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Monday, June 10, 2019

Blockchain and You, the Teacher

Hello teachers, and Happy Summer! Perhaps now is a good time to take a break from the stress of endless detail. 

I thought I would take an opportunity here to share a buzzword with you: Blockchain. It's been associated with Cryptocurrency, another buzzword you probably haven't had time to read about.

Much like a teacher wants to see their students "showing their work", a blockchain is simply a ledger of records, but it's very hard to hack, and keeps track of transactions between people. Imagine if a single paper dollar that you spend at the grocery store could somehow be kept track of. Soon there would be a long line of who received that dollar in change, when the next person spent that dollar, what it was spent on, and where it was spent. 

Now, think about education and the various methods of record keeping that are part of a student's history through our schools. Exams, report cards, diplomas, transcripts, all of which can be electronically verified in a secure way. 

I'm returning today to the TCEA Technotes blog. Andrew Roush has a very informative article for teachers who may be unfamiliar with a technology that could transform the way we document a student's ongoing education. Imagine a world without fake online courses, without faked transcripts, without faked certifications. Your students' efforts after graduation will not be diluted by people who want their credentials without work. 

You may read Mr. Roush's article here.


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Digital Spring Cleaning


It's the time of year to think about new beginnings - if you're a teacher. Finally, you get a chance to visit the gym, walk around the park with your dog, visit a book store, see a movie, or deep clean your house. Well, if such things are on your mind, you might want to look at your digital life and give that a good cleaning too. 

This week's blog entry takes a departure from my usual TCEA digital re-posting and goes to Wired.com, one of my favorite websites, and discusses the intersection of your digital housekeeping and your digital security. It discusses such things as 
  • wiping data from your old digital devices before discarding
  • finding, wiping, and discarding old pen drives, CDs, and DVDs you no longer use
  • cleaning up your current devices that may have old documents on them with personal data
  • going through social media, email, and cloud data
  • deleting unused apps on your tablet or phone (they collect data about you)
  • deleting old photos on your devices
You may read the Wired.com article here.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Leaving the District? Take your Google files with you!

Miguel Guhlin at TCEA has a new blog entry for you if you are leaving your school district and don't wish to abandon years of hard work, emails, files, and Google Classroom courses.

He starts with helping you to clean up your email, then doing the same with your Google Drive. Then, he shows you how to copy your Google content over to your personal Google account (which is limited to 15GB unless you have a paid account). The process could take a week, so be on the lookout for an email from Google telling you when your G suite data has transferred over. These processes are separate for Gmail and for Google Drive.

You may view Miguel's post here.

Friday, May 3, 2019

It's the End of the Year - Back Up Your Computer!

Miguel Guhlin at TCEA restates the obvious for us jaded computer users: You might want to back that thing up! How many of us are guilty of never backing up our computers? I know I am. 

Miguel gives us some pretty alarming statistics for the devil-may-care attitude of Mac and PC users. Many of us, it seems, do not back up our computers at all. 

Miguel's blog entry gives us some sobering statistics, and then offers some free software solutions to make backing up your files easy for you. 

You may read Miguel's blog entry here.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Mobile Apps + Google Sheets = Glide

Diana Benner at TCEA has a marvelous contribution to share with us - the company Glide allows us to create custom apps, in five minutes, using only a Google data sheet. And the app updates live when you edit the sheet!

Glide offers more services for a price - for instance, you can add your app to the Apple Store or Google Play Store - but the free version is very powerful. Imagine what you can do for your students now! You could create a sheet for a chapter in your book and share the app with your students via a webpage link. You can customize the color, logo, and name, and also password-protect it. The app can appear in a web browser too.

Run, don't walk, to check out Diana Benner's article, or go to glideapps.com for more information.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Super-Cool Reading App!


What would you think about an app that knows what you're reading when you read a book to your students, AND provides sound effects at precisely the right time, just for that book? 

That's what the Novel Effect app does. Dr. Bruce Ellis at TCEA reports on this phenomenal new way to read to your students. 

You may read his blog post here.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Google Tasks Gets an Upgrade

Jennifer Bergland at TCEA is blogging this week about a new wrinkle on an old Google app - Google Tasks. Now Google Tasks will integrate time as well as date into Google Calendar. 

It's easy to create a Task, and give it a time and date, but you must enable Tasks in your Calendar view in order to see your task there. 

You may view Ms. Bergland's post here.