But the journey of maker into language arts isn’t just a matter of finding time in the day. It makes sense because of narrative. So much of the creative is about coming up with a narrative for what you’re doing. Whether that’s just the name of the thing that has evolved out of your creative process or a whole story about it. The communication. The writing. The collaboration. The reflection. These are key skills that are needed for citizenship. Team that up with some coding and some maker skills and you’ve got a killer combination.
Has our contemporary embrace of disruption become a problem rather than a solution?
If you have slavery in any part of your culture, the entire culture is infected by it.
Here is a collection of links and resources associated with GSuite and Hapara for February 2018.
- Improving the menus in Google Docs editors – Google are making some word changes to the menus in the web versions of the Google Docs adn Sheets editors
- An invitation you’ll want to accept: updates to G Suite meeting room hardware – Google announced updates to make these meeting solutions even better for enterprises, including: expanding Jamboard and Hangouts Meet hardware to new countries, adding AI-powered autodraw to improve your jams and offering more Hangouts Meet hardware options for larger rooms
- Email members of a Team Drive – To improve collaboration in Team Drives, Google are adding the ability to email all the members of a Team Drive.
- New ways to comment on Microsoft files (and more) in Google Drive – Google are making it possible to comment directly on more file types including Microsoft Office files, PDFs and images—without having to convert them into Docs, Sheets or Slides.
- Free Screen and Webcam Recording on your Chromebook. Easily Capture Lectures, Webinars, Demos, Tutorials and more – Screencastomatic is now available on a Chromebook.
- An invitation you’ll want to accept: updates to G Suite meeting room hardware – Google has announced the addition of AutoDraw to the Jamboard software.
- The Instant Motion Tracking Behind Motion Stills AR – Google has announced a new Augmented Reality (AR) mode in Motion Stills for Android. With the new AR mode, a user simply touches the viewfinder to place fun, virtual 3D objects on static or moving horizontal surfaces.
- It’s Safer Internet Day: Key tools to protect yourself online #SaferInternetDay – As a part of Safer Internet Day, Google has rolled out a new version of our Security Checkup, which now provides personalized guidance to help you improve the security of your account. Instead of the same checklist for everyone, the Security Checkup is now a tailored guide to securing your data – your own personal security advisor.
- A secure web is here to stay – Beginning in July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure”.
- AMP stories: Bringing visual storytelling to the open web – The AMP story format is a recently launched addition to the AMP Project that provides content publishers with a mobile-focused format for delivering news and information as visually rich, tap-through stories.
- The browser for a web worth protecting – Chrome is stopping all ads on sites that repeatedly display video ads that play at full blast or giant pop-ups where you can’t seem to find the exit icon even after they’ve been flagged
- Bringing the power of AMP to Gmail – Google announced the addition of AMP to email allowing users to potentially complete various actions within the body of the email.
- New Drive File Stream settings for your organization’s deployment – Drive File Stream lets you stream files directly from the cloud to your computer and select files to be available offline
- The Google Assistant is going global – Nick Fox discusses the expansion of Google Assistant. With more languages, more features and closer integrations with phone makers and carriers, the Assistant is getting better for you?
- Richer Google Analytics User Management – Google are introducing more powerful ways to tightly manage access to user groups inside Google Analytics and enforce user policies.
- Google Domains: an easy way to get online – Google are releasing more domain endings, as well as opening the coverage to Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom and Vietnam.
- Move projects forward from one place—Hangouts Chat now available – Google have released Chat into the core suite. From direct messages to group conversations, Chat helps teams collaborate easily and efficiently. With dedicated, virtual rooms to house projects over time—plus threaded conversations—Chat makes it simple to track progress and follow up tasks.
- Providing more comprehensive results to your questions in Search – Google are extending search to include multifaceted featured snippets. Google is able to recognize when there could be multiple interpretations of that query
- Google Vault support for Hangouts Chat – Google have announced the integration of Hangouts Chat with Vault.
- Understanding G-Suite File and Folder Sharing Settings – Jeff Bradbury looks at Sharing Settings inside of G-Suite and unpacks the many possibilities.
- The Chromebook Creativity Project – Jump in – Andy Losik has started an attempt to collate all the creative applications available for use on Chromebook.
- The @TeacherCast Top 21 Favorite Chrome Extensions for Classroom Teachers and School Leaders – Jeff Bradbury’s short list of favorite Chrome Apps and Extensions.
