Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Navigating the New Google Hangouts on Air

I've been a big fan of Google Hangouts on Air since it debuted several years ago. It's been a great tool for connecting both our students and us educators in live video events that can both be streamed live for viewers and automatically recorded for later viewing. My colleagues and I have used it to:
  • Connect students with other students. I have used it for Mystery Hangouts, World Read Aloud Day, and our Somewhat Virtual Book Club. 
  • Connect students with experts in any field, authors, and more. It's often a whole lot easier to schedule a guest speaker virtually than in person.
  • Connect with other librarians and teachers for one-on-one virtual conversations, committee meetings, webinars, and the TL News Night newscast.
  • Record my conference presentations, interviews, and more.
  • Record lessons that can then serve as "rewindable instruction." (Thanks to Nikki Robertson for that term.)
Many of us were taken by surprise and concern to read headlines and articles earlier this month indicating that Google Hangouts on Air was going away. Here's an example from Venture Beat. The good news is that we - and some of the article writers, I believe - overreacted. Fortunately, it's not going away, it is simply "moving house" from Google+ to YouTube Live. Here is a link to Google's help page on the topic. If you like, you can stop reading this and just go to that link. But, for those of you interested, I wanted to share a bit more fleshed out instructions on how to set up a Hangout on Air in the new environment. So, after some testing it all out, here goes:

Set up your hangout

  1. Go to Youtube.com.
  2. Click the "hamburger" icon, select My Channel from the left-hand menu that displays, then Video Manager.
  3. On the left side menu, you will now see Live Streaming as an option. Click small arrow to the right of that to display two options under it.

  4. Click Events under Live Streaming.
  5. Click New Live Event
  6. Fill in all the details on the Live Event Page. Change Public to Unlisted if you want to restrict viewing during the live hangout to just people you share the link with. For events like the Somewhat Virtual Book Club, we always keep it unlisted until after the event is over and we are comfortable making the archive public. Choose Quick as the Type. After you select Quick, you can change TODAY and NOW to any future date and time. Then, click Create Event to create your event.
Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 2.55.05 PM.png

You will now see a screen displaying upcoming events. If you have more than one, the new event should be at the bottom. It will look like this:

    When you click the Start Hangout on Air button, the hangout will open. In the hangout, hover your cursor at the top of the window until you see this line of icons:
    Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 5.17.23 PM.png

    1. Click the left-hand “Invite People” icon. This pop-up will display:

    2. Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 5.06.32 PM.png

    3. Copy the Link to share URL into your clipboard. Send this link to people you plan to have participate in the hangout. With it, they will easily be able to join the hangout as participants at the designated time and you won’t need to rely on creating last minute invitations.
    4. Close the hangout and go back to the event listing.
    5. If you want to also invite people to view the live stream of your hangout, click the link icon:

    6. When you click the link icon, it will open up the event information page again, but it now has a View on Watch Page option at the top.
    7. Click the View on Watch Page option to open up a viewing page:

    8. Copy this URL to share as an audience viewing link. This event page also offers the option of adding comments over on the right. If you plan to have people view the live stream, be sure to keep this event window open so you can monitor comments.

    Running a Hangout on Air

    1. To return to a scheduled hangout and start your broadcast, go to YouTube.com.
    2. Click the "hamburger" icon, select My Channel from the left-hand menu that displays, then Video Manager.

    1. Choose Live StreamingEvents from the left menu, then find the hangout event in the list of Upcoming events.
    1. Click the Start Hangout On Air button in the event listing:
    1. Once you open the hangout, it will look exactly like Hangouts on Air created through Google+. All the same options are still available, with the exception of the Q & A and Showcase options. You can screen share, chat, add effects and lots more:

    Google has also just added a feature to cast your screen to a TV or other larger device. Check the announcement here. I haven't had a chance to test out this feature yet.
    1. At the scheduled time, start your video recording, by clicking the Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 5.27.00 PM.png button. (Note that you need to enter the hangout from the Events listing as described above; you won’t see it if you use the invite link you copied to share with others.)
    2. When the session is finished, click the Stop the broadcast button.

