Google says it can’t trust our self-hosted AMP pages enough to pre-render them. But they ask for a lot of trust from us. We’re supposed to trust Google to cache and host copies of our pages. We’re supposed to trust Google to provide some mechanism to users to get at the original canonical URL. I’d like to see trust work both ways.

Source: Adactio: Journal—In AMP we trust

Reading above my pay grade again.

More about Google’s AMP stuff here: Google AMP is good for mobile web users – but what about publishers? | Media | The Guardian

One of the things it does is present your content quickly without all the javascript that slows pages down, but it also seems to hijack the ULR and give the material a google one.

Given Schools should teach pupils how to spot ‘fake news’ – BBC News, it might make understanding and evaluating content even harder.

TL:DR I’ve found a link that leads to google image search for  images labeled for noncommercial reuse. This is handy on iOS where it is hard to get to the Usage Rights Filter, here is the link:

Coming back to the classroom after 9 years I find I am still interested in searching for images and copyright. It still seems to be as hard to get young children to understand the problem and harder to understand and carry out attribution.

On my classes blog I link to various places to search for images with some advice on attribution. I include my FlickrCC Stampr tool which can simplify the attribution.

As well as the problem with attribution there is the ever present temptation just to search google. This is made worse by the fact that the Search Tools displayed on iOS lack the Usage Rights popup.

So I was interested in the link I saw today: How to find Google images with reuse licenses on an iPad iOS – Using Technology Better.

Unfortunately this method was described as a hack and took 6 steps to get to the advanced search and the usage rights pop up.

iOS google Search no Usages rights in Tools.

Google Image Search Mac, has Usage rights in Tools.

So I though I might have a search for the url parameters1 involved in a search with the Usage rights displayed.

There are quite a lot of parameters and although searching google for a list provides some these seem to be both undocumented and changeable:

You can expect that a lot of this will change. The reason why Google themselves do not provide any guidance or documentation on these parameters is probably that they want to retain full freedom to change how they work. You can expect that some will be removed, some will be added, and others will give a different result than before.

from: Google Search URL Request Parameters | DETECTED Which give a lot of details, but not the one I wanted.

So I went through the process in the Using Technology Better post and copied the url. I then started deleting the parameters until I found the ones that would produce the right kind of search:

The tbm=isch bit makes it an image search, the tbs=sur:f seems to set the usage rights to Labeled for noncommercial reuse.

So you can now give pupils on iOS a direct link to search for images that labeled for noncommercial reuse.

Featured Image: found searching Flickr for search with no known copyright restrictions: Image from page 211 of “Bulletin” (1961-1962) by Internet Archive Book Images No known copyright restrictions

1. The paramaters are the bits in the url after ? for example ?q=bus&safe=active, makes a search for a bus safe.

A few years ago I posed about an interesting use of Google reverse image search:

And over the years I’ve read a good few posts about the tool on Alan’s blog (e.g. The Hidden Complexity of Attribution, Reverse Image Search ).

This week I’ve been reading more fascinating uses of the tool: Cleanup Time and Road Trip

I am even more strongly minded that we should be starting to teach these skills from a young age. How easy that will be I don’t know.

A few weeks ago, during the scary clown storm I was hearing about clown stories every day. One pupil was most insistent that there was a clown plague. The pupil presented me with ‘evidence’ from his iPad. This was a photo of a dead clown stretched out shot on a New York street. I took a look with the idea of demonstrating a wee bit of fact checking. On scrolling down below the picture I found the headline explaining that this was a fake photo! No detective work needed.

I am not quite sure where to start with this teaching. Perhaps using the reverse image search to identify things or creatures combined with some work on The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.

The problem is that the fake stuff is catchy, fun and enables us to grab a quick stance.

Featured image Reversed | Pekka Nikrus | Flickr BY-NC-SA

(This post has been sitting in a text file over the whole of the Christmas break)

A while back a blogged about my classes brief experience of Google Expeditions one of the things I didn’t mention was the thought that it might be interesting for children to be creators of content.

The other day I was reminded of Google Expeditions by Malcolm Wilson’s post Are we really there? Virtual Reality in the classroom which gives a great overview of VR & Google Expeditions. He also posted some links. I’ve not followed them all but one leads on to Cardboard Camera on the App Store. This is a google iOS app (there is an android one too) that can:

Capture and share moments with virtual reality (VR) photos. VR photos let you experience scenery and sound in every direction and in 3D, making things near you look close and faraway things look far away.

I’ve only had time to give it a couple of quick tests on my phone. The one I made in the class certainly seemed to impress the pupils when viewed in Google Cardboard.

The app saves at an image with a .vr.jpg extension in the camera roll as well as the app. When imported to photos on a mac this turns out to be 10994 pixels by 1706 and weights in at 4.9 MB. You can see an exported & much reduced version below.

As you view the image you can hear the sound recorded at the time. So You can either have atmosphere or a voice over.

According to the app store:

Compatibility: Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

I wonder if it is worth having an iPod Touch in class. I have always been slightly surprised that iPod Touches disappeared from the education scene when the iPad came along. The fact that they should work in google cardboard or other VR viewers might bring them back?

Featured image screenshot of the Cardboard Camera in action.

There are also evil women. I didn’t go looking for them either. This is what I type: “a-r-e w-o-m-e-n”. And Google offers me just two choices, the first of which is: “Are women evil?” I press return. Yes, they are. Every one of the 10 results “confirms” that they are, including the top one, from a site called, which is boxed out and highlighted: “Every woman has some degree of prostitute in her. Every woman has a little evil in her… Women don’t love men, they love what they can do for them. It is within reason to say women feel attraction but they cannot love men.”

from: Google, democracy and the truth about internet search | Technology | The Guardian

I’ve long been fascinated by google auto completes but never though of deeper implications.

