Friday, April 22, 2016

Explore Your World with Google Geo Tools



After attending the 2014 Google Geo Teacher's Institute (GTI) at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, I have become particularly interested in using Google Geo Tools to explore the world in which we live.  Whether it's using a collaborative map, analyzing visual data, researching answers to questions, or taking virtual field trips, I find it fascinating to be able to learn so much from such powerful tools.

I am fortunate to have been able to travel to many different places on Earth, but there are still plenty of places that I know very little about.  For that reason, I have found ways to use Google Geo Tools to digitally experience places on Earth that I am curious about.  In addition, I also get to learn more about the culture and history of these locations, thereby, increasing my overall global and cultural literacy.  One of my goals is to help teachers and students learn how to use these tools to explore Earth in more meaningful and relevant ways for teaching and learning.  Below are some of my favorite Google Geo Tools and resources.

My Maps
Google My Maps makes it easy to create and share collaborative maps where users can add placemarks, calculate distance and area, import geo data directly from a Google Sheet, and visually represent information on a map. My Maps also syncs with your Google Drive to save your projects.

TourBuilder
Google Tour Builder is a great tool to use for creating presentations and telling stories. It is a perfect blend between Google Slides and Google Earth, where users can display text, images, and video while simultaneously touring places on Google Earth. Presentation mode lets the presenter navigate through the slides, or the link can be shared to allow other users to interact with the project.

Google Cultural Institute
Whether it's the Art Project, World Wonders, or Historic Moments, you can discover exhibits and collections from museums and archives all around the world. Click on Pegman to gain access to Google Street View where you can tour inside museums and world wonders. You can even create your own galleries to share favorite finds with friends.

Google Cardboard & Expeditions
Experience virtual reality (VR) with Google Cardboard by taking virtual field trips with 360 views and narration. Explore the world or create your own 360 photos with the Street View app. Visit places from deserts to deep seas with Expeditions.  And create your own virtual field trips with the Cardboard Camera app. You will need an Android or iOS mobile device with the apps installed to use with Google Cardboard. In addition, you can also take 360 photos and videos with a Ricoh Theta camera.

GeoGuessr & GeoSettr
Have you ever wanted to be blindfolded and dropped in the middle of nowhere? With GeoGuessr, you get the opportunity to simulate this experience by making observations and using context clues to guess where you are in the world using Google Street View. The closer your guess, the more points you get out of a total of five rounds. Use GeoSettr to create your own five rounds for your students to play. Also consider trying Spacehopper as a similar game that uses Google Street View.

GeTeach
Use GeTeach to compare and contrast different Google Maps side-by-side. Choose different layers from Physical Geography (i.e. Climate) to Human Geography (i.e. Population) to ask questions and make inferences. This is also a great tool for inquiry-based learning and data analysis.

Other Noteworthy Geo Tools

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Let's Explore the World Together with GeoGuessr and GeoSettr

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Power of a More Beautiful Question

Last week, middle school students had the opportunity to engage in an inspiring visit from retired U.S. Army Captain, Will Reynolds during an assembly. Dressed in a suit and tie, Capt. Reynolds, talked to our students about motivation, character, and overcoming adversity.  About halfway through his presentation, he shared the following video:




After watching the video, everyone in the room soon realized that Capt. Reynolds had a prosthetic leg.  He then began to tell us the story about how he lost his leg following an explosion while deployed in Iraq.  During the rest of the presentation, he shared inspiring stories, ideas, and advice to our middle school students.  Finally, at the end of his presentation, he showed our students his prosthetic foot called the "Cheetah", which he uses to run and perform other physical activities.  As soon as I saw his foot, I made an immediate connection to the current book I am reading, A More Beautiful Question.

