Month: January 2016

To live stream or not, what will you do?

To live stream or not, what will you do?

 

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Ray Bradbury, self-portrait

Ray Bradbury, the famed science fiction author, must have been proud. We can call each other with our face plastered to a screen no matter how far into space we travel, just like one of his short stories, and with Skype, launching off about ten years as the leader of live streaming, it made this a mainstream concept for families and friends around the world that missed out on seeing what each other looked like possible. We can now watch children grow up from afar, we see, not just hear those far away cherished ones, and as time has progressed, you can even save video of your beloved conversations.

 

Skype evolved with smartphones, but in the past couple of years, live streaming has become more that just a call between people, it has become an interactive experience. Periscope was conceived in 2014 as a mobile app that allows you to live stream your experience not only as it is happening, but share it with all you followers from Twitter. You can get immediate feedback in the form of short questions, or receive cute little heart icons that float up in a colorful arrangement depending on how many people joined in.  The interaction is only limited to a certain amount of people, and you have to jump in like a general admission ticket to a front row seat if your favorite celeb should appear on Periscope.

Now Facebook wants in on the action announcing their version called Facebook Live. Unlike Twitter with having Periscope as a separate app that incorporates your account and followers, Facebook Live is built into Facebook. The app will be ready to use with the mobile iPhone version this month, with other formats to follow. The icon for Facebook Live will appear on your phone when it believes you might want to live stream with your friends. You will also be able to save video for an unlimited amount of time unlike Periscope, that only holds onto it for a short while.

So now the question will be, to live stream, or not, when you have the icon appearing, inviting, or glaring at you at you on Facebook. Just imagine, your teenage niece can now ask you to watch her do make up live, instead of the slow selfie progression on her timeline she wants you to “like”. Will you be tempted to share your experience live while you are kayaking, instead of posting those great pictures later? And while you are at the game, instead of trying to post on Facebook and watch the big play at the same time, why not live stream the experience instead? As, Ray Bradbury would say, “You can not TRY to do things, you simply must do them.” And as far as Facebook is concerned they hope you don’t simply just try to post your experience, but live stream instead.

Cheers,

Robin L. Stockmar

Technology Integration Specailist

 

You too can be like Leo, thanks to Google Drive

You too can be like Leo, thanks to Google Drive

This article is the third in my weekly series for fundamental Google Training: Unit 3

You are a lot more like Leonardo DiCapro than you know. As an actor, maybe not, but you probably have not won an oscar, have played multiple roles in your life, and with the power of Google Drive can soon become a Leo-esque educational and environmental activist. Whether you are aware of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation or not that promotes environmental conservation and climate change awareness, with learning the abilities of Google Drive, you too can be an active conservationist, at least on some level.

How? You may ask…by simply using Google Drive to save, share and collaborate work, keeping it safe to revisit and revise easily without wasting paper. Drive automatically saves your work as you type in a document and every revision. This is a teacher’s dream when it comes to grading, and eliminates students from losing their homework, or blaming the dog.

The secret to Drive is that it is cloud-based, so you can log in on any device using your Google Gmail account, and find your documents. Google Applications offered through Drive allows you to save all your work confidentially, access it easily and collaborate with others when needed. No longer will you need to print out reports or papers to take home and grade. Just simply have students share on Drive, and voila! You can grade, comment, and share back for revisions.

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Leonardo DiCaprio, Actor and Environmental Activist

So you see, Google Drive makes it simple for you to eliminate the use of paper where it was once needed.  It allows you and your students to collaborate, communicate and conserve all at the same time. Just think if you can cut using one carton of paper at your school a year, you have saved the world from destroying six trees. Who knew you were so much like Leo, and with a little more teacher creativity that you possess, you too can find ways with the power of Google to become better innovators as crusaders for Education and the Environment.

 

Cheers!

Robin L. Stockmar M.Ed.

Technology Integration Specialist

 

 

 

 

 

Microsoft’s interest in Education: Gaming on the Cloud

Microsoft’s interest in Education: Gaming on the Cloud

Remember the days when schools would brag about how they had cutting edge technology through the latest and greatest Apple devices and software in the lab, or how students had Microsoft technology skills, that made them workplace-ready with word processing, student data analysis abilities, and mindblowing PowerPoint presentations? Even though the face of technology has drastically changed, neither company has offered education anything substantially different for the past ten years.

