COPPA & Change… #EdublogsClub

***Update*** I am re-posting this as part of the #EdublogsClub week 8 prompt.

This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and educational technology enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week. Simply write a post and share it (via social media w/ #edublogsclub or posting a link as a comment to that topic’s posting on the Edublogger site) to join in, or sign up to receive email reminders of each new prompt. 

Prompt: Write a post about student privacy.
Some helpful notes:

  • Should student work be public on the web? Why or why not?
  • How do you evaluate the tools that you use in your classroom when it comes to student privacy?
  • Do you have a favorite resource or video that discusses this topic
  • Do you have tips or rules that you use with your students relating to identifiable information?
  • Do you have any other ideas, rants, or questions about student privacy you wish to discuss?
Originally posted: Dec. 1, 2015
***Disclaimer – I, in no uncertain terms, claim to be an expert on Federal Law and Regulations***

COPPA which stands for Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act is meant to protect students online from knowingly or unknowingly giving out personal information (full, formal name; address; etc.). It went into law in 2000 and is designed for websites to either not allow users under the age of 13 or parent permission must be given for their services to be used. Some great webtools have been removed from students’ use or teachers have had to create accounts with no identifiable student information (i.e. google +1 email hack)

One tool which I find useful but fell into the category of users under 13 were forbidden was Screencastify.  Working in a 1:1 middle school with chromebooks, the Screencastify Extension would be easy to use tool for students to create multimedia presentations. Their Privacy Policy stated:

Our Services are not intended for and may not be used by children under the age of 13. We do not knowingly collect information from children under the age of 13 and we do not target our Services to children under the age of 13.

But, it did have this key line after it: “If you have questions about our Service, please contact us at info@screencastify.com So I thought, why not? I reached out to them and found Manuel, or Manu as he signed his emails, very responsive and wanted to make sure their tool worked for schools. We communicated back and forth for about 2½ weeks till they had an updated policy which included the above statement, plus:

Educators that have the authority to act on parent’s behalf, may allow students under 13 to use our Services, if such use is for educational purposes, and if this use ensures that students will not provide any personal information and will not share or otherwise distribute recordings containing personal information of a student.

Thank you, Manu & Screencastify for being willing to allow your tool to be used for educational purposes while remaining COPPA compliant.

So my big takeaway from this experience, reach out! I sent an email and asked a question which had two potential outcomes: no, we won’t change our policy or yes, let’s explore this!  If Screencastify said no, I would have been in the same position I was before sending the email.  Yet, they said yes and I now have two grade levels in my building which can utilize a tool for creation purposes.

Do you have a tool which you can’t use with your students? Have you ever tried reaching out to them? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comment section. 

“What Is COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act )? – Definition from WhatIs.com.” SearchCRM. 1 May 2010. Web. 24 Nov. 2015. <http://searchcrm.techtarget.com/definition/COPPA>.

12 Podcasts to Check Out (The Listicle)… #EdublogsClub

This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and educational technology enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week. Simply write a post and share it (via social media w/ #edublogsclub or posting a link as a comment to that topic’s posting on the Edublogger site) to join in, or sign up to receive email reminders of each new prompt. 

Prompt: Write a listicle.
Some helpful notes:

  • Write about any topic at all that interests you
  • A list can be as short as 3 entries
  • Be helpful, make the list a resource your readers may want to bookmark and come back to
  • If you aren’t up for a list, write about lists, list keeping tools, or tools to embed lists
  • Marketing tests prove that putting a number in your title will often increase shares and clicks

Another timely prompt. I have a ThingLink which I use to share out the podcasts I listen to, as a recommendation tool. Well it was overdue for a much needed update, so here is my list of podcasts I currently listen to with a ThingLink embedded below so you can get the links to each one.

Note: the numbers are not indicating any kind of ranking
  1. The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe
  2. House of #Edtech – Chris Nesi
  3. The EdTechTV Podcast with Brent Warner
  4. The Wired Educator Podcast – Kelly Croy
  5. Always A Lesson – Gretchen (Schultek) Bridgers
  6. Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers
  7. The Cult of Pedagogy – Jennifer Gonzalez
  8. Check This Out with Ryan and Brian
  9. Teachonomy Talks – Chuck Poole
  10. My BAD – Jon Harper
  11. Google Teacher Tribe Podcast – Kasey Bell & Matt Miller
  12. The EdTech Take Out – Jonathon Wylie & Mindy Cairney

Challenging Situations… #EdublogsClub

This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and educational technology enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week. Simply write a post and share it (via social media w/ #edublogsclub or posting a link as a comment to that topic’s posting on the Edublogger site) to join in, or sign up to receive email reminders of each new prompt. 

Prompt: Write a post about challenging situations.
Here are some ideas or topics you may wish to include:

  • Share your biggest teaching challenge and explain how you overcame it
  • Write a motivational “how-to” for overcoming a common challenging situation.
  • Do a review on a book or website that has helped you overcome a challenging situation. What was the challenge? How did the book/website help you?
  • Discuss any thoughts or experiences you have about challenges in education.
  • Talk about a time when a student was facing a challenge and you provided strategies to help the student. What were they? How did they help?

