Monday, May 04, 2015

#EdTechTidBits of the Week (April 27, 2015)

Here are your #EdTechTidBits for the week of April 27, 2015! A new programming app for the iPad, an educational game to teach Digital Citizenship, a Google Glass update, a lesson in reading the fine print, and a new Chrome extension. Read on!

Tickle for the iPad

Tickle for the iPad was officially released back in March and has had a few updates since then. Tickle is an app for the iPad that allows you to create Scratch like programs to control your robotic toys such as drones, Sphero, and your Philips Hue wireless light bulbs. You can also just create fun interactive programs. They have four free courses that you can access through the app to get started. Tickle is FREE for iPad users and would make a great addition to any programming class, makerspace, or any other classroom for that matter.

Digital Compass by Common Sense Media

Digital Compass is Common Sense Media's second educational game (it's first was Digital Passport). The goal of Digital Compass is to teach students about the consequences of their online decisions. Players can choose from eight different characters, each with their own "digital dilemma" in a choose-your-own-adventure format. The game includes a total of 9 endings, 23 decisions, and 32 paths which equates to 50 possible combinations. What I appreciate most about this game is that students do have the option to make bad decisions, but they learn the negative consequences of those decisions in the end and then they have access to a fun mini game to reinforce the learning. There is a free web-based version, Edmodo app, and iPad app (with Android coming soon!).

New Google Glass Patent
A few weeks ago I happened across Android Headlines tweet and article concerning a new Google Glass patent. Seems that the +Google Glass team might be looking to make some functional improvements to the device. I've been using and sharing a pair of the original Google Glasses for my school since March 2014 and continue to use it with students during events and projects. There is a great community of educators on Google+ that are sharing their efforts with Google Glass. Many thought that Google Glass had died, but its only just begun! The Google Glass Explorers program was merely a beta test.

Read the Fine Print for Microsoft's App

Were you recently suckered in to using that really cool new viral app called So were A LOT of other people and you probably still see their images as you scroll through your Facebook feed. But, this app provides a good lesson in reading the fine print and what motives lay behind the intent of an app. An article surfaced recently about the terms of service for which is owned by Microsoft Azure and there seems to be some contradiction in the site and the terms. If you visit the site, you'll see this clearly displayed on the homepage:

So, if you don't keep it then how are you able to copy,
distribute, reproduce and edit it for you own business gains?
However, if you read the terms of service, it clearly states that although they don't claim ownership of your images, they do have the right to "copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate, and reformat your Submission; to publish your name in connection with your Submission; and to sublicense such rights to any supplier of the Website Services." This seems to contradict the message on the site that states "We don't keep the photo."

Located in section Materials Posted on this Website, last paragraph.
I think this offers a great opportunity to speak with your students about the importance of reading those Terms of Service & Privacy Policies. This also lends itself to a deeper discussion about the hidden reasons and personal gain these apps offer for big businesses like Microsoft.

Password Alert, a New Chrome Extension by Google

Google recently released a brand new Chrome browser extension called Password Alert. Sometimes it can be very difficult to tell the difference between a phishing scam and a real website, so Google wants to help. This extension will warn you if are about to enter your Google account information into a possible phishing site. The extension is not storing your username and password for itself. Instead it is checking the website to determine if it is valid and legitimate.

If it determines that you did indeed enter your information into a bad website, it will give you the option to immediately reset your password. This extension for Chrome provides another great step in protecting your identity and personal information.

Thanks for checking out this edition of #EdTechTidBits of the Week! See you next week!

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