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Students are Likely to Have an Unprecedented Level of Flexibility and Functionality in the Mobile-Enabled Higher Ed World of Tomorrow

The folks at Anagram Interactive have partenered with Radar.io to ask bloggers to share their perspective on the future of mobile apps. I've been tossing around a piece like this in my head for a while now, so I was totally up for it! What could the higher education experience look like if we more effectively embraced the smartphone? Some of the ideas offered here are feasible and functional today, but few schools have really leveraged them. Some of the ideas are more forward looking and have only been attempted in pilot programs (or not at all). Anyway, enjoy this little look at the possibilities, and please don't hesitate to share your ideas and feedback in the comments!

Hi, my name is Jenna. I attend Mobile Friendly University in Anytown, USA. Thanks to the many amazing ways my university leverages mobile technology, how I connect and interact with my courses, professors, and college administration is efficient, flexible, and even fun!

Students can attend all classes at MFU by coming to campus or by connecting remotely. If you miss a class, it has probably been recorded and made available for review. If not, there will be notes and materials online for your review. Of course, professors want students to come to class, and most often do, but if you can't make it, you can still participate and learn.

Here’s what one of my typical days looks like.

My smart watch wakes me by vibrating on my wrist (which is very roommate friendly, since my roomy is sleeping in a bit today and doesn't want to hear an alarm). I have an 8 AM Oral Comm class this morning but I’m still getting over a cold and it’s a long trek across campus, so I’m just gonna rest a little longer and watch, listen (on earbuds), and participate from my dorm room. I can engage with the professor through my class application and ask questions that I have. I can direct my questions to just the professor, or to the whole class, and often other students can answer the questions. We're assigned a two minute oral presentation for homework, which we are expected to record and upload in the threaded video discussion app that is used in the course. We all have to watch and critique two other student's speeches and provide feedback via video (which provides yet another opportunity to practice and demonstrate our oral comm skills and knowledge).

Next I have Calculus at 10:15 AM and I have to cross campus for that class. Before I head out I order a coffee from the Union using the store app, so I can just grab and go when I pass by – my coffee is fresh and hot when I get there, since they knew when I was nearby and prepared it just at the right time.

Last night, in preparation for today's class, I watched a couple short videos about Antiderivatives and Indefinite integrals on my phone, and had to answer some short questions in the app, intended to check my understanding of the topics. I kept struggling with one concept, and the app directed to me to additional materials and prompted me with new questions until I was able to show that I got the basic idea.

In class, as we worked on problems and broke out into small groups to spot check each other's work, the teacher worked the room, stopping to help students whose online feedback showed that they needed more help. Some of the students who mastered the material easily took time to help some of the other students who wanted help, while others went on to the next topic. Oh yeah, the teacher is German and doesn't speak English very well, but that's not a problem since we just use a translator app to hear instant, accurate translations in our ear buds.

My next class is one of my favorites – Chemistry. We get to use different mixed reality applications that let us get immersed in how molecules are formed and how they interact. Back when I was in high school, we had to strap on a bulky head set hard-wired to a desktop computer to power the Virtual Reality applications we used in some classes, but today's powerful smartphones and newer breed of apps lets us use just the phone and a pair of glasses that projects interactive 3D content right before your eyes. I love to see how things like Covalent bonding work by creating virtual chemical reactions that happen on-demand, right before my eyes. We can also use the glasses to record experiments that we do, both virtually and in the real-world, as we experiment with chemistry in daily life (like last weekend when, as part of an assignment, I prepared a marinade for chicken and explained how the chemistry of the sauce helps to break down the meat!).

After the Day's Classes

After Chemistry I headed back to my room. My facilities app alerted me that there were washing machines open downstairs, so I went ahead and dragged some laundry down and threw a load in. While I was waiting, I checked my phone to see if the lastest “care package” has arrived from home (my Mom's chocolate chip cookies are just the best!). Yay, it's here! I'll have to stop by and grab it after my clothes are done. I checked my Mom's whereabouts to see if I could call her, but it she was in a meeting, so dropped her a quick “thank you, got it, love you!” video.

Later, on my way over to the dining hall, one of my favorite songs started playing on my phone to let me know that my best friend Marissa was nearby! I buzzed her and let her know I was headed over to eat too and then she turned the corner and yelled my name. During dinner she mentioned that she got alerted that Moondance and the Grave Diggers, a great funky little acoustic group we liked, was playing an early show at one of the bars in town and we decided to go check it out. We set an appointment to be picked up at 6:30 PM. Those self-driving cabs are so convenient!

