Author Archives: Maryam Hamad

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

 ARE YOUR KIDS SAFE ONLINE?

For kids these days, staying online and staying connected is becoming a necessity as more and more schools and colleges are integrating research based work in their curriculum. Students have to visit various informative websites, videos and images to complete their assessments and give an innovative touch to their piece of work.

Kids as young as three years old are aware of the fact that they can find cartoons, nursery rhymes and games of their interest online. Many of the parents even bribe their kids to give them phones or tablets for doing simple chores such as being nice infront of guests or studying well etc. But every child using internet doesn’t know about  viruses, online privacy, phishing, social networking etiquette, and other internet safety and/or security issues.

IMPORTANT TIPS FOR KIDS

To keep kids safe online, every child using internet must be aware of following facts.

Going online is just like going out in real world

For Kids starting to use internet, it is a fabulous and amazing place to be, but you must realize that going online is just like going out in real world. When online, you must understand the importance of considering your boundaries such as talking to strangers, using abusive language for your class mates or bullying, as such behaviors are as bad online as in real world scenario. 

Everyone must remember that anything you do online is saved forever and can create problems for you in future. If you have said or done anything controversial online, it will be copied many times and will come back to hurt you later on….even after you have deleted it from the original online source. Remember, employers and even world top universities admission offices look at social medial accounts when offering admission to students.

Be Smart and Respectful

Remember to always be smart by being kind and respectful to others online. Respect other people’s views. Even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you need to be rude. Make the internet a better place by helping your friends if they are upset by anything that happens online.

Avoid accepting contact requests, links, photos or advertisements from strangers

Children must know at all times that just like they are not allowed to accept gifts from strangers in physical world, they should not accept any offers or open unsolicited emails with attachments from an unknown contact. Think carefully before you click on a contact request, link, photo or an advertisement sent from an unknown source as they may lead to or they may contain viruses.  Remember, hackers are the criminals that break into your house through your computer rather than through the window.

In words of Amichai Shulman, CTO of network security firm Imperva, children’s sense of curiosity is far more developed and their sense of caution far less mature, which makes them an easy suspect of cyber crimes and online predators. 

Never Be friends with strangers

Beware!! someone’s identity is stolen every 3 seconds as a result of cyber crime.

Online social media can be a nightmare if you keep on making friends online whom you don’t know in person. Once you add them to your friends list, they get all the privileges such as assessing your posts, photos and videos that are kept private from public. The unknown friend can use all your information to make a fake account and use it in a negative way you can’t even imagine.

Keep your personal information safe

Keep your privacy setting as high as possible. Whenever chatting or posting any content online such as a video, audio or text on social media, never give away your personal information such as full name, phone numbers, full date of birth, home or school address. Never share your password with anyone even if its your super close friend. Keep your information safe to keep yourself safe.

Take a cautious approach while posting your pictures. Once you upload a picture online, its not yours anymore as most of the people can see and download it. They can be modified and misused easily.

Never try to meet a total stranger

Kids must realize that a stranger met online might not be who they say they are. They must never meet up with someone they know online. Even if that person claims to be a friend of a friend, still that person is a stranger and meeting up can be a dangerous idea. If someone you know online ever asks you to meet up, or asks for personal information or photos / videos of you then straight away inform an adult and report the incident to Cyber Rescue 9911.

Not all information online is RELIABLE:

You cannot trust everything you see online as some things can be out of date, inaccurate or not entirely true. To find reliable information compare at least three different websites, check in books and talk to someone about what you have found.

Discuss with a trusted adult anything bothering you

If something or someone ever makes you feel upset, worried or confused, always discuss it with some adult. This could be if you or someone you know is being bullied online. There are lots of people who will be able to help you like your teachers, parents, carers or contact Pakistan’s National Response Centre for Cyber Crime at 9911 or report a cyber crime online at www.nr3c.gov.pk

 

IMPORTANT TIPS FOR PARENTS

 

Communication, communication and communication

The first and foremost important job of a parent these days is to start discussing online safety with their child as soon as they start using internet. Initially the child is using computer with the help of a parent or guardian, which provides a wonderful opportunity to inform the child about safe and unsafe activities online such as passwords, the type of information that should/ shouldn’t be shared with anyone online and internet security protection, etc.