I read this in the Observer this morning. Thanks to @LillyLyle for digging out the link I couldn’t find (via @IanStuart66)).

I use google all of the time and do pay attention to the auto completes as they often seem to help in refining a search. Sometimes this is just to avoid suggestions, sometime better. I’d not thought about the darker side.

On reading the article I first didn’t think that I paid much attention to auto suggestions (like adverts). I cast my mind back to yesterday when I was searching for a way to draw ‘irregular rectangles’ with JavaScript. I didn’t really find what I wanted, but burrowed down several rabbit holes steered by the suggestions.

I am used to the top google results having some sort of authority. Google a film get IMDB or Wikipedia. This gives pause.

Featured image captured with LICEcap.

Running my auto complete script leads to a few possible questions…


  • is google your friend?
  • is google evil?
  • is google racist?
  • is google listening to me?
  • is google making us stupid?

In early October my school had a visit from Google Expeditions. I’d been contacted to see if I would be interested and jumped at the chance.

Google Expeditions are a 3D VR ‘experience’ using google cardboard. I’d tried a few mobile apps using cardboard before but not in a classroom setting.

The plan was we would choose Expeditions that would fit into our learning.

On the day Kostas from Google turned up in Banton having traveled on public transport with the whole kit in a backpack. This consisted of one tablet, one router, a set of android phones with a google cardboard for each phone.

Expeditions are a set of several 3D VR ‘images’ that can be looked around. The images are broadcast from the tablet ( or a phone) to other devices on the local network. The Tablet is handled by the ‘leader’ the phones by the ‘explorers’. The leader controls which image/space the explorers see. The leader’s non-3D view includes some notes and discussion points.

table leader view

The devices need to be connected to the same network but they do not need to be online. The scenes are ‘served’ from the tablet. The tablet does need to be online at some point to download the scenes in preparation.

When in a space the explorers can look around by turning their heads or bodies. Moving forward and backwards has no effect.

The leader cannot control where the explores look in a scene but double tapping will show the explorers an arrow pointing to the object tapped (we saw that explorers would always follow these arrows).

We had chosen a couple of Expeditions that would fit with out learning, but did have the chance to explore quite a few.

in the box

The pupils were very engaged immediately, the images are surprisingly ‘hyper real’ and the experience of turning round or just moving your head was delightful.

We collated some pupil responses on the class blog: Around the World in a Cardboard Box.

I’d chosen the spaces we looked at at fairly short notice, one did not really fit with my expectations the other was linked to a topic we had not then started. So for the point of view of linking into the learning and teaching I hadn’t planed well enough. From the point of view of exploring potential new technology and giving the pupils a glimpse of the near future.

I’d also feel that the resources might be a bit more valuable after the initial excitement had died down and the pupils used the system more than once.

So how would we use this past an exciting but brief test. Although the kit is relative inexpensive a class set would still be an major resource for even a large school.

I suppose it could be a share resource for a group of schools or local authority.

I wonder too if it could be used on a smaller scale, with less devices. At the end of last month I was talking to Will Tuft on Radio #EDutalk about ‘The immersive classroom’, this involves setting up classroom experiences, for example the aftermath of a hurricane, with props and tasks. I wonder could the cardboard be part of some such class. For example a group of ‘divers’ could take it in turns to put on the googles and explore the sea.

It could also just be used by a few children as a time.

I wonder if as well as the obvious exploration angle if it would be a rich resource for writing.

All in all an interesting experience, it will be interesting to see how this type of technology develops.

Although I’ve not been blogging about all of the 23 things, I’ve though a little about most of them. This item from my feed reader:

Google Has Quietly Dropped Ban on Personally Identifiable Web Tracking – ProPublica got me thinking more about thing 4 digital security

To opt-out of Google’s identified tracking, visit the Activity controls on Google’s My Account page, and uncheck the box next to “Include Chrome browsing history and activity from websites and apps that use Google services.” You can also delete past activity from your account.

After that I headed over to the Google My Account page and turned off as much as I could.

A day to go in Week two of 23 Things so a rather rushed approach.

Thing 3: Digital Footprint, reading includes:

It is important for you to think about how you manage your activity online in the context of your emerging professional identity (or identities) and what you need to do to manage an effective online presence and your digital footprint.

‎ Student e-Professionalism
Which sums up the problem fairly nicely.

after the reading the task was to Google yourself. Go to, type in your name, and see what results come up.

The first thing to note is that I am redirected to


From as owning own my name pov this looks pretty good. The fly in the ointment is the location. The only John Johnston higher than me is a Glasgow photographer.

It turns out it is quite hard to get results from google without using your location (I googled it). So I gave up and turned to Duck Duck go.

Continue reading

I tried this iPhone app out before the summer on the recommendation of Ian Stuart. At that time it was not integrated with O365/Glow and its main selling point seemed to be it took great pictures of whiteboards and straightened them up nicely.

Back then I gave it a try and it did that job, but not, IMO, as well as Scanner Pro. Scanner Pro is £2.99. (I like paying for apps, if you are not the customer…).

So last week when Ian mention that it was now integrated with O365 for business/school (ie Glow), I didn’t get that excited but I did download it. Not being at a conference or near a whiteboard I just did a quick scan of a newspaper and saw that it uploaded.

Continue reading

Saw this on DaringFireball.
DirectLinks – Canisbos is a Safari extension. Really useful for copying links from Google Search results.

Normally when you try and copy a link from a google search you get this sort of thing:

As google wraps the link so that they can count clicks. Installing the DirectLinks extension means if I copy the same link I get:

Which is a lot more useful.  A quick google finds ways of doing this in Firefox and chrome too. I’ve not tested those.