmodo can be used in your classroom

Are you taking any other free courses this summer? Please share in the comments.

 

Feature image source: World Education Letters Learning, CC0

App Spotlight: Padlet

padlet logo

Overview

Padlet is a digital canvas where you can create, create, and collaborate. It’s one of the most popular tools with my colleagues, and I’ve used it for years, since its previous incarnation as Wallwisher. It’s a freemium product, with a version for schools called Padlet Backpack.

Using Padlet

To use Padlet, it’s best to create an account. You can sign up with a username/password combo, or by connecting your Facebook or Google account. This gives you a personal profile, which includes a public feed of your padlets, as well as any biographical information that you’ve added to your account. If you don’t create an account, make sure you save the links for any padlets that you create, and to finish editing their settings within 24 hours.

When you create a new template, you can select one of five formats, or convert between formats:

  • Wall which uses a “brick-like layout”, when order doesn’t matter
  • Canvas which lets you arrange content and create connectors within them, for trees, mind-maps, flowcharts, brainstorming, etc.
  • Steam for a vertical organization of content, to make lists, reports, blog posts, etc.
  • Grid for rows of content, useful for storyboards, noticeboards, etc.
  • Shelf for columns of content, each independently scrollable, e.g. compass point activity, introductory padlet.

You can create a padlet from scratch, using a template, or by modifying an existing padlet which allows copy, and you can decided whether or not others can remake your work as a template. There are a variety of wallpapers to choose from. Themes are also available in the premium version. For each padlet, you can set a custom link address.

template choices

Template choices

 

There are options for visibility: Public, Secret, Password-Protected, Private or Organization Wide (premium feature). You also decide permissions for users: read-only, write, moderate, admin. Posts can show up instantly, or you can turn on moderation. You can manage posts by other users, and edit, transfer, copy, or delete them. Also, at any point, anyone can export a Padlet as a pdf, csv, image or Excel file. They can also share it on social media, or embed it elsewhere on the web.

post to padletPadlet lets you add posts to the board, using links, photos, video, documents, music, voice recordings, and other file types. You may also be able to comment on other posts, depending on the settings of the padlet.

Padlet has integrated search, which lets you find your own padlets, or to search for padlets on specific topics.

Padlet Backpack

I haven’t used the premium product, but according to the Padlet website, it offers the following features:

  • user management and access control
  • more privacy
  • extra security
  • branding
  • school-wide activity monitoring
  • bigger file uploads
  • controlled environment
  • support

Great Features

  • Support for multiple languages
  • Easy to collaborate in the space
  • No signup required to post
  • Upload files from your computer, or embed from the web
  • Attached links and files have previews right in Padlet
  • Links are automatically recognized and hyperlinked
  • Real time updates of the padlet, or focus mode which lets you decide when to refresh the content
  • Copy posts within one padlet or from one padlet to another
  • Automatically create a QR code for your padlet

Tips

  • Use an organizational tool like a Venn Diagram or T Chart as a background to help you organize posts
  • Install Extensions for Chrome, Firefox, or Safari to quickly add web content to your padlets, or install the Chrome App for easy access
  • If students are posting without an account, have them put their name in the title of the post

10 Ideas to use Padlet in the Classroom

  1. Make a list of resources for your students, color coded by topic, or reading level.
  2. Have students create a wall as a presentation on a topic
  3. Create a padlet for collaborative brainstorming
  4. Collaboratively create a question and answer board with students
  5. Create a video playlist for a course
  6. Create a booksmarks board for a class
  7. Have students post reviews of books that they are reading
  8. Post a daily message/question to students that they can respond to
  9. Create a weekly “newsletter” for parents, curated by students
  10. Have students create showcases/portfolios of their work

Devices Supported

Padlet works on iOS, Android, Kindle, and on the web.

Padlet with Kids

Padlet allows use by children under 13, provided that schools take the steps needed to comply with their local laws. In the US, this means respecting COPPA and FERPA, and either consenting on behalf of parents, or getting parental consent before sharing any personal information about children.

Resources