Proactively discussing the cyber security issues with your kids will help them later in their lives while making accounts for social networking sites. Help them create a sensible password and explain the importance of using different passwords for each account to avoid having a magnified effects of a password theft.

Talk to your child about do’s and don’ts of using internet to build the level of trust with your child so if they ever run into a trouble, they keep coming to you.

Get familiar with the services your child is using

Find out what your children are up to, create your own accounts and use the services they are using so that you become familiar with the privacy settings and reporting mechanisms. But never comment anything on your child’s social media account that may embarrass him/ her. 

Set House rules

Always monitor your child’s time online, especially the younger children. Let your child use internet at a place which is a common room so the child knows that he/ she is not alone. Even if they are in another room, don’t let them close the door and keep asking them about what they are watching in a fun filled way by asking questions such as

  • So, what are you watching today? is it informative?
  • What did you learned today?
  • So you watched these videos of troom troom , which hacks are you going to use ?(since my daughter love watching this site, i keep asking her to make her think if she spent her time wisely)

If you think they are watching useless stuff then talk to them gently and tell them about some other great videos or sites that you think will be more helpful, informative and enjoyable at the same time.

Technology Tools to help limit exposure

The most popular browsers provide features to block inappropriate sites using a safe search filter and the big internet service providers all offer free parental controls. Have a look at this video about how to turn on safe search settings in Google Chrome and Youtube. 

 

For youTube, always login using your account (on your laptop as well as YouTube app on your phone) and then let the child watch videos. As, this will provide you the full history of usage along with the time watched. 

Specific software is also available from all well-known developers allowing you to set the level of monitoring, block access to specific sites and programs, receive email alerts and even record keystrokes. But remember, no system is 100% accurate so don’t over-rely on technical tools. Always make sure you keep discussion open with your children to help them develop their critical thinking as they learn to use internet.

Despite the various horrors and pitfalls of online culture, we should never ignore the enormous positives and benefits of online world. Rather than limiting the potential to create, connect, communicate and share with the world, we as parents, should help our kids to stay safe and become smart and proactive digital citizens to get the best of the online world.

 

Where to seek help if you are a victim of cyber crime

If you are living in Pakistan and you have been a victim of cyber crime such as

  • Hacking, identity theft, cyber bullying or stalking
  • Financial frauds, digital piracy, computer viruses and worms
  • IP rights, money laundering or others

you can seek immediate assistance through Pakistan’s National Response Centre for Cyber Crime.

Their Cyber Rescue Helpline 9911 is a round the clock service which provides one window service to register a cyber crime complaint and provide assistance to Pakistani Public. According to the Prevention of the Electronic Crime ACT 2016, the offenders shall be highly punished with imprisonment and heavy fines.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Search Engines are a key source of information for people of all ages. Although search engines are designed to search for information on World Wide Web using even a single word, sometimes you might have to scan through pages of results to find relevant results.

No matter which field you belong, using the following methods and tricks can make your GOOGLE Search an absolute breeze. You can not only search in a timely and efficient manner but also limit the responses to those most relevant to your research and avoid frustration.

1. Use quotation mark (“”) for Exact phrase search

To restrict your search results to the exact phrase that you wish to search, use quotation marks. You can either do this by putting your search terms in quotation marks in the search bar or via the “this exact word or phrase” option on the advanced search page.

For Example, If you search for Cleanliness is half the faith, it will return results that include all combinations of words given in the search bar. If you use quotation marks Cleanliness is half the faith”, your results will include only those pages where the words are used in the specific order in which you have typed them.

