Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Podcasts as a Classroom Resource

I Love Podcasts.

I listen to them all the time.  I have a podcast app on my phone (Podcast Addict), and I have "subscriptions" to about 20 different shows.  Most of them are weekly, some of them only run for 10 episode "seasons" and then they disappear for a year.

But they are all FREE.  I don't pay a dime, and I have hours and hours of free entertainment and education that I download straight to my phone, and push straight to my ears.

Many of the podcasts I listen to are for entertainment (I really enjoy Sports and True Crime Stories), so I listen to those a lot, but there are also some that are very educational (if not entirely FOR Education).

So, I thought I would share a blog post with some ideas for Podcasts that would/could be helpful or beneficial for teachers.  Because, if I was just starting out in the world of podcasts, and didn't know what I was doing... It would definitely be overwhelming.

There are so many to choose from, where to start?

I just went to "PodcastOne.com" and clicked on podcasts, and took this screen shot.
There are currently 294 podcasts listed on Podcast One.
And just for clarification... Podcast One, is perhaps the largest Podcast network, but it's not the ONLY one.  There are several.  So How Many Podcasts Are There?  Thousands.  Thousands and Thousands.

If you would like to do your own investigating, here is a list of The 51 Best Education Podcasts. I cannot verify the list, but there are some good ones on there, for sure.

You can also do some searches by subject matter.  Here are a few lists I found:
HERE are some suggestions of some podcasts that I am familiar with.

Cross-Curriculum - These Podcasts really cover just about any subject matter, it just depends on the week.  It could be history, it could be science, it could deal with the Arts, it just depends on the subject...but some excellent shows. I'm just going to copy and paste the descriptions from the show's webpage.
  1.  Radiolab - Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.
  2. This American Life - There's a theme to each episode of This American Life, and a variety of stories on that theme. Most of the stories are journalism, with an occasional comedy routine or essay. There's lots more to the show, but it's sort of hard to describe.

Social Studies has a lot of really good ones.
Revisionist History - really interesting and well done by Malcolm Gladwell.
Dan Carlin's Hardcore History - this is a phenomenal podcast, but only for true History junkies.  And the episodes are REALLY LONG.
Stuff You Missed in History Class
Freakonomics Radio - interesting and fun show on economics.

Science Vs - This one is one of my personal favorites.  Just great stuff.
How Stuff Works
Star Talk Radio - hosted by Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Language Arts? - I am putting down here a few "fictional  podcasts", that use story telling.
-You can think of these as like Old Time Radio Programs.
Welcome to Nightvale - Very well done, and really creative.
The Black Tapes  - Kind of like an "X-files" sort of mystery and supernatural podcast.
Homecoming -self described as a "Psychological Thriller"
The Truth -describes itself as "movies for your ears".

Podcasts for Educators - here is a list of podcasts that are "Education based" by and for Educators.

And just for fun, because I love them, here is a list of some excellent "True Crime" Podcasts.
(these are just really good stories, that I have listened to.  Not sure how they could be used in an educational setting at all... I just like them.  More for personal enjoyment.)

Serial - Season One,  which focused on the murder of a High School girl in 1999, is amazing.
In The Dark - this podcast focused on the Jacob Wetterling case. 
Phoebe's Fall - An investigative podcast in the death of a young Australian woman.
Up and Vanished - a podcast that explores the unexplained disappearance of Tara Grinstead, a young teacher in a small town in Georgia.

There are podcasts for everything you can think of:  Gardening, Religion, Politics, Music, Health/Fitness, you name it...

There is just SO MUCH free content out there that can be used either as a resource, or as something that can be assigned... (like, listen to this podcast and write a reaction paper?) or things of that nature.

A quick warning.  As podcasts are simply audio files that are uploaded to the internet, they are NOT monitored by the FCC.  This will require you to listen to it, and verify that they are appropriate for use in the classroom.  I just don't want someone to attempt to play a podcast, and then have inappropriate language or something like that to pop up, out of the blue.  (Some of them are "radio friendly" some are not)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tuesday Technology Tips - Download Youtube videos

Greetings, I hope everyone had a great labor day weekend vacation.

Today's "Tuesday Technology Tips" is a helpful one, if you are a person who likes to show classroom videos from YouTube to your class!

One problem that happens occasionally, is that perhaps wireless signal is not working well, or perhaps the network is slow because of high traffic within the building.

However, you can eliminate all the "need" and/or "worry" about showing YouTube videos, by downloading them to your computer.

There are several free websites that can help you do this, and they all work basically the same.

Follow these steps:
1.  Go to the YouTube video you want to show and COPY the URL (Web address) of the video.

2. Go to your "preferred" YouTube download site.  (there are several)

(These are just a few)

3. PASTE the YouTube address in the appropriate Box on the site

4. Click on the "command" or "enter" or the button that is next to the Text-box... the site will then convert the YouTube video to a downloadable file.

