Archive for April, 2009

iPhone (and iPod Touch) in Education Resources

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

This morning I was interviewed by a magazine editor writing about the iPhone in Education. I found myself wishing I had previously taken the time to aggregate iPhone in Education resources and lists of applications good for students and educators. Just prior to the call I finally had the good sense to ping my colleagues on Twitter, and sure enough several came through with great links during the interview! Afterwards, I was finally motivated to pull together resources from other recent CUE speakers who had led sessions on the topic. Once I had an email together to the editor, I realized it might just make a good blog post. So, with no further editing, here’s the message I sent…

Here’s a few of the initial responses to my call-out on Twitter for “iPhone in Education” resources:

# soffenhauser use it for classroom walkthru observations – created a google form and have a link on my iphone to the form. Love google forms!18 minutes ago
# Craig Nansencnansen @markwagner Control a preso forward/back & screen was a touch pad 2 control the mouse & the keyboard 4 data entry. minutes ago from TweetDeck
# Jonathan Beckerjonbecker @markwagner not specifically iPhone, but it is Apple…have you seen what’s happening here in VA?: minutes ago from TweetDeck in reply to markwagner
# Craig Nansencnansen @markwagner minutes ago from TweetDeck in reply to markwagner
# Craig Nansencnansen @markwagner minutes ago from TweetDeck in reply to markwagner

And here’s a post from Ken Shelton, who lead the iPhone Supper Session at the CUE conference this year – his slides are included:

And here’s a podcast interview with Kathy Shirley and Joe Morlock, who led the iPod Touch session for us at Macworld this year – plus Kathy’s iPod in education resource site, which links to a list on Kathy Shrock’s site (both below):

Also, Leslie Fisher has lead iPhone sessions at CUE events (and elsewhere all over the world). Here’s a link to one of her PDF handouts… and to the iPhone Applications category on her blog:

There… at least now I took some time to pull together a list of other people’s lists. :)

I still have to write the next “Jailbreak your iPhone For Educators” post I’ve been promising people… meanwhile, here’s a link to everything iPhone from my blog (mostly mentions in my link posts):

And in case you weren’t looking at these two posts before, here’s my two specifically iPhone related posts:

Anyway, enjoy. I hope this helps. :)


Some of these links include fantastic lists (and lists of lists), so there is a lot of material and potential resources here. And please feel free to add more in the comments below. :)