2. Find anything nearby using ‘near me’

If you are looking for something important near you such as food, best schools, Free parking or Coffee, just type in for example coffee near me and google will display all relevant details of nearby coffee shops along with their location in Google Maps, hours as well as ratings.

3. Check flight status

To check the status of a flight, you no longer need to visit the website of the relevant airport. Simply type the flight number and all the flight related details will be displayed immediately.

4. Use ‘AND’ for more relevant results

Use AND to combine different concepts to make your results more relevant. For Example if you wish to search about Technology in higher education in Pakistan specifically, then search using AND operation.
Use of AND reduces the number of results you retrieve but this is useful as this search will only return sources where both Technology and Higher education in Pakistan, are referenced. And you will not have to browse through unnecessary details.


5. Use ‘OR’ for more comprehensive results

Use OR to combine synonyms to make your results more comprehensive. For Example if you wish to search on all aspects Technology in higher education in Pakistan, use OR operation.
 
This search will return all sources for Technology and all sources for higher education in Pakistan, including those instances where a source references both searches. Using OR increases the number of results you retrieve as this search will represent what you might get when you combine two separate searches for Technology OR higher education in Pakistan

6. Searching within a specific website

If you wish to restrict your results from a specific website than type [search word] site:yourwebsite in the search bar. Alternatively you can use the site or domain option on the advanced search page.

When you search using operators or punctuation marks, don’t add any spaces between the operator and your search terms. A search for Planets site:Britannica.com will work, but Planets site: Britannica.com won’t.


7. Range restrictions

If you are looking for list of events or pages published or updated within a specific time-frame, type the years or numbers separated by “..” in search bar. Alternatively, use the search tools option directly beneath the search bar; then click any time, then custom range

Search tools ==>  any time==> custom range

This can also be used to separate numbers to see results that fall within that range.

8. Restrict File Type

If you are looking for a specific file type such as a word document or a .pdf file then save your self a considerable amount of time by using the filetype operator. You can get results of a specific file type by typing  filetype:pdf or filetype:doc in search bar. You can search any file type such as doc, xls, kmz, kml, dwf etc. Alternatively, you can utilize the file type option on the advanced search page.

9. Use “Related” to find similar sites

 To find sites that are similar to a web address you already know, type “related” in the search bar. For example you like a website about making videos but you wish to explore some other sites to find better features then type related:[your website] and the results will display the similar sites that offer the same services.

 

10. Exclude irrelevant information using (-) minus sign

If you wish to explore a topic but you do not wish to see results from a site such as wikipedia.org then use ‘-‘ . Using a dash (-) before the search word or site, exclude the results from that particular site or word from your results. 

Example:

East India Company -site:wikipedia.org

 11. Use ‘info’ to get details about a website

If you wish to find the detailed information about some website, use info:[website address]. This will display complete results about a website such as the cached version of the page, similar pages, videos and images used and pages that link to the site.

12. Find Definition of a word

Instead of going through several results before you find the required definition. Use “Define: your word”. This will display the definition of the word along with related details just with one click.

13. Secret google games

If you are bored and are not sure what to search, then try one of the Google’s secret games that you can play on your computer, phone or tablet. Simply type one of the following and you can play them without having to download or visit any gaming site.

  • PaCman
  • Atari breakout
  • Snake game
  • Google Guitar

 

 

 

 

 

And there is even a Google Guitar for music lovers, where they can also record the music they create using this guitar. You can access this guitar here.

 

14. Track your Package

To track your package or documents you don’t need to go to the shipping company website and enter the tracking number. Google Search has sorted this for you. Simply check the delivery status of your Parcel by typing the Parcel tracking number in the Google search query and Google will figure out which carrier has the package and will link you directly to the package’s status page.

15. Find missing words or phrases using asterisk (*)

If you are unable to remember that one word or phrase which you are looking for, you can use asterisk (*) . Place it in the word or phrase that you wish to search and let Google do the rest. For Example  a search for Electric* will display results including electricity, electrical, electric etc.

