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Change is a com'n

OLTD (Cohort 5) is beta testing G Suite for Education (GSFE).
Next year we will be piloting GSFE for the VIU Education Department.

We are playing with Google Classroom and a whole host of features.

Why? Lot's of reasons. We have the best reasons. We are the best reasoners. Nobody reasons like us. The best.

Ok, ok... some reasons: added security and privacy protection, no personal information mining for ads in most of the apps we'll use, the ability to manage accounts, Google Classroom, more seamless integration.... the list goes on and on.
It has been an interesting journey, with the development of an almost 50 page Privacy Impact Assessment, a new FIPPA consent form... AN ONLINE ONE! That's right. An online FIPPA consent form. Finally.

What will this change mean for this G+ community? Well, although it will remain open so that folks can come back for resources and ideas, and can share information across cohorts, the course-based discussions will take place in the private, cohort-specific community.

We will let you know how it goes. We are great at keeping people informed. We are best at informing. Nobody is better at informing than we are.

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Google Classroom will soon be available for users of personal gmail accounts.

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I just wanted to congratulate +Randy LaBonte on a wonderful symposium. Folks were buzzing about how well it went: the sessions, the food, the keynotes. What a lot of work you did to make this conference happen. Congratulations.


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A very neat little survey study on what Gen Z (13-17 year old in this study) thinks is "cool" commissioned by Google. Link to full report is in the article (and I definitely suggest looking at the full report!). 

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I have been using this math gaming site for the past few weeks, as my class was enrolled into it when I took over. Seems to be better for the younger grades. I really enjoy it, and you can have a class in it for free! The free version doesn't allow for you to check on student's work, but it does allow for them to compete with each other and use almost all of the games. I think Mathletics is still much more robust and adaptable for older grades, and provides tracking as well as assignments, but it is a fun site with bright games and the kids love the competitive aspect.

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Are you concerned about online surveillance? Then you might want to unplug your modem from time to time. This is something I picked up while studying about social media in OLTD 506 and wikiHow gives instructions for changing your IP address in Windows. Changing your IP address from time to time should make it a bit more difficult for big brother to keep track of your online activities.

If as Google CEO Eric Schmidt admits, Google is saving all my search information or up to 18 months then my questions are: why am I regularly clearing my browsing history, and where do they store all that massive amount of information? Thanks to +Bradley Breitkreutz for the videos on Google CEO and Why privacy matters.
Google on internet privacy ( ~3 min

I accept the trolling of my online activities as the price I pay for getting to use Google for free. I’m pretty resistant to advertising so I’m not concerned that they use it to target me in such a personal way.

I’m torn between thinking I have nothing to hide so I don’t care that my computer actions can be monitored and being careful with everything I do on the internet for fear of identity theft. So its fear of identity theft rather than government surveillance that influences my protectionist actions online, like giving false birth dates and turning the location function off on my cell phone. As a third generation Canadian of western European descent I don’t carry any concern that the government and enforcement bodies have any interest in me but since I’ve taking OLTD 506 on social media I’ve become aware of how the US Patriot Act may affect me and that changes things. Glen Greenwald presents a very good case for need for privacy although I think his comparison of locking the bathroom door to online surveillance is a bit sensationalist. If I’m being that personal over the internet then I really need to rethink my behaviour, or find a way to close the door. His point about it not mattering now to those of us, who think we have nothing to hide but may find it does matter in the future, is a valid one. Just look how a changing administration in the US is affecting international privacy and the privacy of people labeled as undesirable due to their country of origin. (Glen Greenwald-Why Privacy Matters (

As an educator of mostly adults, the procedure for getting informed consent from students to use social media or online applications that may gather personal information on them, would be a straight forward process, much like the permission form we had to sign for OLTD 506, although I haven’t had occasion to need to use one yet. If in the future I do use social media in my teaching environment then I plan to include some learning activities regarding online privacy and interpreting those terms of service agreements.

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I feel lucky this year that a group of teachers at the school I work at incorporate Mindfulness as a way to support self-regulation and the core competencies. We have been spending time each week sharing resources and lessons and I want to share an app I just learned about. One teacher mentioned she uses an app called Smiling Minds (I love the name) Most of us are familiar with the MindUP program, but I was unaware of what they are doing in Australia. Below is a video describing the kids experiences. The app I downloaded has a variety of programs designed for school aged kids which is broken up into age groups up to 18. There is a mini lesson and guided meditation for the students to follow. What I'm curious about is how they are getting away with calling it meditation? I know the MindUP program had to be very careful to call it mindfulness! I'm curious if anyone else has an opinion or thought on this?