While we were listening to the band, I suddenly remembered that my Academic Advisor had reached out through the campus app to ask me to give her a buzz. When the band took a break, I sent a quick chat request, and a few minutes later, there she was on my screen. We set up an appointment to discuss my schedule for the next term and make sure I was taking the best sequence of courses to keep me on track to graduate on time. She explained that her office had moved and gave me a link to the new building and room so my phone could direct me right to it.

After the show, I wanted to review what we are working on in Calculus, so I asked my phone to open the MFU Study Buddies app and find any classmates who were nearby and might want to get together in the library, as well as anyone who might want to join us virtually. A little while later, a few of us where talking Calculus in a comfortable sitting area, while a few others joined us on screen on one of the display consoles located throughout the library.

My Mom likes to tell me about how things we so different back when she went to college, before the smartphone. You had to find someone to clue you in if you missed a class, course materials were rarely available online, and you sometimes got stuck with graduate Teaching Assistants that you could hardly understand. If you wanted to get together with your friends you had to arrange it by making a bunch of phone calls or using email. If you wanted to go into to town you had to walk or find someone to give you a ride. Homework was often hand-written, making it very hard to edit, and impossible to back up. You couldn't really even tell what your grade was in a lot of classes until the professor told you at midterm, or after the course was done! I am so grateful for the ease and convenience that modern mobile apps have made possible.

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The Flipped Learning Network is Having Two Interactive Online “Pillar Parties” in March!

When the Flipped Learning Network published their official definition of Flipped Learning, it was accompanied by a formal break out of the “F-L-I-P Pillars”. These 4 constructs provide a foundation for deeper exploration of flipped teaching and learning.

In March of 2018, the Flipped Learning Network is offering two online sessions based around these pillars. The sessions will feature internationally recognized Flipped Learning Advocates Kate Baker, Helaine Marshall, Matthew T. Moore, Katie Lanier and Ken Bauer (other flipped luminaries are likely to be joining us as well). I will be the host for these sessions.

These sessions will be held on the fun, interactive Shindig platform (I've written about Shindig here a few times). We'll be online for 3 hours (from Noon to 3 PM EST), with two presentations from our flipped learning experts, and a lot of time for attendees to join in on the conversation, and even come up “on stage” (if you wish) to share observations, feedback, questions, etc., with all participants. It is sure to be an engaging, informative, and fun event!

The workshops cost $30 (for each day) and this fee helps to support the not-for-profit Flipped Learning Network (thank you!).

Learn More and Register Here: https://flippedlearning.org/party
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Inspiring, informative, useful, or just plain fun tweets posted on Twitter over this past week … collected here to share with our blog readers.

This week in the wrap, we start off with an announcement of two online events taking place on the first and last Saturdays in March. I will be hosting two flipped learning events on the interactive Shindig Platform on behalf of the Flipped Learning Network, and I hope you'll come join us and support the not-for-profit FLN! Also in the wrap this week, we have three resources focus on learning math, and a great interview with “Spark Learning” author and educator Ramsey Musallam. We wrap the wrap with a few pieces that are resonating in the national headlines right now. I wrote about Astroturfing and media manipulation last year and now we see the reality of these concepts playing out at a national level as the U.S. accuses Russia of engaging in them. We need to help students be aware of these deceiptful practices that are impacting what they see in social media and on “news” sites.

The Flipped Learning Network in throwing two online ‘Pillar Parties'! We hope you'll join us for interactive exploration of the F-L-I-P pillars with internationally recognized #FippedLearning Experts, online Sat, 3/3 & 3/31!
https://flippedlearning.org/flipped-learning-network-pillar-parties/

Schoology has created a “Global Digital Citizenship Challenge”, encouraging educators to build and use resources for creating better digital citizens
https://www.schoology.com/digcit

“When am I ever gonna use this?” 79 Math In “Real Life” Lessons from FreeTechforTeachers
http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2018/02/79-math-in-real-life-lessons.html

What your most-used emojis say about your personality and #bossbabe ways
https://www.wellandgood.com/good-advice/what-your-favorite-emojis-say-about-you/

There is a lot to be concerned about here … “Tech Companies Are Buying Their Own Education Research. That's a Problem”
https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/02/07/tech-companies-are-buying-their-own-education.html

Putting the fun back into maths with Zapzapmath
https://www.digitalnewsasia.com/startups/putting-fun-back-math-zapzapmath

