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Andrew Stillman (Personal)
7,757 followers -
educator disrupting edtech, dad, husband, coder, maker, home cook, bicycle rider, optimistic skeptic, American pluralist patriot, democrat
educator disrupting edtech, dad, husband, coder, maker, home cook, bicycle rider, optimistic skeptic, American pluralist patriot, democrat

7,757 followers
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Brush teeth. Make coffee. Contact Congress.
202 225 3121 (main congress switchboard number)

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Have been really enjoying this album lately, from one of my favorite bands.

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If you liked my old stuff, I think you'll REALLY like the new stuff my team at +Amplified IT is building. It's frankly at a totally new level than I ever thought possible in the Sheets Add-ons framework.
Today we're proud to announce some big new Gopher releases with important new features and usability improvements, as well as the complete re-release of
Local Hero as an Electron.js app!

- New! Bulk device deprovisioning! Giving a bunch of end-of-life Chromebooks away to families? Handing over student Chromebooks to your graduating seniors? You’ll probably want them to be removed from domain management, and for this size job, you’re going to want more bulk power than you get in the admin console. Chrome Gopher now includes a bulk deprovisioning workflow! (learn more...)

- Importing devices by OU is now MUCH faster thanks to an API change we successfully lobbied Google for!

- Column groups are now more clearly identified in the sheet via merged top headers.

- The bulk update workflow now has a stepper to guide users through filtering for and previewing devices to be updated.

- An update status column has been added to Devices tab. This column allows you to monitor each device for successful update, and quickly filter for errors and re-run on those that may have failed due to Google API limitations.

- User Gopher and Group Settings Gopher now offer a cleaner, more intuitive workflow / stepper experience.

- Local Hero is no longer a Chrome App. It has been ported to an Electron.js application that is compatible with Mac and Windows.

Important: If you are a user of the original Local Hero Chrome App, due to Google's deprecation of local Chrome apps we can no longer support it. You must migrate to the new Mac or Windows version and manually re-build your sync jobs. Head over to the Labs website to get a Mac or Windows installer file: http://labs.amplifiedit.com/localhero/
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Proud of what +Amplified IT Labs has accomplished in its first year...
Today we're proud to announce some big new Gopher releases with important new features and usability improvements, as well as the complete re-release of
Local Hero as an Electron.js app!

- New! Bulk device deprovisioning! Giving a bunch of end-of-life Chromebooks away to families? Handing over student Chromebooks to your graduating seniors? You’ll probably want them to be removed from domain management, and for this size job, you’re going to want more bulk power than you get in the admin console. Chrome Gopher now includes a bulk deprovisioning workflow! (learn more...)

- Importing devices by OU is now MUCH faster thanks to an API change we successfully lobbied Google for!

- Column groups are now more clearly identified in the sheet via merged top headers.

- The bulk update workflow now has a stepper to guide users through filtering for and previewing devices to be updated.

- An update status column has been added to Devices tab. This column allows you to monitor each device for successful update, and quickly filter for errors and re-run on those that may have failed due to Google API limitations.

- User Gopher and Group Settings Gopher now offer a cleaner, more intuitive workflow / stepper experience.

- Local Hero is no longer a Chrome App. It has been ported to an Electron.js application that is compatible with Mac and Windows.

Important: If you are a user of the original Local Hero Chrome App, due to Google's deprecation of local Chrome apps we can no longer support it. You must migrate to the new Mac or Windows version and manually re-build your sync jobs. Head over to the Labs website to get a Mac or Windows installer file: http://labs.amplifiedit.com/localhero/
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Is it just me, or are folks experiencing a very high impact outage of SpreasheetApp .getRange methods at the moment?

Pls star / comment this issue if you concur...

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Going to #ISTE2017 ? I'd love to meet up. See this schedule to find me and my teammates at +Amplified IT. Comment this thread if you want to try to schedule something in. Looking forward to connecting!

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A big new feature set dropped today in the User Gopher Add-on... Please check it out and let us know what you think!

You can now mass-create users from Google Sheets (and via mapped CSV import from your SIS) with the correct OU and Google Groups memberships, directory visibility, memorable random passwords, and contact fields populated. The user creation workflow also lets you distribute printer-friendly passwords to staff points of contact.

