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  It always seems as soon as you learn how to use something, it quickly becomes outdated, and there is something "new".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!