Vine Video Sharing

vineVine is for video sharing, and the app works best on a mobile phone. Techies in the Twitter universe conceived and developed the app, and a user is supposed to be age 13 or older. Once a person sets up Vine on a mobile device, he or she creates and shares short videos with followers or the general public.

Vine Explore

The explore window features the post trending hashtags.

Just  as Twitter limits contributions to 140 characters, Vine videos also reflect this short and succinct philosophy, so a user is limited to six second clips. Videos can be organized and tagged with hashtags so it’s easy to search for a topic. Vine even has a blog on its site.

Author’s Note: I do not have an account. Instead I explored Vine with a friend who is an accomplished user.

A big reason that Instagram (owned by Facebook) added videos to its app features this year is because Vine (owned by Twitter) quickly grew into a strong social media competitor. A TechCrunch post, Instagram Video vs. Vine: What’s the Difference, offers some other comparative information. Read last year’s class-on-a-blog post about Instagram, Getting to Know Instagram and Getting Adults Up to Speed.

Two Quotes from the Vine Terms of Service Continue reading

Digital Footprints — That’s What It’s All About

many footprintsIf you ask a current fifth grader, he or she might say that the only topic I know much about is digital footprints, because I talk to students about these tiny digital trails as often as possible. But here’s the conundrum. I don’t talk about the topic nearly enough.

Despite being a devoted device and technology geek, I remain concerned about the digital footprints that kids (and we adults) leave all over the web. And I worry especially about the apps that kids use — even when they set strong privacy settings. I want students to understand digital footprint issues so well that they become curators of the profiles that they create all over the virtual world — thinking carefully each time they decide to share and forward information.

Last year one of my early posts on this “class-on-a-blog” described how to begin a family digital footprint conversation by exploring Google Dashboard and noting how Google collects information about the tools that we use. To continue the discussion, you can also check out this digital footprint video from Harvard’s Berkman Center.

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Is Google EDU at Your Child’s School?

Many schools are joining the Google Apps in Education program.

The free program, Google EDU, entitles a school to a small, out of the Google mainstream space where students and faculty can work on teaching and learning activities. After joining googleEDUGoogle EDU a school owns all of its content, and the data from an  institution’s work and searches are not collected by Google. Thus an extra layer of privacy exists for users.

While the entire suite of Google web-based tools is available for school communities to use, an educational institution can limit some of the access for children in younger grade levels. For instance, it’s possible to begin with word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet programs and turn off most of the other applications. The school’s administrator can also turn on additional Google options for students and teachers when a reason arises or organize the community into groups with different access privileges.

If a school likes its e-mail program, it’s not necessary to turn on Gmail at all, though many Google EDU participants are now using Gmail because, they believe, it is more secure and has an exceptional spam filter.

GoogleshareFrom my teacher’s vantage point, the best features of Google EDU apps are the automatic saving, the easy web access, and the multiple opportunities for collaboration.

Google saves as a person writes, so even if the power goes off and everything shuts down, a student has his or her work saved (a big deal for students who move around a lot during the school day).  Moreover, because a student’s work is on the web, it is easy to access from various locations, computers, and devices.

Collaboration is a breeze. By using the share feature students can ensure that a teacher has the access to read and comment.  Likewise, a student can share with others who might be working together on a project by granting rights that allow another individual to view, comment, or edit.

Why Wikipedia? Parents Ask

“Why use Wikipedia?” adults often ask. What they are really asking is, “Should my kids use Wikipedia, and is it a real reference?” For adults who grew up in the age of multiple volumes of well-documented encyclopedic information — of course, you remember those well-used, bookmarked, or even dog-eared pages — it’s hard to wrap our minds around Wikipedia. It’s even harder to understand just how we should use it as a reference.

Twenty-first Century learners, however, consult Wikipedia all the time, and the number of users and the content is increasing. According to a 2006 review in School Library Journal, “The popular online encyclopedia, whose entries are written and edited by any user, may inspire trepidation, even fear, yet the behemoth is impossible to ignore.” So just who is writing for Wikipedia? A March 2010 MSNBC article Who Writes Wikipedia, describes a research project that aimed to develop profiles of writers who contribute content.

Question: So, how does any user — student or adult — cite Wikipedia?

Answer: Give credit just as it’s given for any other reference.

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