Tag Archives: Google

Rome 320 AD – Interactive App

My good friend and former Professor, Bernie Frischer, Ph.D., just announced a game that resulted from his collaboration: Rome 320AD. You can see Bernie giving a brief overview of 4th century Rome in this Kahn Academy Video.

The app follows the lives of four Romans as they travel through the city on a summer day in 320 CE. You can explore 3D, interactive models of the city in high resolution and detail.

The app is currently available in the Mac App Store ($5.99) and the Chrome Web Store ($6.99). iPad and Android Apps are in the making!

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The New Google Drive Empowers Language Learners

The New Google Drive Empowers Language Learners

This is a guest post from Jennifer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) of EdTechTeacher- an advertiser on this site.

Recently, while demonstrating to a Spanish class how to use Google Drive, I also showed them how to change the overall text to Spanish. By doing this, autocorrect would stop trying to change their text, and they would no longer have that annoying red line appearing under their writing. I then reminded them to switch the language back to English when they returned to working on other classes. A student (7th grader) quickly shot up his hand and taught me something new today about Google Docs.

With the New Drive, not only can you now set your overall language, but you can also include a subset of languages that you understand. This is a great tool for students taking foreign language classes. A first year Spanish student, for example, can easily get confused when their menus switch to Spanish as a result of changing the primary language in Drive. That’s no longer an issue if Spanish is added as anadditional language rather than the primary one!

The addition of more languages is easy. While in the New Drive,  click on Settings(the gear shaped icon in the top right corner) and then select “Settings:”Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 2.21.59 PM

 

You can read the rest of the post via the link:

The New Google Drive Empowers Language Learners.

Designing the Future of Learning: Personalized Prototypes

The next session I’m attending is “Designing the Future of Learning: Personalized Prototypes” with Payton Hobbs, the Head of the Lower School at Ravenscroft School, and Bryan Setser, from 2Revolutions. This is live blogged, so please excuse typos and poor prose!

One of the statements that is prevalent in schools is “We don’t know what the jobs of tomorrow will look like.” Bryan, however, argues that we do have a view, namely sustainability and technology. Bryan argues that we need to make a shift in designing the learning of our schools and prototyping to build that.

“Design si where you stand with a foot in two worlds – The world of technology and the world of people and human purposes – and you try to bring the two together.” – Kapor

We live in a world where the model of pursuing a college level, elite education leads to careers success. However, the product is very different – kids with 100-200 thousand dollar educations are working as baristas. We need to learn to improve, experiment, and prototype the world of education. This is especially difficult working in an environment with a strong tradition and culture. So how do we approach this? How do we prepare for the next iteration?

Courtesy of Stockmonkeys.com via Flickr

Courtesy of Stockmonkeys.com via Flickr

If you want your school to be innovative, then it has to be a meaningful and objective goal. You have to be prepared to not only accept, but to celebrate failure. Failure is often life’s best teacher.

This is not an easy process! When you get into the nitty gritty and practice, this is difficult! However, there are successes in real life. Google, for example, has its famous 80/20 policy. It also celebrates failure. Check out Google Graveyard to see how many failures they have experienced. Still they remain one of the most successful companies today.

If you look at people’s needs, we can use that information to build a strategy. Crowdsourcing allows us to build objectives and develop a plan.

INdividual Learning Plans (ILP) is a “specific program or a strategy of education or learning that takes into consideration the student’s strengths and weaknesses.” A Digital Learning Plan is an “amalgam of an ILP, student data, and assessment evidence in service of maintaining, adapting, innovating, and producing e-artifacts for an electronic portfolio process.”

At Ravenscroft, they looked at ePortfolios as a way for students to establish a Digital Learning Process that then allows them (students) to brand themselves. Ravenscroft wanted to prototype digital portfolios to increase staff and student engagement. Ideally, this will allow students to own their learning and engage with it more meaningfully. Payton advises that when building a platform for teachers, organization and time are vital. By having the faculty learn by doing, teachers’ became familiar with the ins and outs of digital portfolios and Google Sites. It also allowed the school to streamline their templates. Students shared their Google Site portfolios appropriate, it is right now a private space and not public.

Time, Talent, & Technology

If you focus enrollment structures around time, talent, and technology you will get an innovative structure that works in your environment. Create a culture of innovation and use technology to help solve your tools.

Why we went Google Apps for Education

This weekend I will be traveling to Atlanta to attend the SAIS Annual Conference. I will be presenting on Ransom Everglades’s experiences implementing Google Apps for Education. You can see my slides and conference materials here.  Here is a reblog of my article, “Why we went Google Apps for Education” which includes a broad overview of my discussion.