It was great interviewing @ramusallam for the “Early Adopter” feature in new #flippedlearning newsletter, & learning how to motivate Ss to _want_ to learn by creating “tension between what they know and what they don't know”
https://flt.flippedlearning.org/flipped-educator-interviews/early-adopter-ramsey-musallam/

The Matific Math Games is your chance to increase math scores, encourage a growth mindset in math (& win your share of more than $50K in cash & prizes)!
https://www.matific.com/us/en-us/matificgames/warmup

In closing, here's … Two great posts to explore w/Ss next week, to help them recognize devious media practices like those bought to light re: Russian meddling: “Peeling back the layers …” & Astroturfing
http://www.emergingedtech.com/2017/08/get-to-truth-behind-news-sources/
http://www.emergingedtech.com/2017/11/how-theyve-been-using-the-web-to-manipulate-us-part-1-astroturfing/

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I am honored and excited to be delivering the Saturday Keynote at this conference, coming up June 29th and 30th in Collingswood, NJ! It has been a real pleasure representing the Flipped Learning Network and partnering with Collingswood High School to get this new breed of flipped learning conferences up and running. We hope to do more FlipTech conferences in the future (in fact, we're looking for a school on the west coast that wants to partner with the FLN to do one – click here to reach out if interested).

And we're starting off right – with flipped learning pioneer (and all-around education rock star and great guy) Aaron Sams delivering the opening Keynote on Friday morning!

We hope you'll come join us this summer in New Jersey for two days of interactive learning, networking, and fun!

Check out the Agenda for FlipTech 2018 EC here (a full breakout schedule will follow in March):
http://fliptech.flippedlearning.org/ Register here: 
http://fliptech.flippedlearning.org/fliptech2018ec-registration/
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Inspiring, informative, useful, or just plain fun tweets posted on Twitter over this past week … collected here to share with our blog readers.

This week in the wrap … a couple interesting pieces on Virtual Reality in education (VR is deep into the 'emerging' stage in education), also a lot of focus on cyber security (I know this isn't a fun topic, and it is more “tech ed” than “ed tech”, but I am passionate about raising awareness, so I hope you don't mind! ), a reminder about the vital importance of soft skills (which reminds me – this would make a good series of fresh posts, purposely connecting these soft skills to the ways in which technology is increasingly being used as a tool associated with soft skills like writing, oral comm, creativity, and collaboration), a rich piece on tech and higher ed from thought leaders via EDUCAUSE, and more!  

Virtual Reality for Learning Raises High Hopes and Serious Concerns
https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/02/08/virtual-reality-for-learning-raises-high-hopes.html

Soft Skills are Vital! RT @Larryferlazzo: Great Infographic: “You're Hired: The Skills Employers Seek in New Hires”
http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2018/02/08/great-infographic-youre-hired-the-skills-employers-seek-in-new-hires/

Technology and the Remaking of Higher Education: A Longer View
https://er.educause.edu/articles/2018/1/technology-and-the-remaking-of-higher-education-a-longer-view

Interesting article and animated infographic about Virtual Learning Environment successes in the UK and elsewhere
https://essaywritingserviceuk.co.uk/blog/virtual-reality-learning/

77 Facts About Cyber Crimes One Should Know In 2018 (Infographic)
https://bestvpns.co.uk/facts-about-cyber-crimes/

Can ODEM use blockchain technology to connect teachers with students without the intermediary costs?
https://marketscale.com/industries/education-technology/watch-blockchain-revolutionize-education-company-thinks/

Higher ed IT experts point to security breaches as ‘inevitable' — EDUCAUSE report
http://edscoop.com/it-higher-ed-experts-point-to-security-breaches-as-inevitable-educause-report

Digital literacy programs’ prioritization in schools urged
https://news.mb.com.ph/2018/02/11/digital-literacy-programs-prioritization-in-schools-urged/

@EdSurge streaming a live discussion from SWSX Austin on March 6: ‘EdSurge Live’ Discussion On Future of VR in Higher Education
https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-02-09-join-our-edsurge-live-discussion-on-future-of-vr-in-higher-education

Teaching Cybersecurity: Hartford Emphasizes Computer Science Education, Training
http://www.vnews.com/Hartford-Area-Career-Center-Cybersecurity-Class-15073651

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Writing assignments are an essential part of student life and polishing your skills is important. Writing can be time consuming, as a lot of thought goes into it. This is where online tools can come be a huge help. From correcting your grammar to finding cliches to organizing your work, these tools can simplify your life and improve your efficiency. This post throws light on 8 such tools.

