Thursday, September 9, 2010

Google Family Safety Center - A Resource for Parents

Keeping kids safe online is a top priority for every parent and teacher. To help parents and others learn about strategies and tools for keep kids safe online, today Google launched the Google Family Safety Center.

The Family Safety Center introduces parents to and shows them how to use Google's safety tools including safe search, safe search lock, and YouTube's safety mode. Google has partnered with a number of child safety organizations to develop educational materials for dealing with topics like cyberbullying, strangers online, protecting personal information, and avoiding malware online. Finally, Google's Family Safety Center contains a collection of videos featuring Google employees sharing the strategies they use with their own kids for teaching online behavior and keeping their kids safe online. One of those videos is embedded below.

Applications for Education
My school is issuing netbooks to every student this week. One of the concerns that some parents have regarding their students bringing the netbook home is that they aren't sure how to make sure their children aren't doing something unsafe online. While not a comprehensive resource yet, Google's Family Safety Center will provide a nice primer that will educate those concerned parents.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Phishing Detection Education
A Thin Line - Digital Safety Education for Teens
Learn Internet Safety with Garfield

Wikispaces Makes it Easier to Embed Glogs

Those people whose students have created Glogster Glogs (multimedia collages) and use Wikispaces probably already know that Wikispaces pages are a great way to display student work. The process for embedding a Glog into a Wikispaces page used to require users to copy the Glogster html code then paste it into Wikispaces using the "embed other html" widget. The process just got a lot simpler.

In a blog post today Wikispaces announced that they now fully support the embedding of Glogs through a new option in the Wikispaces widgets menu. Now when you open the widget menu in your Wikispaces editor you will see a logo for Glogster EDU. Click the Glogster EDU logo, log into your Glogster account, select your Glog, click insert, save your work and you're done. Glogster Edu has a tutorial of the process that you can view here.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Glogster Video Tutorial
Glogster EDU Resource Library
How-to Week - Day 1 - Using Wikispaces

JayCut Adds New Video Editing Features

In my free guide Making Videos on the Web I provided some getting started directions for using JayCut's free online video editing platform. Last Saturday JayCut released version 2.1 of their free video editing platform. The new version of JayCut includes options for slow motion effects, direct recording from your webcam, a green screen, and color editing.

Back in May JayCut released a step by step guide for installing their video editor on your own server. With the release of version 2.1, JayCut updated the installation directions. You can find those updated directions here.

Applications for Education
Next week one of my US History classes will be creating short documentary videos about the causes of the American Revolution. My students will be using JayCut to create their videos. The new slow motion option should prove to be useful in synchronizing the display of images with the voice-over tracks made by my students.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Making Videos on the Web
How to Put a Video Editor on Your School's Website
How To Do 11 Techy Things In the New School Year

Profile in Courage Essay Contest

The JFK Library is once again hosting a Profile in Courage Essay Contest. The contest asks US high school students (grades 9-12) to write a 1,000 word essay profiling the political courage of an elected official between 1956 and now. The profile can be of an elected official at any level from local to national government. The contest winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize and a $5,000 John Hancock Freedom 529 College Savings Plan. The second place writer will receive $1,000 cash and five finalists will receive $500 cash prizes. The deadline for submissions is January 8, 2011. You can find all of the contest rules and requirements here.

Applications for Education
If you're a teacher of US History who already has your students research important figures of the second half of the 20th Century, having those students write for this contest could make a nice incentive for your students to put in a little extra effort.

Keep Your To-Do List Handy in Google Chrome

The task manager or "to-do list" feature in Gmail can be a handy mechanism for keeping track of the things you need to get done. The only problem with it is is you have to be in your Gmail account to see the list. Yesterday's episode of Tekzilla Daily offered a solution to that problem in the form of a Google Chrome extension called New Tab to Tasks. New Tab to Tasks opens your Gmail to-do list every time you open a new tab in Google Chrome. It's a little reminder of what you need to do before you open Facebook for the tenth time in eighteen minutes. Watch Tekzilla Daily to learn more.

Applications for Education
If your students are using Gmail to manage their to-do lists and Chrome to browse the web, New Tab to Tasks could be a helpful tool to keep them on task.

Here is a related item that may be of interest to you:
7 Organization Tools for Students