I’m a technology coach (my district loves long titles, so I’m really a Teacher Resource Specialist for Technology) which many people expect to mean I know everything about technology and how to operate/use all the digital tools available. With technology constantly changing, new tools coming out each day, that is an impossibility. At times it is beneficial that many tools utilize the same icons and I can get a handle on something quickly. But the expectation to “know it” can be daunting.

So when a teacher friend of mine, from the south, who knows what I do, scoffed at me not knowing/using Instagram; I felt challenged.

“You use technology all the time, how are you not using Instagram? I needed you to explain it to me and why my students want me to use it?”

Well, maybe this can be a social media tool that could come in handy. So that night I opened an account. Started to use it to share one of my hobbies. I’m slowly getting a handle on it, might not know all the ins & outs, but getting there; it’s a work in progress. I even added a new page to this blog to embed a ThingLink which will share each of the posts.

The main thing is this, when provided a challenge, make it an opportunity and jump in (feet first is best, diving is not approved because we don’t know the depth). Challenges, as someone once described to me, are the speed bumps which keep us from increasing our velocity and loosing control of our vehicle.

What’s a challenge you’ve had to deal with lately? How did you ‘jump in’ and tackle the challenge? I would love to read about it in the comments below.

Nearpod’s Newest Feature… Collaborate!

It think the easiest description for it is, imagine Nearpod & Padlet had a child… that child would be Collaborate!

Nearpod announced via a post this week the new feature on their blog.

This is part of their paid features, but you can try it out for a limited time in a free account. Below is a short video on the Activity tool in action as well as an embedded image of the final results (some of the students who tried this had a little fun with it).

Have you tried the new feature? What are your thoughts? I would love to read about your experiences with this interactive feature in the comments below.

Free Web Tools… #EdublogsClub

This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and educational technology enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week. Simply write a post and share it (via social media w/ #edublogsclub or posting a link as a comment to that topic’s posting on the Edublogger site) to join in, or sign up to receive email reminders of each new prompt. 

Prompt: Write a post about free web tools.
Here are some ideas or topics you may wish to include:

  • Share your absolute favorite free web tool and discuss why

  • Write a ‘how-to’ post on using a free tool

  • Do a review in a category of multiple free web tools – for example, compare 3 web tools for photo editing

  • Discuss any thoughts or experiences you have about free web services

  • Talk about a time when a free service you were using shut down

Since I share about different tools often, the last bullet point jumped out at me.

“Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful extension,
That started as a free tool,
Aboard the Chrome dimension.

The device was a mighty screen capturer,
It snapped and recorded,
All synced to your Google Drive,
In a folder, they hoarded, that’s where they’re all hoarded.

The school year started getting rough,
The tiny tool was tossed,
If you were not prepared,
GIF capturing would be lost, GIF capturing would be lost.”

That’s right folks, I’m talking about SnagIt! A tool which was a go-to for me when creating tutorials/how-to’s for teachers. Whether it was a short recorded screencast, a simple screenshot, or my personal favorite, GIFs; SnagIt would do it all! Then it would sync my captures directly to my Google Drive. I loved it, and when I read the news over the summer that Tech Smith was lessening their available tools (SnagIt extension, Screen Chomp iOS app, etc.) to focus on making a few of their other tools the greatest; I started to hear, “Near, far, wherever you are…” (That’s right, Céline Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’)

Hmmm… tangent here, did I just make two tragic boat references in one blog post, yes I did!

I had to scramble to find replacements. And let me tell you there are a bunch of various ones out there, but nothing all encompassing as my dear departed SnagIt. Here are some of the ones that filled in the gaps:

Screencastify took over for my screen recordings. GifIt! (while only really works on YouTube videos) allows me to create gifs. On a chromebook, the shortcut for taking a screenshot took the place of being able to select the part of the screen I wanted to image capture. Finally, I went out and purchased SnagIt for my Mac. While I still feel like the extension was Rose, “I’ll never let go Dan, I’ll never let go” then thirty seconds later it was gone from the Chrome Web Store (another Titanic reference); my heart has moved on to other tools which hopefully will not sink into the internet abyss!

What’s a tool you loved and lost; how does that old saying go, ‘Its better to have loved and lost, than to not have loved at all’ does that apply to tech tools in education? I would love to read & reply in the comments below.

Photos…#EdublogsClub

This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and educational technology enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week. Simply write a post and share it (via social media w/ #edublogsclub or posting a link as a comment to that topic’s posting on the Edublogger site) to join in, or sign up to receive email reminders of each new prompt. 

Last year, I read a post from Richard Wells on Star Wars posters for school using LEGOs. Well, new year, new posters, so a new post from him.

With this week’s prompt having to deal with photos, I figured this would be timely. The post I wrote last year, inspired by EduWells, utilized quotes from, then released, “A Force Awakens.” Well, new year, new movie (“Rogue One”), new posters!


I’m going to again propose a challenge for you & your students, have them select a quote from a favorite movie of theirs, then design a ‘poster’ applying that quote to a topic/content area. See how creative they can be!

If you take the challenge, please link to images of the posters in the comments below, I would love to view your or your students’ work.