 

16. Search using your voice

Are you tired of typing? Try searching using your voice. Select the microphone option, say your search words and let Google search it for you.

 

 

17. Searching images using images

If you find the image of an item such as a clock or a dress that you like but you are not sure where to get that from……Google it by using the image search option. To start with, save the picture and upload it by clicking the camera icon on google images. Google will find the similar pictures on the web and will direct you to the websites where similar images are found.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Teaching subjects such as Social Studies, History or Political Science can be daunting because it mostly consists of reading a lot of text. Most of the students consider Social Studies boring as most of the topics requires memorizing facts and figures. It is therefore important for the teachers to create a learning environment that help students learn in an enjoyable manner. Technology can be handy for creating an interactive Social Studies class.

Teachers can make use of technology in the class room, for homework or they can even take printout of various interesting topic related activities for use in the classroom, if there is an issue using technology in the classroom. Today I will share some free online learning resources keeping in perspective the Social Studies Syllabus in Pakistan.

 

Google Maps Street Views

If your are teaching about natural wonders and landmarks of the world, nothing works better than visiting the place in person. Of course, its not always possible. However, there is a free alternative. Simply use Google Street view for taking a voyage through important landmarks. You can use it to navigate through major cities of the world as if you are present there in reality. In addition, you get to see the important and interesting facts and information about each place on the screen. Point in a direction on the screen and click to follow the route to explore the surroundings So, in order to grab the helm and take your students to a world tour while sitting in the class. Follow the following simple instructions

EdPuzzle

EdPuzzle is a free Video editing tool. Using this tool you can use any video available on You Tube, Khan Academy or Vimeo, edit it, add quiz questions at any point in the video and can even add your own voice to create a personalized video for your students. Once the students log in, their responses will be recorded and can be seen in real time through teachers’ dash board. This help teacher understand the extent to which the students are clear about a concept. These videos can be a great way for reinforcing the concepts taught in the classroom. The link to videos can be shared with the students in Google Classroom or EdPuzzle Classes. Have a look at this quiz embedded within video, about the Government and Types of Government.

Khan Academy

Khan academy is a wonderful free resource where you can find a collection of videos and practice tests related to World History, US History and much more. The resources can be used for classroom or for homework. The resources and information can help teachers plan outstanding lessons.

Quiziz.com

Quiziz is a free teacher created quiz platform that can be used to motivate your students. Teachers can use text or images to create the quiz questions. It can be played as a live game together in class or in homework mode. Students can use any device and progress at their own pace. Teacher can create a new quiz from scratch or find a quiz already made by millions of teachers around the globe.

Check out this quiz about the renewable and non-renewable resources.

Kahoot

Kahoot is another game based quiz platform , which is an excellent tool for creating a fun based learning environment in the class. But it requires each student to have a computer or mobile device to respond to the quiz. Alternatively, the quiz can be played individually at home. For more details about how online quiz can be used in or outside classroom, read my post about How to Use Kahoot to add excitement and fun to class quiz.

Timeline JS

Timeline JS is a free tool that enables users to build an interactive timeline story using a Google spreadsheet. It allows to add a variety of content such as text, tweets, images, videos, sounds and even maps to make the timeline visually rich. Once the data is entered, it can be easily published to share with students in class or on the website.

PBS Learning Media

PBS learning media offers a range of free resources such as videos, interactive lessons, lesson plans, games and much more on topics such as Geography, Elementary Social studies, US history and World History etc. The resources can be directly shared with students via Google classroom or can be used for classroom instruction.

Teaching History

This website has especially been designed to assist K-12 History teachers. Apart from other informative resources such as teaching materials, videos and quizzes, it also provides interactive posters for History class.

Using one or more of the resources mentioned above will certainly bring life to an otherwise boring class.

