Hundreds of Things to Ask Your Google Home


“Google Home now has more than 200 third-party skills, also known as conversation actions. If you’re just getting started, or you want to really see what your virtual assistant can do, check out” this list from PC Mag. — Sascha Segan, PC Mag

Why You Should Be Using Google Photos


Google Photos “takes your entire photo library — every photo you’ve ever taken on your phone, as well as screenshots and photos taken within Instagram and whatever else — and uploads it to the internet. The photos remain private, hidden behind your Google account information, but now you can access them anywhere. On your laptop? Yep. On a new phone? Yep. On your tablet? Yep, there too.” — Ben Gilbert, Business Insider

Building the Future: Tinkering and Playful Learning

The following is an excerpt from an article in The Journal by Mike McGalliard and Anne Wintroub. It’s too good not to share. I encourage educators and parents to read and consider the ideas and recommendations presented in the full article.

“Educators and business leaders have more in common than it may seem. Teachers want to prepare students for a successful future. Technology companies…have a vested interest in developing a workforce with the STEM skills needed to grow the company and advance the industry. How can they work together to achieve these goals? Play may [be] the answer.

“We’ve assumed that focusing on STEM skills, like robotics or coding, are important, but the reality is that STEM skills are enhanced and more relevant when combined with traditional, hands-on creative activities. This combination is proving to be the best way to prepare today’s children to be the makers and builders of tomorrow. That is why technology companies are partnering with educators to bring back good, old fashion play.

“In fact many experts argue that the most important 21st century skills aren’t related to specific technologies or subject matter, but to creativity; skills like imagination, problem-finding and problem-solving, teamwork, optimism, patience and the ability to experiment and take risks. These are skills acquired when kids tinker. ” — The Journal

Sources: Image 1, Image 2

Google’s New Sun Map Indicates Whether Your Rooftop Needs a Solar Panel

“The initiative, which the Mountain View giant initially launched almost two years ago, essentially leverages visual data from Maps and Earth to generate 3D models of the total amount of sunlight that reaches your roof.” – The Next Web

Check out Google’s blog post for full details.

Breakout EDU: A Quick Introduction

Guest Blogger
Kaylah Holland

BreakoutEDU-logo01(Image Source)

Breakout EDU is one of the newest trends hitting education. Breakout EDU is an immersive game requiring hands-on critical thinking to solve clues. This type of game is completely flipping current education because it requires students to collaborate, problem solve, and think critically.

The CEO, Adam Bellow, says: “There are cheers, there’s frustration, and ultimately, if there is success, it’s that moment of ‘We did it!’ And that is intrinsic. It doesn’t need something else,” he said. “I don’t see kids cheering when they do worksheets” (source).

The video below will explain the basics.

 

How to Get Started

The “Get Started” section of the website lists four steps:

  1. Obtain a Breakout EDU kit.
    1. You can purchase a wooden box for $119 or a plastic box for $89. Both boxes include 1 hasp, 1 word lock, 1 three-digit lock, 1 four-digit lock, 1 directional lock, 1 key lock, 1 UV light, 1 invisible ink pen, 1 small lockable box, 1 USB thumb drive, and 2 hint cards.  
    2. You can also purchase all of these items on Amazon as an open resource kit.
  2. Complete the beta form to obtain the password to access several hundred games.
  3. Facilitate a Breakout EDU game with a group.
  4. Join the community. Breakout EDU offers a facebook and twitter community. The facebook group is extremely active and very useful.

Gaming Tips

I have personally facilitated numerous Breakout EDU games and have a few tips.

  • Use the community: if you have a question chances are that someone has already posted that question on the facebook group and the community has answered
  • Be detailed: read the game instructions carefully well before game day
  • Watch the overview videos: most of the official games have very useful overview videos
  • Play the game before facilitating it to a group of students: often times it can be difficult to see how the clues fit together without actually walking through them first
  • Have extra locks: Locks are finicky (or maybe it is just me) and it can be extremely frustrating when they accidentally get stuck. Have extra locks on hand so that the game isn’t hindered because of one lock getting stuck during your setup

Resources for Breakout EDU

The main resources are the website and the facebook community.

