I remember the day that I walked into an elementary art classroom and saw that the students were hard a work learning how to sculpt and manipulate clay. But the teacher was not at the front of the classroom leading the students in the lesson, rather it was a video from YouTube. While the “virtual” teacher continued with the lesson, the “real” was free to make the rounds in her classroom and provide students with 1-on-1 individualized support and direction.
YouTube continues to grow at an amazing pace with videos on a wide variety of topics. Common Sense Education has put together a list of their Top YouTube Channels to Boost Classroom Lessons that teachers could use both in and outside of the classroom.
In addition to their list, here are a couple of channels that I’ve used to support my Digital Citizenship lessons:
Brooke Gibbs – Author/speaker and authority on bullying in the schoolyard and workplace.
Bystander Revolution – Simple acts of kindness, courage, and inclusion anyone can use to take the power out of bullying.
AirDrop is a feature built-in to most Apple devices that allows users to easily transfer files from one device to another. I use these service all the time to quickly and easily transfer photos I’ve taken on my iPhone to my Apple laptop or even larger video files from the schools’ tripod-mounted iPad. However, with any file sharing service there is the potential for misuse and abuse. Being aware of the positive and negative uses is part of what it means to be a good digital citizen.
Common Sense Media has put together a parent’s guide to using AirDrop and the things to look out for when it comes to its use by kids. As a Digital Citizenship teacher, I am a firm advocate of educating students on the positive ways to use technology instead of denying them access. However there are situations where this action may be warranted and the article includes directions on how to “turn off” AirDrop on a kid’s device. For me personally, I have set up AirDrop so that I can use it but that only users who are listed in my Contacts can see my device.
Internet Safer Day was last week on Tuesday, February 5th. To celebrate, Google spent the entire week covering a variety of topics relating to being safe online (you can check out their series of articles here). For users who have Google accounts, one thing that you can and should do on a regular basis is perform a Security Checkup on all of your Google accounts.
Google’s Security Checkup is a three-step process where you will be asked to check on three important areas of your account safety:
Third-party access: This is the list of sites, apps, and services that have access to some of the personal information found in your account. Sources that you haven’t used in a while may no longer need access and can be removed, and if you see an entry you don’t recognize or don’t remember giving permission to access your account should most definitely have their access revoked.
Recent security events: This drop-down list will show any recent requests to connect to your account. Again, if you don’t recognize a request then your account may be at risk.
It is a good idea to perform a Security Checkup on your Google account about once a month, and if you have more than one account (e.g. a professional account for work and a personal account) then don’t forget to run the Security Checkup on each one. For other web accounts, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the security options that they provide:
It is a frenzy that shows no sign of slowing down. Many of my students are not only swept up in playing the game “Fortnite” but are also watching video after video of others playing the game. While some of these games can involve intense strategic planning and a sense of teamwork as players work together toward a common goal, they are also places where screen time can get out of control, excessive violence encouraged, and cyberbullying run rampant.
Both teachers and parents need to make the effort to at least be aware of the games that our students and children are engaging in, so that we can help them to recognize their positive contributions to learning and caution them about their potential dangers and pitfalls. Common Sense Media has put together a nice resource about the game Fortnite and, while their target audience is parents, teachers can benefit from this awareness too.
Watch the short video below, then follow this link to their website for more in-depth information including different versions of the game, game vocabulary, and some of its other social features.
Social media is an ever-present part of our lives, and even more so for our students and children. As a result, teachers and parents need to take the time to investigate strategies on how to balance the consumption of social media with the other aspects of our lives. Common Sense Media as put together 5 Simple Steps to help you, your students, and your children achieve this balance.
Follow this link to access the full article from the Common Sense Media website.
If you’d like to learn more, then use this link to access additional videos relating to this topic including Common Sense Media’s #DeviceFreeDinner series.
Device and account security are both critical components to anyone who uses technology. The past few weeks have centered around this topic with tips that covered how to keep your Chromebook secure and up-to-date. For my final post in this series, we will examine how to access and review the activity on our mail account.
Part 4: Gmail Activity Information
Many of us login to our Gmail account from multiple devices, sometimes even from “shared” devices like a computer lab terminal or shared workstation. When this does happen, do you make sure that you sign-out of your account each time? Google provides a way to examine your Gmail account activity and, more importantly, force logout of all Gmail sessions that may still be active.
Open the Gmail app
Scroll to the bottom of your window and in the bottom-right corner locate the heading “Last account activity” and click on the Details link.
Here you can review the activity displayed. If anything looks suspicious, then you can click the ‘Sign out all other web sessions’ to force sign-out of your Google account on all devices that have been used to access your mail account.
It is highly recommended that at this point you consider changing your account password to prevent any future unauthorized access.
Before closing the window, scroll down to the bottom and locate the “Alert preference” heading. By clicking the ‘change’ link, you can configure this setting to notify you if any unusual activity is detected in the future.
