Digital Citizenship Week for Families

This week is Digital Citizenship week!  We hope that you will find the below resources useful as you encounter this topic at home with your children.  

The Common Sense Media Blog has a lot of information that can be helpful with Digital Citizenship discussions.  In honor of Digital Citizenship Week you may be interested in taking their Device Free Dinner Challenge with more Device Free Dinner Suggestions here.  

We also highly recommend creating a Family Media Plan with the American Academy of Pediatrics Family Media Plan with Media Time Calculator so that everyone in the family is on the same page regarding expectations.

If you have more questions Upper School Head, Colleen Welsh and Aaron Hovel gave a talk about Raising Children in the Digital Age.  We also have a Parent Resource Page with more information on this blog.  In addition, please feel free to reach out to the Tech Department at any time.  


Digital Citizenship Week

This week is Digital Citizenship week!  To kick off our Tech Communications for the year, we are sharing resources that we hope you will find useful for your Digital Citizenship work in the classroom this year.  We request that a message go home after you cover any digital citizenship lessons to help families continue the conversation and reinforce topics at home.  Please reach out to the Tech Department if you need assistance with a message to parents or if you need help implementing anything this year.  

For Grades 1 – 5 BrainPop has free access to their Digital Citizenship Collection.  Their learning pathways tackle topics like Information Privacy, Media Literacy, and Digital Etiquette and students do activities where they can apply what they have learned and teachers can easily access understanding.  There is also an extensive list of Teacher Digital Citizenship Resources available.  

For Grades 3 – 5 Be Internet Awesome by Google helps kids become safe, confident explorers of the online world.  Their curriculum gives educators the tools and methods they need to teach digital safety fundamentals in the classroom and students apply their learning via Interland, a playful browser-based game that makes this topic interactive and fun.  Click here to access Teacher Training for this curriculum.

For Grades 6 – 9 the Applied Digital Skills by Google is a well developed free computer literacy course designed to prepare students for a growing number of jobs that require basic digital skills. With their Applied Digital Skills Curriculum learners explore units and apply skills in real world activities that practice topics like planning an event, creating an interactive guide and many more.  

For Grades 3 – 9, This Digital citizenship and social emotional learning article outlines how character strengths can be used in a positive way to navigate digital dilemmas.  Their Digital Citizenship & Social and Emotional Learning Teacher Guide contains a set of scenarios that students may face at some point in their lives and encourages conversation about character with the goal of developing strengths like humility and perseverance.  

Common Sense Media Ed Tech Reviews –  Their EdTech reviews and supporting resources can help you bring tech tools to your classroom via a collection of age appropriate resources curated by knowledgeable educators.  

Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Week Resources is a page developed for this week that you can explore, which has many useful resources that can help your students be, as they say, Dig-Cit Ready.  

Connecting a MacBook Laptop to a Projector

This post covers the basics on how to connect a MacBook Pro Laptop to a projector.  If you would like to download or print out a one page sheet to keep handy or to leave with your lesson plans for a substitute teacher click here.

Connecting a MacBook Laptop to a Projector

Make sure your laptop is connected to a power source (especially for long presentations).  With the HDMI cable No Adaptor is needed.  Connect the black cord to the HDMI port located on the right side of the MacBook Pro in the center input (see below).  With HDMI video and audio go through the same cable so there is no separate hookup for audio. Now Turn on the projector with the classroom remote.

Sometimes, additional steps may be required for an image to be displayed from your laptop.

If an image doesn’t project and you see a blue screen with a “No Input” message, disconnect the HDMI cable from your laptop, wait 5 seconds and then reconnect.  If the image still does not appear make sure that all the wires have a good connection.

Most Common Issue: If you do see an image, but it does not match your laptop screen click on the apple in the upper left of your screen and select System Preferences.  Next click on Displays.

Click on the Arrangement tab and make sure that the Mirror Displays box is checked.

Another common problem: If you see a no input message on your screen press the Source button on the projector remote.  

Reminder: Here is a one page sheet that you can download or print out if you want to keep it handy or leave with your lesson plans for a substitute teacher.

Click here for Apple TV tips

Which Generation Have Smartphones Destroyed?

Originally published on Pike Perspectives

An Atlantic article titled Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? recently received a lot of attention on social media.  The piece states “More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.” The author, with the help of a large study, traces these problems back to smartphone and social media.  Interestingly, an article on JSTOR Daily came out in response to The Atlantic article titled “Yes, Smartphones Are Destroying A Generation, But Not Of Kids”.  This article looks at the same data and draws some very different conclusions. The author states, “Fellow parents, it’s time for us to consider another possible explanation for why our kids are increasingly disengaged. It’s because we’ve disengaged ourselves; we’re too busy looking down at our screens to look up at our kids.”