Check out these ten reasons for playing Breakout EDU in your classroom!

Breakout EDU


About the AuthorKaylah Holland

Kaylah Holland is currently a Middle School Instructional Technology Facilitator at Charlotte Christian School in Charlotte, NC. In addition to teaching coding, app development, and robotics; she has a vital role of assisting teachers with the integration of technology into the classroom through ample research, lesson planning, and training. She is currently completing her doctoral degree in the field of Instructional Design and Technology and is in the process of becoming a Google Certified Trainer. She is passionate about building an innovative culture for learning.

Flipped Learning: Preparing for the New School Year

Guest Blogger
Kaylah Holland

Flipped LearningImage Source

Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter” (Source).

Why Flip?

Flipped learning allows for a more student centered approach to teaching within the classroom because the majority of the lecture style learning is completed at home; thus, allowing class time to utilize more engaging techniques such as project-based learning, game-based learning, student presentations, discussion, and collaboration. Flipped Learning can also be completed solely within the classroom without requiring students to complete work at home. The main idea with Flipped Learning is simply to allow the teacher to become more of a facilitator of learning rather than the dictator of knowledge.

How to Flip?

The following video from Edutopia will help you understand how to get started.

Examples of Flipped Learning

There are numerous ways to incorporate Flipped Learning within your classroom. The following seven concepts are a good place to start.

  1. The Standard Inverted Classroom: students are assigned any lecture style teaching for homework the night before class so that class time might used for practicing what they learned with the teacher able to give instant feedback.
  2. The Discussion-Oriented Flipped Classroom: lecture style videos, such as TED Talks, are assigned as homework and class time is spent discussing the subject at length.
  3. The Demonstration-Focused Flipped Classroom: teacher records a screencast explaining an activity, math problem, etc so that they students may watch as many times as possible for mastery.  
  4. The Faux-Flipped Classroom: students watch lecture videos or complete assignments via technology at their own pace within the classroom and the teacher acts as a facilitator and supporter.
  5. The Group-Based Flipped Classroom: students learn material for homework and use class time to work together in groups so that they learn from each other through collaboration.
  6. The Virtual Flipped Classroom: classes are offered entirely online and actual class time is not needed.
  7. Flipped the Teacher: students record video tutorials as projects to teach a skill to the teacher thus showing mastery of the skill (Source).

EducationDive showcases the Faux-Flipped Classroom in the article 16 Flipped Learning Uses in K-12 and College Classrooms. A teacher in Florida allows students to complete classwork, take quizzes, and watch instructional videos at their own pace on computers throughout the classroom while she answers questions and provides support to students (Source).

Resources for Flipping

Interested in trying Flipped Learning in your classroom? Checkout the websites below for great information.


About the AuthorKaylah Holland

Kaylah Holland is currently a Middle School Instructional Technology Facilitator at Charlotte Christian School in Charlotte, NC. In addition to teaching coding, app development, and robotics; she has a vital role of assisting teachers with the integration of technology into the classroom through ample research, lesson planning, and training. She is currently completing her doctoral degree in the field of Instructional Design and Technology and is in the process of becoming a Google Certified Trainer. She is passionate about building an innovative culture for learning.

Pokémon Go Automatically Granting Permission to Read Your Gmail

Pokemon Go

The Verge is reporting that “Pokémon Go has become wildly popular in the days since its release last week, but the app may be hiding a serious security issue. In many cases, users who sign into the app through a Google Account are often inadvertently granting broad permissions over all information linked to the account, including the power to read and send emails. At no point in the sign-in process does the app notify users that full access is being granted” (Source). Read more at The Verge.

Perhaps the app developer will correct this issue in the near future.

Fostering Writing and Collaboration with Google Docs

Teaching ChannelHigh school English teacher, Sarah Brown Wessling, shares strategies for promoting collaborative writing inside and outside of the classroom. Wessling highlights that such lessons also promote digital etiquette, provide opportunities for teachers to provide rich feedback, and provide teachers with insights into the individual student’s or the collaborative group’s writing process.