Google Educast #62: Real Men Use 2-Factor Authentication

This week on the Google Educast: As the new school years begins join hosts Chris Betcher, Fred Delventhal and Sean Williams as they discuss the latest news from the Google world of education, including turn-by-turn navigation for cyclists, Google+ improvements for Apps customers, cool things you can do with Google Reader bundles, and the highs and lows of 2-factor authentication. Get some good ideas on how best to present Google Docs to the rest your staff, some cool Chrome extensions, and lots more.

Here’s our Show Notes! 

Ask a Google Certified Teacher!   Leave us an email at

EdReach Show #37: Google, Plus Apps!

This week on EdReach: The struggles with updating iPads, and the promises of a Google+ and Google Apps integration lead us to re-think the future of media and broadcasting.

Show Host: Daniel Rezac

Show contributors:   Scott Weidig

The complete show notes are now on the EdReach Wiki.


Call us on our comment line!

If you’d like to leave some feedback you can call us on our very own EdReach Comment line: That’s: (443) 93REACH.

EdGamer 21: Google+ Games+ Classroom= ?

On the 21st installment of EdGamer we breakdown the the recent addition of games to Google+. Can these games, or Google+ in general, be beneficial to our classroom environment? Also, we review an article that talks to the real professionals (the students!) about what they would like to see in our current school system. They have some interesting thoughts on integrating technology in our schools. Check out this episode of EdGamer for an in-depth discussion about these topics and more!


Show Host: Zack Gilbert

Show contributor: Gerry James

Subscription Page and Feeds for EdGamer

The complete show notes are now on the EdGamer Wiki

Call us on our comment line!

If you’d like to leave some feedback you can call us on our very own EdReach Comment line: That’s: (443) 93REACH.

Google+ Building (or Re-Building) your PLN

G+ in EducationTwitter just became 5 years old and many of us can remember the first time: we heard of twitter… the first time we experienced powerful collaboration on twitter… some of us can even remember our first tweet (not me, though I can imagine it was something like: “I just don’t understand this…” So, for many it feels like a shock when after 5 years, thousands of tweets, hours of growing and grooming our personal learning network we look at Google+ and say, “I just don’t understand this…” or “Struggling to understand how this is going to fit in…” or “It just doesn’t do what Facebook or twitter does… or doesn’t do it as WELL…”

Here are some other things that we are struggling with:

  • “I have “spoken” with a person for years on twitter… but I only know them by his or her handle… – We are shocked that someone we really know so well: children, ailments, dreams, hopes, personal challenges… and we don’t even know his or her name.
  • “I can’t figure out Circles” – A new paradigm is frustrating or our attempt to force something new into our preconceived notion of HOW things SHOULD work.
  • “I have been on Google+ for an “x” now, and I can’t figure out how to find other’s with similar interests (or it is too hard to find them…) – Yes, an actual person search within Google+ will be very welcome when it is enabled – ironic, huh?!

If you are feeling this way, know that you are not alone. Many of us are feeling this way too. That said, I am really enjoying the rich conversations and more personal relationships that I am building with Google+ that in some ways I have been feeling I have lost on Twitter and Facebook. The biggest thing to remember is that we felt this exact same way when we first tweeted or facebooked. Back then, worked through a whole lot of growing pains to develop the robust PLN’s we now enjoy. But, the first thing we all need to do is feel a bit less lonely when we are on Google+. So, here are a few tips and suggestions to help get you started (or re-started) growing your PLN in Google+

First, build out your personal profile with information about what you teach, your goals, a twitter handle, blog link, and possibly the types of connections you are looking for… Many… MANY… are using this as an initial barometer for whether or not to add someone into a circle. Additionally, as I wrote earlier, we have a LOT of relationships from twitter where we unfortunately don’t know a person’s real name or at least his or her last name to make a connection that VanishingPoint is actually Scott Weidig.

Second, there has been an “Educators on Plus” google doc floating around. HERE is a link to that doc. Almost all have even listed areas of focus or teaching. Also, go HERE to add yourself to this growing list.

Third, and the best way I have come across personally, is to post more publicly or to “extended circles” which will catch a larger audience. For example, if YOU post to extended circles it goes not only to the individuals in your own personal circles, but also to all of the individuals in their circles as well even though they are not in your circles. In addition, “public” posts are searchable on Google itself (even if we currently can’t search within Plus itself). Many will read or comment on your posts and throw an add to you.

Fourth, to respond to other educator’s posts. That way, much like twitter, you will be pulled into conversations with educators you may not be following. Click into their profiles link to review for an add.

Fifth, Google+ has two “features” that are not easily understandable: “incoming” and “nearby”. Incoming are the streams of people who have added you into a circle, but are not in one of your circles. This is a way to see who is “following” you and the quality of information they are posting before you add them to a circle. Nearby are all of the public posts from people who have geotagged their posts and are physically “nearby” you at that time. I can imagine that this stream will be flooded at conferences in the future, but this is also a way to reach out beyond your budding network for possibly some fresh insight. (I ended up making contact with a great person who was able to provide some information on web hosting while I was on vacation a few weeks ago, simply by posting publicly and looking at “nearby”.

Sixth, if you have not thought about blogging, think about it. If you are, be sure that is on your profile, and link your posts on Plus. Sharing your journey with others creates a bond and common interest which can help you grow your PLN.

Finally, we encourage you to link up with the members of on Google+. Here is a list of the EdReach folks on Google+ and a direct link to each of our profiles:

+Judy Epcke – Co-founder of EdReach and weekly contributor to the EdReach and Mobile Reach shows. Judy is a technology facilitator showing teachers how technology can transform their teaching and their students’ learning. She focuses on topics such as: the use of Web 2.0 tools, Google Apps for Education, iPads and iPod Touches, Personal Learning Networks, and technology integration.

+Dan Rezac – Co-founder of EdReach, as well as the Content Editor/ Brand Officer. Daniel often speaks about 21st Century Learning Environments, YouTube in the classroom, and the Flipped Classroom, and has made it his focus to give teachers a platform for which they can discuss the critical issues of education.

+Scott Meech – Co-founder of EdReach, Scott enjoys studying the impact technology is making and can make on education. He believes that education is on the brink of major change and that technology will finally fulfill its promise. Scott also formed which focuses on educational application reviews for iDevices.

+Jay Blackman – Co-Founder and Technical Coordinator of EdReach and by day the Director of Information and Educational Technology – Focused on creating support systems for teachers, developing learning communities, and learning spaces. Jay is a Google Certified Teacher and a frequent presenter on Google tools, location-based learning, mobile learning, and professional development.

+Meg Wilson –  Founder of She presents about using iPods, iPhones, and iPads in the classroom. She blogs and podcasts regularly at about mobile learning, special education, and all things Apple-related in the world of education.

+Jeremy Brown – Elementary special education teacher & family trainer – EdCeptional crew member & blogger at – autism, assistive technology, iOS, SMART Board

+John Sowash – Director of Online Learning for his school and blogs regularly about distance learning and related trends in education. John specializes in collaborative projects for STEM classrooms, online learning, the Flipped Classroom, and Google Apps for Education.

+Chris Atkinson – Elementary school assistant principal – Google Certified Teacher, STAR Discovery Educator, blogger, podcaster, and presenter on Google Apps in Education, Web 2.0 Tools For The Classroom, Social Networking for Educators, Educational Leadership for the 21st Century.

+Scott Weidig (me) – High school technology coordinator – Scott focuses on the integration of technology in the classroom to student achievement and learning in the 21st century. He blogs regularly at about mobile learning, media literacy, and educational change.

On a last note, I know many educators who are working hard to attempt to “re-create” the educational PLN’s they already have on Twitter and Facebook. In essence, “port” them over to Google+. While there are a num,her of new tools being developed to accomplish this, I would encourage everyone to think hard before doing this. One one hand, I think it is a great an potentially powerful idea, on the other, Google+ has a different variety of tools to offer, different ways to think of relationships, I encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to perhaps re-focus or broaden and maybe even deepen your PLN as opposed to simply re-creating it. We can learn so much from those we yet do not know… Just my perspective.

If you are on Google+ also and want, leave your information in the comments so the edReachers can connect with you.

EdCeptional Show #16: Surfing the SLP Wave with Speech Techie

Tonight, we are Surfing the SLP Wave with Speech Techie, Sean Sweeney. Sean is a speech and language pathologist and instructional tech specialist and is the author of the blog SpeechTechie. We are very excited to have Sean with us tonight!
To start our show, we each share what inspires us as professionals in the field of special education.   During News Watch, we discuss how assistive technology (especially AAC and the iPad) has emerged in the mainstream media, introduce a study about iPads in higher education, share our thoughts on whether or not tablets are ready for the classroom, and get an update from Anne on what she learned at DENSI (wiki /twitter) and ISTE 2011 conferences.  Did you know UDL is NOT a known topic?  For Blog Watch, we learn about Sean’s blog Speech Techie and share a recent post on PediaStaff by Megan Bratti.  On the Radar for this week was low-tech or homemade AT solutions, Google+ field testing accessibility for ASL users, activation of Assistive Touch in iOS 5 Beta, Jeremy’s list of Android apps for Special Education (Autism), and a series of instructional videos for AT.

Show Host: Anne Truger

Show Guest:  Sean Sweeney

Show contributors:  Patrick Black, Jeremy Brown, & Deb Truskey

Subscribe to The EdReach Podcasts on iTunes

Subscribe to the EdReach Podcast Feed

The complete show notes are now on the EdCeptional Wiki.

Call us on our comment line!
If you’d like to leave some feedback you can call us on our very own EdReach Comment line: That’s: (443) 93REACH.

EdCeptional Show #15: SummerCeptional – Google +, Mac Apps, & more!







  • Web 2.0 Tools:
    • Google +
    • Goalbook – ALPHA test to start Monday (July 11th)
  • Software:
    • Mac:
      • Goal Chart ($2.99) – create & print customized goal\reward chart(s).  Type in goal & reward and add image of reward.  Could also arrange multiple goal charts on a Vision Board.
      • SafetyBrowser ($.99 for limited time) – visual, safe interface for kids to the use the web.  Parents\teachers choose sites (or parts of a site using filters) & others are blocked.  Setup visual homepage with thumbnails for each approved site.  Features include multiple profiles, kiosk mode, timed session, & usage log.
      • CutieMelody (FREE) – simple version of children’s glockenspiel with realistic sounds, responsive playing\sliding, & animated feedback
      • Kids Make Music ($1.99) – unique, attractive, & easy to use soundboard, 4 screens to choose from (bass guitar, percussion, xylophone, & funny objects), authentic sounds
      • After Me ($.99) – Simon Says game using words/images – improves memory skills, classification, & reading/spelling of basic words.  4 word groups (shapes, animals, fruits, & foods).  Available as iOS app as well.
      • Fantastic 4 In A Row Free
      • What is my job? (FREE)
      • Lets Math ($.99) – number sounds, writing numerals, counting images, add/subtract using images
      • Pre-K Math ($1.99) – read & write numbers 1-10, counting 1-10, sequencing numbers 1-10 & 10-1, more/less, shapes
      • SpellBoard ($4.99) – app to help students improve spelling.  Use included lists (Dolch words, etc.) or input your own.  Optionally, you can enter phrase/sentence for each word as well.  Ability to record words using your own voice.  Records data.  Also available as iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch app!
    • Windows:


  • Twitter chats:
    • SLPchat: August 7th
    • SPEDchat: Tuesdays


If you would like to continue the conversations, you can find the crew at Patrick Black at or @teachntech00 on Twitter,   Deb Truskey at @debtruskeyand@SLPDeb on Twitter, and Jeremy Brown at @techieteacher on Twitter or iTeach Special Education – iOS Devices in Special Education on Facebook.  If you have suggestions, comments or queries  about the show you can reach the whole Edceptional crew by emailing

EdRoundtable: The Future of Google+ in Education

Google+ in EductionWelcome to the EdRoundtable. One of us will throw out an idea or question, and the roundtable adds their views. This edition of the EdRoundtable focuses on Google+ and its possible implications for education.


Chad Kafka

When Google adds G+ to Google Apps, it needs to not just be a simple “login” addition like many of the other services are that were add-ons after the main suite of Apps.  Google+ should allow for administrators to have control over the G+ domain settings like GMail, Docs, Sites, Video, and Calendar allow for.  This will create a way for the Apps admin in each district to control how G+ is used in the district and calm any fears parents or the community would have when it comes to “kids and social networks.”  If G+ is just added to the domain like Blogger and Picasa with no real functionality built in for the Google Apps admin in the district, then teachers and the district are probably going to be stuck NOT using it because it would run the risk of having a student’s identity publicly visible.


Daniel Rezac

I may be going out on a limb with this, but I think Google has a huge advantage with this product. They’ve already got millions of kids using Google Apps, so it will inevitably come down to a Google Admin who decides to “turn it on” in their district. If this tips, I think it has enormous potential to grab social networkers at a young age. And, it’s built into a learning tool that they’re already comfortable using. Not to put down Skype, but how difficult is it sometimes to organize a group Skype call? With Google+ organizing a Huddle or Hangout is so simple- a 2nd grader could do it. The keys to Skype really lie with the teacher, I see the keys to Google+ lying with the students. There are also great possibilities to teaching students proper digital citizenship skills here, and not teaching them about social networking “in theory.” With staff- there’s an advantage because folks have always hesitated adding their work friends to Facebook, because they don’t want work people seeing everything. Again- problem solved. Circles really does solve a lot of problems that Facebook created. Let’s keep exploring, and see what happens!

Scott Meech

For me it will be all about grouping with circles. The ability segment a classroom population as granularly as an educator would like creates all kinds of sharing and restricting possibilities. The ability to share across multiple circles by individual pieces of content can provide teachers and students with  a flowing format or grouping and sharing that can be very powerful. The ability to restrict future sharing can also be a very useful tool to limit access or the extension of material beyond the original intended audience. From a PD standpoint, circles would allow for a differentiated grouping of individuals and resources by interest and ability levels.

Jay Blackman

I am looking forward to the possibility of integration of Google+ with Google Docs – imagine the ability to have a truly collaborative workspace where a Hangout could be used for video communication while a Google Presentation plays and a group of editors shares their notes in a Google Doc. I think Google+ could fulfill the team communication and collaboration needs that Google Groups promised but never delivered on.


Light the Fire: Learning Through “Sparks”

Google+ in EductionA feature of Google+ that has great potential in the classroom is “Sparks.”
“Sparks brings you stories on the things you love from all across the Web, so it’s easy to strike up meaningful conversations with your friends.”
Setting up your Sparks is super easy. Simply type in some key words into the search box and Google+ builds a stream of information for you. Sharing these links with your circles takes two clicks.

Google+ Sparks LogoGoogle+ is designed to enhance what some are calling the “alive web” which attempts to remove as many of the barriers to spontaneous conversation as possible. The purpose of Sparks is to give you something to talk about and discuss.

In an educational setting Sparks would provide an interesting way for students to follow research topics, obtaining information from sources that they may not have considered previously. Helpful articles can quickly be shared to the other members of the group if a circle has been created for them.

While the idea behind Sparks is great, it has a lot of growing up to do before it will be a compelling tool for anyone to use. Sparks could become a more powerful and useful feature of Google+ with a few additions:

  • Make sparks more like Google custom search, allow the explicit exclusion or inclusion of specific websites.
  • Integrate Google Reader into Sparks to read and share your favorite feeds directly in Google+.
  • Enable Spark sharing. Currently you can only share a specific article, not an entire spark.

Another important unanswered question is how Sparks content is chosen. Google Engineer DeWitt Clinton provided only a very cursory explanation in the Google+ help forum:

“[It’s a] new algorithms over a new corpus. Still very much in flux and being further expanded and tuned. I’m sure we’ll give a tech talk eventually about the technology behind Sparks, but this is very early days still.”

Google+ Sharing SparksSeveral bloggers have mentioned that the results returned by Sparks appear very similar, but not identical, to a Google New search. Searching for very narrow search terms such as a specific person or a school may not return any results.

For right now, Sparks leaves a lot to be desire. Without customization or a way to fine-tune the returned results, its power is limited. In an educational setting Sparks has great potential as a news aggregator which could assist students with research reports. Adding the ability to include specific RSS feeds would also provide a way for teachers and school administrators to push content such as homework reminders and project directions directly to students.

Set up some sparks. See what you find. Perhaps it will start a conversation with some friends!


Mobile Reach #8: Holy Googles, Batman!

Mobile Reach LogoGoogle has sure had many a change this past week! Chad and Tammy welcome back Judi Epcke to the podcast after her hiatus of fun at the ISTE conference.  We break down the Google announcements from this past week and how they specifically affect mobile platforms and mobile learning.  And of course, our favorite part of the show is sharing out some apps we’ve been trying out!

Show Host: Chad Kafka (@chadkafka)

Co-Hosts: Judi Epcke (@jepcke) & Tammy Lind(@TamL17)

Subscribe to The EdReach Podcasts on iTunes

Subscribe to the EdReach Podcast Feed.

The complete show notes are on the EdReach Wiki.

Batman Theme Sound clip copyright DC Comics and the ABC network.


EdReach Show #27: We Plus One ISTE

ISTE has come and it has gone, but it was a grand time for all. Today’s show, besides, of course, talking about the possible education implications about Google Plus, we give our ISTE reflections, and pore through three segments of Chris Lehmann’s wonderful keynote. We were all taken aback at the powerful positive reaction following Chris’ speech, which, quite frankly doesn’t get much better. For ISTE, under such a microscope, educators have in the past tended to be quite critical, but we didn’t hear much on the negative side of this presentation. Great job, Chris! And here’s to a great education conference.

Show Host: Daniel Rezac

Show guests: Judi Epcke, and Jay D. Blackman

Subscribe to The EdReach Podcasts on iTunes

Subscribe to the EdReach Podcast Feed.

The complete show notes are now on the EdReach Wiki.

Call us on our comment line!

If you’d like to leave some feedback you can call us on our very own EdReach Comment line: That’s: (443) 93REACH.

Circle Me Up: Exploring Circles in Google+

We’ve added a few new verbs to the English lexicon in the past few years: first, we began to “friend” people. Then we began to “follow” people. Here is another one: “circle me.”

One of the distinct advantages Google+ has over social networks such as Facebook and Twitter is the ability to precisely communicate with groups of people. Google calls it “targeted sharing.” While this is possible in Facebook it’s rather cumbersome and clunky. Twitter relies on hashtags which work well, but does not allow for private group messaging.

Google+ Circles

Creating Circles in Google+

In Google+, a “circle” is a group that you create. There are a few default groups that are created for you, but you can create as many additional circles as you would like. Organizing people into your circles is as easy as dragging and dropping their profile photo onto the circle. For specific instructions on how to setup your circles, I recommend viewing yesterday’s post by Chad Kafka which contains three excellent screencast tutorials.

Circles enable custom filtering of messages, “targeted sharing” as Google calls it. Each of your posts can be sent to all, some, or none of your circles:

  • Private Message: visible only to the person you specify by typing in their email address.
  • Public: available to anyone with access to Google+
  • Individual Circles: visible only to people you have added to the circle.
  • Extended Circles: visible to the people in the circle and to the people in their circles.

Google+ Reshare Warning

Have you ever sent a private message to someone through a social network that was then re-posted publicly? A sticky situation likely ensued. The Google Engineers have thought through this situation by allow the author of a post to restrict the ability to re-post. For messages that are re-postable, a friendly reminder asks you to consider your action before it’s to late.

Accepting someone as a friend on Facebook is a big deal. Once you accept them, they have full access to whatever information you have added into your profile, unless you’ve created limited profiles (which most people haven’t). Their friend request obligates you to share everything with them. The same thing with Twitter. Once someone follows you, you, they see everything you post. In Google+, when someone adds you, they don’t receive access to anything unless you explicitly give it to them. You can even specify how much of your public profile individual circles can view. You are in control, not the people who follow, friend, or circle you.

Google+ Disable Resharing

When viewed through the lens of education, circles make a lot of sense. The lines of professional and personal are easily blended on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. A message is either public to your entire network or private to only one individual. Circles makes it possible to tailor the message to your audience with out needing to created separate accounts for your personal and professional life. Those pictures from last weekend? You probably should only share those with your immediate friends. Your latest blog post probably deserves a wider audience.

