Thursday, May 23, 2013

Money As You Grow - 20 Things Kids Need to Know to Live Financially Smart Lives

Money As You Grow is an initiative of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability and has been selected by the American Library Association as one of its Great Websites for Kids!  The site breaks down financial literacy activities into five different age ranges ( 3-5, 6-10, 11-13, 14-18, and 18+).  Activities are available to help students understand money, finance, spending, protection, online safety, savings, credit, investing, and more.  Each area has multiple activities to help students become better stewards of their money.  With Money As You Grow, Teachers can download a free poster as well that helps to share the steps related to money at each age range.  See a sample of the poster below.  The steps that you see are also the topics that have activities associated with them.

The Science of Baseball

As a native of Louisville where the Louisville Slugger bat is crafted, baseball has always been a part of my past time.  From watching the St. Louis Cardinals to trading baseball cards I have always been a fan of the game.  From Exploratorium comes The Science of Baseball which allows users to test their fastball reaction time (requires Flash) or see what makes a home run (requires Shockwave).  There are also articles and other activities of interest related to baseball and science.  For history teachers there is also information about women in the game and other historical aspects of baseball.  For math teachers they provide statistical information that can be used to understand mathematical concepts.  If looking to make a lesson more relevant during the spring time period or bring a baseball lesson into the classroom on Opening Day, check out The Science of Baseball.

Gmail Search Gets an Upgrade

The image above is the winning doodle in the Google 4 Doodle Contest and thought I would share it here while also sharing some search changes in Google Gmail.  Google announced today that users will be able to see relevant emails, calendar events, Google Drive files and more (in the future) as they type a search query in their Google Gmail account.  The search feature will only be rolled out to English users at first and will be happening during the coming week.  Some users have already been using the feature as they opted in to the opportunity and from those users the trial period appeared to be a success.

The search feature works by providing users a drop down from the search bar with icons and information of different results from the predictive text of the search query.  You can see in the image below what it looks like.  Over time unification across various Google products appears to be the long term goal.

Top Charts in Google Trends

On the Google Official Blog today they announced the ability to track the most searched people, places, and things on a monthly basis.  Google does this at the end of every year with the Zeitgeist Reviews, which I wrote about in December, but are now making it available more often.  With Google Trends Charts users will be able to see what is hot right now, while also exploring the history and geography of a topic as it evolves.  Charts are available in over 40 different categories.  As a social studies teacher, the Google Trend Charts would provide relevant information about historical events and would provide interesting discussions in sociology and psychology classes.

Google Cultural Institute

The Google Cultural Institute is a must bookmark for any social studies teacher looking for primary sources of images and text from our history as Google helps to preserve and promote culture online.  The site provides a visually rich and interactive experience for telling stories in new ways.  Teachers and students can discover exhibits by expert curators, find artifacts, view photographs, read original manuscripts, watch videos, and more.

Users can explore various channels and collections while also researching different time decades and projects that the institute is currently working on.  In the future, users will be able to create their own exhibitions, therefore collecting the history of their home town.  To learn more about The Google Cultural Institute, see the video below.

Twitter Adds Two-Factor Authentication

If you are on Twitter then you are probably aware of the recent compromising of some big time Twitter accounts, the Associated Press in particular and other instances of phishing scams.  Users now have the option of having two-factor authentication through SMS to help protect their accounts from hacking and phishing scams.  If multiple people use one account (schools, school districts, athletics, classrooms, etc) it will only send the authentication to one phone number.

Two-Factor authentication works by allowing users to require the verification and each time you sign in a code will be sent to your phone which will be needed to access your account.  This is not EVERY time you sign in, but when it is a first time from a new device or computer.  To learn more, see the short video below.

Google Teacher Academy is Accepting Applications

In Chicago on July 24-25, Google will be hosting their next Google Teacher Academy.  This is a free opportunity for professional development for educators and it happens all over the globe, therefore providing an opportunity for more professional networking.  If your school or district is planning on utilizing Google Apps in Education then attending this conference would be a major plus.  Applications to attend must be submitted by June 10th.  Visit their application page to apply and visit Google Teacher Academy homepage to learn more.  

Educators who attend a Google Teacher Academy become Google Certified Teachers (GCTs). GCTs are:
  • Outstanding educators with a passion for using innovative technologies and approaches to improve teaching and learning.
  • Creative leaders who understand opportunities and challenges, and have a desire to help empower others in their local community and beyond.
  • Ambassadors for change who model high expectations, life-long learning, collaboration, equity, and innovation.
After the GTA, GCTs are expected to:
  • Develop a "Personal Action Plan" outlining a project they will complete
  • Lead at least three local professional development activities over the course of 12 months.
  • Successfully deploy one school on to Google Apps for Education.
  • Actively participate in the GCT online community.
  • Share the impact of their work with other Google Certified Teachers through mid-year and end-of-year reflection.
In addition to two free days of training, GCTs get:
  • Access to the GCT Online Community.
  • Opportunities to give feedback to Google on educational uses of tools.
  • Invitations to join Google at special events.
  • The right to post the GCT web badge on their website or blog.

State of Educational Use of Blogs 2013 Survey

Over at The Edublogger, which I have shared in my Found From my posts, is conducting a survey to learn how educators are using blogs and obtain a comprehensive resource on the the State of Educational Blogging.  Please visit her post and complete the survey if you are an educational blogger or use blogs for your teaching or within your school.  If you have students that are blogging, then please complete the survey. The survey does not take that long to complete and can be a very beneficial piece of understanding how blogs are being used now and in the future as this survey is made available each year.

To go directly to the survey, you can CLICK HERE.