Monday, April 23, 2012

File Sharing Just Got Easier Through Dropbox

For a long time Google Documents has made it very easy to publish work to the web by simply selecting the "anyone with link" or "make public on web" options in the sharing menu. Now Dropbox has gotten in on the easy file sharing game by introducing a very similar feature. The new Dropbox file sharing option allows you to publish to the web any file that is in your Dropbox account.

To publish files to the web from your Dropbox account simply click "get link" next to your file's name and a URL for your file will be generated. Give that URL to anyone you want to view your file. People accessing that URL will be able to see the file and its contents but will not be able to edit or delete any of the file's contents. Publishing isn't limited to just one file at a time, you can publish an entire folder from your Dropbox account with one link. As TechCrunch's Anthony Ha said about the new feature, "it's ridiculously easy."

Applications for Education
Dropbox is a great service for teachers and students to save all kinds of files online. Used in conjunction with DropItToMe Dropbox is a great place to collect students' works without flooding your email inbox. The new file sharing option will make publishing students works very easy. If students have a portfolio of writing that they wish to share online, Dropbox file sharing could be what they need.

Grovo - Video Lessons on Web Apps

Grovo is a service that offers video lessons on how to use a huge array of web apps and web services. Grovo lessons on the subjects of Internet basics, productivity, business tools, communication, lifestyle, and entertainment. Within each of these subjects you can learn how to use hundreds of different websites and web apps. Not sure how to set up filters in your email? Grovo can teach you. Confused about privacy settings on Facebook? Grovo lessons can clarify them for you. Have an interest in Pinterest, but don't know how to use it? Grovo lessons will help you learn.

Grovo's video lessons aren't just stand-alone videos. There a part of a sequence of video courses. Each course has guiding questions that you can use to check your knowledge along the way.

Before you get too excited about Grovo, you should know that their course offerings a mix of free and paid enrollment courses. The courses marked with a big "G" indicate that they are courses for which you will have to pay to enroll.

Applications for Education
Courses like Grovo's course on Facebook privacy settings and Facebook communication is a course that students and parents alike could benefit from taking. By taking the course together students learn a bit about how to manage their digital footprints, parents will learn what all of the settings do, and students will know that their parents know what can be done on Facebook.

Don't Tell the Band... History References in Songs

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This post will reveal a bit about my personality. As I was working through a weekend's worth of email this morning I was listening to a music playlist of mine titled, "Dead, Phish, Panic." In it there is a song by Widespread Panic titled Don't Tell the Band. In it there are references to the Battle of Gettysburg and the sinking of the Titanic. But I'm not sure that all history students would pick up on the references.

Listening to Don't Tell the Band got me wondering about other songs that make veiled and not-so-veiled references to significant events in history. Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire is the obvious one, but what else is out there? I've added a few songs below. Please leave a comment if you have more to add to the list.

Barry McGuire - The Eve of Destruction
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young - Ohio

PBS Kids Cyberchase - Dozens of Math Activities

PBS Kids Cyberchase offers dozens of online and offline mathematics games and activities for students. The collection of more than forty online games are designed to make students think about patterns and use logic to solve challenges. The offline activities use the same model, but are designed for hands-on offline learning.

The highlight of the Cyberchase online activities are the "quest" activities in which students have to solve problems as along a journey as they work toward a goal. For example, in Mission Motherboard students have to solve problems to earn money that they then use to buy parts to fix a motherboard. Not all of the games are as time intensive as Mission Motherboard. A quick activity is the Virtual Coin Flip. The Virtual Coin Flip teaches students a short lesson in probability. There is a supplementary explanatory video to go along with each game in the Cyberchase online activities.

Applications for Education
The large selection of online activities available on Cyberchase makes it a good resource to use in a classroom where you have groups of students working on different skills at the same time. I really like the quest activities because they provide a nice game environment in which students are working toward a goal through the use of their problem solving skills.

Come Work With Me This Summer

Over the last week or so I've been asked by a dozen or so people about where I will be presenting this summer. Here's the list and descriptions of events that I will be speaking at this summer that are open for registration right now. 

Once again this summer I will be working with Tom Daccord and the Ed Tech Teacher team to present a series of workshops on the campus of Harvard (yes, you can tell your students that you went to Harvard this summer). The first workshop is Teaching History With Technology on June 27 through June 29. You can register for that session here. July 16-18 Tom and I will again present best Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers. You can register for that session here. July 30 - August 1 I will again be part of the team presenting Teaching History With Technology. You can register here for that session. Both of these sessions were full last year. In fact, Teaching History With Technology was so popular that a second session was added. 

New Hampshire Educators, whether you have never used Google Apps in your classroom or you're looking to step-up your game to become a Google Apps guru, you'll want to consider coming to the Google Workshops for Educators that I will be presenting at July 10-13 in New Hampshire. These full-day workshops are coordinated by Dr. Mark Wagner. I will be one of four presenters along with Mark, Kern Kelley, and Alice Barr. You do have to complete an application to participate in these workshops. Please click here for all of the details about these Google Workshops for Educators. 

In late July (22-28) I will be running a week of workshops on Google Apps at the Maine School of Science and Math in Limestone, Maine (yes, that is in far northern Maine). My workshops are part of their week-long STEM camp.

Finally, I am developing a four part webinar series with Angela Maiers and Chris Dawson. The series is for educators who want to learn how to build their personal brands with an eye toward earning an income through speaking, writing, and consulting. I have had lots of people ask me over the last year how I have managed to earn money through my blog. In this series I'll share how I've done it and all of the good and bad lessons I've learned along the wear. Angela and Chris will be doing the same. More details and registration for the webinar will be available very soon. 

I will also be presenting at a handful of schools this summer. If you're interested in having me present at your school this summer, I still have some openings in my schedule. Please click here to learn more about my school PD offerings.