- HTTP still under attack – Dave Winer collects together a number of concerns associated with Google’s push to HTTPS, including the cost on the web of such a decision, as well as the possibilities of other solutions to solve the problem of security.
- CheckMark v1.0 – Chris Craft announces an update to Checkmark, allowing users to customise the comments, as well as save a version to Drive so that they can be accessed on multiple computers.
- How to Set a New Default Font for All of Your Google Docs – Richard Byrne walks users through how to change the default font in Google Docs.
- These Google Docs Add-ons Make It Easy to Find Public Domain Images – Richard Byrne documents two add-ons which make it easy to add images from Pixabay and Upsplash.
- The Built-in Google Docs Features Starter Pack – Richard Byrne lists ten features that new users of Google Docs can benefit from learning early on.
- Google Slides to Link Help and Feedback – Alice Keeler highlights some benefits to using Slides rather than Docs.
- Use Collaborative Google Slides to Create Historical Tweets – Ashley Fort shares how she has students use a Google Slides deck to create a fake Twitter profile of famous people they have researched. The students then tweet as the famous person within the Google Slides.
- 9 Awesome Add-ons to Supercharge Google Slides – Eric Curts showcases a number of Slides add-ons, include Slides Toolbox which lets users cut down on clicks associated with repeated tasks.
- Google Slides: Watch Students Collaborate with Grid View – Alice Keeler demonstrates how to use grid view in order to monitor a collaborative slide deck.
- Learning in motion: EASY stop-motion animation with Google Slides – Similar to Pivot animations, Matt Miller explains how to use Slides to create animations. He also provides a video tutorial to support this.
- Google Slides: Have Students Copy Infographics – When introducing infographics, Alice Keeler recommends recreating a template that already exists. She provides a number of tips and tricks to support this.
- Google Slides: Dice Place Value – Alice Keeler shares a template for representing place value using Google Slides
- Google Slides: Create a Drop Shadow on Text – Alice Keeler shows how to use Google Slides and Drawings to add a drop shadow to text.
- Google Forms: Link to Next Activity – Alice Keeler provides a workflow for how to use Forms to collect responses and then provide a link to the next task or resource.
- How many types of questions can you use in Google Forms? – In this video, Jeff Bradbury walks viewers through the Google Forms Question Types to see how they look from both the teacher and student point of view.
- A Student’s Guide to Using Google Sheets – Alice Keeler provides an introduction for students to four basic features: how to expand a column, turn on word wrap, make a big answer box and create a new sheet.
- Google Apps Script Patterns: Getting a Google Sheet header row – Martin Hawksey explains how to grab the header row in Google Sheets, a common operation, for example, when populating a document or sending emails.
- Google Sheets: Embed an Image – Alice Keeler explains how to use =IMAGE() to embed an image in Google Sheets.
- Google Apps Script Patterns: Using the destructuring assignment syntax and object arrays to process Google Sheet rows – Martin Hawksey demonstrates how to use object arrays to process data in Google Apps Script as an alternative to inserting columns.
- Google Apps Script Patterns: Conditionally updating rows of Google Sheet data by reading and writing data once – Martin Hawksey continues his dive into Apps Script, demonstrating how to create a record of sent emails after using GAS to send them.
- Explaining syntax differences in your formulas due to your Google Sheets location – Ben Collins explores the syntax differences that occur based on your Google Sheets location.
- Google Sites: Hide a Page – Alice Keeler demonstrates how to hide a page within the New Sites from the navigation menu.
- 6 Uses for Google Classroom Ask a Question – Alice Keeler shares some ideas for how to use ‘Ask a Question’ in Google Classroom, including as an exit ticket, to poll the class and check for understanding.
- Google Classroom Video Guide by Alice Keeler – ViewSonic has uploaded 49 short videos on Google Classroom created by Alice Keeler to a YouTube Playlist
- Dazzling Classroom Creations with Google Draw! – Emma Cottier demonstrates versatility of Google Drawings and its potential as a learning tool for students to create learning representations based on any curriculum topic
- 5 Google Drawings features you (probably) don’t know about – Matt Miller goes through some lesser known features of Drawings, such as the ability to insert video and pre-designed diagrams.
- The insane amount of backward compatibility in Google Maps – Huan Truong looks at the Google Maps API, showing how backwards compatiable it is. Where many other applications break, Maps seems to keep on working.