5.  If you want to WATCH it as a video, you will want to select "MP4" format, and click "Download".

6. The file will download to your "download" folder...if you want to move somewhere else, you may do so, I would suggest placing them in your "Videos" folder, but that's me.  If you are just going to show it once, and then delete the file when you are done showing it... go ahead and place it on your desktop.

7. This will allow you to show the video in Windows Media Player or the Movies and TV App (if you have Windows 10).  Your video will run locally on your computer, and you won't have to rely on internet connection.  (This will also save on bandwidth while school is in session for other users)

There you go, that is all the steps you need.

Have a great Homecoming Week everyone!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tuesday's Technology Tips - Shut down your computer!

Greetings, and I hope the new school is finding everyone well.

I am attempting to revive my "weekly" blog post, where I share some helpful technology tips and things of that nature.

Up first, a relatively simple thing to do:  Shut down your computer!

Is it actually necessary?  The answer is... sometimes?

-without reading this, just know that the more programs, and files and things you open... it starts different processes within the computer, and many of them keep running, even after you close the program.

So, it's just good practice to shut your computer down at the end of the work day.  Your computer will start "fresh" each day.

It is NOT necessary to shut it down and restart it several times a day.  
-Start it at the start of the day, shut it down at the end of the day.

A few other reasons to "shut down" your computers.

1.  Our computers our connected to the Internet by the "Fortigate" software firewall installed by the state.  If you are logged in overnight, there is a chance that the Fortigate itself restarted overnight, and it will no longer see you as an authenticated user.  It will recognize "old" users as "guests" and many times... that means you will be blocked from websites that are normally open to teaching staff.

*This is why, most of the time, when teachers tell me "YouTube is blocked" or something like that, my first suggestion is always "restart your computer".  When you do that... you log in to the network fresh again, and your credentials are restored.  (This works approximately 92% of the time).

2.  Windows Updates.  Microsoft releases updates to it's windows machines periodically (normally on Tuesday's... it's sometimes called "Patch Tuesday").  These updates are generally good for your computer, resolve problems that were unforeseen when the software was issued, and often times contain security patches, that keep your computer safe.
-Many times, your computer will need to "restart" to install and configure the updates.
*I know they can be long (depending on the size of the update), and kind of a pain to wait for, but shutting down your computer at the end of the day, so computers can complete updates is good for the health of your computer.

So, to sum up... it's good to "shut down" every day, at the end of the day!
-It helps your computer to run faster (eliminates unnecessary processes)
-It helps your network connection (by authenticating to the server each day)
-It helps with the installation of updates.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Have a great summer!

Today is the "official" last day of the 2016-2017 School Year for the teaching staff.

Take some time to relax!
Here's hoping that everyone has a great Summer Break, and is able to enjoy some time with family, and participate in some great warm weather opportunities.

I will be in and out of the school during June and July.
I do have DDN-IT training in Madison June 5-8, so I will definitely not be in the office on those days.
I will also be coaching Basketball with Mr. Erickson at a few team camps, as well as working at our "Youth BB Skills Camp".
And of course, I will be running Marcus and Miles to a few basketball camps, as well.

However, if you need me to help you with something and you aren't sure when I'm in the office, feel free to e-mail or call.

The best way to contact me in the Summer is through e-mail: mark.harming@k12.sd.us, however if I am out of the office on that day, you can contact me on my Cell 605-651-1447.

Have a safe and fun Summer, and come back re-charged for 2017-2018!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Privacy and Phones - podcast

One of my very favorite podcasts in the world is called Reply All.

It is ostensibly, a podcast "about the internet", but they get into many, many different subjects.

Anyway, for the sake of investigation... one of the two co-hosts allowed the other to put "spyware" on a android phone, and then use that phone... to see what the other person could see, and what could they access.

It was really interesting, and worth your while to listen to, particularly if you are interested in security, and knowing what type of data is at risk when using an "infected" device.

Here is a LINK to the show page on the Gimlet website.
-You can listen to it directly on the page, or you can download it from there, as well.

Also, typically Reply All posts their shows on Soundcloud, but this episode hadn't posted when I wrote this blog post.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Good Technology Blog

One of the difficulties with working with Technology in the classroom, is trying to stay current.  There are always new apps, new websites, and new resources available.  It always seems as soon as you learn how to use something, it quickly becomes outdated, and there is something "new".  It can be difficult to "keep up" with new programs and ideas.

A few  years ago, at TIE conference, I was able to see Richard Byrne speak.  

He is a former teacher and a leader in the field of incorporating technology use into the classroom.

His Blog:  Free Technology for Teachers is a great resource for teachers of all grade levels.

There is a great deal of information on his blog, including apps for ipads, chromebooks, etc...

He updates the blog frequently, so I follow him on Twitter, as he posts on there whenever the blog is updated.

Hope this is a resource that can utilize to help you.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spruce up your Presentations

I am thinking most teachers can relate to this.

