Friday, December 21, 2018

Terrible Passwords, Password Security, and Protecting Your Online Account

Last week Splash Data revealed their annual list of worst passwords of the year. Many of those passwords will not be a surprise. Using "123456" and common words or names as your password is always a terrible idea. We all know that it is a terrible idea yet we all know someone who uses terrible passwords. This is a good time remind yourself or your loved ones to update passwords on a regular basis.

Crafting a strong password and periodically changing it is the first step in protecting your online accounts. Common Craft offers this excellent video on how to create a strong password.


Another step in protecting your online accounts is to use two-factor authentication whenever it is offered. For example, when I sign into my Google account on a new computer I not only have to enter my password, I also have to use my cell phone to verify that I'm signing into my account on a new computer. That concept and more are explained in Common Craft's Account Security video.


One more key tip for protecting your online accounts is to never trust text messages or emails that ask you to change your password or confirm account details unless you specifically requested to have your password reset. A scam that I've had a couple of friends ask me about recently involves getting a text message that purports to be from Apple technical support stating that their iTunes account were compromised and that they need to update their passwords. My advice is that if you think your account might have been compromised, don't click the link that was unexpectedly sent to you. Instead, go directly to your account on your computer, phone, or iPad and look for any suspicious activity. Apple tells users to only update passwords and account details that way or at http://appleid.apple.com/ Apple has more tips about keeping your account safe right here.

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

H/T to Make Use Of for the Splash Data link. 

An Extensive Guide to Copyright and Fair Use

On Sunday I published a guide to locating media for use in classroom projects. In that guide I provided basic summaries of the concepts of public domain, Creative Commons, and fair use. In the section on fair use I referenced Stanford University Libraries' Copyright & Fair Use guide. That guide should be bookmarked by anyone who has questions about copyright and fair use.

The guide covers everything from the basics of copyright to the nuances of fair use. There is even a section devoted to academic fair use that should be of particular interest to teachers who publish lessons online. In the guide you will find templates for requesting permission to use copyrighted works. Use the template if you're in doubt about whether or not you can use someone else's work. And if you're looking to publish on your own website or blog, pay attention to the section titled Websites: Five Ways to Stay Out of Trouble.

Finally, if you'd like a copy of my guide to finding media to use in classroom projects, you can get a copy here as a Google Doc or here as a PDF.




Some of the resources featured in this guide are integral to my upcoming course Video Projects for Every Classroom.

Short Overviews of Immersive Reader in Word and OneNote

Immersive Reader is one of the central components of Microsoft's accessibility tools for inclusive classrooms. Immersive Reader will read documents aloud. It can be customized to highlight each word or each syllable as a document is read aloud. Users of Immersive Reader can also select the voice in which a document is read aloud and the speed with which the document is read aloud.

Immersive Reader is a part of Microsoft's Learning Tools which can be found in Word and OneNote. Watch the following video to see how Immersive Reader works in Word.

Watch this video for an overview of Immersive Reader in OneNote.


Immersive Reader on Macs and iPads.
Immersive Reader is not limited to those who use Windows. You can use Immersive Reader in Word for Mac. In fact, that's what I was using when I made the first video in this post. Immersive Reader is also available in Word for iPad and OneNote for iPad