The game changer has been Google. Google OS occupies over half the schools in the country at this point; up from 1% since 2012, according to FutureSource Consulting. With such an influx of the freebies and abilities that Google Applications have to offer schools, it is not a shock that this is the current trend. As Apple and Microsoft used to compete for school districts, Google snuck in with clever marketing and utilizing a cloud-hosted operating system, that many schools began to switch over leaving the top two with just about half the schools, and if you do the math, more or less, 25% for each in the market.

What now for the two once dominating tech rivals in education?

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AppleThey don’t seem to be paying much attention. The focus here is on a consumer experience, one that is about personal devices, everything trendy, easy breezy and quick to update for the individual. When companies and individuals are looking for products that are ahead of the curve on automatic seamless updates and user-friendly apps, Apple has been the go to. The company relies on high-quality reliability in products that corporations and individuals depend on rather than cost effectiveness. Selling the ultimate tech experience is their belief.

Microsoft

Microsoft: About a year ago Microsoft bought the gaming phenomenon of Minecraft for 2.5 billion, and with the announcement of unveiling the educational version of the game on the same day it announced 1 billion in grants gifted to nonprofits and education for cloud computing, tells me the company is looking at ways it can seep their way into the market since Google Operating System seems to be taking over. A genius way at that. Google may dominate the storage department of the cloud in education, but soon schools will need a place for data that is easily mined for state initiatives as more and more testing is done online. Cloud computing is fairly new to Google and Microsoft, as far as Microsoft goes, what a better way to try it out than encourage young people to game.

The days may be gone when schools had computer labs full of Apple, or PCs with Microsoft Windows now that Chromebooks are filling up classrooms allowing students to utilize applications in more efficient and economically sound ways. Yet even though you may not see the icons steadfast in the educational landscape, what goes on behind the scenes in cyberspace collecting information could be an inception of Microsoft that keeps them as the profitable unseen part of the picture, with Minecraft as the testing ground for success.

Cheers,

Robin Stockmar M. Ed.

Technology Integration Specialist

 

Cardinal’s Kingdom: Why the birds of the desert deserve their Superbowl

Cardinal’s Kingdom: Why the birds of the desert deserve their Superbowl

 

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The South Mountain Mystery Castle

About five miles directly south of central Phoenix sits a monument in the desert that exemplifies the true spirit of the residents of the valley of the sun. A castle built from nothing but natural materials and another man’s garbage that not only in itself is a thing of beauty but somehow encompasses everything truly southwestern. It is so strategically placed to remind visitors that courage to build a kingdom against the elements can be achieved with your eye to the north an urban oasis of promise, and your eye to the south a literal natural guardian of rugged wilderness, that swears it’s easier to die than try to cross over. The South Mountain Mystery Castle a spectacular reminder of how dwelling near death, a Phoenix can rise, and surpass all expectations if one’s true grit overcomes the elements.

What does this man-made wonder have to do with the NFL Arizona Cardinals? Everything. Phoenix, Arizona is not a place where people settled for an easy life. And even in more recent years with the influx of retirement weather refugees from the midwest and north, ask any of them after spending one Summer here, how easy it is. If it is not for the blistering heat with temperatures soaring over 100 degrees easily from May to October, it is the monstrous dust storms that trash the most immaculate landscaped yard to torrential rain storms that can flood out an entire neighborhood in less than ten minutes. Not to mention, the only other designated area in the world that has as many poisonous critters per square mile as Australia, including rattlesnakes, scorpions and Gila monsters.

 

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1947 Championship Chicago Cardinals

 

No one should have settled here, not to mention a population large enough to support a football franchise, and not just any, but the oldest established NFL franchise in the country. The Chicago, Saint Louis, Phoenix, now Arizona Cardinals. A team that has endured the longest losing streak than any other, starting out as a group of guys from an athletic club in 1898 on the south side of Chicago in hand me down uniforms from a local school.  The team existed almost 50 years before they had a championship in 1947, and then would win one more before 1950, long before the Superbowl was even thought of. After losing popularity and trying to find a place to rebuild the team moved to Sanit Louis in 1960, but had little success, and endured a long stretch of mediocrity before the Bidwell family found a place to start anew, with hope and a handshake, moving to Phoenix in 1988, and settling in a city that should have never been settled at all.