As always, I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle of these two viewpoints. While I think it is important for children to spend less time on their devices and more time in non-screen activities, I don’t think this alone will lessen teen depression or anxiety.  It is also important for us as parents to take a good look at our smartphone and social media use. Adults need to model putting the phone down and engaging with our children and others around us in order to be good “digital mentors.”  We are living in an age where device moderation and boundaries are important for both generations.

I encourage you to read both articles and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Note: At Pike, we teach students Digital Citizenship in all grades where students learn to make safe, smart and ethical decisions online.  We also encourage students to be aware of what distracts them the most and provide a few strategy suggestions that can help with self-management.  If you have questions about parenting in the digital age Upper School Head, Colleen Welsh and I gave a talk last year with suggestions and we have a resource page on our All Things Tech Blog.

Evaluating Innovation

by Aaron Hovel and Jennifer Zacharis
Originally posted on Pike Perspectives

With any new initiative, it is important to evaluate and reflect on the progress. Over the past year, we embarked on evaluating the Upper School 1-to-1 iPad program that began during the 2013 – 2014 school year. We accomplished this through student, parent, and teacher surveys, as well as faculty focus groups.  After compiling all the data and pouring over the individual comments, it is clear that the program has been well received and is meeting the goals set out in the beginning.  As I stated in my previous post the workforce that our children will enter will require different skills and qualities, and we need to teach students to do work that computers can’t do.  The goals for the iPad program were developed to provide teachers and students with the tools to create opportunities to practice these skills, which we often refer to as the 4 C’s:

  • Curation – Develop skills that will help evaluate and organize vast amounts of information so they can retrieve it later.
  • Creation – Design and share information for global communities.
  • Collaboration – Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally.
  • Communication – Facilitate creative expression of knowledge and understanding through a variety of media.

When we asked teachers, via the survey, if they felt the iPad had enabled them to provide more opportunities for students to practice and demonstrate these skills, the majority of faculty reported yes.  Overall, we also found that parents are satisfied with the iPad program, value integration of technology into the classroom, and are looking for information to help them talk with their children about digital citizenship.  Students overwhelmingly rate the iPad program highly, they like the major apps that we use daily and a majority of them feel more engaged in class as a result of the iPad program.  Along with all of the positive news, we also know we have things to work on and we will use the results of the survey to guide our plans for the future, with issues like distraction, screen time and digital citizenship.
Now that we have all of this data, how is it guiding our future work? In addition to providing input via the surveys, faculty also participated in 2 departmental focus groups.  During the first meeting, they did an analysis on the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities of the first three years of the program.  In the next meeting, faculty reviewed the results of the survey as well as their initial analysis and picked a major goal to work on over the next 2-3 years.

As we often see at Pike, teachers choose to take on big goals that can improve learning in major ways.  Some of the goals include making Global connections with other classrooms around the world, developing a portfolio of work that will help students evaluate and reflect on their learning, or looking for more ways for students to create as a part of their learning.  I’m excited about the direction already set for the next few years. Thank you to all who participated in the surveys and provided feedback.

Google Keyboard Shortcuts

Do you ever forget helpful keyboard shortcuts while using Google Docs?  If so, here is one keyboard shortcut to remember that can help you out when using the Google Suite. To pull up a complete list of keyboard shortcuts that can help you save time see the instructions below:

Step 1: Open a Google Doc

Mac:  Click on ⌘ and /

Chromebook/Windows: Hold down Ctrl and /

Tech Tip – Google Calendar App

Want to access your Google calendar on your phone or iPad?  Try the Google Calendar App.  In the past, I’ve recommended Calendars by Readle but Google now has a free iPhone and iPad app.  I’ve been using it for the last few weeks and Google’s app works just as well if not better.  Just download the app and log in with your Google credentials and you’re ready to start using your personal/work calendar from your device.

How to listen to Podcasts

Have you been wanting to start listening to the latest cool podcasts, but don’t know where to start?  Watch the above video or 
click here to see a brief introduction (under 2 minutes!) on how to listen to podcasts.  This can be a great time saving way to squeeze in some learning while you are driving, exercising or whenever.  For more detailed information about the Podcasts app that I speak about in the video this apple support page has all the info that you would need.  If you have questions or need help after watching this very short video please contact the Tech Department.  

Zoom in on your Mac Screen

Ever wanted to zoom in on something on your computer screen so your students can see it more clearly?  Use the accessibility feature called Zoom.  First you need to set a few things up.  

Open System Preferences and choose Accessibility.

Once inside the Accessibility options

  1. Select Zoom on the left
  2. Check the box next to “Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom” and make sure “^ Control” is chosen in the pull down box.  

Once you’ve done that you are ready to use the zoom feature.  To use the zoom feature.  Hold the control button down with a finger on your left hand.  Then use the two finger scroll gesture to zoom in.  See video below.  

Tip: Place the cursor where you want to zoom.