Ransom Everglades School is a prominent and successful day school located in Coconut Grove, Fl. We pride ourselves on the progressive and innovative education that we provide our students. Our high ranking AP, SAT, and ACT scores attest to our academic accomplishments. Our students matriculate to prestigious colleges and universities around the country.  So then it may surprise some that we proactively explored and then implemented Google Apps for Education at our school. After all, if we are satisfied with our achievements, why would we look at making and applying a significant change at Ransom Everglades?

There are several reasons for this of course. Like all good educational institutions, we look to the future – what will our students need to be successful in college and graduate school, as well as to lead satisfying and productive lives? How can we better facilitate the needs of our teachers and staff? How can we continue to achieve our standards of excellence? Like many other educational institutions, we heard a great deal about Google Apps for Education, so we decided to explore what it had to offer that could benefit the Ransom Everglades community.

What is GAFE

Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is a prominent technology tool that has been gaining momentum in both K-12 as well as higher education. It 30jul2013_s-268x300includes Google’s core suite of applications (Drive, Calendar, Contacts, GMail, Sites, Talks/Hangouts, Google Classroom) with the added ability to control, scale, and manage access with an eye for an educational institution’s individual needs. For example, we activated Google Drive for students (so that they could use the Word Processing and Cloud Storage provided) but disabled GMail (as we use our exchange server for email services); also, we enabled Talks/Hangouts for Faculty and Students grades 10-12 to facilitate communication between faculty and online study groups for our AP Students. The highly customizable features of GAFE allowed us to explore available options and then implement them progressively and as needed.

Promote 21st Century Skills

The development of 21st century learning and skills (collaboration with peers, digital literacy, effectively harnessing Social Media, and drawing skill sets across multiple disciplines) is no longer optional for students or teachers. Again, Google Apps for Education allows us as an institution to promote them within a safe and managed environment. Students can collaborate on research projects and papers using Google Drive’s share features. By using tools such as Google Sites, students can create digital portfolios (I provide several examples in my article, “Google Sites for ePortfolios”) to highlight their accomplishments and demonstrate their learning through multi-modal examples (documents, imagery, video, and more). What I like best as an educator, is that by building their work within Google Tools, I can monitor their progress and provide feedback as they build and revise in real time! This is instrumental in assessing not just the end result, but the process (see my article, “Google Drive & Research Essays: Monitoring the Writing Process”).

Security and Privacy

Along with more prominent use of internet tools has come greater concern for student security and privacy. Many third party tools mine student data, use content for their own advertising purposes, and struggle with protecting valuable and sensitive data from hackers. Google itself, in its individual services, states that your documents, emails, and content created, stored, and sent via Google can be mined for content and sold to third party advertisers. This is exactly why there is a 13 year old age requirement for signing up for many services online (including Google). Several Federal mandates, such as FERPA, CIPA, and COPPA, establish basic requirements and guidelines for institutions to protect student’s data and privacy online. Google Apps for Education is compliant with these mandates, in fact it is why there is not an age 13 age restriction for students to sign up for GAFE accounts. Institutional and student content cannot be provided to third parties and identities and information must be protected through robust, secure servers. Additionally, by using third parties tools like Cloudlock, we can ensure that our students are engaging and collaborating with others appropriately and safely.

Cost Effective

Google Apps for Education is a free service provided for schools. However, it would be misleading to state that there are no costs involved. Just like all tech roll-outs, it is important to provide effective professional development for faculty and staff so that they can not only learn the basic features of these tools, but use them to deliver more innovative and pedagogically rich lessons. For example, one can simply replace Microsoft Word with Google Docs. At the same time, that doesn’t take advantage of Docs’ ability to collaborate and share with peers, effectively use its research tools, or for teachers to employ the revision history tool in order to monitor the revision process to better understand the evolution of a student’s work.

In addition to professional development and training for faculty and staff, it may also be necessary to hire external support specialists to audit your exchange server (if you wish to migrate your calendar and mail services to Google) or sync your logins using a tool like GADS. It is always necessary to invest in assessment and planning on the front end to avoid serious complications after the fact.

Even with these initial investments, the cost savings in the long-term are astronomical. You do not have to pay for an expensive cloud based or remote login solution to allow faculty and students to access content off campus, you can save thousands of dollars on software licensing, provide greater storage space (GAFE currently provides 30GB of free cloud storage), and by migrating many of your internal services to the cloud you can free up your IT staff to focus on more important internal needs.

