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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Change Coming to Your Google Account's Sign-in Screen

New Google Sign-in screen.
Starting next Tuesday you might notice a small change to the sign-in screen for your Google account. The change is that you will see a box around the "email or phone number" field on the sign-in page instead of just a single line. This won't change anything about your Google account or how any of the G Suite tools function. It's simply worth noting as changes to sign-in screens sometimes cause people to worry about spoofing or fraud.

If you're a G Suite for Education domain administrator, it might be worth notifying your staff so that they don't worry or inundate you with questions when the sign-in screen changes.

As with most updates to G Suite for Education, the change will roll-out over the course of a couple of weeks.

You can read Google's announcement about this change right here.

Two Good Places to Find Classrooms to Connect With

Last week I ran a guest post written by Sarah Fromhold containing great tips for hosting Mystery Skype or Mystery Hangout activities. Since then I've fielded a few emails from readers who were looking for other ways that they can connect their classrooms with other classrooms. There are two things that I've recommended to those folks. First, is to try using Flipgrid's new GridPals service. Second, is to try the Edublogs list of classroom blogs.

Flipgrid's GridPals is available to any teacher who has a Flipgrid account. Through Gridpals you can find other teachers around the world who are looking to connect their students with yours for video conversations. If you're not quite sure what Flipgrid is or how it works, take a look at this video tutorial that I made last year.

Every year Edublogs updates a list of public classroom blogs. You can use this list to find examples of how other teachers are using blogging in their classrooms. You can also use this list to find other teachers who are looking for classrooms to connect to their own for written dialogue.

The Free Music Archive is Closing - But Not All is Lost

For the better part of the last decade the Free Music Archive has been one of my go-to places to find free music to use video projects. Unfortunately, the end is near for the Free Music Archive. Earlier this month the hosts of the FMA announced that it would be shutting down at the end of the month. That's just ten days from now!

Fortunately, all of the FMA's collections will be posted on Archive.org. You'll be able to access the music there. However, Archive.org doesn't have nearly enough filters to make it suitable for classroom use. What you could do is go into the FMA archive yourself and download some music that you then put into a Google Drive, OneNote, or Dropbox folder for your students to access.

And if you're looking for some alternatives to the Free Music Archive, you can try Dig CC Mixter, The National Jukebox, or Musopen. My video overview of Dig CC Mixter is embedded below.

Free Webinar - How to Make Your Own Common Craft-style Videos

If you have followed this blog for more than a few weeks, you've probably seen me make references to Common Craft videos. More than ten years ago Common Craft pioneered a unique style of online video that has since been imitated, but never quite duplicated by others. That style uses paper cut-outs on blank white canvas to illustrate an explanation. For a sample, take a look at this Common Craft video explanation of fair use.

Next Tuesday, November 28th, Common Craft's founder, Lee LeFever is a hosting a free webinar in which he'll explain the process of creating explanatory videos. An added bonus for attending is a free 100 pack of Common Craft cut-outs. Register here!

Even if you're an experienced video producer, you can benefit from attending this free webinar. I attended a previous webinar that Lee hosted on this topic and it was totally worth my time!

Fair Use Explained By Common Craft

Disclosure: I have a long-standing in-kind relationship with Common Craft. 

How to Make a QR Code for Just About Anything

This fall there seems to be a renewed interest in QR codes, at least amongst readers of this blog. In just the last two weeks I've answered a half dozen emails with questions related to QR codes. QR codes can make it easy to get all of your students onto the same webpage, into the same document, or viewing the same file relatively quickly. QR Droid, my go-to tool for making QR codes, makes it possible to create a QR code for just about anything online.

In the following video I demonstrate how to use QR Droid to make QR codes for Google Docs, for video files in Google Drive, and for webpages. The process that I demonstrate can be applied to just about anything that is hosted online.