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

Google has added a new feature to Google Docs, the ability to automatically add line numbers. Before you get excited about reliving your days of programming in BASIC, today line numbers are used in professional settings to make it a lot easier to point a reader to a specific line in a document.

The newest version of Chrome, 115, is released and here’s what’s new. The biggest addition is probably Reading Mode, making it easier to read web pages, especially when they’re heavy laden with ads. Chrome 115 also adds the search sidebar, making it easier to search the web.

Pedagogy

Need help with motivating yourself or your students? Here are a few ways to re-ignite the spark. I love how they touch on the use of a growth mindset to help build intrinsic motivation.

Although I’m not very good at it, I am very much a believer in storytelling in the classroom. Nicholas Provenzano of The Nerdy Teacher tackles story telling in the elementary classroom with Adobe Express. Although he uses Adobe Express in the examples, nothing it stopping you from using Canva or other multimedia tools in your classroom storytelling. The use of storytelling is also used in the corporate world.

Why do students not like to read? Nancy Bailey goes through a list of reasons you may not think about. At least in Ohio her second reason, the requirement that students be retained in the third grade if they’re not reading on level, has been changed this past year. Now students can still be advanced to the fourth grade even if they aren’t on level. The school district will still be required to provide intensive reading instruction to the student.

Are you teaching math in K-5 and want a list of sites to engage your students in “joyful math play”? Sam Shah has you covered. Not only does the list include online games, but also mentions a few books that may be helpful to teaching math.

Technology

After the release of ChatGPT, a plethora of sites that would try to identify AI generated text were released. Most of them weren’t very good, and even the creator of ChatGPT, OpenAI, is giving up and trying again at identifying AI generated texts. The problem appears to be harder than it appears, and now it’s looking like neurodivergent people may write a lot like AI.

Technology is supposed to make us more productive, but is it? The article looks into the issues with measuring productivity along with framing the timeline of advancements. The bottom line is that even though the issue of measuring productivity is complicated, those that can use technology are going to “win the productivity race”.

Google Chromebooks follow an Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date, a schedule on how long a Chromebook will receive updates. Apparently some rather larger districts didn’t get the memo and are now whining about having to throw out Chromebooks after only a few years. Another article has the scary headline Built-In ‘Death Date’ Renders School Chromebooks Useless. In 2020 Google extended the period for updates from 6.5 years up to 8, which is plenty of time to buy a Chromebook and get as much use out of it until it is either too slow or damaged beyond repair. The key piece of information to know is that the end date of the is set when the Chromebook is released, not sold. If you are buying some cheap Chromebooks, the reason they are cheap could be because they are approaching their end of life. Some districts did not understand the assignment and now have machines no longer getting updates after a few years.

Tips

I’ve read a lot of articles about how to search the internet, but this is the geekiest.

Pop Culture

I’m always amazed at the breadth of content being created on the internet, and this video covering the history of Pencil Sharpeners does not disappoint.

Pot Pourri

Here’s a brilliant idea, standardizing badge sizes as hexagons, making them easier to put on your laptop or wall as stickers, giving them a nice aesthetic.

Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker’s How to Spot an Idiot commencement speech at Northwestern is genius:

The best way to spot an idiot? Look for the person who is cruel.

… When we see someone who doesn’t look like us or sound like us, or act like us, or love like us or live like us, the first thought that crosses almost everyone’s brain is rooted in either fear or judgment or both. That’s evolution.

We survived as a species by being suspicious of things that we aren’t familiar with. In order to be kind, we have to shut down that animal instinct and force our brain to travel a different pathway. Empathy and compassion are evolved states of being. They require the mental capacity to step past our most primal urges.

I’m hear to tell you that when someone’s path through this world is marked with acts of cruelty, they have failed the first test of an advanced society.

…the kindest person in the room is often also the smartest.

Full speech available here. Fun fact, the idea of the speech came from The Office and a Dwight Schrute quote. Steve Carell, the actor who play Michael Scott, was in the audience celebrating the graduation of his daughter.

Extra Credit

Here are extra links that I found interesting that may or may not be education related or interesting to you and I didn’t want to lose them.


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