- Google My Maps Tips and Tricks – Tom Mullaney provides an overview of MyMaps and its various possibilities.
- Personal Connections and Google Maps – Ryan Jolivette shares how he and his students used to MyMaps to engage with Geography, as well as collaborate and explore digital citizenship.
- Bringing the power of YouTube to more countries with YouTube Go – After initially releasing in India, Google are releasing YouTube Go, an application that supports patchy connections, to more than 100 classes.
- How to Use YouTube Video Essays in the Classroom – From critique to creation, Tanner Higgens provides a number of activities assocaited with YouTube essays.
- YouTube penalises Logan Paul for dead rat Taser video – Alex Hern has reported that YouTube has once again penalised vlogger Logan Paul for posting inappropriate content, just weeks after he was suspended from the company’s paid-content program over a video trivialising suicide.
- Preventing Harm to the Broader YouTube Community – Google has announced additional steps we may take beyond our current strike systems when channels upload videos that result in widespread harm to our community of creators, viewers and advertisers.
- Updates to YouTube Live Streaming – Google is realising the ability to engage with live chat after the conversation, as well as live captions.
- How to Record your Android Screen with the YouTube Gaming App – Amit Agarwal provides a guide to recording Android using the YouTube Gaming app.
- Capture more of your favorite moments with Google Clips – Google announces the release of Clips, a new type of camera that captures the moments that happen in between posed pictures by using on-device machine learning to look for great facial expressions from the people—and pets—in your life. It turns these into short clips without you having to use video editing software.
- Updating our “right to be forgotten” Transparency Report – Looking back at three years of delisting requests.
- Dynamic Learning with G Suite – Kasey Bell shares a number of ideas for making learning more dynamic using Google.
- Googling Libraries – A collection of ways Google G Suite for Education can be used in the library, including the creation of digital spaces, supporting research, organising thinking and making connections beyond the classroom.
You have to find the right tools to help your voice sing.
All the personal tasks in our lives are being made easier. But at what cost?
The paradoxical truth I’m driving at is that today’s technologies of individualization are technologies of mass individualization. Customization can be surprisingly homogenizing. Everyone, or nearly everyone, is on Facebook: It is the most convenient way to keep track of your friends and family, who in theory should represent what is unique about you and your life. Yet Facebook seems to make us all the same. Its format and conventions strip us of all but the most superficial expressions of individuality, such as which particular photo of a beach or mountain range we select as our background image.
I do not want to deny that making things easier can serve us in important ways, giving us many choices (of restaurants, taxi services, open-source encyclopedias) where we used to have only a few or none. But being a person is only partly about having and exercising choices. It is also about how we face up to situations that are thrust upon us, about overcoming worthy challenges and finishing difficult tasks — the struggles that help make us who we are. What happens to human experience when so many obstacles and impediments and requirements and preparations have been removed?
Wu argues that struggling and working things out is about identity:
We need to consciously embrace the inconvenient — not always, but more of the time. Nowadays individuality has come to reside in making at least some inconvenient choices. You need not churn your own butter or hunt your own meat, but if you want to be someone, you cannot allow convenience to be the value that transcends all others. Struggle is not always a problem. Sometimes struggle is a solution. It can be the solution to the question of who you are.
I recently reflected on the impact of convienience on learning. I guess that is a part of my ‘identity’.
via Audrey Watters
Technology is not the sum of the artefacts, of the wheels and gears, of the rails and electronic transmitters. Technology is a system. It entails far more than its individual material components. Technology involves organization, procedures, symbols, new words, equations, and, most of all, a mindset.
Watters explains that this includes many elements within schools and should not be merely reduced to ‘computers’. In a second post, she explains that:
“Hardening schools” is an education technology endeavor, whether or not we take seriously anyone’s suggestions about giving teachers guns. For now, “hardening schools” explicitly calls for hardware like those items listed by Governor Scott: metal detectors and bulletproof windows, as well as surveillance cameras and various sensors that can detect gunfire. It also implies software – social media monitoring and predictive analytics tools, for example, that claim they can identify students “at risk” of violence or political extremism.
Coming at this problem from a different perspective, Genevieve Bell responded to questions of data and ‘neutrality’ in the Q&A associated with her Boyer Lectures. Given the example of the supposed innocence of a train timetable, she explained how Amazon use variables such as timetables to continually adjust the price of goods.