"If they can put a man on the moon, why can't they make a decent foot?" [1]

This is the question that Van Phillips asked back in 1976 after he was in a water skiing accident and lost his leg from the knee down.  At the hospital, Phillips was fitted with a replacement foot that was beyond unsatisfactory.  He then asked a different question, "Why should I settle for this lousy foot?" [1] In his pursuit for making a better foot, he asked another question, "I wonder if this prototype will hold up better than the last one?" [1] Van soon fell into the loop of failing, then building new iterations of a prosthetic foot. Until one day, he asked a more "beautiful" question, "What if you could somehow replicate a diving board's propulsive effect in a prosthetic foot? What if a human leg could be more like a cheetah's?" [1]

Photo taken with Capt. Will Reynolds
beautiful question is defined as, "an ambitious yet actionable question that can begin to shift the way we perceive or think about something--and that might serve as a catalyst to bring about change" (p. 8). [1] But having a question is just philosophical thinking.  In order to bring about change, Van had to begin trying to answer his own question. He had to turn his question into action.

That is when Van had a breakthrough with Flex-Foot prosthetics, which completely revolutionized the prosthetics industry [1]. His new "Cheetah foot" was a curved blade that resembled the letter "C" and acted as a springboard propelling the user forward. Van's invention was able to help so many amputees walk, run, and engage in physical activity again.  Most famously, Oscar Pistorius used this prosthetic "Cheetah foot" on both legs when he competed in the 2012 Olympics.

It was such an honor to meet Will Reynolds and to see the true power that a question can have.  If it weren't for Van PhillipsWill Reynolds might not have been able to accomplish the goals he had after his leg was amputated.  Fortunately, as an accomplished athlete prior to his injury, combined with new technology in prosthetics, Reynolds began cycling as part of his rehabilitation and now races on a competitive team. More impressively, Capt. Reynolds has also competed in the Invictus Games for wounded warriors, winning four bronze medals at the 2014 event in men’s classified 100-meter and 200-meter athletics sprints, the Road Race, and the Time Trial in cycling.

Van Phillips continues to ask questions such as, "Why does it have to cost so much? What if the design were tweaked in some way--through new materials, different processes--so as to make the limb accessible to more people?  How might I make that work?" (p. 38). [1] To this day, Van Phillips has never lost sight of his original question and is still passionate about the innovation of prosthetics.

I think this is such an amazing lesson to share with our students.  The lesson -- that questions can be incredibly powerful -- if there is dedicated action following the questions.  Let's get our students excited about asking questions.  Let's keep them excited about asking questions.  And let's challenge them to refine and to pursue their questions.  Who knows ... they too, might be able to change the world one day.

You might also like


Promoting Inquiry and Exploration with Primary Resources
Curiosity: The Simplest and Most Powerful Learning Technology
Is this a Googleable or a Non-Googleable Question?
Inquiring about Inquiry


References
  1. Berger, W. (2014). A more beautiful question: The power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.
  2. Rothstein, D., & Santana, L. (2011). Make just one change: Teach students to ask their own questions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press
  3. How Prince Harry's Invictus Games Help His Military 'Brothers and Sisters' Heal: 'We Are His Community'

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How Do You Learn in the Digital Age?

flickr photo by GotCredit https://flickr.com/photos/jakerust/16846023595
shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

In lieu of Digital Learning Day 2016, I thought I would ask a very simple question, "How do you learn in the digital age?" Even though this is a simple question, the answer can be very complex. The reason is because there are so many resources, learning styles, and strategies that can be used today to gain and share information.

In a world that is constantly evolving, it is arguably more important than ever to engage in continuous professional learning.  As educators in this world, it is often difficult to keep up with the latest research, new technology, and best practices.  However, in order to prepare our students for their future, we need to be continually asking ourselves these challenging questions:

  • What am I doing to stay informed of the latest research in education?
  • What am I doing to keep updated with transformative technology tools and resources?
  • What am I doing to ensure that I am implementing best practices in my classroom?

While taking graduate courses is a great way to answer these questions, it can become very expensive and time consuming.  Therefore, I would argue that it is more cost-effective and time-sensitive to create your own Professional Learning Community (PLC). By creating a PLC, you will be able to connect, learn, and share with other passionate educators from around the world, at your convenience.  Here are a few ways to start building a PLC in order to keep current in education. 