    After the Broadcast

    After you finish your broadcast, you can return to the event and change the public/unlisted/private setting if you like, get the link to share the broadcast with others, and use any of YouTube's other editing tools. To do that:

    1. Go back to YouTube, select Live Streaming -> Events again, and find the hangout in the list of Completed events. Click Edit:

    2. If you want to change from Unlisted to Public, click the Unlisted option, and select Public from the drop-down menu. Then, Save Changes, and copy the URL to share:

    1. YouTube auto-generates a thumbnail that will appear to identify the recording from one snapshot in the video, but you can change it if you want. You can select one of the other two automatically generated by YouTube, or you can screen capture another photo from the hangout and upload that for the thumbnail. You can also edit your description and add keywords on this screen.
    2. To crop out unwanted sections from your video, add annotations, and more, select the options at the top of the screen.

    Happy Hanging Out!

    Sunday, August 14, 2016

    Laguna Beach EdTechTeam Google Summit

    For a booster shot of of inspiration, use-tomorrow ideas and new skills, and great networking, check out the EdTechTeam's year round schedule of Google for Education Summits in your neighborhood and around the globe. Each of the summits last two days and include three keynote sessions and eight concurrent session slots.

    I was delighted to attend and present at the Orange County Summit in Laguna Beach last week (August 9 - 10). Roni Habib, our opening keynoter, kicked off the summit reminding us to always, always put our students' well-being first. He shared how people learn in a much deeper way when they are happy and that relationships are biggest predictor of happiness as well as longevity. He urged us to take the time for some play with our students and to attend to each of them individually. We even all took a few minutes to play during his talk, and went away in upbeat moods, more ready to learn during the rest of the day.

    I presented two sessions on Tuesday. The first was to get attendees up and running with Twitter as a must-use part of a personal learning network. Here are the slides:

    The second was on all things Google images - how to use Google to find, enhance, and create images, and guidelines on copyright, Creative Commons, and Fair Use to let you know what you can and can't use in classroom and published works. Here are the slides:

    My slides are never intended to be self-explanatory, so do contact me with any questions.

    I also enjoyed learning about WeVideo, a great cloud-based video editing tool, from Greg Gardner. And, Kevin Fairchild helped me learn what I can do with simple scripting in Google Sheets.

    We began Wednesday with a keynote by Jeff Heil, who asked us to consider what if every child believed s/he had the power to change the world? Like Roni Habib, he stressed the importance of building relationships. He urged us to go for moonshot thinking, not allow failure as an option for our students, and to help give the voiceless a voice to tell their stories and thereby transform their learning.

    I presented three sessions on Wednesday. The first was about Google Forms, including all the amazing ways they can be used to gather data and go paperless, how to create them, and how to take advantage of special features and add-ons. Here are my slides. Even if you weren't at the summit, you can see an example of using Forms with the great Publisher add-on if you fill out the form on Slide 2; you'll get an automatically-generated Google Doc back.

    My next session was about Google Slides, with a focus on its Research Tool feature and how to use it to easily introduce the concepts of Copyright, Creative Commons, giving credit, and respect for intellectual property with students:

    I also shared several innovative ways to use Google Slides beyond their traditional role of supporting presentations.

    In my last presentation, I shared some of the ways to take advantage of Google Hangouts and Hangouts on Air tools and the mechanics of setting them up:

    During my one free concurrent session time, I went to one by Tracy Poelzer on a wide variety of great ways to connect our students with the world. Many of her suggestions could be handled through Google Hangouts, and I urged attendees at my Hangouts session to visit her slides and resources for more help taking advantage of Hangouts.

    The summit wrapped up with a keynote by Tracy on how to overcome the imposter syndrome most of us teachers feel. She urged us to stop comparing our insides to other people's outsides, to still the voice inside us that puts ourselves down, and to be aware how contagious emotions are. We as teachers need to realize and celebrate that we are NOT "just" teachers; we are really big deals! A book she recommended as a followup, which is now on my "to read list," is Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown.

    What a super way to spend two days, learning and networking with other enthusiastic educators! It's also always great fun reconnecting with old friends. Here's me with Kevin Fairchild, one of my Mountain View Google Teacher Academy (#GTAMTV14) cohort members:

    And, here I am with my teacher librarian friend, Kat Tacea.