Antitrust has never been just about costs and benefits or fairness. It’s never been about whether we love the monopolist. People loved Standard Oil a century ago, and Microsoft in the 1990s, just as they love Google today. Rather, antitrust has always been about progress. Antitrust prosecutions are part of how technology grows. Antitrust laws ultimately aren’t about justice, as if success were something to be condemned; instead, they are a tool that society uses to help start-ups build on a monopolist’s breakthroughs without, in the process, being crushed by the monopolist. And then, if those start-ups prosper and make discoveries of their own, they eventually become monopolies themselves, and the cycle starts anew. If Microsoft had crushed Google two decades ago, no one would have noticed. Today we would happily be using Bing, unaware that a better alternative once existed. Instead, we’re lucky a quixotic antitrust lawsuit helped to stop that from happening. We’re lucky that antitrust lawyers unintentionally guaranteed that Google would thrive.
He uses the case of the vertical search site, Foundem.com, to demonstrate the way in which Google kills competition by removing them from searches.
In 2006, Google instituted a shift in its search algorithm, known as the Big Daddy update, which penalized websites with large numbers of subpages but few inbound links. A few years later, another shift, known as Panda, penalized sites that copied text from other websites. When adjustments like these occurred, Google explained to users, they were aimed at combating “individuals or systems seeking to ‘game’ our systems in order to appear higher in search results — using low-quality ‘content farms,’ hidden text and other deceptive practices.”
Left unsaid was that Google itself generates millions of new subpages without inbound links each day, a fresh page each time someone performs a search. And each of those subpages is filled with text copied from other sites. By programming its search engine to ignore other sites doing the same thing that Google was doing, critics say, the company had made it nearly impossible for competing vertical-search engines, like Foundem, to show up high in Google’s results.
Rather than living off their innovation, Adam and Shivaun Raff have spent the last twelve years campaigning against Google. Supported by Gary Reback, they took their case to European Commission in Brussels.
Reback had told Adam and Shivaun that it was important for them to keep up their fight, no matter the setbacks, and as evidence he pointed to the Microsoft trial. Anyone who said that the 1990s prosecution of Microsoft didn’t accomplish anything — that it was companies like Google, rather than government lawyers, that humbled Microsoft — didn’t know what they were talking about, Reback said. In fact, he argued, the opposite was true: The antitrust attacks on Microsoft made all the difference. Condemning Microsoft as a monopoly is why Google exists today, he said.
If such changes and challenges is dependent on individuals such as the Raff’s standing up, it makes you wondering how many just throw it all in. Cory Doctorow captures this scenario in his novel, The Makers.
Technology philosopher Damien Williams on how the algorithms running society are embedded with the same biases as the people who program them.
Rushkoff also begins with a reflection on the use of social media by schools. He wonders why is it so easy for people to losesight of the design and purpose behind these platforms? He argues that other than teaching media, social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc) should never be used by schools. Use blogs or a space you manage yourself and your story – something that I have touched upon in the past – but to feed the ad algorithms is the wrong approach.
It’s not tools, culture or communication that make humans unique but our knack for offloading dirty work onto machines
There are two ways to give tools independence from a human, I’d suggest. For anything we want to accomplish, we must produce both the physical forces necessary to effect the action, and also guide it with some level of mental control. Some actions (eg, needlepoint) require very fine-grained mental control, while others (eg, hauling a cart) require very little mental effort but enormous amounts of physical energy. Some of our goals are even entirely mental, such as remembering a birthday. It follows that there are two kinds of automation: those that are energetically independent, requiring human guidance but not much human muscle power (eg, driving a car), and those that are also independent of human mental input (eg, the self-driving car). Both are examples of offloading our labour, physical or mental, and both are far older than one might first suppose.
Although it can be misconstrued as making us stupid, the intent of automation is complexity:
The goal of automation and exportation is not shiftless inaction, but complexity. As a species, we have built cities and crafted stories, developed cultures and formulated laws, probed the recesses of science, and are attempting to explore the stars. This is not because our brain itself is uniquely superior – its evolutionary and functional similarity to other intelligent species is striking – but because our unique trait is to supplement our bodies and brains with layer upon layer of external assistance.
My question is whether some automation today is actually intended to be stupid or too convenient as a means of control. This touches on Douglas Rushkoff’s warning ‘program or be programmed. I therefore wonder what the balance is between automation and manually completing various tasks in order to create more complexity.