Learn more about User Gopher features and sign up for early access here: http://labs.amplifiedit.com/user-gopher/

Please note that this tool aims to be very useful to schools for a range of regular management tasks well beyond user provisioning, so please take a moment and check it out (and give us feedback!) even if you are in a district that has an automated user provisioning system in place.

Note: User Gopher is free through July 1st, after which the full-featured version will be available for a reasonable annual subscription fee. (see Chrome Gopher pricing as a rough reference point...http://labs.amplifiedit.com/chrome-gopher/#purchase)

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Andrew Stillman (Personal) commented on a post on Blogger.
I originally wrote RosterSync at my previous job and I'm glad you like it! I've since moved on to start a new division at +Amplified IT dedicated to creating a sustainable business around tools like this. See: http://labs.amplifiedit.com/tools/

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The Times' reporting on Google in Education: A false choice for a straw man

Maybe because of their universality and power in shaping our lives, K-12 schooling and large tech providers like Google have at least one thing in common: they are both a honey pot for poorly-informed and strongly held public opinion.

In this light, I was disappointed that the NYTimes recently missed an opportunity to offer its readers the factually-informed and nuanced discussion we need around how privacy norms, schools, tools, and student learning models are co-evolving as ubiquitous, “free” web and mobile technologies like Search, Gmail, Docs and “the cloud” gain a permanent foothold in our lives and our classrooms.

Natasha Singer’s May 13th article How Google Took Over the Classroom leads with an ill-defined and false choice in framing the public debate around the purpose of schools and the role of technology in learning:

"...Google is helping to drive a philosophical change in public education — prioritizing training children in skills like teamwork and problem-solving while de-emphasizing the teaching of traditional academic knowledge, like math formulas. It puts Google, and the tech economy, at the center of one of the great debates that has raged in American education for more than a century: whether the purpose of public schools is to turn out knowledgeable citizens or skilled workers."

Does this framing make any sense? Why are these posed as either / or questions for education? Is Singer implying that teamwork and problem-solving are being supported by Google because it has the goal of creating knowledgeable citizens or because they care more about schools producing skilled workers? Is Google’s considerable support of computer science education and its annual science fair part of de-emphasizing academic knowledge? I’m totally confused.

Singer then presents her straw man, taken out of context from a speech made at an edtech conference by Google’s EDU product lead, Jonathan Rochelle, over a year ago:

Referring to his own children, [JR] said: “I cannot answer for them what they are going to do with the quadratic equation. I don’t know why they are learning it.” He added, “And I don’t know why they can’t ask Google for the answer if the answer is right there.”

Clearly a fall guy in the Times’ polarizing setup, Rochelle, who is also a publicly elected board member of his kids school district, contextualized his words in this Tweet [https://twitter.com/jrochelle/status/863573209995780096] shortly after Singer’s article went to print:

“UNDERSTANDING quadratic equation: awesome! MEMORIZING it without learning when to use it: meaningless”

Some additional discussion and comments arise from the thread. In a later reply to a follower, Rochelle writes:

“I'm not advocating not memorizing number facts - I'm suggesting not testing kids on recall of formulas and calling that "learning"

Of course JR’s clarification didn’t avert an avalanche of negative comments, with dozens of readers piling on and pummeling the JR-pinata as a symbol of everything that’s wrong with American schools and our declining republic. Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that quite a few of the comments were also from parents, students, IT directors and educators giving unqualified testimony to their positive experience with G Suite, Chromebooks, and Classroom.

While Singer’s piece has some redeeming qualities, it also goes on to quote various online privacy skeptics and to offer factually inaccurate or incomplete information about Google’s privacy and product development practices, and to raise doubts without providing readily available facts and policies to counter them. Singer quotes a concerned Chicago father who is also an IT project manager who suspects that Google is building advertising profiles from student work in Google Docs and his home’s IP address:

“If my daughter came home and logged on to Google Docs on my computer at home, they’ll know it was now coming from this address,” said Mr. Barsotti, the Chicago-area project manager. “If this is truly for educational purposes, what is their business model and why do they need to collect that?”

