Thursday, April 23, 2015

"Google's Geo Tools - Taking Maps to the Next Level" - 2015 NETA Conference Session

The following resources accompany my presentation at the 2015 NETA (Nebraska Educational Technology Association) Conference in Omaha, Nebraska at the Century Link Center.

Eric Langhorst - 8th Grade U.S. History / Technology / Broadcasting Teacher
Google Certified Teacher
Discovery Middle School - Liberty, Missouri
E-mail :     Twitter : @elanghorst

Google Maps

My Tracks App

Google Tour Builder
Google Views

Google Street View

Google Gallery

Google Time Lapse
Google Map Engine Lite
Google Maps Games and Activities

Google Geo Teachers Institute

Google Geo Resources

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Giving the WD MyCloud NAS Drive a Test Run

The WD MyCloud EX2100 - my new data storage solution

As a teacher I create a great deal of content that takes up data.  In addition to teaching U.S. History, for the past two years I have also taught student broadcasting.  Working with video - both the captured footage and the final products - consumes a lot of data space and I have noticed over the past couple of years that my needs for a safe place to back up my files have grown.  

I have also always loved to take photographs and with my digital camera the only constraint to the number of pictures I take is the amount of space I have to store all my photos.  I recently started to sell some of my photographs locally - mostly landscapes and city skylines - so I have also been looking to back up these photos.

When WD contacted me and asked me to try out their new My Cloud NAS system I thought it was a great time to check out how I could expand my digital storage workflow beyond just a collection of external hard drives that typically stay in my desk drawer. I will also be giving away a WD My Cloud EX2100

Western Digital provided me with a My Cloud EX2100 to take on a test run.  I had no previous experience with a NAS (Network Attached System) but now that I have set one up it will be difficult to go back to just external hard drives with USB access. With my WD My Cloud up and running I now have access to my files anywhere at anytime via the cloud.


The MyCloud is a well built case that doesn't take up much space in terms of a physical footprint.  My EX2100 model has two hard drive bays which are interchangeable.  My drive came with a total of 4 TB of storage - 2 TB in each drive.  I like that as my need grows I can also add drives with more storage. In addition to uploading files via the cloud, you can also transfer files with USB 3.0.

Set Up

Although I enjoy finding new ways to incorporate technology into my teaching and personal life, setting up and configuring networks is not usually my forte.  Setting up the WD My Cloud system was extremely easy.  I needed to place it near my wireless router and a power source, which for me is across the room from my desk.  Set up was about 10 minutes.  I plugged it in, went to the website listed on my instructions and set up my cloud account and I was soon updating files to my own cloud storage unit.

Desk Space

One of the things I have really liked about the WD My Cloud is that fact that it doesn't take up any space on my desk.  I try, and I emphasis try, to keep my desk as clean as possible.  My ability to not have the unit on my desk and on the other side of the room near my TV and our family gaming system is a big plus.  I wanted to share a picture of the My Cloud unit in my home and the picture of the WD My Cloud unit dutifully sitting next to our XBox isn't all that exciting but the picture of my cleared desk with as much space as possible to work is to me.  I really like the fact that I don't need to have the unit on my desk and it is still storing all my data.

Having the WD My Cloud in a separate location means I can keep my work desk clean!

WD Cloud App for My Phone

One of the first things I did after setting up my account is download the the WD Photos app to my phone.  I have a Nexus 6 and love to take pictures with it.  The WD Photos app was easy to set up and now every time I take a picture on my phone, it backs up a copy of that picture on the My Cloud unit.  I can then access my photos on my laptop for further editing and it doesn't matter where I am at as long as I have Internet access.

These are my initial reactions to using the WD My Cloud for roughly a week.  I look forward to learning more about some of the additional features - including using it as a FTP server for a couple of the websites that I manage. Overall very impressed with the ease of use for the WD My Cloud unit and the peace of mind it provides me knowing I have my data in a secure place that I can access anywhere in the world.