Internet Travels

Of bits and bytes is my weekly round up of interesting links and ideas I discovered on the internet. It is published on Mondays for the previous week

Apps

While Figma, the interface design software, may not be well-known in the education space, it is very well known in the business space. So well known that Adobe is in the process of buying it for $20 billion dollars. That why their announcement making Figma free on all Chromebooks is such a big deal. Staff and students will be able to use Figma and Figjam (the collaborative whiteboard product) for free. And not just any level, but the $75/month enterprise level will be free. To get started or to check out what it offers, check out their education information page.

Adove Express competes against Canva for design, and Google is making it easier for students to use Adobe Express on their Chromebooks.

Chromebooks are getting several new features to help students. These include reading mode and image to text tools.

You can now use Google’s ‘smart chips’ to view non-Google data in Google Docs. Coincidentally enough, this data could be Figma designs.

Pedagogy

Mary Beth Hertz has a fascinated looking at the state of Edtech, “Edtech isn’t really a thing anymore. What used to feel new and shiny is just, well, teaching”. This past February one of my presentations at the Ohio Educational Technology Conference covered a little bit of the history of technology in schools. One fact that surprised me most was that it took about 30 years for pencil and paper to become commonplace in the classroom. And look at that, we’re right in the time now with relation to computers and the world wide web.

It’s amazing how many concepts and ideas that we think of as new have been around for awhile, here’s one on tools and jobs:

…the tendency of jobs to be adapted to tools, rather than adapting tools to jobs. If one has a hammer one tends to look for nails, and if one has a computer with a storage capacity, but no feelings, one is more likely to concern oneself with remembering and with problem solving than with loving and hating.

Erin digs deep into the design of areas and the use of tools, all of which has implications in our classrooms today.

Technology

Why are there fewer women in STEM subjects? Misconceptions play a large part. This reminds me of the launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Toys ‘R Us. The aisles were very segregated back in the mid 80s, you had a boy aisle and a girl aisle. The conundrum was, where do you put video games? Up to this point, everyone enjoyed playing video games, it wasn’t a boys thing or girls thing. Toys ‘R Us put the NES in the boys section, and it solidified the belief that video games were a boy thing. This is no longer true, there are more female owners of the Nintendo Switch than male, but it is also 40 years later.

RSS is dead, long live RSS. I’ve written ten articles so far on the glory of RSS and how I use it to stay on top of things. Yes, it takes a little bit to set up, but once done, signal to noise ratio is off the charts. Here’s an article and video on Getting started with an RSS reader.

Tips

Google posted 11 tips for Google Docs users. Unfortunately, some of the tips, such as the ones using custom building blocks, won’t be available to you.

If you’ve scanned QR codes with your iPhone, you’ve probably been a little irate at playing the game of clicking on the moving button to go to the website in the QR code. iOS 17 is going to fix that by fixing the button in the viewfinder so it doesn’t follow the QR codr.

Pot Pourri

What can we gain by blogging more? I write on the Eduk8.me website and then share that on social media and my email list. Not because it is easier, but because I want some control over my online presence. I can format the text, post links and pictures without worrying about some corporation’s changing things. If you start a blog, please send me the link!

Here’s a look at what music to listen to for focus and concentration.


Ryan Signature

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Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and join your fellow educators on the Eduk8me email list!