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

AI is coming to the Google Apps in a big way. Google is testing generative art in Google Slides, letting you create images directly in the app. Writing features are also coming to Google Docs and Gmail.

Google Chrome version 114 has been released and there are several new features of note. One of the nicest updates is moving the menu for extensions to the main menu. I didn’t like having to dig for it. Google is also going in big with using a sidebar for content and options. It will be interesting to see how web developers us it.

If you are still running Windows 8 or 8.1 and using the Google Drive app, it is past time to upgrade. Microsoft has already ended support for the operating systems, and now Google is ending support for Google Drive. I would recommend replacing Windows with Google’s FlexOS which would make the computer a ChromeOS device.

Pedagogy

Larry Ferlazzo posits that the one doing the talking is the one learning, so what are the implications when the teacher does all of the talking? The focus of the article is on ELL students, but a lot of the article is relevant to most classrooms.

Peter Greene looks at psychologist Russell Barkley’s take on how kids grow up:

You do not get to design your children.

Nature would never have permitted that to happen. Evolution would not have allowed a generation of a species to be so influenced by the previous generation. It hasn’t happened and it doesn’t happen and it especially doesn’t happen in children.

A fascinating look at what makes a person who they are.

For those teachers that are apprehensive about students and AI, Larry Ferlazzo fights fire with fire. The writing prompts created by AI are just ok, and that’s a big tell about AI writings. It can’t create anything that hasn’t been written before and a lot of what it produces is just ok.

Technology

I have a love/hate relationship with Google Chrome Extensions and part of the hate problem is malicious extensions. About once a month I’ll have a help desk request from a staff member where they’re having issues with Google Chrome and the cause is an extension. And a majority of the time it’s an extension for editing or converting PDFs. This happens even though LuminPDF is available for all of our staff (and is free for staff and students).

Tips

Two features of Google Docs that I’m also starting to implement are pageless view and Smart chips. In fact, I just learned that you can use a Smart chip to set a timer or stop watch directly in a Google Doc!

We don’t do virtual meetings like we used to, but Google is still adding features to Google Meet, and this week Google focused on picture-in-picture mode.

Google is desperately trying to catch up with OpenAI’s ChatGPT with Bard, and this week Google continues work on Bard with more accurate responses and an export to Google Sheets. I still feel like I spend way too much time fact-checking any of the AI responses…

Pop Culture

Last week I mentioned that the US Surgeon General has started to raise the concern that social media may be hazardous to teen’s health. This week a Maryland school raised the ante by suing Meta, Google, and TikTok over ‘mental health crisis’.

Pot Pourri

How is AI going to change things? The meaning of our writing and what it means to create is going to be upended. Wal-mart has taught us that most people don’t want the best, they just want something good enough. And that’s what is currently created by AI, writing that is good enough. It will get better, and when “good enough” becomes “best” what happens then?

Blogging isn’t the shiniest tool on the internet, but is still a very important aspect of the World Wide Web. I wholeheartedly agree that everyone should blog. Unfortunately, there are beliefs that keep some from blogging. I would love to follow your blog if you start, so let me know the address of the site when you do!

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!