Happy Learning!!!!!!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

How often you find yourself in a situation where you are trying to find a very good online resource that you came across once but can’t remember what exactly the website or the link was because you did not save it for future reference? Or you find lots of interesting web pages about a particular topic but not sure how to save them or share them with others in a presentable manner? Well many of you might be using the book marking tool in your browser but let me introduce SYMBALOO.

Symbaloo helps you organize your favorite web resources, apps or games in a presentable manner. Using this you can also embed a document from your google doc. You can easily share your web mix with your students and others using your social media accounts, the URL or you can embed it in your wiki or blog. It also allows you to use the webmixes prepared by others and alter them. Have a look at this symbaloo that I have created. It consists of various useful resources for students from grade K-2.

Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

The art of telling stories is an important teaching skill. Telling stories with the help of pictures is not only interesting and entertaining for the audience but also assist in teaching students about important concepts, attitudes, human experiences and cultural values. The advent of technology gave birth to the idea of combining the art of telling stories with a variety of multimedia such as computer-based images, audio narrations, music and video clips. This practice of using technology for telling stories is commonly termed as Digital Story Telling.

A commonly used phrase is “a picture is worth a thousand words”. If this is true, then one can imagine the importance and worth of a video. Digital story telling activity can be used in classrooms to support engagement, attention and interest of the ‘NET Generation’.

Types of Digital Storytelling

Digital stories can be categorized into three major groups

Personal narratives

Personal stories and narrative are often the source of personal discovery, introspection and significant incidents in one’s life. Watch this video by Maxine Tan about her personal reflection on stress and education.

 

 Stories designed to inform or instruct

This type of digital story is used to inform the viewer on a particular concept and convey instructional material in many different areas of education. Watch the following video by Andrea Arias, about uses of three dimensional printer and how they can be used in class. Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Ever suffered by the phenomenon called “Death by PowerPoint”?

If YES, then its time to break the wheel of monotony and explore an excellent alternative to Power Point to engage your audience ….Prezi!!!1024px-Prezi_logo_transparent_2012.svg

Prezi is a free, web based visual learning tool used for interactive and interesting presentations. As oppose to the traditional slide making tools, Prezi offers a nonlinear way of presenting text, images, videos and graphics. With in one large canvas users can pan and zoom to various areas within the canvas to elaborate the ideas presented. This tool is equally useful for teachers and students.

Prezi is cloud-based, which means that users can access the latest version of their work from any web enabled device. As the Prezi can be kept in public domain, teacher created Prezi can be assessed by students anytime. Users can also present remotely from their browser, desktop, iPad or Smart Phone. Using Prezi app, users can create or edit on the go, the changes automatically synchronize across all devices. The premium version provides extra features such as working offline and central account management. This feature is extremely helpful if your school is not equipped with an internet connection.

Prezi is interactive whiteboard friendly. It allows to create interactive presentations with touch navigation using pictures, text, videos, sound or personally recorded narration.

Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Summer holidays bring a lot of excitement for kids. It is a time to plan for fun activities and trips.

Being parents and especially Pakistani Parents, we are concerned about the time kids spend away from school with a common whine of ‘Boredom’. Some parent choose to send their children to summer camps to avoid having them ‘do nothing’ and forget the concepts learned in the previous school year. Considering the harsh hot weather in most areas of Pakistan and high school fees paid to schools even during summer vacations, sending kids to summer school is not a viable option for many.

This summer I am starting two EDMODO SUMMER ACTIVITY GROUPS for children who will be starting grade Nursery (ages 3+) and Grade 2 (ages 6+) after the vacations. If your child falls in these age groups, join these online groups to engage your kids with fun learning activities.

Both the groups are created using the online learning platform Edmodo. If you are new to Edmodo, please watch the video in the last section to learn how to join Edmodo. It’s quick and easy!!!!!