Engage in social media

Did you know that you can search Twitter without having an account?  If you are new to social media, this is the first place that I would start.  By visiting Twitter and searching for educational hashtags, you can view or "lurk" conversations around specific topics in education, even without contributing.  I would recommend searching the following hashtags: #edchat, #edtechchat, #edtech, and #education.  For a more comprehensive list of other educational hashtags and Twitter chat schedules, visit Twitter Chats for Educators.  If you would like to view multiple hashtags at once, I recommend using Tweetdeck for a "bird's eye view". 

As you begin reading these conversations, try to "follow" colleagues, educators, and organizations that you highly value.  This will help you to start building a base for your PLC.  And when you are ready, I encourage you to participate in these conversations. Everyone has something to contribute to a conversation.  Even you!

Let information come to you

One of the biggest challenges of online learning is the fact that there are so many websites and resources that are out there.  In order to learn more efficiently, we not only need to be consuming information, we need to be curating information.  Rather than going out and searching for websites, why not let websites come to you?  

By using a RSS Reader, you can choose to subscribe to your favorite websites and blogs for free! What's more, you can organize and manage these resources into custom categories of your choice.  I would recommend using Feedly to begin filtering your favorite resources.  To get started, I would recommend following, or subscribing to the following websites:


Participate in a local EdCamp

EdCamps are one of the most innovative professional development opportunities that exist today. Why, you might ask?  Because, not only are they free events, but there is no schedule or agenda. Topics are organically created the morning of the event and any participant can volunteer to lead a session.  EdCamps are increasingly sweeping the nation and are changing the way that we learn as professional educators.  Check out some of the upcoming events and take a creative risk by signing up for one near you. 

For your consideration

In addition to these examples, there are many other creative ways to engage in a PLC. Consider using your Google+ account to follow your colleagues and join educational Communities.  Consider using Diigo to bookmark, organize, and share your favorite articles and resources on the Web.  And consider signing up for a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) at https://www.edx.org/ to learn about meaningful topics with others for free. 

If there are other ways that you are learning in the digital age, please share by posting a comment. Happy Digital Learning Day, and happy learning!


You might also like

The Teacher’s Guide To Twitter
George Couros on Social Media
My Personal Learning Network is the most awesomest thing ever!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

You Shared, Classroom Listened!

Google has recently made some exciting new updates to Classroom thanks to all of the feedback and suggestions from teachers.  Starting today, Classroom will enable Teaching Teams, Save draft, Autosaved grades, and Better notifications.

Teaching teams: New ways to work together in Classroom

Google built Classroom to help teachers spend less time on paperwork, and more time with their students. Since it launched, Google has also heard from teachers and professors that they’d love to be able to use Classroom to collaborate with other educators.




Teach together: Whether it’s a substitute, a teacher’s aide or a department chair, almost every teacher and professor is supported by other educators. So starting today, you can have multiple teachers in a Classroom class. To try it out, just go to your class’s About page and click “Invite teacher.” Additional teachers can do almost everything the primary teacher can do: they can create assignments or announcements, view and grade student submissions, participate in the comments on the class “stream,” invite students and even get email notifications – everything except delete the class.




Dani Raskin, a special education teacher at Clarkstown High School South in New York, has been helping Google to test out this new feature. “It’s really important for me to be able to work closely with other teachers who also teach my students, but we don’t always have prep time together,” Dani said. “We are now able to split the workload: both of us can provide direct feedback via comments and grading. It really fosters an authentic sense of teamwork and collaboration."




Prep for your classes in advance: Google knows how much planning goes into every class you teach, and now they are making it a little bit easier to do some of that planning in Classroom. You can save announcements and assignments as “drafts” and wait to send them to students until you’re ready. And similar to Gmail, any time you start creating a new announcement or assignment, it’ll be automatically saved as a draft. This works with multiple teachers as well, so all the teachers in a class can collaboratively prep assignments in advance, and even make changes to each other’s posts on the fly.




Google is also making some other updates you’ve told them will make Classroom easier to use:

  • Autosaved grades: If you can’t get all of your assignments graded in one session, but still want to return them to students at the same time, grades will now be auto saved as you enter them. You can choose when to return them to students.
  • Better notifications: Teachers and students will now receive email notifications when a private comment is left on an assignment.

