Friday, May 29, 2015

HippoBytes HB132: Transitioning out of AISB

If you're moving on from AISB, you may want to take data from five services with you:

  1. E-mail
  2. Google Drive
  3. ownCloud
  4. Focus Online Course (Moodle)
  5. Elementary blog
Outgoing teachers will lose access to their Google Apps, Focus, and HippoID accounts on June 5. You can set up forwarding to preserve your school e-mail address, which will work until September 1. The following actions should be take to preserve your data before June 5, and in the case of copying your old school e-mail, should be done immediately.

Transitioning School E-mail

On the last day of school, you should set up a vacation message to inform people that you have left and a filter to forward any messages you receive to a new address. This message and forwarding will work until September 1 of the next school year, even though you will lose access to your account on June 5. Refer to these step-by-step instructions to set up a vacation message informing people you’ve left AISB, and these step-by-step instructions to forward all new emails to another account.

Then, you should copy all of your mail from your school account to your personal account (this step is optional if you don’t want to save anything). Follow these instructions to copy mail from your school account to a personal Gmail account, but when you get to this screen:

You should check the Archive incoming messages (Skip in the Inbox), and Label incoming messages in addition to the options shown on screen.

Note that it may take several days for your personal account to finish downloading mail from your school account - start this process asap!

Saving Google Drive files

(You could try putting all your files into one folder
and then downloading that folder
in one shot, but it might be too big
for you to download - that’s why we recommend
downloading each folder separately.)
You will lose access to your Google Drive account on June 5, so you should save your Google Drive files before then.

To save your Google Drive files, you should right-click on each folder you have in Google Drive and select Download. 

Then, you should put all loose files in Google Drive into a single folder, then right-click on that folder and select Download.

You’ll now have several .zip files in your Downloads folder containing all of your Google Drive files, converted to Microsoft Office format. You should store these on your personal computer.

Your Google Drive files will be assigned to your successor; they will be able to access anything you’ve done in Google Drive.

Saving your ownCloud files

You will lose access to ownCloud on June 5. Copy your ownCloud files to a flash drive, hard drive, or personal Google Drive account.

Your own ownCloud files will be deleted over the summer; all course materials should be in the Curriculum folder on ownCloud.

Saving your Focus online courses

You’ll lose access to Focus on June 5. Focus has a built-in backup function that will save your online course as a single .mbz file. This file can be imported into the Moodle instance of your next school. If your next school doesn’t use Moodle, it may be useful to take screenshots of your courses in a web browser so you can remember the resources and links that you posted.

After that, you’ll be asked to select which activities and assignments you want to include in the backup. By default, everything is selected, so unless you want to deselect individual items you should just click on Next to continue (the Next button will be at the bottom of the page).

To backup a Focus online course, go to Grades > Online Course
Choose Backup from the Settings box on the left side of your course.
The next screen will ask you what parts of your course you want to back up. Keep the default options and click Next.

After that, you’ll be asked to select which activities and assignments you want to include in the backup. By default, everything is selected, so unless you want to deselect individual items you should just click on Next to continue (the Next button will be at the bottom of the page).
At the next screen you’ll be able to choose a name for your backup. By default, Focus puts in an unwieldy name, so make it more user-friendly. Then, click Perform backup.
Focus will confirm that it has successfully created a backup. Click Continue.
On the next screen, you’ll see a list of your online course backups. Click on Download to download it to your computer.

Backing Up your Elementary Blog

You can download an archive of your blog posts by following these instructions; you can upload this archive to another blogging service to see your posts. Note that this will not back up images you've uploaded to your blog. After you leave, your blog will be assigned to your successor.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

HB270: Organize your Sources

The tidal wave of information on the web
can quickly become overwhelming unless you have
a strategy and tools to manage it.
Photo Credit: sorazu via Compfight cc
Even at its best, searching for information on the web can be a case of "too much of a good thing" - there are so many sources that you can't sift through them all. At its worst, web searching can be too much of a bad thing, with sources containing one or two useful facts but much more fluff. Making the research process collaborative can make it more manageable, and in this session we reviewed three free tools available that facilitate this.

First up is Pinterest, a social bookmarking service that lets you create virtual corkboards where you pin images and webpages. You can create a shared board that others can post to as well. This makes Pinterest good for class brainstorming projects and casually gathering research.

