OS X – Set Desktop Picture

Howdy all-

I found a site to help with the perennial problem of kids changing their desktop photo (4th graders, accidentally; Jr. High, on purpose and occasionally very inappropriate!)


Safe Texting for Student/Parent Contact

I came across several text messaging services that said they would work for schools – texting is going to reach far more students and parents and more quickly than email. Most students I know have an email address, but rarely check it. However, most of them have texting capability and check it regularly.  Of these 3 companies I reviewed, only 1 made explicit provisions for using the service with kids of all ages. Remind101 is a service that appears to have educators in mind by design. The federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) says that sites may not collect personal information about children under the age of 13. Most companies ban children 12 and under outright. Remind101 requires users to give parents a copy of the company’s Privacy Policy and have written parental consent on file. While this may be a pain on our end, it’s rather impressive to me that they make these provisions at all!   http://www.remind101.com/

I also checked out Celly and WeTxt.

Google Apps for Education

I attended a Google Apps for Education workshop put on by Molly Schroeder of Edina and Benjamin Friesen of Hopkins on Thursday, June 14. It was paced very quickly and is a basic overview of all Google tools. It’s also an overview of everything on the Google Apps certification which covers Gmail, Docs/Spreadsheet, Calendar, Sites, Other Tools, and Google Apps setup, management, and overview.

The individual certification is based on passing 6 Google exams: extensive practice modules are available and it’s an “open browser” exam. The total cost is $90 to take all 6 exams and estimated time for studying and testing is about 3 months.  If you pass all 6 tests you are Individually Qualified. (you may be able to take the test with another person…I think?!)

If you want to move this to the next level, you can apply to be a Google Apps Edu Certified Trainer by submitting your own video tutorial, video bio, a case study and application. Google wants enthusiastic, energetic educators willing to be Google ambassadors. You must keep up your end of the certification deal (lead workshops & keep up your own relearning of Google tools) and generally educate others about Google tools – this is part of their final decision on whether to certify the teacher.

Molly, Ben and Sean Beaverson of Blooming are offering another class through TIES later this summer and have other training courses available through their company, Flipped Education – http://www.flippededucation.com

You can find more details about becoming a Certified Trainer here - http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/edu/certification_details.html

I plan to start reviewing the 1st practice module and take the test in the next few weeks – anyone else interested? -Michael

Apple Online Seminars

Apple has a number of on-demand seminars about iPads, iOS, Volume Purchasing, iTunes U courses, and related topics.

Hopkins Tech Plan

Hello all,


A recent discussion on the Apple listserv was around Tech Plans. I’ve posted a link to the plan for Hopkins Public Schools.

A Parent’s Guide to Facebook

I recently came across a great PDF publication titled, A Parent’s Guide to Facebook found on this site-http://www.connectsafely.org/Safety-Advice-Articles/facebook-for-parents.html
It goes over all those things I wish I could tell parents and much more! A great resource to add to your own website, share with your Home & School group or post to your school’s Facebook page.

Google Video

So now that I have these awesome iMacs with QuickTime’s Screen Recording and an iPhone 4 in my pocket, I have started to create some training videos for my teachers.  I thought, “Great! I can upload the videos to Google Video and they’ll be accessible within our Google Apps domain!”

Not so much.

Yes, I could upload them easily to Google Video.  However, the quality is, in a word, AWFUL.  Even uploading a higher resolution video didn’t help.  All four of my different compression export attempts came up with the same result… YUCK.  A training video where you can’t make out the icons that are being clicked doesn’t do much good.  I tried an export at the Google-recommended settings with the same exact result.

So, to YouTube I go, where the quality is much better but security is now an issue.

Do you use Google Video?  How has it worked for you?  Do you upload your own videos, and if so, and the quality is good, how did you do your export?

And can someone tell me why the quality on YouTube is so much better, when Google OWNS it?!

Watch Know Site

From:  Teachers Love SMART Boards
I received this email today.  I am just looking into this, but thought I would share.  For those with Interactive white boards, the Teachers Love SMART Boards  site is a wealth of information.


The link below may not work so here is the site:  http://www.watchknow.org/
SMART Boards and WatchKnow Video Library
Posted: 30 Mar 2011 01:34 PM PDT
In all my workshops, I find that I never miss an opportunity to recommend the WatchKnow website for finding educational videos for the classroom. This is also a great place to locate videos that you may want to download and incorporate into a Notebook lesson file.

This site is maintained by the users and organized in a way that can really help teachers find relevant videos for the classroom. I also like the rating system that is used to help teachers make a educated decision on what videos to review.

You’ll want to start searching through the site right away once you see it so please go there right now and take a look. When you’re done, make sure you look at all the things you can do with WatchKnow by watching their introductory video.

Here is the video if you want more information now:

If you can’t view the video here, you may have YouTube blocked. Click Here to go directly to the YouTube video.

Please don’t forget to share this incredible resource with the teachers at your school.

Sharing Is Caring!

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New Site: Diipo.com

Diipo.com is a social networking site that is reported to combine the networking of Twitter with the media-sharing of Facebook and the document-sharing of Google Docs.  It’s still in beta testing.  It’s just for students and teachers.  I’m intrigued…

Read the article on Edudemic

Google Apps Email Restriction

I just had a chance to test out the new “restrict email delivery” setting in Google Apps for my student domain.  We haven’t had the email service enabled for students prior to this because I couldn’t get Postini to work the way I wanted last year to allow mail only from within our student domain AND our faculty domain but no others.  I think that now we might be able to open email and start using that as a form of safe online communication between teachers and students!  I’m excited too that we might have a place to teach email etiquette where students can practice in a controlled environment.

The setting is under Advanced Tools, second from the bottom:

When I tried to send email from a domain outside of those allowed, I got this:

Now that Google Apps also has “Organizations,” you can set up different groups of students who are restricted if you wish, or if you combine your faculty and students, you can put each in an organization and restrict only the students.

I would say that this means that you could combine your faculty and students on the same domain, but more than email service must be considered here.  As we’re using Google Docs more often to share information among the faculty, it’s very easy to set a file to be visible and searchable by your domain (Visibility Options > Domain).  I’d caution anyone considering to combine students and faculty just to consider this, and know that if they are combined, faculty and students will need to be alerted to that when they are trained on sharing settings.

Is anyone already using this email delivery restriction setting?  Advice?  Feedback?