You have some notes to give, but you just don't want to use "PowerPoint" again.

OR, perhaps you have an assignment where you want the students to present some information, but you would like to try something new?

Well, for the sake of variety, perhaps you could use a different presentation application?

There are a number of online resources, out there.  Some of them incorporate video, some of them are for "booklets" or "magazines", some of them are for animation or comic strips.

The point is, there is a lot of different resources available, and by "mixing up" the variety of your presentations and/or assignments you can keep things a bit more fresh.

I am going to post a list of them below.
  1.  Google Slides "Google Drive" version of PowerPoint.
  2. Prezi - Interactive slide show
  3. Glogster - Poster Creator
  4. Go Animate - online animation resource
  5. Info.gram - creates graphics and Charts
  6. Issuu - creates online documents "magazines"
  7. Knovio - online presentations, with audio or video embedded?
  8. Metta.io - online presentations with Video... compatible with Google Drive
  9. SlideRocket - online presentations
  10. StoryJumper - create online Story Books
  11. SimpleBooklet - create online "Booklets"
  12. Storybird - create, read, and print Art inspired stories.
  13. StripCreator create and share comic strips
  14. ToonDo - create your own comic strips and comic books
  15. VoiceThread - create and share images with images, audio, and video
  16. Zentation - Presentation tool that brings together slides and video.
Note:  This is certainly not an "all-inclusive" list.  There are always new websites, and new ideas being implemented.  This is a just a list I had on hand.

ALSO:  Most of the sites are free, or have a free option.  It is possible that some of them are NOT free and that there is a charge for their service.

I haven't used them all, but I have had students who have used many of the sites discussed here for various products, and I have been very pleased when getting the results.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Time Flies ... Technology Changes

I saw this video about a year or so ago, and I thought it was quite good.

Enjoy "Kids React to Walkman"

When I was in HS (and early in college!) having a Walkman meant that you were cutting edge!
(Portable CD players did not become "common" until I was in college a few years)

It's funny to watch these kids look at this technology as something... well other than that.

A good reminder that while time is passing, the tools and devices we use are changing as well.  Don't be afraid to embrace something new!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Website to check for account hacks

I heard about this website yesterday while listening to a podcast.


It is a site that keeps track of some "major" data breaches from some major companies, and it will tell  you if your username or e-mail address has been hacked.

How to use the site:

It's a pretty simple site, to check if any of your accounts have been hacked.
(some websites give you a "username" some have you use an "e-mail address" as your username)

You just put your username in the box and click the button.

And then you get your results

If you are like me, you have a lot of different usernames and e-mail accounts that you have used throughout the years.

So, it is definitely a good idea to search for all your different usernames and e-mails.

What to do if they find a breach?

What this means is that your account information for that specific site (it lists all the sites that information was taken from) has been taken.  You should go to that account and change your password ASAP.

Where this could become a BIG PROBLEM is if you are a person who uses the same password for the majority of your accounts.  The hackers would now have your password for all the possible sites that you use that particular username/e-mail address with.

A word of caution

This website does not have a comprehensive listing of all the possible data breaches.  You could certainly get the "Good news - no pwnage found!" message, and some of your accounts could still have had a data breach.  It is just a tool to see that if some of the major/well known data breaches have reached any of your accounts.

Best Practices

  1. Use different passwords and credentials for every online account you have. (That way if there is a data breach it will only affect that one account.)
  2. The most effective passwords are random numbers, letters and symbols.
    1. Do NOT use your kids names
    2. Do NOT use your last name or Maiden name.
    3. Do NOT use anything that can be tracked to you, like your phone number, city, school attended, workplace, etc, etc...
    4. EXAMPLE:  g8xSy2Ji - would be an EXCELLENT password. It is completely random, and connects back to nothing.
  3. How to remember your passwords?
    1. I would recommend using a "password manager", such as LastPass.
      1. password manager is a software application or hardware that helps a user store and organize passwordsPassword managers usually store passwords encrypted, requiring the user to create a master password: a single, ideally very strong password which grants the user access to their entire password database.
      2. Here is an article on Password Managers, for more information
    2. If you don't want to use a Password Manager some ideas?
      1. Use a "base group" of random numbers letters  "g8xSy2Ji"
      2. Then, for each website make a Subtle Change...
        1. Examples:
        2. For Google:  g8xSy2JiG
        3. For Facebook:  g8xSy2JiF
        4. For Banking: Bg8xSy2Ji
        5. For Yahoo: Yg8xSy2Ji
  4. In addition... you should Change Your Passwords Every Year!  - just like the K12 data Center has us do with our K12 credentials.  I know it's a pain, but it's a good practice.
  5. Even if you follow ALL of these suggestions... it's possible that a hacker could cause a data breach of a site and steal your current data.  Which is why you should stay active in following the best practices.
I hope this doesn't scare anyone... it is meant to be informative, and hopefully serves as a reminder to stay vigilant in protecting your accounts and data!