The Data Center Mural Project: Update

In a previous post I shared the story of how Google is bringing a little magic to their data centers around the world by partnering with local artists to create the The Data Center Mural Project. I talked about the story behind the project, the types of media that can be explored at the Mayes County, OK (in the U.S.) and St. Ghislain, Hainaut (in Belgium) sites, and teased about two additional sites in the works. This week Google has added new photos, videos, and interviews for their Dublin, Ireland and Council Bluffs, Iowa sites.

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The Dublin, Ireland site was supervised by local artist Fuchsia MacAree, whose mural reminds me of the fun and excitement that comes with the spring and summer seasons, which cannot come soon enough for us here in the state of Maine, U.S.A. My favorite part of this project was learning about how they use the local climate to help cool the massive amounts of equipment inside, thereby saving energy and money on more traditional “mechanical” cooling systems.

The Council Bluffs, Iowa site was headed by local artist Gary Kelley, who used the building to tell the story of how important the area has been and continues to be in the sending and receiving of information. After listening to “A History of Connection” I could see this as a history project that I could really sink my teeth into. You can read the full debrief on The Data Center Mural Project by going to Google’s The Keyword Blog.

INTEGRATION

  • Have students investigate additional art forms in and around the area of these data centers.
  • Compare and contrast one of these data centers to your school/district computer system (besides scale, that is). Have students develop a list of qualifications and responsibilities that one would need in order to work at a Google data center.
  • Present students with the following scenario: If Google built a data center in your hometown, what would your mural proposal look like? How would it represent the community and surrounding art culture?

 

Chart Integration Comes to Google Docs/Slides

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 10.13.58 AMUsers have asked for it and now they can have it. Yes, Google Drive now supports the integration of charts built from data within a Google Sheets file into Google Docs and Slides files.  Now, when you go to the Insert menu and highlight ‘Chart’ from the drop-down menu, a new option is available labeled “From Sheets…” Some additional options include:


  • Direct link to a Sheets file: Once you have inserted the chart onto your Doc or Slide, you can use it to jump directly to the Sheets file that contains the chart data.

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  • One-click updating: If the data in your Sheets file is edited, you can instruct your chart in the Doc/Slides file to reflect these changes with a single click.

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For more information and to see examples of the chart integration in action, check out this great post from The Techy Coach Blog by Shawn Beard.

AddText

AddText – Captions for your photos, quick and easy

Have you ever wanted to enhance a photo with some informative text or maybe a witty catchphrase?  Perhaps you realize that that selfie needs a bit of explaining before it gets posted? Now you can and without having to download an app. AddText makes it easy to add captions to any photo for free!

To start, select a photo from the web, your device, or from the site’s own photo gallery samples (if you are using a mobile device, then you can take a snapshot and upload it on the spot). Then, enter you text in the box provided. Additional tools include text style, color, size, and location on the photo. When your work is complete, click on the ‘Next’ button to download your photo or share it via URL or social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+).

NOTE: To remove the AddText watermark, you can purchase a premium membership.

INTEGRATE

  • Enhance photos for your bulletin boards or other displays with custom text.
  • Use as an icebreaker with students by having them upload photos that represent their interests and then adding text describing an event that relates to it.
  • Have students select an image from a historical event and add a relevant quote.
  • Take images used to help students find a creative writing topic and add text to provide additional information OR to create an added layer of mystery.

AddText screenshot

 

Science Underground Podcast (Gr. 3-12)

Science Underground Podcast – Science explained in a fun & understandable way

cover170x170Have you ever wanted to know how leaves change their color? How about the science behind throwing a football? Or, how tires on a car are related to the lettuce in your salad? Enter Science Underground, a podcast series hosted by TED speaker and scientist Ainissa Ramirez. In the span of two minutes, Ramirez will explain science concepts in common terms so that anyone can understand.

New episodes are released each week and are accompanied with a written summary, list of references, and links to additional content. Search the archive for past episodes and use their tag list to find episodes based on specific topics such as Math, Chemistry, STEAM, and more. Scroll down to the bottom of any page to subscribe to the podcast via email, or sign-up using iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud.

INTEGRATE

  • Assign episodes for homework and have students reflect the next day in class or online using a discussion forum such as Padlet or blog like Google’s Blogger or WordPress.

Science Underground Podcast screenshot

Information Literacy w/Google Apps (Hangout Archive)

This is an archived video from a Google Hangout ‘On-Air’ session, presented to an audience of middle school level educators.

DESCRIPTION

This Google Hangout Archive introduces staff to Google’s Research Tool found in Google Docs/Slides. This video also covers how to use Google’s advanced ‘Search Tools’ for students in our 1-to-1 Chromebook environment (5/6th grade) and for students in our 1-to-1 iPad environment (7/8th grade).

Duration: 11:18

Brain Pump (Gr. 5-12)

Brain Pump – Learn something new and feed your curiosity

Brain Pump contains a wealth of short video clips designed to stimulate the mind and encourage discussion on a wide variety of topics. Would you like to know what causes the smell after rain? Did you know that there’s no such thing as cold? What happens when Homer Simpson is pitted against Pierre de Fermat?

Videos are organized into topic categories including Business, Technology, Food, and more. The site also has videos organized by user-submitted topics such as Game Design, How It’s Made, Nature, and Spanish. Each video comes with tools to share on social media or get a direct link to the video. Sign-up is free but not required to use the site, although an account does allow you to star favorite videos for later.

INTEGRATION

  • Use these videos to spark class discussions or as writing prompts to open students to new possibilities.
  • Pair the videos with a commenting tool such as Padlet, EDpuzzle, or Comment Bubble to take the discussion online.

Halloween Magnetic Poetry w/Google Drawing

Halloween is only a few days off and teachers are on the lookout for fun and creative activities to get students into the spirit of the holiday. Look no further than this Google Drawing template designed to work like the magnetic poetry pieces one might find on a refrigerator door. Clicking the link will prompt you to “Make a copy…” from the template and save it to your Google Drive. You can then share your copy with your students as well as your peers.

The word bank is extensive so students may need to go digging in search of specific words. Of course, since it is a Google Drawing file students can make their own ‘word magnets’ if needed. Project the file onto an Interactive WhiteBoard (IWB) and have students work in teams to see who can craft the best poetry piece.

A Google Drawing template designed to act like Magnetic Poetry pieces.

My thanks to Kasey Bell from Shake Up Learning who shared this template in the Google for Education Trainer forum for anyone to use and share alike!