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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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hello, Earth - Let's Go Explore!

Image is CC licensed for reuse.
In lieu of Earth Day today, I thought I would share a collection of Google Earth and Google Maps resources and webtools. Google Earth is actually one of my favorite learning tools due to its versatility.  It allows for investigation, exploration, creation, and collaboration in multiple subject areas, and it even allows its users to take virtual field trips to places they have never been before.

While there are several Google Earth Tutorials that can get you started, I am going to highlight a few tutorials, websites, and features that use Google Earth as a learning tool for different content, as well as a presentation tool for creating projects. Finally, I am also going to share some webtools that integrate Google Earth and/or Google Maps into its functionality.

"Google's geo products give you and your students easy access to the world's visual information. Once, maps were available only to royalty but now, you can explore Earth, Moon, Mars, and even dive into the depths of the oceans. The possibilities of using Google Maps, Earth and Street View are as endless as your imagination. We encourage you to explore, create, and collaborate." - Google Maps Education

Ideas for using Google Earth to learn content in different subjects

Geography: Investigate and explore any place on Earth. [1]
  • Overlay topographic maps on to Google Earth to compare and contrast different types of geographic representations [1]
  • Challenge students to make their own real-world decisions using Juicy Geography lessons for Google Earth [1]
  • Practice differentiating between physical and cultural landscape features of the world's largest cities [1]


Math: Learn geometry and measurement. [1]
  • Utilize Real World Math and the variety of lesson plans that utilize Google Earth to teach a wide range of math concepts [1]
  • Use the Ruler tool to calculate distances in various units of measurements [1]
  • Find the angle of elevation for hiking trails or ski runs using trigonometric functions [1]


Language Arts: As a place to make connections to pieces of Literature (visit: Google Lit Trips) [1]


Science: As a science tool ("Sunlight" tool, "Google Sky" tool, "Mars" tool and "Moon" tool) [1]
  • Explore the Earth's many biomes and habitats on all of the continents [1]
  • Explore the under water terrain, visit sea vents, and learn about the health of the ocean [1]
  • Using Mars in Google Earth, view images downloaded by NASA just hours ago, in the Live from Mars layer. [1]
  • Take tours of the landing sites on the Moon, narrated by Apollo astronauts [1]


History: As a history tool (use the "Historical Imagery" tool) [1]
  • Use Historical Imagery to travel back in time and view your neighborhood, home town, and other familiar places to see how they have changed [1]
  • Learn more about the US Presidents, their birthplaces, and the progression of states that voted during elections [1]
  • View the many historical maps from the David Rumsey Map collection, like the Lewis and Clark trail map from 1814 [1]

Art: As an art tool or resource (NASA Earth As Art):



Other creative uses
  • As a presentation tool (use the "Record a Tour" feature).
  • As a vacation planner (use the "Placemark" feature to bookmark all of your desired destinations)
  • As a virtual field trip (use the Google "Street View" tool get a 360 view of any location) Try visiting Instant Street View for a quick way to virtually explore somewhere.




Webtools that integrate Google Earth and/or Google Maps

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Did You Know? Google Account Chooser

Did you know that you can choose to add or remove accounts to your primary Google account? Most people know how to ADD accounts, but some aren't sure how to REMOVE accounts after they have been added.  This happened to one of my teachers today, so I thought I would share this solution for others.

What happened was, a student's Google account was accidentally ADDED to a teacher's Google account. This probably happened because the student logged into her Google account on the teacher's computer for some reason or another.  Therefore, every time the teacher went to login to her Google Account, her student's account was also an option.  The teacher wanted the student's account REMOVED from her Google account, but she wasn't sure how to do this.  

How it works

When a user logs into his or her Google Account, the user has the option to "Add account" or to "Sign out" of his or her current account.  All you have to do is click on your Profile Icon at the top right corner of your Google Account to access your Google Account Chooser.




Here's an example

Let's say that I wanted to REMOVE a Google account that is already associated with my primary Google Account.  The first thing that I would do is click on my Profile Icon and select "Sign Out". 




Then, after I had successfully logged out of my primary account, I would click on the "Sign In" button at the top right.  This would allow me to "Choose an account" that is associated with my primary account.  If I wanted to REMOVE an account from my primary account, I would simply click the "Remove" button, which will allow me to remove any or all of my accounts. 




