Thursday, March 17, 2022

Watch Me Unravel an Email Scam

As you know, I am a huge advocate for teaching students and teachers to respect copyright. To that end I always advocate for using your own media or media that is in the public domain whenever possible. So when an email with the subject line "DMCA Copyright Infringement Notice" landed in my inbox this morning, I immediately opened it. It turned out to be the second attempt by the same person to scam/ threaten me into linking to a website. 

I outlined the basics of a similar scam a couple of years ago. In short, the person emails you to say that you are using an image in violation of their copyright or that of someone they represent (in this case the person was claiming to be an attorney). They then say that you have to link to a particular website within seven days or they will pursue some kind of legal action. 

I was in a particularly bad mood this morning when I received this email so I decided to fight fire with fire. I did a little research on the person who claimed to be an attorney and then told her to get lost! If you're interested in the whole process that I went through, here's the video I made to explain it

In the video you'll see me do the following:

  • Identify the fairly obvious red flags in the email.
  • Show the original image as found here on Pixabay. 
  • Conduct an email trace (this video shows you all the steps). 
  • Uncover that the "law firm" doesn't actually exist. 
  • Discover that the "attorney" probably isn't even a real person. 
  • Conduct a WHOIS look up. 
  • Use the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to view changes in a website.

Applications for Education
If you maintain a website for your classroom, school, or extracurricular club, this is a scam that you might land in your inbox one day. I see it a few times a year and usually just trash the email without a second thought. Today, I was in a particularly grumpy mood and decided to try to turn this scam into a lesson. 

Resources on Copyright

Alternatives to Vialogues for Annotating Videos

Yesterday morning I answered an email from a reader who was looking for some alternatives to Vialogues for annotating videos. Vialogues has been one of my go-to tools for students to use to take notes and share notes while watching a video that you share with them. Unfortunately, Vialogues is shutting down in May. If you find yourself looking for some alternatives, here are some options to consider. 

By using VideoANT anyone can add annotations to any publicly accessible YouTube video. To do this copy the URL of a video and paste it into the VideoANT annotation tool. Then as the video plays click the "add annotation" button when you want to add an annotation. To have others annotate the video with you, just send them the VideoANT link. Here's a video of how it works

ReClipped is a neat tool that lets you take notes, share notes, and share clips from educational videos. With a ReClipped account you can clip sections of videos that you find on YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Coursera, and TED. In addition to clipping you can create time-stamped notes about the videos that you clip. A Pinterest-like aspect of ReClipped appears if you choose to share your clips and notes on a board. ReClipped boards can be shared publicly or kept private. Here's a demonstration of how ReClipped works.

Timelinely is a free service for adding annotations to YouTube videos. You can use Timelinely to add text, image, and video annotations to any public YouTube video. After you have added your annotations to a video you can share the annotated version with anyone much like you would share any other video. You can share your annotated video by embedding it into a blog post or by just giving people the link to the annotated version of the video. In the following video I demonstrate how to use Timelinely to annotate YouTube videos.

Bookmark It
Bookmark It is a free Chrome extension that can solve a problem many people face when trying to show students just a specific part of a video. That problem is having to scroll along the timeline of a YouTube video to find the spot that you want to share. Bookmark It lets you add timestamped bookmarks and notes to the timeline of a video. Once you've added your bookmarks and notes you can return directly to them from the Bookmark It extension. Watch my video that is embedded below to see how Bookmark It works.

An Interactive Map of Surnames in Ireland

Mapping the Emerald Isle: a geo-genealogy of Irish surnames is an interactive map depicting the distribution of Irish surnames across Ireland according to the 1890 census. To use the same simply select a name from a drop-down menu in the list and the map will change to show you in which counties people with that surname lived in 1890. The map will also provide you with a list of number of households with that surname in each county. For example, I discovered that there were 301 Byrne households in Dublin county in 1890.

Applications for Education
This is a neat example of mapping data. Your students could create similar maps using either ESRI's mapping tools or Google's My Maps tools. I have found Google's My Maps tools to be easier for new users to understand. A playlist of tutorials about Google's My Maps can be seen here.

Why Do We Say Ok? - Another Question from My Daughters

Last night during dinner one of my daughters asked, "what does ok mean?" My other daughter quickly followed up with, "yeah, why do we say that?" The first question we were able to answer fairly quickly and in a way that a five-year-old can understand. The second question was a little harder to answer. I knew that I had watched a video that answered that question at some point in the last few years. So after my daughters went to bed I did a quick search of my archives which brought me to this video produced by Vox

By watching Why We Say "OK" you can learn where OK originated and the roles of a presidential campaign, the telegraph, and railroads in spreading the use of "OK" until it became commonplace to say it. The video also teaches viewers why some businesses use "K" to replace "C" in product names.

Vox's video about "OK" reminded me Words of the WorldWords of the World is a collection of videos featuring historians and linguists explaining the origins of and history of the use of words in the English language. The videos attempt to put the words into a somewhat modern context. For example this video about the word "guerrilla" makes reference to Che Guevara. The video I've embedded below explains the word "coup."

Applications for Education
Words of the World could be an instructive model for your own lesson combining history and language arts. Have your students pick a word or two that they think is common and research it. Then have them create their own short videos in which they explain the history of those words. You might even have them research the dialect of the areas in which they live. For example, where I live we have a Range Pond. Most people would pronounce that as range, like "home on the range" yet everyone around here pronounces it as rang as in "the bell rang."  I'm not sure why that is the case, but I would love to find out.

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