Friday, November 6, 2020

How to Keep Students Safe Online While Learning Remotely?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by GAT Labs. GAT Labs offers a good guide to using Google Workspaces in online classrooms. 

There’s no doubt that 2020 has been the year of everything remote, where our digital interactions replaced our physical ones and our traditional classrooms packed and moved with us online. 

And as we carefully prepare and lead through our virtual K-12 classrooms, our students’ online safety and security needs to stay on top of that priority list as they spend more time than ever learning online.

From profane content to cybercrime and hacking schemes, there’s a lot we need to protect them against. That’s why there are Acts like the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) — and schools need to stay compliant.

As teachers, there’s a lot you can do to help — by both educating students on cybersecurity and staying safe online, as well as blocking access to inappropriate content and risky sites.   

Here are 3 powerful ways to help keep your students safe and secure online:

1. Raise their cyber awareness using FUN!

‘Knowledge is power’ — One cool way to teach students about staying safe online is to have them complete Google’s Be Internet Awesome.

It teaches them about digital citizenship and internet safety in a gamified environment, which we all know, Kids love!

The five pillars of the curriculum are:
  • Be Internet Smart - share with care
  • Be Internet Alert - don’t fall for fake
  • Be Internet Strong - secure your secrets
  • Be Internet Kind - it’s cool to be kind
  • Be Internet Brave - when it doubt, talk it out
Remember: raising your students’ cyber awareness is their first line of defense against online danger; or the new ‘Stranger Danger’. 

2.Use Security Tools to enforce Cyber Security Rules

Now on to their second line of defense: Security and Monitoring Tools!

Powerful tools like GAT for Education, offer a layered set of security solutions to help schools stay CIPA compliant with Google Workspace for Education.

They protect students in every site, at all times, while connected to their Google Workspace school account in the Chrome browser.

Such powerful Security & Monitoring capabilities include:
Alerts about bad language
Blocking Unapproved websites
Keyword Alerts
Risky app download alerts: set up a policy to ban or trust identified apps for students.
Alerts about certain search queries
Bulk removal of phishing emails
Complete content searches of all user’s Drive, Email and Calendars.

3. Stick to EdTech tools vetted for privacy

Speaking of tools — while there is a wide spectrum of EdTech tools out there that can help boost your virtual classroom environment (and we highly recommend exploring your options), remember to ALWAYS check their privacy policies for student data.

It’s important to ensure that these policies comply with student privacy laws and understand how your student’s data will be handled.

Flipgrid Text Comments - In Case You Missed It Like I Did

About a month ago Flipgrid added a new option for writing comments in response to videos within a discussion topic. This is in addition to the written feedback option that teachers have had for quite a while in Flipgrid

Now students and teachers can write comments in response to students' video submissions within a Flipgrid discussion topic. These comments are automatically reviewed by Flipgrid for potentially insensitive comments. That's a feature in addition to the manual topic moderation that you can enable on all of your Flipgrid topics. 

Flipgrid's little video overview of using text comments is embedded below. 



Applications for Education
I'm using Flipgrid for daily exit tickets in my freshmen computer science class this fall. Some of my students are prolific in their video production while others only do the bare minumum. I'm hoping that using text comments will enable more kids to participate in the back-and-forth of a conversation started by the exit ticket submissions.

If you're not sure what Flipgrid is or how to use it, here's my overview of the service and how to use it.

Mapping a Thanksgiving Meal

Earlier this week in a blog post about The Great Thanksgiving Listen I mentioned that I love Thanksgiving. So please excuse me if I get carried away with posts about Thanksgiving over the next couple of weeks. 

Where Does Your Thanksgiving Dinner Come From? is an interactive storymap that I've shared in the past and still find to be a neat resource. In fact, I included it as one of my "cool shares" this week during Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. The map displays where eight popular Thanksgiving foods are grown and harvested in the United States. The storymap includes a map for each ingredient. Each map shows the locations of commercial producers. Fun facts are included in the storymap too. For example, did you know that Illinois has at least twice as many acres of pumpkins as any state?


Applications for Education 
Students can create their own storymaps about Thanksgiving with tools provided by ESRI or by using StoryMap JS. In the following video I demonstrate how to create a storymap with StoryMap JS.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

How to Record a Video in PowerPoint (Windows Desktop Version)

A couple of weeks ago I published directions for simultaneously captioning and translating PowerPoint presentations. That's one of many handy, occasionally overlooked, features that is built into PowerPoint. Video recording is another helpful feature built into PowerPoint. 

The built-in video recording tool in PowerPoint let's you record yourself talking over any and all of your slides. You can have your webcam turned on or off when recording. (I prefer to leave my webcam on when recording a screen because it personalizes the video). You can also use some built-in drawing tools to draw on your slide while talking and recording. Perhaps the best feature of all for some people will be the option to see your speaker notes while recording without the speaker notes showing up in the video. 

Videos that you record in PowerPoint are automatically inserted into your presentation. When you share your slides, viewers can watch the videos you've added into your presentation.

In my new video that is embedded below I demonstrate how to record a video in PowerPoint


Applications for Education
This is obviously a good tool for making instructional videos for your students to watch. I'd also consider having students use the built-in recording tool in PowerPoint to create short videos of their presentations. The drawing tools that are available could be good for having students explain their math or for having them annotate a chunk of text on a slide or highlight parts of a diagram in a slide. 

Calendars, Schedules, and Favicons - Three Easy Classroom Blog Enhancements

Writing yesterday's post about blogging permission slips inspired me to look back through my YouTube channel and find some blogging tutorials I've made over the years. A few that jumped out as being as relevant today as the day that I made them are this one about embedding calendars, this one about scheduling blog posts, and a couple about customizing a blog's favicon. 

Embedding Calendars

Adding a calendar page or a calendar into the sidebar of a blog is a good way to help students and their parents about upcoming due dates and events in your classroom or school. Blogger and Edublogs make it easy to include Google Calendar in your classroom blog. This video shows you how to do that. 


Scheduling Blog Posts
One of the best ways to get students and parents into the habit of reading your classroom blog is to post on a consistent schedule. Using the scheduling tools in Blogger and Edublogs enable you to write a batch of blog posts at once and then schedule them to appear over time. (I do this quite a bit here on Free Technology for Teachers). Here's a tutorial on how to do that. 


Custom Favicons
A favicon is the little icon that appears in a browser tab when you're visiting a website. If you use Blogger, WordPress, or Edublogs your favicon will default to that brand. You can change the favicon to make your blog stand-out in a sea of open browser tabs. This video shows you how to change it in Blogger and this one shows you how to change it in Edublogs