Now, let's say that I want to REMOVE my school account.  All I would have to do is click on the "X" icon to remove it from my account.  And then select "Done".  I would repeat this process for every account that I want to remove.  





Now that you know
  1. The next time you see an account that is accidentally added to your primary account, you know how to remove it.
  2. You can help other students and teachers who might have encountered this same problem. 
  3. You can actively choose to add or remove accounts from your primary account to make accessing your accounts more efficient. 

For more information and support on Google Account Chooser, visit: support.google.com/accounts


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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Did You Know? ClassDojo Messaging



Did you know that a new feature within ClassDojo’s existing platform launches today, enabling teachers and parents to easily and meaningfully communicate about student progress?  It's called ClassDojo Messaging and it has the potential to be a very effective communication feature of this powerful learning tool.

I was actually contacted by Manoj Lamba from ClassDojo to help promote this great new feature. After witnessing first-hand how powerful this learning tool can be for students and teachers, I was privileged and honored to help spread the word!

How it works
  • Teachers will be able to send parents private, “Direct Messages” to update them about their child’s progress as well as “Broadcast” message an entire group of parents with ease about class events.

 

  • ClassDojo believes that this new feature is a major step forward for teachers, many of whom currently converse with parents using non-­ideal tools such as formal emails, impersonal text messages, or handwritten notes ­ all of which require more effort, are overwhelming, do not engage parents in a meaningful conversation, and ultimately result in less real communication about students and their progress.


  • The feature launches initially on iOS and Android devices, and has been tested by scores of teachers over the past month with overwhelmingly positive reactions! Teachers appreciate the thoughtfully­-designed, teacher­-focused features, such as the privacy of not sharing personal contact details, the two types of messaging (Broadcast and Direct Messages), and also “read receipts” showing acknowledgements when parents have seen messages. Most importantly, teachers are now finding it easier to engage in higher quality conversations with parents about students’ progress and development.


Now that you know

  1. Consider signing up for a free ClassDojo account to help with student learning and behavior management.
  2. If you already have a ClassDojo account, consider checking out the new Messaging feature of ClassDojo to increase communication with parents.
For more information about this new feature, visit classdojo.com/messaging


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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TEDEd Project: A Lesson Worth Sharing


After creating my own TEDEd project with my students, I thought that this might be a lesson worth sharing!

In the Fall of 2013, I teamed up with a teacher in my school to create a TEDTalks Project for our students. Since the project was such a huge success, I decided to create a similar project with a different teacher.  This project was our TEDEd Project where students would create video animations to explain their lessons, just like the real TEDEd videos.

For this project, students have the autonomy to choose a lesson that they find meaningful and valuable to share with the world.  Lessons can range from science experiments, to challenging questions, to personal experiences.  The only thing that matters is that the lessons must be important to the students.

If you've watched enough TEDTalks, or TEDEd videos, you probably know that most of the presentations are about the presenter's experience.  The presenter usually has some experience or idea that is worth spreading, or has created something that is worth sharing.  Therefore, I chose to create an example TEDEd Project for my students about a personal lesson that I thought was worth sharing.




I used PowToon to create this animation, but there are lots of different technology tools that can be used to create animations for this TEDEd Project.  Some of these tools include:


After working on this project, I was also able to develop an effective workflow for students to use when creating their own TEDEd projects.  The goal is for students to create an animated video that is no longer than 5 minutes.  This is a sample workflow process that I used with my students:

  1. Choose a meaningful lesson
  2. Create an outline
  3. Write a script
  4. Create a storyboard   
  5. Create the animation
  6. Record a VoiceOver of the script
  7. Adjust the animation to match the VoiceOver
  8. Publish and share the project

The great thing about this project is that students get to practice so many different workplace readiness skills. They get to practice skills such as creativity, design, digital literacy, persuasive writing, public speaking, and project management.  In addition, students also get a chance to "teach" their lesson, which will help to reinforce the knowledge that they have learned about their particular topic.

My lesson worth sharing is this: "Don't let a test score define you!" Everyone is smart in their own way. And everyone can improve their abilities in life with practice, education, hard work and a "growth mindset".

So, I encourage you to take a creative risk and try this project with your students. Who knows ... your students just might have a lesson worth sharing!

For more information on TEDEd, visit ed.ted.com/about


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