Wednesday, March 8, 2017

March is Reading Month: Create your own video/audio book library!

In honor of reading month, I recorded this short video of one of my favorite books to share with you all and your students.

video

If you would like to create your own video book library, like this video, here's how to get started.
Step 1: Pick out your book
Step 2: Get out your chromebook or PC with a Webcam attached
Step 3: Open a video recorder.  There are lots out there, but I used: The Video Recorder from 123apps.com
Step 4: Record your video.
Step 5: Watch it and rerecord if necessary.
Step 6: Save and/or download the video.
Step 7: Upload to a Google Drive folder that is shared with your students so they can all view the videos.
Step 8: ENJOY!

Classroom ideas...

  • Create a school-wide collection
  • Have older students record themselves reading books for younger students
  • Have family members record books for the classes
  • Too shy to be on video?  Just use the Voice Recorder instead.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Security: Strong Passwords = Safer Data

Let's be honest, we have all been guilty of poor password practices at some point in time or another.  Maybe you have kept a notebook on your desk with all your passwords, used the same password for "everything", used a simple password (ex: Winter2017) or kept your password on a sticky note next to your monitor.  Unfortunately, all these practices set us up for having our passwords compromised or stolen, and in return put our data at risk.

There are many things we can do to increase our security when online, including avoiding phishing scams.  In this post, we are going to focus on what makes a strong password.

What do I need to make a strong password?
When creating a strong password, it's recommended that we...

  • Have at least 8 characters
  • Include upper and lower case letters
  • Include numbers
  • Include characters, like ~!@#$%^&*_-+=`|\(){}[]:;"'<>,.?/
  • Avoid using words found in the dictionary
  • Avoid using your username as part of your password
  • Avoid predictable passwords (ex: Winter17), your kid's name, your favorite sports team, anything that someone could easily find on social media, etc.
  • Avoid passwords that are in succession (Example: GrumpyCat1!, GrumpyCat2!, etc.)
  • Avoid using private information in your password, including your full name, date of birth, address, mother's maiden name, social security number, phone number, etc.
  • Change them at least every 6 months
In PPS, our passwords must...
  • Have at least 8 characters
  • Include 3 of these 4 character types
    • Uppercase letters
    • Lowercase letters
    • Numbers (0 through 9)
    • Characters ~!@#$%^&*_-+=`|\(){}[]:;"'<>,.?/
  • Avoid including usernames as part of your password
  • Avoid using words found in the dictionary
  • Avoid using the same password that you use for your personal accounts
  • Be changed every 90 days - avoiding passwords that have been previously used
  • Need to change your PPS password?  Follow these directions and you will be off and running.

So, let's play a game (courtesy of Common Sense Media)
I'll pretend to be Abraham Lincoln.  I need to create a password for my email account.  The first password I come up with was: HonestAbe.  Fortunately, I remembered that using a password that uses my name/nickname is not a good idea.  Lots of people would guess that.  So, I give it another try and come up with: 4score-7yrsGbA.  This password is much better.   I'll be able to remember it because Four Score and Seven Years Ago (4score-7yrs) was the beginning of my famous Gettysburg Address (GbA). Success!

Keep it Safe!
Now that you have created a strong password, protect it by not sharing it, using it in multiple locations, or keeping it in a location that is easily located.

Enjoy this Video on Creating Smart Passwords by ConnectSafely.org


Monday, February 6, 2017

Chromebook Tech Tip: Help, the screen is sideways!

What’s Happening?

Your students are working away on their projects and all of a sudden, a kid brings their Chromebook up to you because they have somehow mysteriously flipped the image on the screen so it is now turned 90 or 180 degrees.  And like any good teacher, you are an expert at reading upside down (thanks to all those read alouds), but the kids haven't mastered that skill yet - unless, of course, they are trying to figure out the i-tunes password as their parents type it in.  So the question is... How do I turn the screen image back to the "normal" direction?

How do I fix it?

To turn the screen image, all you have to do is click three simple keys...
ctrl+shift+refresh button


Why does it do this?

There is a legitimate reason to flip your Chromebook screen.  For example, maybe you want to view something in portrait view so you can see the whole "sheet".  The rotate would be helpful for this, however, most of the time it is just annoying. 

Now if you really want to have some fun, click ctrl+shift+alt+refresh.  This will make your screen do a complete barrel roll.  Why, you may ask?  Because sometimes you just need to have a little fun.  Enjoy!