Imagine for the man that built the Mystery Castle, to come to the desert on 1930 to live out what he thought would be his last six months of his life, Boyce Gulley ended up spending the next fifteen years finding a way to make a dream castle built for his estranged wife and daughter, and leaving it to them as a testament to a dream and a plan to conquer the elements in a place that no one would have thought you could build a kingdom.

Like the castle as a testament to ingenuity and integrity, built by a man with a dream to build something out of nothing on the edge of his own mortality, the Arizona Cardinals have stood the test of time. They were hardly  welcomed to Phoenix with a stadium that did not even belong to them for their first 18 years, and more of the fans often rooting for the visiting team in the early years. The Cardinals were often the butt of the joke in the NFL that struggled to obtain players and plays that exemplified anything worth cheering for year after year, having endured the elements, and proven themselves in time. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some great players and moments, especially in more recent years, but they, the oldest team in the NFL have yet to get that ring and have hung in there longer than anyone else.

 

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Natural rock and recycled materials

Hanging in there, building a fan base by proving themselves that the glimmer of hope turned into a hint of excitement and players that came to the desert to brave the elements like the natives and transplants looking for a fresh start and better opportunity. Knowing it wasn’t the land of milk and honey, but rather dust and dry rot, they somehow tenaciously stayed strong through the bad years proving to build a franchise, a city, a kingdom, like the Mystery Castle, it takes more than just your average bird.

It takes a cardinal, as Native American myth often referred to the daughter of the sun, flying high with prosperity and good luck, what could be more appropriate for us desert dwellers. This bird literally means to point oneself in the right direction, with a strong foundation to build on, in time, against all odds and elements, the cardinal stays true, steadfast, and shows up year round to prove it. Much like the Phoenix, that can’t be put down, the Cardinal’s rise to the top may have taken time, but in the end, no team has been brought up, beat down, moved and put to the test more than the Arizona Cardinals. Slowly building that Kingdom in the desert proving people can create a championship if they believe they can achieve greatness even when facing near death and the toughest of elements.

Cheers!

Robin L. Stockmar M. Ed.

Technology Integration Specialist

 

 

 

 

 

Drones in Education: Why “Seeing Drones” could be a game changer

Drones in Education: Why “Seeing Drones” could be a game changer

coğrafyaWho can remember, or maybe wish to forget that teacher that droned on and on in school that put you into a mind-numbing zone out, and most certainly would test you on their endless word vomit of useless information, and when you missed it, reminded you how many times they covered it in class? This dreadful drone someday hopefully will no longer exist, until then, we should see the dawn of a new type of drone in education. With the continuous development of new technologies that can capture video evidence with important content makes it only a matter of time before modern day drones will be a regular part of public education.

There has been plenty of controversy surrounding the use and implementation of drone technology in our country, but controversy aside, the fact is that the technology is moving forward at such a pace that with the new abilities and innovations, namely the “Seeing Drone” Typhoon H using Intel RealSense that it won’t be long before we should see a boom in using them in schools. Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. They are already a part of it. Many schools compete in robotics competitions, such as LEGO Education around the country, and students creating and using drone technologies to compete is becoming more common.
  2. The push for STEM in education. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education, that is driven by a national coalition to spread the awareness that these subjects play in the future of our nation to local, state and federal policymakers, with drones at the forefront in technology development, skills in this area will only grow in demand.
  3. The heightened awareness of long-term effects and injuries to student athletes, concussion awareness and how students are treated during practice. Drones can provide more video availability that can move with the player, protecting them from repeating injury prone movements.
  4. Active shooter response, such as ALICE training, with a drone strategically placed, there can be real-time video surveillance that can actually follow the intruder.
  5. And the most unpleasant, drones can save money with less personnel on the playground, hallways, common areas and cafeterias, with the ability to video during times of movements, and in less accessible places that stationary cameras can not.

