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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Wikipedia Releases an Updated App for Exploring Interesting Content

The Wikimedia Foundation has released a new version of their Wikipedia iPad and iPhone app. The latest version, available now, features an aspect they're calling the Explore feed. The Explore feed will provide users with personalized content updated daily. In the Explore feed users will see featured articles of the day, recommended articles based on reading history, featured images, and nearby articles (enable location services on your iOS device). The rest of the app includes improved search and sharing functions.


Applications for Education
While Wikipedia isn't a site that I let my students cite in their research, it is a place that I'll let them explore content to get ideas for resources to consult. It's also a place to let students explore some of their intellectual curiosities.

If you find yourself wondering how Wikipedia works or you find yourself explaining it to someone else, the following Common Craft video can be helpful.

3 Google Docs Options First Time Users Often Ask About

Earlier this week I led a short workshop for first-time Google Docs users in a school district near my home. I have facilitated these kinds of workshops on a regular basis for the last seven years. Over those years I've compiled a list of the questions most frequently asked by new users. Here are three of those questions and their answers.

1. Can I use landscape formatting in Google Docs?
Yes, if you open the "file" menu then choose "page setup" you will have the option to switch from portrait to landscape orientation. In that same setup screen you will have the option to change margin sizes and change the page's background color.

2. Can I use/ edit documents that I have saved on my computer?
Yes, you can import Word documents into your Google Drive account. To import a document select "file upload" from the "new" menu in the upper-left corner of your Google Drive dashboard. To edit the document you will need select "convert uploaded files to Google Docs format" within the settings menu in your Google Drive dashboard. The settings menu is found by clicking the gear icon in the upper-right corner of your Google Drive dashboard.

3. What if I accidentally delete a document?
When you delete a Google Document it goes into your trash bin in Google Drive. Unless you empty your trash bin, your accidentally deleted Google Document can be recovered from your trash bin. To recover a Google Document open the trash bin in your Google Drive dashboard, right-click on your document's name, then select "restore."

Topics like this one and many more will be covered during this summer's Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp. Chromebook Camp is designed for people who are new to using Google Apps and Chromebooks in school. The camp will also be valuable for technology coaches and administrators who are looking for tips on training teachers in their schools. 

Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality Explained by Common Craft

Bit by bit artificial intelligence (AI) is working its way into our lives. If you have seen IBM's Watson in action, you've seen AI at work. Some of the seating chart programs available online today include a small bit of artificial intelligence. See ClassCharts.com for an example of that. But what is AI? And where is it going in the future? Those questions and more are tackled in the latest video from Common Craft.


Applications for Education
After watching the video ask your students to think of aspects of their lives that could be affected by artificial intelligence. Ask them to brainstorm some problems that AI might help people solve in the future.

I occasionally hear people confuse artificial intelligence with augmented reality. That's an understandable mistake as they do sound kind of similar. Augmented Reality (AR) is explained in the following Common Craft video.