1. Cliché Finder

As the name suggests, this tool helps you find clichés in your writing. In order to be able to attract readers, your content must be unique and attractive. What sets your work apart from that of others is its originality. Using words or phrases that are too commonly used could by writers could reduce the readers' interest in your work. Thus, this tool helps you find out clichés so that you can edit them. Use this tool to create content that garners readership.

Source: https://www.guidingtech.com/22968/free-online-tools-writers/

2. Todoist

This tool is like a project manager. It creates to-do lists with expected date and time of accomplishment specified clearly. Todoist can be used to create customized schedules for each day. Thus, writers use this app extensively to monitor their daily writing goals. Todoist acts as the perfect task manager that lets you schedule your writing regime as per your convenience. It also keeps track of progress of the write-ups that you are currently working on.

Source: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.todoist

3. Writing Schedule Calculator

This tool requires you to answer certain questions. Based on your answers, writing Schedule Calculator estimates the number of hours or days you would need to finish your writing assignment. Whether you wish to write a book or start a blog, this tool helps you plan your project well. The tool takes into account the number of hours you can devote to writing a day and your writing speed as well. The estimate is accurate and lets you decide on a reasonable deadline.

Source: https://www.jerryjenkins.com/schedule-calculator/

4. Grammarly

A proofreading tool is a must-have for all writers. Grammarly is one such multipurpose writing tool. It helps you find grammatical errors and also incorrect spellings. Its web extension corrects everything written in your web browser, including social media posts. The tool is user-friendly and is a fast method to rid your work of any errors. This one is highly recommended to budding writers.

5. Draft

Draft is an alternative to Microsoft Word and Google Docs. It is a web-based word processor that offers a distraction free interface to its users. It has many likeable features which include sharing your work with others and accepting or rejecting edits made by them. You need not worry about losing data on Draft. Your work is backed up online. Draft also keeps a track of your daily word count goal. It calculates the number of words you write in a day. In case the word count for the day is lesser than needed, it sends helpful reminders urging you to meet your goal. Isn’t that amazing?

Source: https://draftin.com/

6. Hemingway

Hemingway is one of the most widely used tools in the world of writing. This tool helps you to learn to write effectively. It highlights complex sentences, based on the level of complexity. It also lets you know the number of adverbs used in your content as compared to ideal number of adverbs to be used. It studies the use of passive voice in your writing to suggest paraphrasing sentences, if need be. Hemingway is the one-stop solution for novices. It helps you make your writing more readable.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/3026703/learn-to-write-like-papa-with-the-hemingway-app

7. Plagiarism Checker

Original content is most valued. While you may seek inspiration from the work of other writers, it is important that you produce original content. Plagiarism is considered as a grave offence in the world of writing. Duplicating someone else’s work without giving due credit is unacceptable. Thus, make sure you run a plagiarism check before posting your work online. This tool helps you identify plagiarized portions in your writing, within seconds. You can then paraphrase those sentences and replace them with your own words. 100% originality means that no plagiarism was detected in your work. This is what you must aim at, as a writer.

Source: https://www.bloggertipstricks.com/online-plagiarism-checker-tools.html

8. Hipster Sound

This is one of my personal favorites. Writing is an art. And every artist needs a specific type of environment to be able to function efficiently. If you are the type of writer who likes to write with ambient noise playing in the background, you will love this tool. Hipster sound recreates the noise in cafes. It gives you the feel and experience of working in a café, even on days you’re unable to step out of your home. This helps in increasing efficiency. Wait no longer. Check this cool website out now.

Source: http://www.ilovefreesoftware.com/27/webware/8-free-background-sound-generator-websites-ambient-sound.html

Author Bio:

Bella Williams

As an academic researcher & private tutor, Bella guides the new age professionals and students with their career. A graduate from Monash University, Bella organizes free coaching workshops for Assignment Provider and promotes free sharing of knowledge.

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As long as there has been public education, there have been efforts to improve and reform it. With the current educational landscape being rapidly improved by technology, keeping up with the latest innovative education practices become critical.

One of the recent reforms, next generation learning, began in 2012. It was conducted by an organization called the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC). According to the reformers, they called the next big ideas in education “Next Generation Learning,” because they believed these ideas could finally deliver an innovative system that works for every student.

This project was conducted for three years, and the organization invested in a number of ‘nextgen' educational models that differed from traditional school or college degree programs.

Did the project produce anything significant? How did the educators measure the success of innovative practices? Find the answers to these questions below.