    And, of course, I met so many new friends! Here's a tweet from one of them, Shannon Bray:

    Thanks, Shannon! I should have had the camera out more often to document so many new friends!

    Many thanks to the EdTechTeam and Master of Ceremonies Kate Petty for a terrific summit!, to see more about what the EdTechTeam is up to, follow the #gafesummit hashtag on Twitter.

    Monday, August 8, 2016

    My recent trip and other adventures

    Yikes! I've now been officially "retired" for seven weeks. It sure doesn't seem like that much time could have passed! So ... what have I been up to?

    Well, definitely my most significant activity was my husband's and my two-week trip to Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. It was an incredible experience, enjoying the rich culture, history, and people of each country; witnessing how these countries support high quality, free education, social welfare, and health care for all their people; and enjoying some of the world's most magnificent scenery. Since we were on a Stanford Travel/Study tour, we also benefited from great lectures and discussions with Professor Ed Steidle and we enjoyed making friends with the other three dozen members of our group.

    A good chunk of the rest of these seven weeks has also involved the trip. I spent much of the two weeks after school was out getting ready for the trip. You know, deciding what to take, packing, and so on. Actually, I spent quite a lot more than two weeks, since I did a lot of both fiction and nonfiction reading over the last few months related to our destinations. The two books I think I enjoyed the most were The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth, and The Redbreast by JoNesbø, translated by Dan Bartlett. In a very tongue-and-cheek style, Booth shares lots of insight into these countries and what is unique about their people. (It also made me want to go back and visit Iceland and Finland sometime soon!) Redbreast is a crime novel set partly in contemporary Oslo and partly during World War II, with the later focusing on the Norwegians who volunteered to fight with the Nazis against the Soviets and later tried as traitors. I was actually reading The Redbreast during the trip, and loved the coincidence of visiting the Akershus Fortress and its Norwegian World War II Resistance Museum on the same day that one of the book's characters goes to that same locale.

    And, what about after the trip? We all know it takes longer to recover from a long trip than to take it, right? But I have also been occupied making a Shutterfly scrapbook. I felt a real sense of accomplishment when I completed it last week, curating from over 600 photos I took with my iPhone. I can't wait to get the printed copy in the mail next week. I appreciate how rich, enjoyable, and educational the trip was all the more after reliving it in scrapbook-making mode. Here is a small selection of the photos I added to a Google Photo Album.

    If you want to see the full scrapbook, send me an email.

    I've also been busy preparing to present sessions for an EdTechTeam Google Summit in Laguna Beach, CA, starting tomorrow (August 9). I'm looking forward to sharing five different sessions tomorrow and Wednesday, on Twitter, Google Images, Google Forms, Google Slides, and Google Hangouts. I'll post my slides links in another blog entry right after I get back.

    And, finally, I've spent some time pondering my next steps: how I want to refocus this blog, what my new priorities will be with my new retirement adventure, and how to "rebrand" myself. Clearly, I need a bit more time for all this. With the summit coming up tomorrow, I did order new business cards, and decided, for now anyway, to go with Teacher Librarian now "in the wild" as my "title." I really don't think of myself as being retired; rather, I'm moving on to new ways of supporting school libraries, education, and educational technology. Here's what the cards look like:

    I guess I'll see over time if that new "title" works for me.

    I also made what was for me, a big, probably very overdue, change. I finally let my beloved avatar go on my Twitter account, changing over to a photo. I set up my Twitter account in 2007, and I really, really love the manga avatar I chose to represent me. Back then, I was still a bit wary of having my photo online. And, I was working at the middle school level, and I wanted to model to my students how having an avatar is a fun way to have an online personality while still protecting their identities. And, to be honest, I love my avatar because her hair is a much brighter red than my own, her eyes always stay wide open, and she has no wrinkles. But ... I've been teaching a number of classes and leading sessions on Twitter recently, and I always give the advice that it is best to use a photo so that, when you meet members of your PLN in person, they will easily recognize you. At long last, I've decided to practice what I preach, and am now represented by a photo on Twitter:

    As for the rest of my rebranding and refocusing, please bear with me as I take some time to work this "new adventure" all out.