The details of the groups are as following

GROUP 1: Summer Activity Group for Nursery Students

Dates: 20th June till 31st July (6 weeks)

This group will be updated twice a week, every Monday and Thursday. Resources related to Literacy, Numeracy, Science, Islamyat and Urdu will be shared.

Resources such as videos, games, lessons, worksheets and activities will be updated in the group. Each week a free learning app will also be shared for students’ engagement. Parents assistance will be required to display the material to children.

Group link: https://edmo.do/j/j4ynyg 

GROUP 2: Summer Activity Group for Grade 2 Students

Dates: 20th June till 31st July (6 weeks)

This group will be updated once a week, every Monday. Resources related to English, Mathematics, Science, Islamyat and Urdu will be shared.

Resources such as videos, games, lessons, worksheets and activities will be shared. Each week a free learning app will also be shared for students’ engagement.

Students will be ask to respond to the shared material. Also quizzes related to the weekly topic will be sent. Participating students will be awarded Edmodo badges.

Group link: https://edmo.do/j/j99vnx

Confused About how to join????????Keep reading……….

If you are new to Edmodo, watch this short video to learn about

  • How to signup for an Edmodo account for your child
  • How to join my Summer activity groups
  • How to access the shared resources and how to benefit from them

Once you have joined the group, for future login simply visit www.edmodo.com and login using your child’s username and password.

If you have any questions or suggestions, you can reach me at maryam.hamad@edutechsage.com

Happy Learning!!!!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Lets play a game!!!!

Using this one sentence teacher can immediately grab students’ attention in the class. Use of games for educational purposes is not a new phenomenon however with the advent of technology, use of digital games based learning (DGBL) has gained wide acceptance in educational institutes across the globe. Institutes such as  Quest to Learn , engage students in games and quests to become inventors, designers, innovators and problem solvers. Various types of games are being used to enhance student motivation, engagement and learning.

None the less, before implementing DGBL some important question to ponder upon include

  • Whether games has the potential to enhance student learning or not?
  • What are the various features of an educational game that makes it an effective medium of instruction?
  • What are some useful digital educational games, currently being used by educational institutes?

Watch this video that narrates my personal experience of digital educational games, in addition to answering these questions.

DGBL in Pakistan

In Pakistan, although a positive perception towards digital educational games persists, a variety of barriers exist in proper implementation of DGBL environment in Pakistani Schools.

Currently, some private schools are making use of online available games, as a supportive tool, for Literacy, Numeracy, Robotics, General Knowledge, Geography and Science. Also, a number of schools have subscribed to online mathematics game “Matheletics”.

However, the adoption of educational games on a wide scale is dependent on certain variables such as a well-established infrastructure, continued teacher training, positive teacher perceptions and experiences, the extent to which the curriculum relevant resources are explored and implemented, efforts invested at individual school level and the extent of support at government level.

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

“Digital natives” represents today’s students – the first generation of students that has grown up with technology (Prensky, 2001, p.1). Marc Prensky (2005) argues that today’s learners have changed radically and therefore need to be motivated in new ways. The current teacher centered pedagogy of educational system stimulate rote learning and memorization or learning that cannot be applied to new situations (Oblinger, 2004; Prensky, 2005).

The pedagogy needs to facilitate student-centered deep learning that enable today’s student to become critical thinker, creative problem solver, innovative and adaptable. One way of doing this is using a variety of technological tools, relating to real life, to support classroom instruction and to enhance learning.

eLEARN.PUNJAB is one such initiative taken by the Government of Punjab, to encourage the use of educational technologies by establishing a self-study platform for Pakistani Digital Natives.

To enhance the learning value of Pakistan National Curriculum text books and improve quality of education, the digitized book versions of Science (Grade 6-8), Mathematics (Grade 6-10) and Biology, Chemistry and Physics (Grade 9, 10 and O Level) has been made available free online. The contents can be accessed using any device such as desktop, tablets or smart phones. Watch this short video to learn about eLearn.Punjab platform.

Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail