Since you cannot take a screenshot on the Chromebook until you are signed in, it is difficult to get a good screenshot of the sign in screens. A few years back, I created some sign in screens so I could use them to create custom Chromebook sign in documents and presentations.
Google has given the Chromebook sign in screens a fresh look, so I have created new screens that match the new look.
In a recent episode of the You Made it Weird podcast is an interview with magician Penn Jillette. For over two hours, Jillette and the host Pete Holmes jump around from topic to topic during the conversation but they spend a healthy amount of time sharing their thoughts and perspectives on learning. I recommend listening to the entire episode but you can hear the parts on learning at 36:14 to 58:56. (Note: the show is NSFW – they swear and talk about some adult situations.)
Without saying it, I think they touch on the subject of growth mindset several times. For example, Jillette recalls his early beliefs about The Beatles and how they changed after hearing some not-so-polished bootlegs of the band. Here is a link that takes you to the beginning of this clip.
Earlier in the show, Jillette explains to Holmes that being tall (both the guest and host are tall men) teaches you something.
Jillette explains that, “tall teaches you not to buy into, completely, that you can do anything that you set your mind to. Because we know we’re not going to be jockeys.” The clip begins here.
I like the point that Jillette makes here. Growth mindset is a positive thing unless it is reduced to a poster, a meme, or bulletin board. I think growth mindset is far too nuanced for Pinterest. Hard work and perseverance (fine, call it ‘grit’ if you must) can get you a long way but we know there is more to the story of how we learn.
Our resilient efforts must be balanced with the reality of our limits. A great teacher or coach helps the learner find this balance. Without a balance, too many learners will live in a fixed state of delusion.
Back to the episode of You Made it Weird; it has a lot more to offer. Holmes explains what he means when he says “education is shoplifting” and Jillette talks about what he thinks the word ‘genius’ really means with examples that reference magic tricks and Bob Dylan. Give it a listen.
— Note: Holmes does yell “that’s Dale. That’s Dale being Dale” at the end of the show. This had no bearing on my interpretation of the episode but it sure was freaky!
In 2014, I asked the question “Does Google hate audio?” Fast forward to over three years later and we still do not have ways to embed audio files into things that we created in GSuite. Not in Drive, not in Slides. And not even in Sites.
So frustrated that I could not embed audio into my web pages at Google Sites, I created my own workaround to solve the problem. I quickly learned that I was not the only one who was looking for this feature. Thousands of people watched my video tutorial and I collaborated with creators from all over the world to help them add audio to their Google Sites.
Now Google has a NEW Google Sites. it’s much easier to use but it is still missing one very important piece- the ability to embed audio files.
I was able to find an audio solution for the new Google sites but it is still just another workout. Nevertheless, it’s the only solution that we have at the moment.
Below is a quick video tutorial that explains how to embed audio files to pages in the NEW Google Sites.
There are a few things that I do not like about this process:
You cannot add audio files by clicking the Google Drive button. (you can do this with videos that are saved in Drive – not fair!). [**see workaround]
If you embed the URL that points directly to an audio file, it begins playing immediately and continues to play as you edit your page. (so annoying!) [**see workaround]
There are no parameters to adjust how the audio player behaves and looks. (no control over autoplay, download link or background color adjustments) [no workaround 🙁 ]
Because of all of this, I do not recommend using Google Sites (old or new) if audio is an important part of your webpage. If Google is your only option, then your stuck with the workarounds above. However, if you can go beyond Google, give tools like WordPress or Microsoft’s Sway a look instead.
**However, this YouTuber shows how you can add audio files that are stored publicly in Google Drive.
Sometimes I worry that my creativity is stuck in the digital world. So many of my creations (videos, podcasts, etc.) are digital. I think about the characters in dystopian novels and movies where society is thrusted backwards to a world without electricity. The lights go out, and all their creations are trapped forever inside a dead iPhone.
Inspired by some of my favorite woodworking Youtubers (here and here), I recently purchased a new tool that will hopefully diversify my creations beyond bits and bytes.
Of course, I’m not looking to leave digital creations behind for good. Instead, I’m seeking out ways that digital and physical creations can work together. For example, I needed a workbench for my new saw. Rather than just cutting away (which would probably result in wasted time and lumber), I designed a digital version of the workbench first.
After looking at other plans online and watching several SketchUp for Woodworkers tutorials, I was able to iterate until my design met my specific needs. Before a single cut was made, I knew every corner of my workbench because I got to know it in the digital space first. When it came time to build the real thing, I was able to move much more quickly and confidently.
I was filled with enormous amounts of pride after I finished making my workbench. It certainly isn’t one of the best workbenches out their but this one is definitely mine. The feeling of touching something physical is incredibly rewarding – especially when you made it yourself.
I’m starting to finally understand why more people are getting into vinyl and why my daughter has been begging us for an instant film camera (think Polaroid). Sites like Facebook want to make the world more connected but let’s not overlook our connections with the physical world.
So, go print out some family photos, buy a paper map for your next road trip, find those old cassette tapes from high school – take a break from the digital world and make something in real life. You’ll thank yourself for it.
Tinkercad is your go-to tool for 3D design. The Tinkercad tutorials are a great place for students to start. I’ve also had many classes of third graders build word blocks as their first project in Tinkercad. In addition, we’ve done the City X Project and created charms about fairy tales in Charmr. (Update: Charmr has been discontinued.)
Third grade seems to be the best place to start with 3D design. I’m not saying it cannot be done earlier but I’ve had the most luck with 3rd grade and above.
Don’t overlook the value of introducing the technology to students. Not every student needs to create a 3D model to learn about 3D printing. 3D printers make excellent writing prompts. This is something I’ve used with students starting as early as 2nd grade. Below is a video I made that explores this idea farther. (Also, here are the slides I use with students.)