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Just completed a quest on cloud computing. I created a blog post outlining some of the information that I discovered as well as some of my experiences within my own school district. I would be interested if anyone else's district is using cloud storage, what kind is being used and whether it is hosted within your district, or somewhere else. All comment are appreciated.

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Augmented Reality?

I know a little bit about virtual reality technology but I didn’t understand the reference to augmented reality in our OLTD 509 emerging technologies quest so I had to find out more about it. Augmented reality is the technology that can enhance or supplement reality by integrating digital information like text, image, video, audio files or GPS data, into a user’s view of the real world environment as visualized through a mobile electronic device. While it has been employed by the entertainment industry since the 1960s, its role as an educational tool is emerging with the increasing availability of Wi-Fi and mobile electronic devices, particularly smartphones. The NMC Horizon Report for 2012 K-12 Edition placed the article Augmented Reality in the Time to Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years section which implies that now, on the cusp of 2017 we could expect to see many examples of it being used in education. The new flexible learning curriculum for K -12 education in BC and its emphasis on providing opportunities for more exploration and inquiry-based learning may encourage the development of more applications specifically designed to enhance text-based studies.

The Horizon Report considers the following benefits of using augmented reality in education.
“Augmented reality has strong potential to provide powerful, contextual, in situ, learning experiences and serendipitous exploration and discovery of the connected nature of information in the world.” P. 29
“The ability to transfer learning from one context to another is a significant skill, one that AR can facilitate in it’s over use of context and layering.” P29

A search for more recent evaluations of augmented reality apps for education got me watching many interesting minutes of YouTube videos on using augmented reality in teaching and learning in a broad array of subjects including math, geography, history, music, anatomy and more. One I found particularly enlightening was from a high school group that presented their applications of augmented reality to various school activities along the cognitive levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: Teaching with Aurasma.

Augmented reality is an ideal tool for individualized learning, but developing content for subject specific applications will be a time consuming and expensive undertaking. The complete dependency on functioning digital media devices has its own pitfalls.

There are some very cool augmented reality applications but the ones that caught my attention were those that allow the user to create their own augmented reality experience and of these, Aurasma got many good reviews, and offers a free account, with limitations of course, which is the one I’ve opened. I found it was fairly easy to create my first “Aura” but I can see that putting all the best content together in “Auras” for use in my courses is going to be time consuming. You can read more about my experience with Aurasma on my blog at

Freedom of Information Quest
Novi and Avi point out some great arguments about the Freedom of Information conundrum as educators we have to face.
• Lengthy complicated and “scary” consent forms
• The practicality of getting all those forms back signed (and what if they are not?)
• Disconnect between Ministry wanting technology implemented with privacy issues with doing so
• Others are doing a bad job
• Cloud tools are available, usually cheaper, developed, age appropriate

There is very little argument that can be made about this list. In fact we could add some more let’s do that:
• Sorting out the privacy policies and terms of service on websites
• Finding all the possible locations data could be stored
• The fact some sites really don’t care about privacy and by using private info that is how they make their sites better and more customized to the user.
• Most “good” educational sites are US based
And the list could continue…

The problem isn’t necessarily with using the sites and even with the sites collecting some private information. The big issue is students, parents, teachers, and society as a whole does not have a good sense of digital citizenship. We have an expectation of privacy in what we do. We must remember however digital content cannot be taken back. There will always be a remnant or a trace of what we post, share or do.

If every individual had a good knowledge that what they do online could have potential consequences and were careful about what they were to share FIPPA (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) and PIPA (Personal Information Privacy Act) may not be needed for education purposes. It is however our job, our responsibility, our moral imperative to keep students as safe from harm as possible. That is why we create forms and go through the hassle of obtaining the permission needed.

Below are 4 videos that deal with privacy aspects.
Eric Schmidt in a CNBC interview describes Google’s take on Privacy ( ~30 sec

Googles policy on coming up to the creepy line but not crossing it ( ~3 min

Google on internet privacy ( ~3 min

Finally a great Ted Talk from Glenn Greenwald: Why privacy matters ( ~20min

Feel free to comment or give your opinion on privacy or something the video’s brought up you had not thought about before.

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