For schools here in North America and in Europe, Google knows you’re working hard as you round the corner into the end of the year. Google, is too, and they will have more Classroom news for you before school’s out for summer.


You might also like


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Google Classroom: New Features and Updates

In every classroom around the world, teachers spend time decorating their rooms by tacking up fun decorations and outstanding student work. Starting today, teachers can bring those same personal touches to Classroom by uploading their own images to use as themes. That’s just one of the little surprises that Google has sprinkled throughout Classroom to brighten your winter (or sweeten your summer, for our Southern Hemisphere friends).

If you have an image you’d like to use as your theme, Classroom will help you crop it to the perfect dimensions, and automatically pick a matching class color. And in case you don’t have a great photo to use, Classroom is adding 18 new images and 30 pattern themes to the gallery, so teachers have lots of options to make their classes look great. If you don’t have time to browse all the themes, Classroom will even try to automatically match a relevant theme to the class title — it works well for common topics, but it might not find a perfect theme for topics like History of the Peloponnesian War or Quantum Computing 401.

Today Google is also making updates to the mobile app for iOS and Android launched a month ago:

  • Students and teachers can now view the About page in the mobile app for quick access to their class materials and resources.
  • On iOS, students can now add images, videos, and any other files to assignments from other apps.
  • Your favorite emoji are now available on the Android app [insert smiley face here.]
  • Google made overall changes that will increase the speed of the app’s performance, so you can get your work done even faster.

Stay Tuned!
You’ll notice a lot of other small updates that Google hopes will bring some delight and productivity to your February classes!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"Hello, Operator! Please help me filter my search"


"Offutt Air Force Base operator" by U.S. Air Force photo - page image.
Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Information has never been more ubiquitous than it is today.  Fortunately, we live in a world of open access where performing a simple Google Search can yield the results we are looking for.  But what about those times when it doesn't?

There is actually SO much information online that it can become difficult finding what we are looking for.  The problem isn't that there is TOO much information on the Internet.  It's that we often have difficulty filtering this information.

Not to worry, Google is aware of this problem, and has integrated search operators for people to use when searching the Web.  Search operators are, "words that can be added to searches to help narrow down the results" (Punctuation, symbols, & operators in search).  In other words, search operators help us to filter information on the Internet.

There are several search operators that can be used when performing a Google Search. For example, if you perform a search using the "define:" operator followed by a word, Google will return the definition of that word.  However, it is important to note that when you use search operators, make sure that you don’t have any spaces between your operator and search terms. For example, searching for “site:wikipedia.org” will apply the operator, but “site: wikipedia.org” will not.




Now, you could memorize all of the operators that are currently available to use in your queries.  Or, you could use Google Advanced Search, which already has the operators built into specific search fields.  With Google Advanced Search, you can search using a single operator, or multiple operators at the same time.  The table below helps to identify the search fields in Google Advanced Search and explains how to use each one.




When using these search operators (either in the omnibox or in Google Advanced Search) there are a few search rules to keep in mind.  These rules not only apply when using search operators. They also apply to any Google Search.


  • Every word matters:  Consider only using key terms, and omit unnecessary words. 
  • Order of words matter:  Consider the order in which you use your key terms and words.
  • Symbols matter:  Consider using symbols such as $, #, @, *, -, and + to refine your search.
  • Capitalization does NOT matter:  Disregard using capital letters.  
  • Punctuation does NOT matter:  Disregard using !, ?, ; ., etc.


So, the next time you need to perform a Google Search, consider using search operators and Google Advanced Search to filter out information in order to help you find exactly what you are looking for!


Resources

Punctuation, symbols & operators in search
Google Search Modifiers: Cheat Sheet
Google Search Tips: Search Operators
Google Advanced Search
Google Search Education
Google Search Help Center
Inside Search


You might also like

Improve your research with Google Search Tools
Did you know? Google Inside Search
Knowledgeable vs. Knowledge-able

Monday, October 27, 2014

3 YouTube Tips for New Users


Have you ever had your students complete a video project but then had difficulty figuring out how to share it?  This is actually a common problem that teachers face all the time.  This blog post will help to identify a workflow to help students save and share their videos using their Google Apps for Education, YouTube account.