The Essence of the NextGen Project

NGLC challenged educators in a number of schools to come up with methods that integrated elements of innovative learning approaches, including:

  • Competency-based Learning. This approach eliminates learning based on credits and seat time and allows to advance based on mastery of a content provided by educators.
  • Student-centered Learning. An approach that addresses distinct needs, interests, backgrounds, and aspirations of individual students and groups of students.
  • Blended Learning. An approach known for extensive use of technology that enables flexibility in time, pace, and place.
  • Personalized Learning. An approach that individualizes learning for every student based on particular needs, interests, goals, and strengths.
  • Deeper Learning. An approach that focuses on fostering effective communication, critical thinking, self-directed learning, problem-solving, and collaboration in the classroom.
How Do Next Generation Educators Measure Success?

After three years into the project, NGLC has released a report called Measures That Matter Most: How Do Next Generation Educators Measure Success? In 2016 to provide the public with the features of nextgen schools and methods how they transformed the educational strategy. This strategy has been welcomed by nextgen supporters since publication printing is an excellent way to raise awareness of the new strategy and demonstrate evidence-based results.

The cover of the NGLC report on the Nextgen project

Before we review the methods of how educators measured success of innovative practices, let’s see what schools took part in the project by NGLC. The following data represents the structures of the schools of the future.

1. Management

According to the report, nextgen schools were managed by:

  1. Charter-School Management Organizations (CMO) (50 percent)
  2. School District (24 percent)
  3. Single Charter (18 percent)
  4. Other (8 percent).

2. Models

The next important aspect is the innovative models employed by the schools to conduct nextgen learning. The results provided by the report are as follows.

As you can see from the graph, the most popular strategy was personalized learning (18 percent), followed by blended learning (14 percent) and project-based learning (12 percent). On the other hand, the least popular approach was gamified learning, used by only 1 percent of the schools participating in the survey.

3. Measurement of Innovations by Stakeholder

To find out how nexgen educators knew their innovations were working, they survey asked them how they measured innovation by stakeholder. The answers revealed a wide range of both traditional and non-traditional methods, as seen on the next image.

This finding can be explained by the fact that nextgen movement has just started. “It’s okay that the terms are messy right now,” says Frank Porter, an educational researcher from write-my-essay-for-me.com. “It’s a natural part of the process.”

4. Measurement of Performance by Time Period

Another important factor that defined how nextgen teachers measured success of innovative practices was time. The NGLC was interested in finding out whether they considered success in either short- and long-term measures. According to the results, an even split was found in time period, demonstrating that the innovators appreciated both short- and long-term measures of success. The complete data is presented in the graph below.

The Takeaways from the Report

The report on measuring nextgen practices provided a lot of interesting information, so let’s summarize relevant findings:

  • Nextgen educators focus on measurement and use a wide variety of evidence-based data collection techniques and assessment strategies
  • Nextgen educators are increasingly supplementing conventional assessments
  • While still using traditional conventional measures of critical thinking and content knowledge, nextgen educators begin to incorporate innovative ones.
  • Validated performance tasks, evaluation of support programs, student badging, and student longitudinal data are the measures identified as methods considered by educators for the future.

If you want to find out about tools for measuring success, you can find them in case studies of particular schools in NGLC site.

The Bottom Line

The report demonstrated that nextgen learning revolution is in progress, so it may be a good time to adopt this strategy. Many educational organizations support nextgen practices, and they encourage educators to select a methodology that works for them and their students.

At this point, it is apparent that nextgen is capable of creating powerful learning experiences and productive learning environments by focusing on backgrounds and interests of students, so it is an effective method to accelerate growth.

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Inspiring, informative, useful, or just plain fun tweets posted on Twitter over this past week … collected here to share with our blog readers.

This week in the wrap … instilling grit through flipped learning, strategies to promote curiosity in learning (such a vital element of the effort to encourage students to take ownership of their learning!), learn how to create your own Google Expeditions, explore the “Periodic Table” of Virtual and Augmented Reality apps (be sure to click through to explore the ThingLink based image), can blockchain be used to connect students and teachwers without the intermediary costs?, and more to explore!

