Using Google Images

Source image to the one : By Bronwynne Gwyneth Anne Jones , CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0

One of the most common misconceptions that people have about using images online is that you can use whatever image you find when you search. That is simply not true. All images are copyrighted the minute they are created. They are owned by the photographer or artist. In many cases, images that end up online are used by people without permission from the owner of the image. This is a common practice that is, in fact, illegal. So, what can you do if you are putting together that killer presentation and you find the greatest image ever, but it’s not yours? You could reach out directly to the person who owns the image to ask for permission, although that could be difficult depending on where the image came from. However, there are ways to find images where the creators have already given permission for various kinds of use (so long as you give attribution to the creator.) These images are licensed under Creative Commons. There is a special page on their site for media searches or you can do a Google Image search and then use the search tools to limit your results by usage rights. Regardless of the method, it’s much better to find images that you can legally use.

Special thanks to Judy Van Alstyne for her mad proofing skills!

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Tech Tuesday 5.13.14 – Protecing Digital Learners

Too often, Internet safety is presented to kids in a way that only shows the negative side. Kids are told what not to do, and often they don’t understand why. There is a positive side to the web, and learning to navigate it safely is easy. This is so critical, as the term “digital native” is thrown around too often as we assume our young people will innately understand the ins and outs of their online footprint. This assumption causes frustration for educators and students alike. We, as teachers and parents, need to be role models for our children. There is great power in the Internet and with that power comes great responsibility. There is more truth to this now than ever before. We all have a great resource, the Internet, and like any super power, some people don’t know how to wield it. We must be taught. Our children DO NOT possess this ability just by being born. If anything, children and adolescents need more guidance than ever. Scaring kids into believing that the Internet is a bad place where bad things happen is not going to teach them anything. We need to be proactive and teach responsibility. Being safe online is really no different than being safe in your neighborhood.

Below is a link to some excellent resources collected in a post published on the website Educators Technology and Mobile Learning. If you end up using any of the information from this post or if you have any other great ideas or resources, please share in the comments sections. I would love to know what people are trying and how they are using these tools in the classroom or at home with your families.

Tools to Protect and Raise Digital Learners ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.

Tech Tuesday, I mean Wednesday – 1.29.14 – Backchannels

This post is co-authored by Allendale Columbia School Librarian Judy Van Alstyne. Make sure to check out her blog Data-Sifting and Bookgerms.

So, I missed Tech Tuesday. Report card writing took up all of my time the last few days, but now I’m back.

One problem we tried to address this year in our Digital Literacy class was how to improve the participation of students who don’t normally contribute verbally. How can we fairly give a student a grade for class participation when we only give them one way to engage in discussions?

What is the point of participation? Is it to check in with students to see what they understand? Is it to provide opportunities for students to voice their thoughts and opinions? Is it to provide fuel for discourse in order to deepen and broaden the class discussion? And then why grade a student’s level of participation? Does the grade work as an incentive? For those who dread speaking up in class, perhaps it is not a strong enough one. Ideally, the discussion topic would be interesting enough and the methods of participation non threatening enough that incentives aren’t even necessary. Certainly there are a number of issues surrounding this topic (please feel free to comment below).

So, we presented this problem to our 7th graders and they all agreed that the current method (raise your hand and speak out) isn’t a great way to get everyone involved in the class discussion. Since our class centers around the appropriate use of technology, we asked the students to try solving the problem using a technology tool (we have an iPad 1:1 program in our middle school). After a full period of research and brainstorming, the students were not making much headway. Judy (my co-teacher) and I decided to give them a few examples of what a backchannel might look like. Here is what we tried:

TodaysMeet – If you haven’t experienced TodaysMeet, it’s a simple tool that can be used in pretty much any environment when you want to encourage people to discuss in a chat format about a presentation as it is going on. It can be used to accompany movies, inspirational talks, class lectures and discussions, just to name a few (feel free to add other ways you have used TodaysMeet in the comments section). Some do find it challenging to follow both the presentation and the comment log concurrently. The kids definitely liked experimenting with TodaysMeet, although there were several off-topic comments. The comments weren’t inappropriate, but they were distracting, and they had the tendency to derail the discussion somewhat. For the most part, TodaysMeet was used as intended and the kids certainly enjoyed it.

Padlet – Padlet is simply a web-based private “wall” where invited participants can post comments in text boxes. When you create the Padlet “wall,” you can customize the look and simplify the url so students can type it in easily. Students can log in and have their names attached to their comments automatically or students can just comment while adding their names as they go. One disadvantage with using Padlet as a real-time discussion tool is the need to refresh the page often to see all the new posts. Also, if several are posted at once, or students don’t refresh often enough, the posts tend to get cluttered and overlap one another. Students again enjoyed trying a different tool and we had some similar issues with silly comments, but overall, they did enjoy using it.

Post-it Notes on the wall – Pretty self explanatory and not tech related. We spread Post-it notes and pencils on the tables and told students to get up and stick them on the wall in front of the classroom. We read them aloud as quickly as possible and tried to relate the discussion around the notes as they were posted. We had far fewer instances of silly comments with regular notes. The kids really loved this and participation was higher than either of the tech tools we tried. It was busy, messy and somewhat loud at times but engagement was very high. And no one could “impersonate” someone else, as they did with the tech tools, so that those silly comments would get attributed to the wrong student.

So we did have issues. Neither of the tech tools were seamless to integrate into the classroom. There were some minor technical glitches, most of it related to student error, which slowed down the process. While both TodaysMeet and Padlet do work on an iPad, they are web-based tools that can be glitchy in a small browser window like an iPad. Using them on a computer is much easier.