Before students can begin uploading their videos to YouTube, they have to activate their YouTube Channel. Often, students who are new users will create a video on their iPad (or other mobile device) and try to upload it to their YouTube account.  However, if they haven't "activated" their YouTube Channel, their videos will not upload successfully.

How to Activate a YouTube Channel

Students will need to first login to YouTube on a computer, and click the "Upload" button.  Then they will be prompted to create an "available" username and select their gender.  When they have successfully finished these steps, they can click the, "OK, I'm ready to upload" button. That's it!  Their YouTube Channel has been activated and they can begin uploading videos from any device.  Here is a video that demonstrates these steps.




Privacy Settings

Now, to take this one step further, I also recommend that students adjust their Privacy settings based on their school's Acceptable Use Policy.  Students and teachers can actually change their default upload setting to either Public, Unlisted, or Private.  By default, videos uploaded to YouTube are set to Public.  But by making a few extra clicks, any user can change their default uploads to either Unlisted or Private.  

To change your Privacy Settings in YouTube, click on your Profile icon in the top, right-hand corner and select the YouTube Settings button (gear icon).  Next, at the bottom left-hand corner, select "View Additional Features".  Then select "Upload Defaults" on the left-hand sidebar.  This is where users can change their default Privacy, Category, and other settings.  Finally, click the save button to update the changes.  Check out the video below for a video demonstration of these steps.




YouTube Safety Mode

YouTube also has a "Safety Mode" feature for students.  To turn ON "Safety Mode", simply scroll down to the bottom of your YouTube account and select the "Safety" button.  This will bring up the option to turn Safety Mode ON or OFF.  By selecting ON, this will also turn on Google SafeSearch as an added bonus. However, it is important to note that when Safety Mode is turned OFF, Google SafeSearch will also be turned off.




So, before you begin to have your students share their next video project, consider having them perform the following steps:


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YouTube Tips: Playlist
Improve Your Research with Google Search Tools
Digital Citizenship Week: Copyright or Wrong
Did You Know? Blog Series

Friday, October 24, 2014

Improve Your Research with Google Search Tools




Google Search has some really great tools and features to help you when you are performing research. Tools such as Google Image SearchGoogle BooksGoogle Scholar, and Google News can all be used in slightly different ways to help you answer your questions.  This blog post will highlight how to use each of these tools to access primary resources, along with providing some concrete examples and tutorials.


Google Image Search

We all use images for various research projects and assignments.  Google knows this, which is why it has made it easy for users to search for images based on different usage rights.  By selecting Google Image Search, and clicking on the "Search Tools" button, you can filter your image results by usage rights.  I like to search for images that are "Labeled for reuse with modification" to ensure that I don't infringe on anyone's copyrighted works.


Google Books

Have you ever thought about using Google Books for research?  There are actually tons of free ebooks that can be easily accessible for reading, or for research.  Google Books has lots of books that are in the public domain so users can access these books in full text for free.   In order to search for free Google Books, simply type in your research topic and select "Books".   Then, select the "Search Tools" button and change "Any books" to "Free Google ebooks".  Now you can perform your research by skimming and scanning free Google Books.


Google Scholar

If you are interested in searching for more than just books, Google Scholar is a great place to start. With Google Scholar, you can search for citations, books, journal articles, and even case law.  When performing research in Google Scholar, it is often helpful to set a custom date range to help refine your results.  For even more options, select the down arrow at the right and choose "Advanced search" to use additional search fields in your search.


Google News

Did you know that Google has a collection of historical newspapers?  It's called the Google News Newspapers Archive and it dates all the way back to 1970.  There are hundreds of Newspapers that have been scanned and uploaded in the archives to be used for research.  To use the Newspapers Archive, you can either visit the archives directly at http://news.google.com/newspapers, or you can type your query and include the operator: "site: news.google.com/newspapers" in the Google omnibox. This will automatically search your query in the Newspapers Archive.  You could also just browse the newspapers that are available in the archive.  They are listed in alphabetical order.



