Wednesday, September 16, 2015

YouCanBook.Me -Streamline Meeting Scheduling

YouCanBook.Me is a meeting scheduling tool that integrates with your Google Calendar. YouCanBook.Me allows people to book fixed blocks of time in your calendar. You identify the times in your calendar that you are available to meet. Then when someone needs to schedule a meeting with you, you send him or her a link to your booking calendar. Visitors to your calendar click a block and enter their email addresses to reserve a block of your time. When a block of time is reserved you receive an email alert and the other person receives a confirmation email.

Applications for Education
YouCanBook.Me could be a great tool to use when you are trying to coordinate meeting times with parents. Rather than going back and forth in an email exchange to decide on a meeting time, just send the link to your YouCanBook.Me calendar and let parents choose times that works for them.

YouCanBook.Me is also a good option for scheduling office hours meetings with students.

4 Ways Visual Literacy is Being Taught in Classrooms to Empower Learning

This is a guest post from Guy Kawasaki. Guy is the product evangelist for Canva, a service that I regularly use.

How to Use Visual Content In Your Classroom

Visual content is a powerful tool. As children, we learn to recognize visual cues before we learn to speak or write. We’re wired to rely on these cues to understand the world and to use visual content to communicate our thoughts and feelings.

Teachers can integrate graphic design into their classrooms to facilitate instruction and to prepare students for success. Here are four ways teachers are using visual content already. Try them and discover how visual content can positively impact teaching and learning.

1. Visual content nurtures creativity
Visually-oriented, creative learning spaces increase the creativity of students. Simple to-do lists are out, and signs that include positive reinforcement are in. Projects spaces with visual work sprawled across walls delight, inspire, and encourage your students.

You can empower your students to create their own positive affirmations by creating inspirational posters from templates in Canva. Hands on design allows them to connect with the message and understand the power of using visuals to inspire others.
Design posters to nurture a positive learning environment.

2. Visual content enhances critical thinking and communication
Schools are adding drawing and design skills to curricula in order to enable students to think critically. When designing, students have to ask themselves these questions:
  • What am I trying to communicate?
  • How can I communicate this effectively?
  • How does graphic design affect my audience?
Internalizing these questions prepares students to communicate with a level of visual sophistication that will carry them through the visually-dependent world of education and beyond.

Infographics is an example of a powerful modern way to enhance critical thinking and communication. Canva’s library of infographic templates gives students the confidence to start designing while putting to the test their critical thinking skills. Use one of our tailored lesson plans to guide your class through the process.
Enhance critical thinking skills with infographic design.

3. Visual content helps students retain information
Visual content help students retrieve and remember information. It breaks through the noise--for example, consider the difference between immigration statistics and one picture of a dead Syrian baby. Visual memory prompts are powerful and help you empower students to increase their capacity to absorb knowledge.
Choose from Canva’s library of templates to get your students started.

You can choose from a range of Canva’s templates to find creative applications of traditional math, science and language concepts. Here are three free, downloadable lesson plans to get your started.
4. Visual content helps students visualize success
You may help your students achieve success by visualizing success. Top performers know the importance of picturing themselves succeeding. It’s a powerful technique that people use in schools, sports, and business. This can apply to your students too.
Make positive visualization a daily ritual.
Here’s an idea for your classroom: make positive visualization a daily ritual by prompting students to create graphics that describe their goals and ambitions. You can take it one step further by asking them to share their graphics on social media, an action that encourages engagement and accountability.

Start using visual content in your classroom right now
Visual learning has fast become ingrained into school curricula all over the world. Want to learn how to you promote visual literacy in your classroom? Some of the world’s leading educators have created Canva’s free suite of free lesson plans. These resources are ready for you to download right now. All of us at Canva hope you can use them to inspire the next generation of successful students.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Walk With Elephants in Google Street View

The latest update to Google's Street View imagery takes us to Kenya where we can virtually walk along with elephants. The new imagery features Street View (Street View seems like the wrong name for walking in nature) of Samburu National Reserve, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. In the new imagery you can see elephants, zebras, lions, leopards, and more.

Applications for Education
The imagery of elephants, lions, and other animals get the headlines, but don't overlook the beauty of the plants, watering holes, and other landscape features. Ask students to look closely at the imagery and think about how the natural landscape plays a role in the lives of the animals they're seeing in the new Street View imagery.

Gmail Events Automatically Added to Google Calendar

Here's a neat feature of Google Calendar that I just discovered a few minutes ago. Dates that you have included in email messages in your Gmail (or other mail running through Google Apps) can now be automatically added to your Google Calendar. This doesn't mean that every date in your Gmail will be added to a calendar, only dates that are associated with things that Google's algorithm thinks is an event. For example, I made a hotel reservation today and when I received the confirmation email from Marriott the reservation was automatically added as an event to my Google Calendar.  This feature can be disabled if you don't want to use it. Click here for directions on disabling the Gmail to Calendar feature.

Applications for Education
Automatic scheduling of events could prove to be convenient when you're organizing meetings with parents or colleagues through email messages. Students could use this feature to keep track of assignment due dates. If you're already sending emails to them with a list of due dates, those dates should automatically appear on their calendars.

Protecting Your Passwords and Creating Strong Passwords

Creating a strong password is a good first step to protecting your email and social media accounts from being hacked. But that's just the first step. To really protect your account there are some additional steps you should take like using two-factor authentication. In their most recent video Common Craft explains how to protect your online accounts. Click here to watch the video or you can view it embedded below.

Applications for Education
The tips in the video may be a old news to some of us, but to a lot of students and teachers those tips are new. It also never hurts to remind people of these tips.

For help in creating a strong password consider using a tool like Wolffram Alpha's password generator or Password Bird.

Common Craft videos can be reviewed online for evaluation purposes. To use embed them into a blog as I've done requires a membership (which are very reasonably priced).

Disclosure: I have an in-kind relationship with Common Craft.