Whether you are a proponent or using drones in our society or think that they are a sign that the world is coming to an end, there is one thing for sure, they are not going away. Besides, rather than trying to fear the advancement of technology, shouldn’t we try to find ways to embrace it and use it effectively, or does anyone have a better idea? Anyone, Anyone?

Cheers!

Robin L. Stockmar M.Ed.

Technology Integration Specialist

 

 

 

You’re A Wizard! A Google Wizard, you just need some training…

This article is the second in my weekly series for Fundamental Google Training: Unit 2 

 

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Sharing a Google Doc could have saved Harry and Ron a headache from Snape.  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Warner Brothers Pictures, 2005.

What kid hasn’t dreamed of getting that letter from Hogwarts by owl when they turned eleven that confirms for them they are special and different from their peers, and on top of it all can do magic! Oh, heck, what adult didn’t wish that was the case for them? As wonderful as it would seem to go to Hogwarts, did you ever notice that in all the Harry Potter novels and movies kids and teachers don’t use cell phones, tablets, or laptops? Probably because the stories take place in the early to mid 1990s, when cellphones were still in their infant stage of being really mainstream, and lucky for J.K. Rowling, because the idea that the teen wizards and witches at Hogwarts would have been able to use their mobile magic devices to send information or receive it easily would have saved a whole bunch of people and time if they had texted, instead of having to fly around on their brooms to warn each other the bad guys were coming.

 

So even though you did not get to go to Hogwarts, or even teach at Hogwarts, you actually are much more magical when it comes to helping inform and collaborate with your students and staff than all the wizards and witches in the world of Harry Potter. Why? You guessed it, because they did not have the Internet, and most certainly did not have Google.

Most of us have used Google Search to help find out about everything under the sun, but there is a lot more out there if we just know where to expand our access of collaboration and learning together.

  1. Google Apps For Work Help Forum and Google Help can guide you through questions about how to become much more affluent with your search for answers, and how to use all that Google Apps have to offer.
  2. Google Education Groups can help you form a personal learning community, as well as finding Google experts in your area that can give you ideas on how to better use the programs.

Understanding the process of how you can integrate Google Tools doesn’t have to be mind blowing magic, it just has to be accessible. The world of where you can network with other Google wizards that can help you create a foundation and understanding of how to further use the operating system for students and educators is at your fingertips. You will be able to feel confident in learning the system of applications and online opportunities that will keep you and your students informed and amazed.

Just think, you can go anywhere and as long as there is Internet and access and continue to collaborate, share knowledge and learn. Imagine….if Hogwarts had such a thing, how many headaches and heartaches it would have saved, but then again the stories would not have been so brilliant.

Cheers!

Robin L. Stockmar M.Ed.

Technology Integration Specialist

 

 

Lady Gaga, award winning musician, singer, actress, and now tech pioneer

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There is a growing problem online, even with the awareness of long-range impacts in the realms of education, we continue to see a trend grow that shadows cyber-bulling  as just one form of it. Educators today aware about cyber-bullying and how devastating and destructive the act can be on students and young people may not know that online harassment and abuse does not stop when school is out. It can continue and is just a piece of a larger issue more commonly known as Digital Abuse.

To understand the entire picture, we need to define the difference in what we might think is cyber-bullying compared to abuse and harassment. First,  cyber-bullying is a form of Digital Abuse. It can come in the form of a text, posts, or pictures that are shared by someone to other individuals in that person’s peer group with the intent to harm and harass them. The effects can be detrimental, and have even been blamed for causing teens to take their own lives, so educators have a heightened awareness, and there is even legislation that protects victims. The problem is that once someone is out of school and/or no longer lives at home, the abuse can continue, and it can target people personally, based on gender, race, age, religion, or any other criteria, often from someone that victim might be in a relationship, or were previously in a relationship with, often referred to as Trolling.

Digital Abuse statistics are staggering and growing. Today 47 percent of Americans under the age of 35 stating that they have been or know a person that has been a victim, with 57 percent being women, and 43 percent being men according to US News as of October 2015.

How does an industry that relies on social media and digital communication combat such a big problem? Especially when trying to find the fine line of protecting free speech with such advocates as Twitter and Facebook wanting to keep people interested in posting their opinions, pictures and factoids without crossing that line. Can we decipher between abuse and one mean tweet as Jimmy Kimmel seems to have found comedy gold with his “Celebrity Mean Tweets” spot, how do you get online consumers to be aware of the larger problem? You partner with a celebrity to do it, and not just anyone, but the Mother Monster of them all Lady Gaga.