So, the next time you are conducting research, consider using Google Image SearchGoogle BooksGoogle Scholar, and Google News. They just might be able to help you find what you are looking for!  Check out the video below to watch a screencast demonstration on how to use these Google Search Tools for research.




You might also like

Free to Use, Share, or Modify with Google Apps
Digital Citizenship Week:  Copyright or Wrong
Did You Know? Blog Series

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Digital Citizenship Week: Copyright and Wrong

creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by liako:
http://flickr.com/photos/liako/3700283776
Happy Digital Citizenship Week!  This year, Digital Citizenship Week is from October 19-25 and it's mission is to recognize and celebrate the safe, appropriate, and responsible use of technology. In lieu of Digital Citizenship Week, I thought I might share some information and resources regarding Copyright Law as it pertains to education. 

As Digital Citizens, we often emphasize the importance of digital safety, security, and appropriate communication, which are all critical elements of digital citizenship.  However, copyright is also a critical element of digital citizenship that often gets overlooked.  Why, you might ask?  Maybe because it's not valued as much as the other components of digital citizenship.  Or, maybe it's because we as educators don't fully understand copyright, or know how to find and use resources responsibly and appropriately.  I'm thinking it's the latter.  So, hopefully this blog post will shed some light into copyright and highlight some resources and tools that are available for educators and students to use for projects and learning assignments. 

So, what is Copyright exactly?  

Copyright is basically an exclusive right that is automatically given to the owner of an original work. To be considered work, it needs to be tangible in some form of text, imagery, visual art, audio, video, or performance.  Believe it or not, but, “Copyright vests automatically as soon as you create an original work that is fixed in a tangible medium.  Consequently, nearly every person in the country today is a copyright owner” (Crews, 2012, pp. 23-24).  For example, if you snap a photo on your smartphone, you automatically have copyright protection on that photo.  So in reality, we are all owners and users of copyrighted material.

What happens if I want to use someone else's work?

Below are some strategies that you can use to avoid copyright infringement (Crews, 2012, p. 139). However, it is always a good idea to include attribution to the author or source when using someone else's work:
  1. No permission is needed if the work is in the public domain
  2. No permission is needed if you use the work within fair use or any other exception
  3. Permission for some works may be available though a collective licensing agency such as Creative Commons
  4. Contact a copyright owner and draft a permission letter 
  5. Create your own original work  

1.  Public Domain: No permission is needed if the work is in the public domain. Works that are found in the public domain are works by owners who "... choose to publish online and to make the content available in full on the Internet, without restriction" (Crews, 2012, p. 37).  Due to recent advances in technology, many people are now choosing to publish their work online for open access. "Open access is a choice made by the copyright owner—not to relinquish rights, but to use the legal rights in order to make the work easily accessible" (Crews, 2012, p. 37). 

2.  Fair Use:  No permission is needed if you use the work within fair use.  Fair use can be defined as, "an exception to the rights of copyright owners, allowing the public to make limited uses of a protected work" (Crews, 2012, p. 53). When determining fair use, there are four factors that need to be considered: purpose, nature, amount, and effect (Crews, 2012, p. 59):
  • Purpose:  A nonprofit educational purpose can support a claim of fair use.  A transformative use can also be highly influential.
  • Nature:  Uses of factual, nonfiction works are more likely to be within fair use, while fair use applies more narrowly to creative works.
  • Amount: the less the amount of work used, the more likely it is fair use. 
  • Effect:  Uses that do not compete with the market for the copyrighted work are more likely fair use. 

3.  Creative Commons:  Permission for some works may be available through a collective licensing agency.  "Authors are now choosing to make many of their works available to the public under a Creative Commons license.  This voluntary system is essentially a grant of permission to the public to use the work for certain purposes. One of the most common options permits any noncommercial uses of the work with attribution to the author or source.  A work marked with that CC license may be used by anyone, for say, nonprofit education, provided the copies include the author’s name or other identification” (Crews, 2012, p. 37).  To find works that have a Creative Commons license, visit search.creativecommons.org.