Targeted Sharing in Google+The big question is when Google+ will be rolled out to Google Apps for Education customers. No one knows for sure, but several reports indicate that it will be in the coming months, not years. Once available, here are some ways that circles could be used in an educational setting:

  • Create a circle for each class that you teach. Quickly share links, documents, videos, and assignments with students.
  • Allow students to create circles for group projects. They can easily communicate about the project and share resources. When the project is done, the circle is removed.
  • For teachers who have multiple sections of the same class, mix your students into discussion circles. The circle makes the discussion possible and is easy to monitor.
  • Circles provide an excellent informal collaborative space for departments to share ideas, tips and ask questions.
  • School administrators can create a circle for an entire grade to easily and simply send message to a large number of students without spamming the rest of the school.
  • Circles makes it easy to communicate to members of a team or other extracurricular event.

There are a few features that could make Circles even better:

  • Integrate circles with Apps for Ed “groups”. This would allow for the simple creation of a circle with all of the members of a grade, class, department, committee, etc.
  • Allow for document sharing to a circle.
  • Share a form directly with the members of a circle.
  • Allow the creation of an “inner circle” which would allow for breakout groups within a larger group.
  • The ability to create a circle in a single click based on an existing structure such as a Twitter list, members of a Google Site, contributors to a document, commenters on a blog, etc.

Google+ has introduced a new twist onto sharing and managing the publication of information with Circles. It appears to have great potential. Not everyone agrees, however. In a thought full post, blogger David Winer explains,

“You might feel a rush to organize your friends into categories when you start to use it. But you’ll give up after a dozen or so, as soon as you hit one that defies categorization. You’ll say to yourself “I’ll come back to this later.” You won’t.” [Source]

David goes on to argue that part of the popularity of Twitter and Facebook is the lack of organization. People are lazy, and don’t want to organize their networks, I agree. However, privacy is becoming an increasing concern of many web-users and “noise” on social networks is also becoming very noisy. Time will tell if laziness will overrule organization.

If Google+ flops like a Wave, one thing is clear: Google has pushed the issue of “targeted sharing” to the front of the conversation. The other big social media networks will likely respond with a solution of their own and that’s good news for everyo

An Introduction to Google+

Just about one week.  That’s how long Google+ has been open to “invite only” status, though that admittedly is still a bit on and off.  Fortunately, some of us on the EdReach network were able to get in and are continuing to play around with all that this new social network has to offer.   John Sowash started us off with our first in a series of posts on Monday about how Google+ could be used in Education.

For this second post, we wanted to give readers more of an insight and a “how to get started” look into Google+.  As you get in to Google+, we hope that you’ll find these walk through screencasts helpful.




Be sure to come back to EdReach tomorrow for a deeper look at Circles and specifically how Circles can be used in Education!

Google+ In Education

Google+ in EductionLast week Google re-entered the social media field with the launch of Google+. Initial reactions have been positive, a good sign for Google which has struggled to find it’s place in social media. 

What does Google+ mean for educators? For students? For schools? This is one of the topics that the EdReach team will be exploring this week.

This week we will be featuring a series of posts related to Google+, from a basic overview for those who haven’t had a chance to explore yet, to more in-depth discussions of the features of Google+. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Tuesday: An Intro to Google+
  • Wednesday: Circle Me Up: Exploring “circles”
  • Thursday: Let’s Hangout: connecting through “hangouts”
  • Friday: Light the fire: learning through “sparks”
  • Saturday: Going Mobile with Google+
  • Sunday: Where can we go from here?

It’s important to note that Google+ isn’t even a week old. We are still experimenting and exploring. Additionally, as with most Google products released in Beta, features and services are likely to change, evolve, and improve in the coming months.

If you haven’t been able to explore Google+, now you can: access is now available to anyone. Click here to sign up. Check back with the EdReach Crew and we’ll keep you up to speed on what is happening and how Google+ will impact teachers, students, and school.

Google Educast Show #22: Is Google+ The Missing Social Tool For Schools?

Google Educast Logo



Show Host: Jay Blackman

Show contributors: Chad Kafka and John Sowash

Subscribe to The EdReach Podcasts on iTunes

Subscribe to the EdReach Podcast Feed.

The complete show notes are now on the EdReach Wiki.

Call us on our comment line!

If you would like to leave some feedback you can call us on our very own EdReach Comment line: That’s: (443) 93REACH.