Posts tagged Google
Billings 7th and 8th graders use Google Apps for Edu regularly to communicate with peers and faculty. The Calendar service allows us to keep track of athletics, trips and community events. Docs provides free document and spreadsheet editing and publishing. Sites are used for student, faculty and class homepages.
Today we added a new service to the Google suite: Aviary. Aviary is an online editing suite for sound recording, graphics and vectors. 7th grade students spent Tech this week playing with the new tools – creating custom t-shirt designs, remixing beats and mocking up album covers for an iCLAST identity project.
Our mission: to figure out if these tools are intuitive enough and robust enough to use regularly. While these online offerings aren’t as powerful as their software counterparts (Photoshop, Garageband, Illustrator), they are free and accessible from home/school/library/anywhere with an internet connection.
So far so good, we’ll keep testing and report our findings in future posts.
Billings students: to access Aviary, log in to Google Apps. In the top left corner you’ll see “Documents Calendar Sites more.” Select “more” and then “Aviary” from the dropdown list. Enjoy.
7th grade time in the lab is split between two lessons today – bridged by digital identity:
1. OK GO is a band that became popular through some awesome YouTube videos. Instead of signing a recording contract and spending millions on advertising, they made a couple of low-budget, hilarious films and posted them online. The videos were so popular that they got signed by EMI. You can see the famous “treadmill” video (more than 49 million views) at YouTube because embedding has been disabled at the request of the record label.
The band recently made a new video and posted it on their website for all their fans, but EMI (the record label) was not happy and made them remove it. This is bizarre because the internet made them famous but now their bosses asked them not to use this tool to connect with fans. To watch this video, you have to go to YouTube so that EMI can get paid by the advertisers.
OK GO has a great online presence, using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and their own website to promote their brand (band). We took a look at their Facebook page and found out that they are performing at the Sasquatch! music festival in Washington in May. That took us to the second part of our class…
2. We opened Google Earth and searched for the The Columbia Gorge, where the music festival takes place every year. From there, we prepped for the upcoming Washington State History quiz on notable locations around the state. We used Google Earth to locate the Coulee Dam (pictured below), Adams and other mountains, major freeways, lakes, tribes and more.
The 6th grade concluded Internet boot camp this week. Everyone is clear on why Billings provides computers and Internet access and their responsibilities as users. We took a moment to define some common terms that will be used throughout their middle school technology experiences.
|Web broswer||an application used to connect to the internet.|
|software that can be installed on a computer to complete a task.|
|Software||a set of instructions telling a computer what to do when it receives input from a keyboard or mouse.|
|Search engine||a website you visit using a web browser so that you can find information on the internet.|
The difference between a web browser and search engine has been murky in the past for some students. We reinforced our Microsoft Excel skills from STeM class to build a comparison chart:
|Company||Web Browser||Search Engine|
7th grade has been using tech all year to support LA and Science…today was a day to kick back and talk about all the amazing things that happen in the world of technology.
Today we talked about the mighty battle between Verizon and AT&T. AT&T has the iPhone, and pays Apple money for the right to have this cool device on their network only. Verizon has the best customer satisfaction rating for service (according to Consumer Reports) as well as a much larger 3G network in the USA. AT&T is mad about Verizon ads that point this out, so they are suing Verizon and they also made some new tv commercials starring Luke Wilson that say “AT&T is better”.
We talked about tons of interesting marketing ploys, competitive negotiations, and operating system constraints. The most lively discussions focused on:
- Cell phone companies have claimed colors as their own – Sprint=Yellow, T-Mobile=Pink, Verizon=Red, AT&T=Blue&Orange
- Cell phone companies are really becoming data service companies – most people use their phones for way more than just making calls
- Verizon just introduced Droid, a new phone that is supposed to compete with the iPhone. It runs Google’s Android 2.0 operating system.
Verizon attacks AT&T’s 3G service coverage
AT&T fights back
Jac is out of town this week, on the Olympic Coast with the 7th grade. 6th grade students won’t miss a beat – this week they are introducing themselves to Google Sketchup, a great free 3-D modeling program.
Students begin their learning by watching a short YouTube introductory video that will introduce several tools. To get more information, try this link to the sketchup video series to learn more.
Over 28,000 students submitted artistic renderings of the Mountain View, California’s company logo. No Billings entrants this year, but several sixth grade students are already asking about participation for next year!
Gavin and Isaac recently traced the stainless steel in hockey skates back to its production process. Their presentation included an embedded YouTube video from the Discovery Channel and a historical pictorial of hockey skates through the last century.
7th grade students Ella & Brandon just completed a presentation about the social, environmental & ecomonic impacts of diamond extraction. Below is the presentation they shared during iCLAST.
Students had a great time today learning from Michael, an coder from Google who works on the Gmail team.
Michael told us about growing up in Alabama and how he first got interested in computers. He said that the 2 subjects he uses most in his job are math (for talking to computers) and language arts (for talking to other people). Some of his favorite things about his company are:
- 1 day a week he gets to work on projects that he is interested in, not just his assignments
- lots of free food
- well-behaved dogs can go to work!
As part of his presentation Michael used 7 Google products: Docs Presentations, Google Maps, Google Charts API, Gmail, Gchat, Google Image Search and the Search Engine.
Students are definitely getting more comfortable with visitor interaction. Each class had tons of suggestions for how to make Gmail better and many questions about life at Google. Some highlights:
- “Is your company friendly with Apple?” – Olivia
- “You should be able to draw pictures for friends in Gmail.” – Augie
- “Shortcuts to add YouTube videos in email.” – Sophia
- “Can you transfer email accounts to/from Gmail?” – Nick R.
- Aranza identified a bug in Gchat that Michael said he will be working to fix.
- Curtis had an idea for an auto-junk address for your account that could filter advertising.
- Lysbeth wants to be able to sign into email with a fingerprint scanner.
- And much much more.
Many thanks to Google’s Michael for his guest lecture today.
6th grade is preparing for a visit from Michael, a Google engineer who works in Fremont. This week we went straight to the Wikipedia entry for information about the company and it’s founders, Larry & Sergey. We talked about a lot of cool things:
- Larry built his first computer when he was 12.
- Larry & Sergey got a check for $100,000 to start their company, but the check was written to Google, Inc (a company that didn’t exist) so they had to create the company to get their money!
- Google was started while the founders were at Stanford, and it was called “BackRub.”
- They’ve given over $1B to philanthropic endeavors (Bill Gates also gives lots of money to charitable causes).