Diigo builds on the capabilities of Pinterest and is suitable for serious online research. With Diigo you can highlight and annotate webpages directly in addition to creating private groups to be used for collaborative research. You can also tag your sources to assist with organization.

Zotero is the most academic of the tools and should be used for research papers and other projects demanding thorough research across multiple media. It allows you to store sources directly from the web or add source information manually for print sources. You can add notes and tags to your sources and share them with a public or private group you create. Most importantly, Zotero integrates with Microsoft Word and LibreOffice to let you easily insert in-text citations and bibliographies and automatically format them according to MLA, APA, or other citation styles.


HB270 session notes

HB231: 2x2 - Two Models and Two Tools for ePortfolios

ePortfolios show you growth where grades and comments
just tell you about it.
Grades and test scores are useful because they distill diverse, complex measures of student performance into a single quantifiable figure. They are also misleading because they do precisely that. Tell me that a student is an "A" student or a "B" student evokes a picture in my mind of what I think an "A" or "B" student looks like, but that grade is several steps removed from a student's actual work. Report card comments go a bit farther in telling us what a student's performance is, but if you want to really show a student's performance then they should create portfolios.

EPortfolios can be a complicated topic, but they don't have to be. Broadly speaking, you'll want to decide whether you want to focus on reflection or achievement. In the jargon of ed tech, a reflection-based eportfolio is known as a "workbench" because it's where students post their work as they do it and reflect regularly (for example, weekly). An achievement-based portfolio is known as a "showcase" because it is designed to show the student's best work rather than the process. Of course, ePortfolios may take elements from each of these models.

Once you've decided on your model, you'll need to choose a tool. Blogger is great for workbenches since it's integrated with Google Apps and is focused on the kind of chronological posts that regular reflection requires. On the other hand, Google Sites are good for showcases due to ease with which the user can control the layout and content.

The session notes below compare the functionality of Blogger and Google Sites in the context of ePortfolios, and for more detailed resources refer to Dr. Helen Barrett's extensive site on Google Apps and ePortfolios.


HB231 Session Notes
Dr. Helen Barrett's ePortfolios using Google Apps site

Friday, April 24, 2015

Internet Filtering for Teachers Now Allows YouTube

Over the past week we've been testing a different way to implement two-tier internet filtering such that we can offer YouTube access to teachers while restricting it to students. We have now rolled out this solution to all teachers on campus.

This service is tied to the WiFi card in your school-issued laptop, and will not work for personal devices. Here's how it works:

1. You will need to visit to access YouTube (note the "s" after "http"). You should see the YouTube page load:

2. If you DON'T put in the "https://" then you'll see an error like the one below:

3. Similarly, in ClipGrab you also need to use an "https" address, not "http":
4. If you use an "http" address you'll get an error as follows:
Happy YouTubing!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

HB235: Creating Webpages with Google Sites

PowerPoint is the most misused tool in ed tech. How many PowerPoints have you see where the student has tried to cram all the information they know onto the slide, then completely neglect their speaking?

Don't get me wrong - cramming information into a product has its place in the classroom. Just not in Powerpoint. If you want to give students the opportunity to synthesize what they know in a variety of formats (written, visual, etc), then consider asking them to make a website.

HB250: Intermediate Video Production

Devices like tablets make it easy to shoot - but not to shoot well.
Video projects are fun to make, can assess students' content knowledge, and help them practice new skills.

Too often, they are also poorly done. The fact that having a phone or tablet makes it easy to film something does not also mean that it is easy to make a good video.

There are, however, easy-to-teach principles that will help your students shoot and edit great video. This session taught us how.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

HB131: Advanced Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, and Surveys

For some, having Google is limited to sending and receiving emails (using Gmail) and maybe using Drive. Yet Google offers so much more to help teachers and students communicate and organize their time much better.

Gmail has features that makes it easier to organize and searching for emails. Hangouts (formerly Google Chat) is a useful communication that allows users to send quick messages to coworkers in real time, thus making it possible to communicate more quickly and easily than with email. Hangouts also has the added feature of group hangouts so staff meetings and discussions can take place wherever you are!

Google Calendar helps one to stay organized and to collaborate with others. And with Google Forms teachers can quickly create surveys to gather data or even make quizzes!