Friday, December 15, 2017

Be Internet Awsome

Teach it: Be Internet Awesome

Recently I had the privilege of attending Google’s Be Internet Awesome training at the Google headquarters in Chicago. Not only was this an opportunity to learn, but also a check on my bucket list of AWESOME things to experience. Google tools and resources have become a huge part of many schools.  They are constantly adding, updating and listening to educators as they work to improve and meet the needs of educators and students.  Besides all of the tools in their Suite, they have many other awesome things to offer.  Speaking of AWESOME...
Access: This is the first time in history that a generation is growing up with constant Access to the Internet.  In fact, 79% of teens (and younger) have their own smartphone.  Students (and adults) have access to information at their fingertips. Today technology is being used both personally and educationally.  Schools across the country are purchasing and providing devices for students.  With this access, many are thinking about digital citizenship and how to reach and teach the importance of being a digital leader, managing digital identity, engaging in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior and understanding/respecting the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.

We: When it comes to Digital Citizenship and being Internet awesome, We are in this together.  As educators, we need to embrace the teachable moments regarding digital leadership and building a positive digital presence. According to the Family Online Safety Institute, educators are the most trusted source to maximize benefits and minimize harms of technology for children. It is important to remember Digital Citizenship IS citizenship!! Google has done an amazing job with their NEW: Be Internet Awesome curriculum.  Aligned with the ISTE standards for students, Be Internet awesome creates opportunities to learn and explore the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety in an interactive environment. Be Internet Awesome is a FREE online resource with no login or account required. With easy access students and families can learn together. Together WE can be a team and promote, model and teach digital citizenship.
Edtech: Edtech Defined: Education technology, or “edtech,” is the study and practice of teaching and learning processes and strategies that incorporate devices, apps, programs, and media. Edtech can be used in traditional classrooms, at home, and as part of learning in almost any setting. Many schools have devices for students and many of them have a device for each student.  Not only does this provide access to so many resources, but also opportunities for students to connect, collaborate, create and think critically.  Edtech is creating opportunities to transform teaching and learning.  Students do not need teachers to deliver all information as so much is at their fingertips.  
Security: Security is not always on the  top of the list with students, but as parents and adults we often think and wonder about security with accounts, devices and social media use.  One thing I learned during my Be Internet Awesome day at Google was that security is priority.  Whether you are using a Chrome enabled device or account, Google is on point with security features.  Did you know they even offer $100,000 if you can hack a Chromebook?  
Opportunities: It seems as if we always talk about all the opportunities our students have when it comes to devices, apps, tools and extensions.  These opportunities are only as good as the purpose.  Google has Nailed it with Be Internet Awesome.  Not only do they have specific lessons focused on Being Internet Awesome, they break it down into Five key parts associated with being a responsible digital citizen.  Students learn the importance of Being SMART, ALERT, STRONG, KIND and BRAVE.  Included in the curriculum are lesson plans for the five topics, with activities and worksheets that were designed to complement Interland. Kids can play their way to being Internet Awesome with Interland, an online adventure that puts the key lessons of digital safety into hands-on practice with four challenging games.
Me: Being Internet Awesome is for adults too.  So many times we focus on what we are telling our kids and we forget that they are watching our online actions too.  It is  important to reflect on these questions: Are you internet Awesome? Do you portray yourself as a digital leader? Have you Googled yourself? What does YOUR digital footprint look like? How secure is your password? These are just a few things to consider when reflecting on your digital presence and what you model for kids.  After all, they learn from both our successes and failures.  
Education: Education is key!  There is no other way to put it.  Assuming because students are “digital natives” that they can appropriately operate and navigate a device is a false assumption.  The access and possibilities related to technology cannot be underestimated.  IF we can get teachers and students excited about what access to technology can do for learning, the safety and digital citizenship will come along with it.  In education when our kids do not know how to read, we teach them, when they do not know how to write, we teach them, when they do not know how to practice online safely….. We NEED to teach them. We need to partner with families, be a model, and together teach and promote digital leadership and online responsibility.

So many great things were shared and discussed at Chicago’s Be Internet Awesome event. Of all those things, a stand out to me is partnering with parents.  Whether we bring them in, share resources, or have conversations to learn together, we need to be a team.  Below are some of the amazing resources shared by some of the presenters. I would love to chat more and work with others who are on a similar mission to collaborate, educate and create digital leaders in their communities.  Together we are better!!

Connect Safely Guides- Collection of short guidebooks for parents about popular apps, services, and platforms popular with kids from Connect Safely who host Safer Internet Day.

How Secure Is My Password- Check your password strength and how long it will take for your password to be hacked.

Family Online Safety Institute- Resources and toolkits for talking to parents and students about digital safety. Schools may request a free presentation to share to help you have positive digital parents.

