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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Warning! The Default Order of Icons in G Suite Launcher is Changing

Today, Google announced an upcoming change to the default display of apps in the Google app launcher. That's the little menu that appears in the upper, right corner of your screen when you're logged into your G Suite account and using a G Suite product. Google stated that the change was made to improve the experience of users who never customize their launcher menus. The new default order will prominently feature Gmail, Docs, and Drive. The new default order will appear beginning on August 1st.

This is a minor change to G Suite and it will have no effect on how the G Suite apps work. I point it out only because some teachers may return to school in August and find that their launcher's app order has changed a bit.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Half-life of Links and School Social Media Plans

In Randy Krum’s book, Cool Infographics (disclosure, he gave me a copy) he shares that according to research done by Bitly, the half-life of a link on Twitter and Facebook is 2.8 and 3.2 hours respectively. The half-life of a link refers to the amount of time it takes for a link to reach one-half of the number of clicks it will ever receive. Krum notes that those half-life statistics were calculated in 2011. Six years later more people are active on Twitter and Facebook. In turn, the half-life of links posted today is likely shorter than it was six years ago.

Applications for Education
If your school has a Twitter account, Facebook page, and or Google+ and your school’s social media updates are only going out once per day, you’re probably not reaching as many students and parents as you could be reaching. Think of it this way, when was the last time you scrolled twelve hours back in your Facebook timeline or in your Twitter feed? A solution is to post to social networks through a free service like Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows you to publish updates on a schedule to multiple social media accounts.

Guy Kawasaki, former chief product evangelist at Apple, repeats posts on Twitter four times per day. Schools could adopt a similar schedule for distributing announcements and reminders through social media. A good schedule for schools to update their social media accounts would be to publish an hour before school starts (7-9am), shortly after dismissal (2-4pm), shortly after supper time (6-8pm), and late night (10pm-12am).

Learn About the Sounds of Nature on Wild Music

Wild Music is a fun and educational website on which students can learn about sounds commonly heard in nature. On Wild Music students can listen to the sounds of nature and explore what creates those sounds. Some of the activities students will find include a game of animal audio memory in which students hear sounds and have to match them to each other. Students can find activities such as The Mosquito in which they compare their hearing to the hearing of various animals.

Applications for Education
Wild Music is a resource that could be used by both science teachers and music teachers. Science teachers can use Wild Music as an exploration of the sounds animals make and why they make those sounds. Music teachers can use Wild Music to explore how the sounds of nature influence musicians.

Blocking and Filtering in Gmail

This afternoon a friend sent me a text message asking about methods for blocking and or filtering messages in Gmail. Like requests of this nature, it was easier to show the method than to explain it in writing. So I recorded the following video about how to block senders in Gmail.


The following video explains how to apply filters in Gmail.


Applications for Education
By using filters in Gmail, including the G Suite for Education version of Gmail, you can apply some automatic organization to your inbox.

Develop and Track ACT & SAT Prep Activities in PrepFactory

Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

PrepFactory offers students a great selection of free SAT and ACT preparation activities. PrepFactory focuses on helping students develop good test-taking strategies while also not boring them with dozens of continuous rote exercises. For example, the Pattern Matcher game in PrepFactory has students look at questions and choose the best answering strategy rather than just answering the questions shown to them.

This past spring PrepFactory introduced helpful features for teachers. When you register as a teacher and create your classroom you can also create specific assignments for your students on an individual or class-wide basis. Then once your students have started on their assignments you can track their progress, see where they need to improve, and suggest more appropriate review activities.


Learn more about PrepFactory in the following video.



Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com