Monday, October 8, 2018

Google Is Shutting Down Google+

This afternoon Google published an official blog post about their Project Strobe data and privacy audit project. The leading portion of that  Google announced that the consumer edition of Google+ is going to be shut down. In the announcement Google confirmed what many of us have known for years, adoption and use of Google+ is low. In fact, Google stated that 90% of Google+ user sessions were less than five seconds. The closure of Google+ for consumers will happen over the next ten months.

Another part of the same blog post included the news that up to 500,000 Google+ user accounts were potentially compromised by a bug that Google discovered back in March.

Part of Project Strobe also includes changing the way that third-party services can connect to your Google account. You'll eventually have more granular controls over how services can access and use your Google account. An outcome of that change will be the need for you to click or tap approve on more dialogue boxes when adding third-party services to your account. See the new approval process in Google's blog post about the changes.

What does this mean for teachers and students?
Unless you were using a consumer Google+ account today's news doesn't mean much other than to serve as a reminder to change your passwords regularly. If you are using Google+ on a regular basis, you'll need to start transitioning your social media activity to something like Facebook groups.

Google Has Added a Captioning System to Google Slides

Today, Google announced a new Google Slides feature that some teachers are going to love. Google Slides now has a real-time captioning system. This system works when you are presenting your slides (full screen) and have a microphone connected to your computer. When you turn on the captioning option Google will automatically create and display captions of what you're saying to your audience. Those captions will be displayed at the bottom of your slides.

For now this new captioning system is only available if you use the Chrome browser in U.S. English. In their announcement of this feature Google noted that captions may not be accurate if you don't speak clearly, have a distinct accent, or there is a lot of ambient noise near your computer's microphone. (Speaking of microphones the ones that I recommend the most are this Snowball Microphone made by Blue Microphones and this omnidirectional lapel microphone made by Insignia).

Here's a short video introduction to the new Google Slides captions feature.


This feature is being rolled-out gradually. It could be a couple of weeks before you see it in your Google account.

Applications for Education
Automatic captioning of your presentations could make your presentations accessible to more students. Even if you don't have students who need the captions, it might still be a good idea to turn them on anyway as means to aid your students who are taking notes during a presentation.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Good Reminders About Password Security

The mot recent Facebook hoax making its rounds has prompted me to remind everyone about the importance of using strong and varied passwords (don't use the same password for Facebook as you do for your bank account).

Creating a strong password is a just the first step in protecting your email and social media accounts from hackers. 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 as embedded below.


Applications for Education
The tips in the video may be old news to some, but they're still worth being reminded of and sharing with those who might not have heard them before.

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

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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in Canada. As an American I was relatively ignorant of this holiday until about six years ago. If you're an American or your just generally curious about the differences and similarities between American and Canadian Thanksgiving, watch the following videos. Both of the following humorous videos that explain the differences between Thanksgiving in Canada and Thanksgiving in the United States.



Just a reminder, you should always preview videos before showing them in your classroom. I know many high school teachers who will not have a problem sharing these, but teachers of younger students may want to proceed with caution.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

YouTube, Math, and Media - The Week in Review

Good evening from Maine where I was home for the day before having to fly back to Florida tomorrow morning. Next week I'll be finishing up my third week working with the awesome teachers at Sigsbee Charter School in Key West. If you would like to have me work with your school this year, please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com or click here for more information.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Ten Tools for Teaching With YouTube Videos
2. Virtual Dice and Random Number Generators
3. Seven Good Places to Find Writing Prompts
4. Seterra Offers Science Quiz Games in Many Languages
5. Math Playground - Hundreds of Math Games & Instructional Videos
6. Mind Over Media - New Resource for Teaching Propaganda and Media Literacy
7. A Fantastic Virtual Tour of the Houses of Parliament

Book Me for Your Conference
I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Send an email to richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com book me today.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
TypingClub offers more than 600 typing lessons for kids. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
Book Creator is a great tool for creating multimedia books.
Kami is a great tool for annotating and collaborating on PDFs. 
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
Seterra offers a huge selection of geography games for students.