Links for 2009-04-24

Friday, April 24th, 2009
  • Wikispaces – Private Label – Schools Whitepaper
    I'm a big fan of open services (especially when they're free), but wikispaces also provides a premium service for schools wanting a little more control: "Wikispaces Private Label is a complete wiki environment for your school or district. Our powerful and easy to use system lets you create wikis for all your teachers, students, and administrators, while centrally managing them on your own customized, secure, and integrated site. Wikispaces Private Label provides wikis with unlimited collaboration, central administration, control and privacy, and full integration for your school."
    (tags: wikis wikispaces)
  • EtherPad: Realtime Collaborative Text Editing
    This is like a web-based version of subethaedit (which worked only on Macs and only on a local subnet). "Etherpad lets multiple people work [in different colors] on the same text simultaneously." Best of all, no login or account is required for participants, which makes it ideal for use with students.
    (tags: wordprocessing web2 collaboration)
  • A Conversation with Lenore Skenazy on Free-Range Kids | Edutopia
    This is a fantastic article (about a book I'm genuinely interested in): "The author explains how rampant anxiety over children's well-being diminishes their independence." Clark's a very cautious dude, but he's very independent and we let him do everything he can by himself. I hope we're able to strike this balance for a long time. Luckily, he learned how to sign "help" very early on so it's easy to know when to step in and when we should let him struggle a bit at this point. :)
    (tags: andlife education)
  • CoSN Green Computing
    Here's yet another green initiative for schools – this one focusing on IT departments: "The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Green Computing Leadership Initiative provides tools, tips, and resources for school technology leaders to help reduce their school district carbon footprint."
    (tags: CoSN green IT)
  • ePals Global Community
    ePals has a whole focus area on Biodiversity: "Understanding a big idea is so much more than just learning the facts. And, biodiversity is one big idea! But, we’ve built a learning path to take you step-by-step towards helping you understand it!"
    (tags: green)
  • Welcome to
    This is a great new initiative to come out of Obama's presidency, and this tool might be good for getting students involved in local change: "This website is a new portal for you and all Americans to find your own ways to serve in your own communities. Just choose your keyword – "education," "environment," or whatever interests you – and type in your zip code to see what opportunities our partner organizations have in your area." Again, perhaps I should ping these folks about our upcoming conference. :)
    (tags: socialchange socialmedia)
  • Seventh Generation is on Twitter | Seventh Generation
    We use a lot of Seventh Generation products in our house, and it's exciting to see what they're doing with social media. I wonder if they're interested in being involved in education technology conferences. :)
    (tags: green socialmedia)
  • Google Similar Images
    This beta service from Google Labs "allows you to search for images using pictures rather than words. Click the 'Similar images' link under an image to find other images that look like it. Try a search of your own or click on an example below." I suspect this will replace Google Images (or be integrated into it) sometime in the future. Meanwhile, you might try this out with students to see if it helps. I'd still love to see a usage rights advanced search option on Google Images in any case.
    (tags: google images googleimages googleined)
  • Mark Wagner – Google Profile
    Thanks to Jenith Mishne I've updated my Google Profile. Take a look.
    (tags: google)
  • 39.3 Miles til Margaritas | The Point
    This is an interesting social change initiative, using an interesting social change service, The Point. "This campaign has a tipping point — you pledge money now, but you’re only charged if the total pledges reach $2,000. This way, you know your participation will make a difference."
    (tags: socialchange socialmedia)
  • animoto – for education
    Animoto also supports educators directly: "Add Animoto to your classroom's digital storytelling kit… Unlimited Videos For You and Your Students."
    (tags: video)
  • animoto – for a cause
    "Animoto supports not-for-profits and other humanitarian causes with free pro accounts." Maybe I should contact these folks about the upcoming CLMS/CUE Tech conference – the theme is "Social, Global, and Green."
    (tags: socialchange video)
  • Google News Timeline
    This looks like a great new way to visualize news aggregated by Google… and Google News is already one of my favorite specialized search tools to share with teachers and students. From the about page: "Google News Timeline is a web application that organizes search results chronologically. It allows users to view news and other data sources on a browsable, graphical timeline. Available data sources include recent and historical news, scanned newspapers and magazines, blog posts, sports scores, and information about various types of media, like music albums and movies."
    (tags: news googlenews googleined timeline)

Links for 2009-04-17

Friday, April 17th, 2009
  • Greenopolis Live Q&A
    Greenopolis teams up with GM to produce "Green Wheels for the Future, Please: A Conversation with Dr. Christopher Borroni-Bird" Topics include questions like: "What kind of cars will we be driving in the future? What kind of fuel will they run on? What kind of infrastructure will need to be in place? What will the future of our world, our children, demand for their futures?"
    (tags: green education greeneducation GM cars alternativefuel)
  • Home | Greenopolis
    Here's another site sponsored by Waste Management: "Greenopolis is a social networking site that develops online relations between everyday people, communities, organizations, schools and businesses. As an environmentally-focused social networking site, Greenopolis was created to engage users on green issues so that they might learn, explore and participate in an open dialogue about the present and future of our environment."
    (tags: green education greeneducation socialmedia socialnetworks)
    This is a project I'm excited about sharing: "Waste Management and Discovery Education have partnered to engage students in learning about the environment. Teachers will find standards-based lesson plans, tools and hands-on activities to enliven classroom learning and at-home extensions. Students will find video clips and step-by-step interactive activities to expand their knowledge of the planet we share."
    (tags: green education greeneducation)

And this comes from my shared items in Google Reader for April 16th:

View all of my shared items and notes at my Google Reader Shared Items page.