Single Solution

As Director of Educational Technology at Ransom, one of my favorite features of GAFE is that it provides a single solution for multiple issues – students can use Google Drive to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations; students and faculty can share large files (such as images and videos) with ease; departments, staff, and students can maintain a single calendar; and Google Sites can readily serve for ePortfolios, class sites, and blog platforms. Instead of researching multiple different tools (having to focus on cost, privacy issues, and compatibility), there is often a tool in the Google Suite that will fit our needs.

Another great feature of Google Tools is that they are cloud based and cross-platform compatible. While our school primarily runs on a Windows platform, there are exceptions on campus within our Arts and Yearbook programs; many students and faculty have Macs at home; and if someone wants to access a resource on a phone there is not only iOS and Android, but Windows Phone and Blackberry (at least for now). Google Apps works across all of these platforms via Apps or a simple web browser. For example, a student can create a video on their iPhone at home, upload it to Google Drive via the App, and then share it with their teacher or classmates without having to use a flashdrive, email, or other creative solution. It seamlessly integrates across platforms. Specifically at Ransom Everglades, we struggled with more effective ways to use iPads. We are on a shared-cart model and using the Google Drive iPad App (free), we can readily get media on and off of the iPads, rendering them more effective mobile learning platforms.

Integration with Other Tools

With the rising ubiquity of GAFE in K-12 and higher education (more than 20 million students worldwide, 7 of 8 Ivy League Colleges, 72 of the top 100 schools; you can see their exponential growth along with their customers here), more and more educational services now integrate with Google. This is great for providing your users with easy single-sign-on options for third party apps, integrating with Learning Management Systems, and overall blending numerous services under a single umbrella. This allows for better and easier incorporation of new tools at your institution.

Greening

Like many other institutions, Ransom Everglades has a greening initiative. We recognize that our environment’s resources are limited and we must do our part to limit waste and promote conservation efforts. The suite of tools within Google Apps for Education allows us to move forward with that initiative. For example, by providing students handouts via a shared Google Drive folder, I limit printing in my classroom. By storing documents and materials online, I not only conserve space but limit paper use. By having students store research, organize a project, write and revise electronically we limit waste. As we move forward with Google Apps for Education in conjunction with a robust overhaul of our wireless infrastructure and broadband, we hope to further our efforts to make our institution more environmentally friendly.

Moving Forward

At Ransom Everglades, Our GAFE deployment is still in its early stages. However, after witnessing its successes in our initial pilot and deployment we have plans to explore a more extensive roll-out, such as migrating our exchange server, expanding our training, and moving our non sensitive records and documents to the cloud. Google Apps for Education has helped us to maintain and further our standards of excellence by promoting a more robust pedagogy, supporting our faculty and students in their needs, and continuing to allow us to provide innovative and robust pedagogy within our established rigorous curriculum.

 

Google + iPad = Learning

This is reblogged from my post on iPadApps4School.

Screen-Shot-2014-09-22-at-8.28.40-AMiPads can be powerful devices in education – they are mobile, they are personalized, and they are intuitive. At the same time, sharing content between apps or devices can be a challenge. Fortunately, iPads in conjunction with Google Apps can create a powerful medium by which to input, edit, share, and publish multimedia content.

Google Drive for Privacy and Security

There are many different types of cloud computing solutions. However, the power of Google Drive with Google Apps for Education allows educators to protect the privacy of their students and comply with Federal statutes and mandates. Additionally, its price point (zero dollars) helps those working in a world of tight budgets and limited funds.

Google as a Repository of Content

Because Google Drive exists in the cloud, you can access and add content from anywhere. Students can easily take photos, record video, and import content from a variety of sources to their Google Drive accounts. In fact, students can even collaborate with a shared Google Drive folder; using it as joint storage for group projects. Because Google Drive provides a ton of storage (5GB for single users, 30GB for GAFE), space is never a concern. Using the Google Drive App on iPad, students have access to their material anywhere. Additionally…

read the remaining post here.

Explore the Pyramids on Google Maps

Google Maps now offers street views of the monuments of Egypt, including panoramas and street view access of the Pyramids.

This an addition to Google’s “Treks,” which includes streetview access of the world’s natural and man-made wonders, including Mt. Everest, the Grand Canyon,  the Eiffel Tower, and more.

 

Track & Rate Skills Inside Google Docs

I posted earlier about Kaizena’s new “tags” feature that allows you to tag, rate, and track student skills. Here is a great video that highlights how to do this!