We did not find a definitive answer to the problem of how to engage all students in class discussions, but students do agree it is a problem worth solving. Throwing technology at it didn’t fix it. But with more experience, students would get better at using the tech tools more effectively, and once the novelty wore off, more appropriately. So, we wouldn’t abandon the use of tech altogether. And who is to say that the discussion need be limited to class time? Perhaps that is where tech can play the greater role. But without a doubt, finding more ways for students to respond in class discussions beyond the traditional, raise your hand method, is absolutely 100% necessary.

TED.com As An Academic Resource Part 2

TED.com and TED Talks have been an incredibly valuable academic resource for me this school year. Here are the TED Talks that we have shown in our middle school Digital Literacy classes this year and why we chose them. (I co-teach Digital Literacy with Allendale Columbia School Librarian, Judy Van Alstyne.)

Hasan Elahi: FBI, here I am!

Courtesy of TED.com

“When Hasan Elahi’s name was added (by mistake) to the US government’s watch list, he fought the assault on his privacy by turning his life inside-out for all the world to see.”

Common Sense Media provides great materials for teachers and students about the concept of a digital footprint. Hasan Elahi’s talk fit in with the message we were trying to convey to the 8th grade.  I love how he shows another view of what a digital footprint could be and how you can have a say about what is out there about you. It’s also pretty entertaining!

Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story

Courtesy of TED.com

“Andrew Stanton has made you laugh and cry. The writer behind the three “Toy Story” movies and the writer/director of “WALL-E,” he releases his new film, “John Carter,” in March.”

We used this talk to introduce the art of storytelling during an interdisciplinary unit with 8th grade English students. Andrew Stanton tells a good story and delivers a great talk.

**Warning** The beginning of this talk contains a “Not Safe For School” joke. After 1:10, it is safe for students. We edited that part out before we showed it.

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

Courtesy of TED.com

“Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we’re educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.”

I know that this TED talk is the most watched ever, but how many students have seen it? In my opinion we don’t include students enough in conversations about their education. What do students think when they hear Sir Ken Robinson’s talk? I included this talk as an option for the 8th graders as we were exploring project ideas. I wanted them to start thinking about their education and how they could start to look for some topics they would be interested in exploring.

Margaret Heffernan: Dare to disagree

Courtesy of TED.com

“The former CEO of five businesses, Margaret Heffernan explores the all-too-human thought patterns — like conflict avoidance and selective blindness — that lead managers and organizations astray.”

I love this talk because it gets right to the heart of improvement and learning. We asked students several times this year to give each other constructive feedback, and they are terrible at it. Everything they say to each other is nice and supportive, but not constructive. When someone does offer constructive feedback there is so much tension and defensiveness that nothing is gained. Constructive feedback is welcome on this topic.

How have you used TED.com in the classes you teach or at the businesses for which you work? What are your favorite talks and how have you used them?

TED.com As An Academic Resource Part 1

TED.com and TED Talks have been an incredibly valuable academic resource for me this school year. Here are the TED Talks that we have shown in our middle school Digital Literacy classes this year and why we chose them. (I co-teach Digital Literacy with Allendale Columbia School Librarian, Judy Van Alstyne.)

Hackschooling makes me happy: Logan LaPlante at TEDxUniversityofNevada

Courtesy of TED.com

“When 13 year-old Logan LaPlante grows up, he wants to be happy and healthy. He discusses how hacking his education is helping him achieve this goal.”

I used this talk to introduce project ideas to the 8th grade. For the most part, they struggled with the concept of self-guided learning.

Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids

Courtesy of TED.com

“A prolific short story writer and blogger since age seven, Adora Svitak (now 12) speaks around the United States to adults and children as an advocate for literacy.”

I showed this talk to 6th graders to inspire them to “do” what they are passionate about. Too often we hear adults say things like “you aren’t old enough.” I want our students to know that they aren’t too young to affect change and make an impact.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story

Courtesy of TED.com

“Inspired by Nigerian history and tragedies all but forgotten by recent generations of westerners, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels and stories are jewels in the crown of diasporan literature.”

We were working with the 6th grade on an interdisciplinary project with University of Rochester, Professor of Geophysics, Dr. Cynthia J. Ebinger, which involved trying to understand another culture. I love the powerful message in this talk. It relates directly to one of our school initiatives, the “Global IQ.”

TED Ed – Lessons Worth Sharing

TED-Ed’s commitment to creating lessons worth sharing is an extension of TED’s mission of spreading great ideas. Within the growing TED-Ed video library, you will find carefully curated educational videos, many of which represent collaborations between talented educators and animators nominated through the TED-Ed platform. This platform also allows users to take any useful educational video, not just TED’s, and easily create a customized lesson around the video. Users can distribute the lessons, publicly or privately, and track their impact on the world, a class, or an individual student.

To learn more about TED Ed, got to http://ed.ted.com/about

How have you used TED.com in the classes you teach or at the businesses for which you work? What are your favorite talks and how have you used them?

8th Storytelling Project – Student Perspective

I am co-teaching a new class this semester called Digital Literacy with our school librarian, Judy VanAlstyne. Each week  a different student will be a guest blogger and share what we have been working on during our class. Here is the first installment.

11.15.13, Guest post by 8th grader Evelyn:

In Digital Literacy my class is telling a story and using technology, in some way, to tell it. Our creativity process rubric involved thinking about how we can improve on our story telling, technology use, who our reader is and the message we give to them. Some students are creating iMovies, animations, Keynotes, iBooks, and pictures galleries. We had a lot of freedom with this project and it was conformable to the student. I personally had a lot of fun creating this project. I wrote a story using pages and took some photos. Then sent it to an online bookstore, Lulu.com, to print it. Our class is having gallery to present our projects. I am looking forward to seeing my classmates’ projects.

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