LEAP Innovations- Within the LEAP personalized learning framework there are samples of contracts to have with students about good digital citizenship and rules to keep them safe online. There are also strategies for being a learner connected.

Be Internet Awesome - Games and curriculum to help teach students to be internet smart, alert, strong, kind and brave! Kids can play their way to being Internet Awesome with Interland, an online adventure that puts the key lessons of digital safety into hands-on practice with four challenging games. Teachers can download the curriculum to use with students.

Digital Citizenship & Safety Course for Educators- Learn why we teach digital citizenship and safety, online safety on the go, savvy searching, how to stay safe from phishing and more in this short certification course.

NEW: Family Link (for Android devices)- Create a Google Account for your child that's like your own and lets parents manage apps, keep an eye on screen time and set timers on the device.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Day in My Life with Google Keep…

A Day in My Life with Google Keep…

It’s Fall in Education.... How’s is your productivity and organization?  Are you feeling like a leaf in fall and blowing from one thing to the next? Are you sharing multiple docs with various “To Do” lists and can’t keep track of which is which?  Do you feel like you are spinning and just need a kickstand to ground you to catch up?  Well, do I have a deal for you…

Let’s pop out that kickstand and take a look at Google Keep.  Google Keep has become my Go to when it comes to notes, lists, audio recordings, and so much more.  Let me take you in on Day in My Life with Google Keep.

5:00: Alarm goes off…I push snooze but cannot stop thinking of today’s task list.  I grab my phone and open Google Keep.  I create a simple checkbox list of things I need to remember today. Now I can rest a bit more. Keep to the rescue!

6:00: Coffee time and I am out of creamer… lucky for me I have a Google Keep list going for groceries.  Keep to the rescue!

6:30: Kids up and dressed and one mentions she wants me to remember her math website Zearn.  I will never remember it, so I save a link to Google Keep for later reference.  Keep to the rescue!

7:00: Text comes in from teacher.  Question: Do you remember the random name picker mentioned by @John Unruh-Friessen at Google Summit in July? Noting this was a while ago, I know I took notes in Google Keep during the Summit.  I simply search the labels I have in Keep for Google Summit17 and find it instantly.  Even better I can simply share that Google Keep note to her via text!!  Keep to the rescue!

7:30: Preschool drop off.  Reminder appears saying I need to sign permission form. A simple location based reminder kept me on track even when dropping off at preschool.  Keep to the rescue!

8:00: School...  More Reminders popping up:  An important task list reminder is set to notify me at 8:00 daily.  Again, a nice feature of Google Keep to Keep me keeping on.  Keep to the rescue!

9:00: Photos for Science Lab:  Open Google Keep on my iPad, select the camera icon and take photos of Science lab in action. Photos populate in a Keep note that you can edit and add text to as you wish! Keep to the rescue!

10:00: Collaborative NETA Meeting.  Open meeting agenda Google Doc and View/Pull Keep notes into the Doc using Tools menu and  Keep Notepad.  This is handy because all the notes I’ve been taking on the go related to NETA can be accessed or reference or even added to the collaborative document.  This is my FAVORITE feature. Keep to the rescue!

Bonus: Have a photo in Keep that you want added to a document… simply drag it over from the Keep Notepad and you are set!! Keep to the rescue!

11:00:  Image Text:  Have you ever taken a photo of a poster, sign or something similar because you love the quote or saying and want to  have it for future reference?  Maybe you just want the text from the image… Well, check out ‘grab image text’ from the image menu in Keep.  Simply select your photo in Keep, choose the three dots in upper right and choose grab image text.... Prepare to be AmAzEd!  Keep to the rescue!

12:00: Doc Stickers:  Decided to spend some time over lunch providing feedback to student assignments.  As I open student assignment documents I again select tools, and keep notepad.  Using my label titled “stickers” I can easily add feedback via stickers  (my favorite is bitmojis.) This is a super fun and easy way to provide quick feedback and students love it!   Keep to the rescue!

2:00: Google Keep Chrome Extension: Have you ever received an email with an awesome resource link that you do not want to lose so you just kept the email?  With the Google Keep Chrome Extension, you can save that website link as a note, tag it, and easily find it later.  Keep to the rescue!

3:00: Category Tabs Chrome Extension:  No time to research Google Keep notes… with Category Tabs for Google Keep, I can sort your new and existing notes by category. Each category represents one color. Adding a note to a category is very easy, just change the color of the note. When you want to view the notes you have sorted by color, simply click on the note color you wish to view. Keep to the rescue!

4:00: Pin note: Ready to call it a day but want my “to do” list at the top of my notes… by simply “pinning” the list it will show up at the top of my Keep notes and greet me first thing when I open Keep the next time. Keep to the rescue!

