Friday, February 15, 2013

Spring Tech Visits

In about a week I get to start something this spring that I did in the fall.  I get to go out and visit the wonderful teachers of ESU7.  I enjoy going out on these “Technology Visits”.  If I can help one or two teachers in a building, I consider it a success. 

On these “Tech Visits” I sit in a common place, go to the teachers room, or wander for three hours.  Being new to the unit, eight months now, I am still getting to know the schools and some of the teachers in the districts.  Plus, I get to see what is going on with technology in the building I see. 

Teachers of ESU7 are doing amazing activities with their students and technology.  I enjoy seeing what they are doing and being able to share with others how they are using it.  This helps give them ideas of what they can do in their classrooms as well, and maybe take it to the next level or make it fit for them. 

It will be a nice change to be “out of the office” for two or three days a week.  It has been some time since the fall visits ended.  We are now on the backside of our accreditation visit, so look out schools of ESU7, we are coming for a visit.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Google+ Redo

There have been some changes to Google+ since the last time that I talked blogged about it.  Google+ is now available for education domains.  With this change, you are also allowed to have up to fifteen people in the hangout compared to ten on the personal side.  This could allow for bigger group tutoring sessions, on-line class offerings, and collaboration between many groups in the school.

On the education side there are some restrictions.  Students under thirteen (13) years old cannot have Google+ profiles.  Schools are still responsible for the safety and digital citizenship education of students.  Students can still hangout with those outside the domain, but they are the ones that have to initiate the hangout.  There are other restrictions that those managing the domain can restrict.

Another addition to Google+ is Communities.  These Communities are groups of people with something in common.   Communities can be public or private.  On the education side for classes, keeping the community private would allow only those in the class to participate in those discussions.  A teacher could create communities for each subject or class that they taught.  It would be similar to a “Fan Page” in Facebook.

I know of schools that have opened up Google+ for their teachers on their domain to see how it goes.  I think that this is a good way to get it going.  I can see uses for students, but there are conversations that will need to happen with administration and policies set before deployment to students.  Educating students on what to do and what not to do will be the key when opening up Google+ to the entire domain.