4.  Reach Out:  Contact a copyright owner and draft a permission letter.  Sometimes it can be advantageous to make a general request to the copyright owner.  When making a request, it is often helpful to explain how you intend to use the work in connection with teaching or learning.  Some details to include in the request are (Crews, 2012):
  • A termination date for the permission
  • A maximum number of students using the work
  • The medium by which you will share the work
  • The specific nature of the use

5.  Create:  Become a copyright owner and create your own original work.   Often, the best solution to avoiding copyright infringement is to simply create your own work. Even though it might take longer, there can be a great sense of pride and accomplishment as a result.  Some ideas might include taking your own photos, drafting your own artwork, and writing down your own thoughts to be used for various projects and assignments.  And if you are interested in adding some extra protection to your work, you can always consider registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office

Why Bother?

After reading this, some of you might be thinking to yourself, "People infringe on copyright almost every single day (with or without even knowing it).  No one ever gets caught and no one ever faces any consequences, so why should we even bother paying attention to the complications of copyright at all?"  While that might appear to be the case, it is important to know that "the owner can seek statutory damages of up to $30,000 per work infringed, in lieu of actual damages or profits. Moreover, the owner may also ask for reimbursement of attorney fees and the costs of litigation" (Crews, 2012, p. 102). Furthermore, "If you have committed a willful infringement, you may also face criminal penalties—including monetary fines and time in the federal prison system. (Crews, 2012, p. 103).

The purpose of sharing this information isn't to scare you, rather, it's to inform you! And in my opinion, the most important reason to care about copyright is simply because it's the right thing to do. Even though the chances of getting caught and facing consequences are slim to none, we should lead by example by showing respect to creators of work, and giving credit where credit is due.  That's what it takes to be a digital citizen.  That's the difference between copyright and wrong! 

So, the next time you find yourself wanting to use someone else's work, follow the five strategies to avoid copyright infringement, and use these resources below to help you find and cite your work.

Images
Photos For Class
Photopin
CraftyRights (Chrome extension)
Google Advanced Search: Usage Rights
Flickr Creative Commons
Every Stock Photo
Free Digital Photos

Audio
YouTube Audio Library
Jamendo
Royalty Free Music
National Jukebox LOC.gov
GarageBand
Soundtrap EDU

Video
YouTube → Search Filter → Creative Commons
Vimeo → Search Filter → Creative Commons
Moving Image Archive

Attribution
Purdue: OWL Research and Citation
Flickr CC Attribution Helper
EasyBib.com
Bibme.org

Educational Resources on Copyright

You might also like

Crews, K. D. (2012). Copyright law for librarians and educators: Creative strategies and practical solutions. Chicago: American Library Association.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Did You Know? Google Sites No Longer Redirects to Other Websites ... Or Does it?

File:Mandatory road sign no right turn.svg
Image is cc licensed for reuse on wikimedia commons.

Did you know that Google recently stopped enabling Sites to redirect or forward to other sites (such as a domain that you might have purchased)?  I just noticed this today when I tried visiting my website when I wasn't logged into my account and I discovered a blank, white page. Apparently, others have been running into this same issue.  I think it might have something to do with a potential security issue.

How does it work?

After doing some research, I was able to find a workaround for this.  If you still want your Google Site to redirect (or forward) to your own domain, or to another site, all you have to do is check the box in your settings that will "allow embedding of your sites in other sites".

To do this, follow these simple steps:

  1. Login to your Google Site
  2. Select the "Open More Actions Menu" (gear icon)
  3. Select "Manage Site"
  4. Select the "General" tab
  5. Scroll down to "Security"
  6. Check the box that says "allow embedding of your sites in other sites"

I got this information from the following Google Product Forum:

https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/sites/chg5IL7ITFI

Here's an example

If you visit my professional webpage: www.bradleylands.com you will see that the site is up and running.  It was created with Google Sites and you can confirm this by scrolling down to the bottom of the page.  If you had visited my website anytime during the last three weeks, you would have seen a white, blank page.

Now that you know
  1. If you happen to have a Google Site that redirects to a different website or domain, consider using this quick workaround to display your domain on your Google Site.
  2. If you ever create a Google Site in the future, keep this trick in mind if you decide to forward your site to a different website or domain.

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