Links for 2009-04-15

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Links for 2009-04-08

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
  • UserName Check – Social Networking Username Availability
    Jeremy Davis mentioned this in passing in his twitter workshop at the Leadship 3.0 conference. It checks dozens of social software services to see if a particular username is already taken. This way you (or a beginning user you're helping) can choose a username they can use "everywhere." Or… it can drive others to want to sign up for dozens of services they haven't tried. ;)
    (tags: socialmedia tools usernames)
  • TweetCall – Twitter by Voice
    This has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Jott, which is no longer free: "Update Twitter from anywhere by simply speaking into a telephone. 1-877-TWEETCALL is completely free, start using it today!"
    (tags: twitter twittertools)
  • The Nambu Network | Social Messaging Streamlined
    This is an new Twitter client (for Macs) that is making waves in the edutwittersphere (that is, among educators who use twitter regularly). I found I like many of the features, but the simple lack of being able to click on a link directly and have it open in my browser sent me back to using Tweetdeck.
    (tags: twitter twitterclients)
  • Free Twitter Backgrounds – Custom Twitter Backgrounds
    I'm often asked "how did he get such a cool twitter background?" (This is not about my profile, but usually others – usually professionals or consultants of some kind.) Here's one tool you can use to create a professional looking background to promote yourself, your service, or, you know, your school or students. ;)
    (tags: twitter)
  • Hunch
    This new web service aims to help you make decisions… by asking you questions and then delivering concrete advice. It learns from you – and from other users. I'm interested to see where this goes and intrigued by the educational possibilities.
    (tags: hunch learning socialmedia)

Google Docs Does Not Violate CIPA (or COPPA*)

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

The following is an email I’ve found myself writing more and more often. This is the longest version (and the latest one I’ve sent off). I’ve decided to share my take on the situation here on this blog for three reasons. First, I hope I can point people here instead of writing more emails. Second, I hope this might benefit people who might never email me (such as people searching the web for this topic). And third, I hope those of you familiar with such things (either legal experts or educators who are fighting this fight – on either side) will provide feedback in the comments.

The most important thing is to understand this: not having control over documents doesn’t constitute a violation of CIPA. Not having control over an online document doesn’t make Google Docs a violation of CIPA any more than not having control over a pen and paper makes spiral bound notebooks a violation of CIPA.It’s actually more or less irrelevant to the law.

CIPA does require that school districts filter the internet to protect students from content that is “harmful to minors” (and the primary concern is porn). The key is that schools need to show due dilligence in blocking sites they know are “harmful.” There is no expectation that schools will block “anything that could possiblly or potentially be inappropriate.”

CIPA (and the related FCC regulations) do require that there is a process in place for adults to unblock legitimately educational sites… and one of the only reasons that CIPA has not been struck down in the courts is due to the ease of unblocking a site using filtering software. Ideally, teachers will have access to an individual password for bypassing a school web filter. However, many school districts make this process anything but easy – and in many cases it is effectively unavailable to teachers. This is a legal problem (and in terms IT would understand, I believe this is a liability). You’d be well within your rights to request (and expect) Google Docs to be unblocked.

But… remember that COPPA forbids Google from collecting profile information for users under 14 years old. So younger students should not be using any Google tool, including Google Docs, that requires them to log in with a Google Account. This is because Google has no mechanism for collecting “verifiable parent consent” for student profile information. However, school districts excell at collecting “verifiable parent consent” – we call this permission slips. So, if you set up Google Apps: Education Edition, collect parent consent for students to use it, and control the student accounts yourselves, you’re in good shape with respect to COPPA. (For students 14 and over, you’re legally fine having them use Google Docs – and despite the fact that Google’s terms of service say users need to be of legal age to enter into a contract, which i 18 in California, Google does encourage the use of their products with students aged 14-18.)

Regarding some of the other concerns in the thread below… much of it is off topic or irrelevant to the issue of using Google tools (such as Docs) in the classroom. Here is my brief response to a few other concerns:

  • We’re not talking about outsourcing HR, we’re talking about instructional use.
  • Google is explicit about the intellectual property still belonging to the user. (And their privacy policies and practices are very strong.)
  • We’re not talking about sharing confidential student information, we’re talking about instructional use.
  • With respect to archiving documents for public disclosure: Use of Google Docs for teaching and learning is no different than using spiral bound notebooks, photocopied assignments, or ordinary blackboards. In fact, I’d say the online documents are generally better archived than anything a district can ordinarily pull off in the classroom… particularly with the history of revisions. In any case, if districts are not concerned about “archiving” handwritten student essays on paper, I don’t see why Google Docs would be any different. We’re talking about instruction here, not district business. It’s important to remember the difference.

Again, I hope this has been helpful – and I hope you’ll leave me feedback in the comments below.