It’s hard to fathom that an IT manager can’t understand that the IP address of a user is fundamental to providing a secure login experience on the public internet. Like any enterprise platform, G Suite’s administrative console makes user IP logs available to district administrators for security purposes. Does this guy really suspect that Google is going to retain information about his daughter’s geographic location so that it can target her with ads in 10 years? Why is his concern left unanswered by Google in the article?

While the article sews some suspicion about Google’s tactics and long-term business model, it downplays any of the ills of the existing product space that they disrupted. Education technology, state and federal testing laws, and textbook publishers have long formed a lobbying and industrial complex where billions have been made by the likes of Pearson, Apple, Microsoft, McGraw Hill and others while providing services that -- given the market and policy environment and profit motives -- have not always been developed with primary focus on the needs of teachers and learners.

Google’s mission and business model to make the world’s information discoverable and useful, and its commitment to free and open product APIs make it a very different kind of player than any of these incumbents, who too often profit from closed-model technologies that don’t play well with others, and often do little to empower great teaching or change the way schools work.

Google has captured market share from these incumbents through scrappy, user-centric product management practices that have produced tools that transform what’s possible in classrooms in a way that -- used well -- can result in markedly more powerful, iterative, feedback-rich, creative student experiences.

In my travels since setting up my first GAFE domain in 2007 as a teacher to my work leading hundreds of schools to adopt G Suite for EDU as part of a school reform organization in NYC, to my current work as a 3rd party developer and product manager in Google's EDU product ecosystem, I've interfaced with dozens of folks across Google's product and sales teams, and I feel quite confident that Google is categorically not engaged in a secret master plan built on an advertising play that harnesses student data profiles.

Do I understand that Google is a shareholder-owned for-profit technology company whose primary source of revenue is advertising? Of course. Do I believe that G Suite for Work and Google Cloud represent an important business model in their own right whose reputation would be toast if there weren't a firewall between these products and the advertising side of the shop? Of course.

Beyond being a sincere act of corporate philanthropy, G Suite for EDU and Chromebooks are a long play for ecosystem mind and market share in the enterprise productivity platform space. It's really quite simple, and it happens to also be an ambition of Google's that both really good for Google's shareholders and for educators. I call it rare a capitalist win-win that I'm happy to stand up and be counted for.

Ask any real Googler on the EDU team -- not a man someone made out of straw -- and they will respond that this suggestion about data profiling for ad revenue is preposterous. When pressed, they will also admit that the business case for giving away G Suite to schools started as an accidental afterthought and is at best a work in progress, with far more long-term unknowns than knowns, but with an overriding and extremely vigorous commitment to student data privacy.

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Looking forward to hosting this roundtable on Google Classroom's guardians features with Google's +Ope Bukola and +Amplified IT's own +Melissa Benson and +Melanie Long . Join us!
Join us on May 10th at 3:30 PM EST as Amplified IT hosts an experts' roundtable exploring the in's and out's of the guardian communication features of Google Classroom, take a quick tour through the teacher, guardian, and student user experience, and hear from a Google PM about the product vision.

We’ll then take a closer look at key administrative settings, gotchas, and best practices that can help unlock the full power of the guardians feature. After that, we'll engage in a discussion with district IT leaders who have made the move to a centralized, SIS-synced model for classroom provisioning and guardian invitations to understand why and how they accomplished it.

Toward the end of the webinar, we’ll introduce Amplified Labs’ Little SIS for Classroom as one possible option for districts interested in SIS-synced Classroom provisioning, and provide a demo of its recently-released Guardians Explorer and Sync functionality, and take plenty of Q&A.

Discussion participants will include Google Classroom Product Manager Ope Bukola, Amplified IT’s own Andrew Stillman, Melissa Benson, and Melanie Long, Steve Logan, CTO of Burleson Independent School District, and David Murphy, IT Specialist at Silver Lake Regional School district.

Sign up here: https://docs.google.com/a/amplifiedit.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScpKbY4e6XHaMJzT8dxDylvhdToxWe1FeU0QN4pEfapC1iCxA/viewform
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