How Flipping the Classroom can Instill Grit in Generation Z Learners
https://www.fenews.co.uk/featured-article/16000-how-flipping-the-classroom-can-instill-grit-in-generation-z-learners

Add Live Polls and Q&A to Your PowerPoint Slides
http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2018/01/add-live-polls-and-q-to-your-powerpoint.html#.WnXLRainHb0

10 Strategies To Promote Curiosity In Learning
https://www.teachthought.com/learning/10-strategies-to-promote-curiosity-in-learning/

Amazon is quietly becoming its own university
https://qz.com/1191619/amazon-is-becoming-its-own-university/

F-L-I-P Training Series Pt. 2: Flexible Environment & Learning Culture
https://flippedlearning.org/syndicated/f-l-i-p-training-series-flexible-environment-learning-culture/

Create Your Own Google Expeditions
http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2018/01/create-your-own-google-expeditions.html#.WnXLoainHb0

Interesting chart of the Bias-leanings of dozens of news sources
https://kek.gg/i/35Hrrg.jpg

Education And A Tech Workforce Need Collaboration To Thrive
https://siliconslopes.com/education-and-a-tech-workforce-need-collaboration-to-thrive-3c7aec546390

Trump’s Vision for Vocational Education Gets a Tepid Reception
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/us/politics/trump-vocational-education.html

Higher ed IT experts point to security breaches as ‘inevitable' — EDUCAUSE report 
http://edscoop.com/it-higher-ed-experts-point-to-security-breaches-as-inevitable-educause-report 

Can ODEM use blockchain technology to connect teachers with students without the intermediary costs?
https://marketscale.com/industries/education-technology/watch-blockchain-revolutionize-education-company-thinks/

Periodic table of Apps for #AR and #VR by ICTEvangelist
https://www.thinglink.com/scene/1010577192335179779

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What are Your Favorite Sources for High Quality, Free Images?

I often need to find a good quality image to use for a post here on the site, and have similar needs when working on course design. Educators often have use for high quality pictures and graphics. There are two favorite sources I want to share.

These two free image sources also happen to be “CC0” license (Creative Commons “No Rights Required” licensing), which means attribution isn't even required. (Click here to learn more about Creative Commons licensing if you are not already familiar).

Pixabay (https://pixabay.com/)

I've been using Pixabay for years. Tons of excellent free photos and graphics. I am so appreciative of this outstanding, easy to use content source. They have pictures, illustrations, vector graphics, and even videos.

Pikwizard (https://pikwizard.com/)

Pikwizard focuses on pictures (as opposed to graphic images, which you can find lots of in Pixabay). I've only just recently learned on Pikiwizard, but so far, so good!

Another advantage of “CCO” licensed images is that you can do whatever you want with them – edit them, use them commercially, etc., etc.

If you have the occasional need for free, no-attribution-required images and pictures, these two sources are likely to meet your need.

Of course, we'd love to hear from you if you know of similar sites. Don;t hesitate to drop a comment and share!

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January 28th is “Data Privacy Day”. We need to make more of an effort to make students aware of the implications of the lack of privacy they seem so comfortable with. 

So many of us, young and old alike, are increasingly comfortable sharing so much about ourselves online, and opening our homes to devices that listen and watch. Yet these practices make as targets. Targets for astroturfing aimed specifically at people with our likes, interests, and demographics. Targets for bad actors to try and take advantage of in many different ways. Targets for federal, state, and local law enforcement to potentially listen and watch, often because of mistaken assumptions or because of someone we may have associated with (a neighbor, old friend, relation) that may or may not be up to something legally questionable.

As a society, and as educators, we need to help students simply by a little more aware of this. Today's young students are growing up in an unprecedented age of digital technology impact, and society absolutely must be aware and engaged in the dialogue about the implications of these rapid changes. Governments and corporations will only advocate for or consider constraints for the sake of safety when they are compelled to do so through the voices of their constituents and customers. That conversation can't happen if we just don't know, or don't care.

I'm looking to frighten kids, by any means, but to carefully get them thinking. The trendy new interactive digital toys they can talk to can potentially be listened to by people they've never met. Parents need to know this and consider it, and demand better security controls from product manufacturers. And those ubiquitous smart phones in younger and younger hands bring with them many similar challenges.

This isn't a fun or simple issue. But the more we know, the better equipped we are to consider the way forward, and teach students to exercise a some caution, and consider how what they do with these devices can have unexpected results.

Here are some great resources from StaySafeOnline.org that have been made available to learn more about data privacy:

Resources from StaySafeOnline.org: https://staysafeonline.org/resources/

Tips for Parents on Raising Privacy-Savvy Kids (good for educators to look over as well):
https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/managing-your-privacy/tips-parents-raising-privacy-savvy-kids/

Let's be careful out there (and teach our kids to be careful too)!

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