5:00: Voice note:  Random thoughts sometimes require a note…. How about a voice note.  With the Google Keep app I can voice record a reminder or note for playback later.  Sometimes the voice recording is easier and a better resource than a typed note! Keep to the rescue!

6:30: Location Reminder:  Stopped at Hy-Vee for some groceries and before I could even open my Google Keep shopping list I received the list via location based reminder…  Keep to the rescue!

As you can see Google Keep has become my favorite Google tool both personally and professionally.  Whether I am making lists, providing feedback, collaborating, or simply taking notes, Google Keep has me covered.  Maybe Keep can rescue you too. Go ahead, put your kickstand back up, hit the ground running and take Google Keep along with you!   

Keep to the rescue!

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Tall and Short of ISTE 2017

The Tall and Short of ISTE 2017


ISTE 2017 proved to be yet another amazing experience.   Just as any conference there are always “Tall” things you take away and “short” things you take away.  The “Tall” things are the big picture ideas that you wrap your mind around bringing back to your school and district. The “short” things are the quick takeaways you can implement right when you return.  Let me share with you the “Tall and Short of ISTE 2017.”

The “Tall” things I takeaway at conferences are the overarching themes, ideas consistently mentioned throughout sessions and keynotes.  This year “sharing your story” was a statement I heard several times.  New ISTE CEO, Richard Culatta  shared this message several times when addressing attendees.  Whether you blog, tweet or use other social media, everyone has a story and it is worth sharing. This is a message we need to send to students as well.  Our stories show our successes, failures and our journey to grow and improve.  What is YOUR story and how are you sharing it?

Another “Tall” takeaway is the connections.  Whether it’s meeting face to face with those who I know on Twitter or making new connections, ISTE is full of like-minded educators striving to connect, learn and grow.  There is just something awesome about the post session conversations that continue well after the conference.  For example, upon arriving at the airport for my return flight, I was greeted by the not so fun “delayed flight” notification.  The disappointment was quickly erased as I made yet another connection, Andrew from Alaska!! Due to a flight delay I was lucky enough to extend my ISTE experience with conversation and reflection with Andrew. We shared ISTE takeaways, school district stories and thoughts and ideas about education in general.  This is just one example of the value of connections and how learning at conferences extends beyond the specified calendar days.

The “Short” takeaways  are tips, tricks and tools that I takeaway and can share and implement with ease as soon as I get home. The first short takeaway is new features in Kahoot.  With the launch of a NEW app, students can now see the questions and answer options on their own device!  This is huge for younger students using Kahoot. Another takeaway involves  Book Creator.  Book creator is now available on the WEB!!  Those using Chromebooks have a reason to celebrate this recent update!!  Still looking for more short takeaways…. Let’s celebrate messaging in Seesaw.  Not only can you share stories and projects with parents and teachers, Seesaw now has the ability to send direct messages or reminders to those parents who are linked to your Seesaw class!  

And last but not least, let me share my “Tall and Short” takeaway.  You may recall last year’s release of updated ISTE student standards.  This year ISTE launched the updated teacher standards.  As we embrace the idea of learning to learn over learning facts, provide more voice and choice in learning and focus on pedagogy and leadership, there was a need for improved educator standards.  As an empowered professional, learning catalyst, thee ISTE standards for educators are designed to inspire a vision for pedagogy-driven digital learning and teaching. You can find more information and downloads of the new educator standards as well as those for students and administrators here.

Whether you take away tall or short things from conferences, always know that we all start our learning journey at a different level.  You may feel short, you may feel tall.  We take away both.  Take time to reflect on the short and the tall, challenge yourself to grow taller, take risks and share the story of your journey. After all, we are better together. Thank you Corey Dahl for the opportunity to take frequent “tall/short” photos and allow me to use this humor as a way to reflect on my ISTE 2017 experience.

Photo credit: Corey Dahl

Monday, August 7, 2017

Summer Sip Share And...

Well, I am not sure how many times I have said I was going to blog more consistently.  I feel like I reflect on this near the end of every summer.  I will not view this as a failed attempt at learning but rather a work in progress. That being said, let me share: 

Summer Sip Share And... 

SIP: I love opportunities to collaborate and learn from others especially over coffee. Twice this summer I had opportunities to visit local coffee shops to collaborate share and learn together. I did attend a few conferences this summer and learned a lot, but love the opportunity to reflect, share and collaborate following a conference.  
Share: Sharing ideas, tips and tricks with others is a big part of my job.  Much of what I share comes from others. I truly value the opportunities to learn from so many.  Whether you challenge my thinking, reply to my email, ask a question or give a compliment you are helping me grow personally and professionally.

And: Here we are ready to start another year. I am starting  my 20th year in education. I am still trying to blog more frequently. I am still trying to get my inbox to zero.  I am still trying to choose the best tools to manage workflow.  Cheers to a new year, friends.  I look forward to Sipping Sharing And... smiling!!  :)