Device and account security are both critical components to anyone who uses technology. The past few weeks have centered around this topic with tips that cover how to keep your Chromebook secure and up-to-date as well as how to make sure your account and private information are safe.
Part 3: Account Checkup
Conducting a periodic security checkup of your Google account allows you to review devices that have connected to your account, disable account access for apps whose sign-in protocols may not be up-to-date, and check that only the apps and websites that you have authorized have access to your account.
From any Google App, go to the top-right corner of the window and click on your account avatar.
From the pop-up window, click on the ‘My Account’ button.
Under Sign-in & security, look for the Security Checkup tool and click the GET STARTED link to begin.
Once inside of the Security Checkup, you will be asked to review three important account settings:
Check your connected devices – View a list of all of the devices that have accessed your Google account. If you recognize all of the devices on the list, then everything “Looks good.” If you see a device that you do not recognize, then click the “Something looks wrong” button and you will be prompted to change your account password.
Disable access for less secure apps – One of the features your Google account has is its ability to interface with different apps and services. However, not all of these use secure sign-in technology. This setting allows you to deny these less secure apps and services access to your account.
Check your account permissions – This setting asks you to review ALL apps, websites, and services that have access to your account. For each item listed you can examine what account information it has access to, when authorization was granted, and the option to remove it from the approval list. If you need to access one of these services later on, then you can grant them access to your account again.
Performing a security checkup on your Google account on a regular basis, perhaps once a month, is a good way to stay informed with where your account is being used and who it is interacting with.
Device and account security are both critical components to anyone who uses technology. Starting last week, we will focus on this topic with tips that will cover how to keep your Chromebook secure and up-to-date as well as how to make sure your account and private information are safe.
Part 2: Chromebook Updates
Chromebook updates help protect your device from viruses and malware, and give you access to important updates and new features inside of the G Suite list of apps.
Your Chromebook is set to check for updates automatically and download them in the background. However, to install an update the Chromebook does require your help by rebooting the device.
When an update is ready to install, the Chromebook will notify you by displaying a vertical arrow in the bottom-right corner of the screen near the clock display.
Click the arrow to access the ‘Restart to update’ prompt. This will close all windows, tabs, and applications you have running.
Check for updates yourself
Open Chromebook Settings
At the top of the Settings window, click on the ‘About Chrome OS’ link
From the ‘About’ window, your Chromebook will display the current version installed.
Click the “Check for and apply updates” to manually start the update process.
When the download is complete, a restart of the device will complete the update process.
A couple of weeks ago I was setting up for a professional development session and for some reason I was unable to get my Chromebook to mirror its screen on the classroom display. Well, it sort of did in that I could see and control my cursor, but with pitch black being my only background color. I tried what felt like everything on both the Chromebook and the presentation equipment with no luck. Then, just for fun I did a manual check for updates on the Chromebook and lo and behold there was one. And you know what happened next, right? Yeah, the update fixed the mirroring problem…go figure.
Device and account security are both critical components to anyone who uses technology. The next few weeks will center around this topic with tips that will cover how to keep your Chromebook secure and up-to-date as well as how to make sure your account and private information are also safe.
Part 1: The Lock Screen
The lock screen will secure access to your device and the data within any of your open applications without having to shut your device down.
Option #1: Keyboard shortcut:
Lock the screen at a moment’s notice
Unlock your screen by entering your GSuite password
Option #2: Require password to wake from sleep:
Lock the screen automatically when you close the Chromebook lid
When lid is opened, you will be prompted to enter your GSuite password to continue
To setup, go to Settings -> People -> Check of the box (see image below)
This security works best when you use a password that is strong (i.e. a mixture of capitals, numbers, and symbols) and that you do not share it with anyone else.
Back in December I shared a post on How to Spot Fake News, citing an article from Common Sense Media as a good read for this topic. The timing of this was a handy coincidence as I was in the process of teaching my 5th graders about plagiarism and finding trustworthy sources. Fast-forward to February, a new semester, and a new group of 6th graders to teach. As I get ready to teach my lesson on Copyright, Creative Commons and Citations, yet another article has surfaced connecting the process of citing the source with being able to spot fake news.
In an article from EasyBib on 10 Ways to Spot a Fake News Article, author Michele Kirschenbaum entertains the idea that the credibility of a news article can be determined in part by the ease with which we can build a proper citation for it. The success or failure to answer the questions that Kirschenbaum lists can give us an idea of how trustworthy the source may be. For example, if the article includes citations and references to where it got its facts from then that’s a good sign. However, if you have to hunt to identify who the author of the article is then this could be a red flag.
Constructing a proper citation from online sources is not always easy, even when you employ citation tools such as EasyBib, Citation Machine, or the Explore Tool inside of Google Docs. However, if a source is proving to be particularly difficult to cite then that might be a sign that its credibility should be questioned and that more scrutiny of the source be undertaken before you incorporate any of its information into your own research.