The topic is such a growing concern among the tech industry that at the recent International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the biggest in the world, in Las Vegas this past weekend, Digital Abuse took center stage with Intel announcing their team up with Lady Gaga as spokesperson to address and expose the issue to consumers. The intent is to not only shed light on the damaging effects of Digital Abuse but on the tech industry as a whole. Intel and Vox media are launching the campaign through Twitter, the very company under some scrutiny for not having enough security at times towards online abuse, as #HackHarassment

Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, a product of hashtags and happenings, launched in 2012 as a forerunner in the battle against Digital Abuse, will be reinventing itself focusing on helping the tech industry combat the issue on their own turf as well as spread the awareness to more consumers. Only time will tell what effects this will have on Digital Abuse as it will be a first in celebrity partnering with the industry that has been an easy platform for culprits to victimize their prey. One thing is for sure, as Lady Gaga would put it, Whether life’s disabilities left you outcast, bullied or teased, rejoice and love yourself today
‘Cause baby, you were born this way- with the way being free from abuse, and most definitely in your digital space.

Cheers,

Robin L. Stockmar M.Ed.

Technology Integration Specialist

 

 

 

 

Google for Education Training 101: A must for future teaching success

This is the first post in a series for educators that want to follow a path to becoming Google Certified. Once a week, there will be a new post introducing the next Unit in the process of completing the Fundamental Training. Good Luck, and thank you for visiting!

Why Become a Google Certified Educator?

Don’t Fall into the Technology Wormhole……

Whether you are new to teaching, or a seasoned veteran, staying on top of new technology as an educator can be very demanding, not to mention, daunting, intimidating, mindboggling, and pushing every patience button beyond stress level horrifying for some. Have you ever felt like you thought you were prepared for class, but then suddenly in the middle of the lesson, your techy content delivery went haywire, and your students become confused and jumbled with what software application you thought they would like, causing chaos and confusion getting you completely off track? Like you are stuck in some weird education wormhole of technology misuse, and misunderstanding without really even being aware how you got there?

technology-frustration

Have faith, there is light at the end of the hole, and with some guidance, I can help get you there. As a busy educator in today’s classroom with demands in the tech world ever evolving have heart, there is one company that is trying to provide tools to make your life more efficient with you and your students in mind. You guessed it, Google.

Google Education Training and You, becoming the techy teacher

Most of you probably have a good idea what the operating system is, and that it is free to educators, but what you might not know is how to make our yourself truly comfortable with what technology is out there, and how to implement it into your classroom on an everyday basis. How do you even start, or pick up what you know, and make sure you don’t have gaps, (falling into the wormhole),  in presenting the information to your students.

One way to prevent and prepare yourself from feeling lost is becoming a Certified Google Educator. It is easier than you think. The course to become an educator is online, and with some practical practice, in a series of weeks, you can become certified, fill the gaps, be super efficient and have a secure and strong foundation for changes on the horizon in technology you will need to conquer. Enough about that, let’s get started.

Unit 1: Google Educator Training, The Fundamentals 

Supply List: Spiral Note Book, Laptop, and Headphones, (optional) for video content.

Once you click this link: Fundamental Training, you will be entering the Google Training Center. You can sign in using your Google Email account. Don’t have a Google Email? Click here to set one up: Gmail set up.  You will need to choose Fundamentals Training, and start with Unit One. Every time you complete a lesson, there will be a quiz, and the course will keep track of your progress for you. You can also go back at any time and review and retake any section to get more familiar with the content.

Why Give it a Try?

As much as we would like to think as educators we have a choice to embrace changing technology or not, we really don’t. Your only choices are to lead, follow, or get out of the way. So why not be a leader, and allow yourself to take that leap into a place that might not be your comfort zone, but can become a zone of ability that others can look to you for guidance, especially your students.

What to expect next?

Next week we will explore the idea of becoming proficient in the online education community, and how to reach out to other educators. See you next week….

Cheers!

Robin L. Stockmar M.Ed.

Technology Integration Specialist