Monday, December 5, 2016

Presentation! Digital Citizenship, Cyberbullying and Screen Time

Topic: Digital Citizenship, Cyberbullying and Screen Time
When:  Thursday, December 15, 2016, 7-8:30 p.m.
Who: Dr. Elizabeth Englander from the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC) at Bridgewater State University
Where:  WMS Auditorium

Made possible by grant money, Dr. Englander's presentation will cover the challenges parents face with modern-day middle school students on the issues of screen time, social conflict, bullying, cyberbullying, and the use and over use of social media.  This presentation will give parents concrete tips and new perspectives about how to address and educate their children about using social media and how to maximize their social success in school and online. The goal is to help families feel more in control of digital technology and social dynamics.  Attendees will learn about research on the most effective ways that parents/guardians can address common digital struggles while helping their children socially.

The event is open to all members of our community.  Many thanks to our WPS Technology Department for bringing this important topic to our school.   

Information about the MARC Center can be found here (http://marccenter.webs.com/).

Thursday, December 1, 2016

iPads for Parents Evening Recap

This year’s iPads for Parents Evening was opened up to all 3 middle school grade levels. Brian Allieri (Instructional Technology Specialist at the Middle School) and Pete Ritter (1:1 Coordinator and Instructional Technology Specialist) worked with parents to discuss history and goals of the program, share content filtering and policy settings of the iPads, and demonstrate core apps and tools used in the 1:1 program.

This post is sharing items from the evening for anyone that missed it.

History and Goals

The program is now in full gear! All 3 grade levels at the Wellesley Middle School have iPads. That’s roughly 1200 iPads to manage, distribute apps to, repair, find.. etc

The current 8th grade students (class of ‘21) is the first cohort to go through the program. This is also the first year grade 8 teachers get to integrate the devices fully with students taking them home. The teachers attended professional development over the 2016 summer related to the iPads and integrating them.

This will be our first year working with a group exiting the middle school and we will be learning the best ways to manage this.

Ongoing professional development is continuing throughout all grade levels to build upon teacher skills and share new tools and methods with the iPads.


Content Filtering and Policies

All content coming into the student iPads is filtered. This is while they are in the schools and at home (not many school districts provide filtered content outside the schools like we do). Any non educational and inappropriate online materials are blocked and out filter appliance gets updates often (as content online is always changing).

Here is a sample to the right (the real list and categories is way too much to share).

Another feature that isn’t provided by many other schools is that we “turn off” the Internet at 11:00PM at night and access is on again at 6:00AM.



We also utilize a tool called a Mobile Device Manager to manage the deployment of apps and updates to our 1:1 devices (iPads). This tool also allows us to set more controls on the iPad itself and here are a few examples


The Mobile Device Manager (MDM) allows us to push out apps to different sets of students and/or teachers. It also gives us control over the iPads when needed based on projects and other events.

Core Apps and Tools - Hands on!

We asked parents to bring in their son/daughter’s own iPad.. This was a fun hands-on session that gave parents a taste of the core apps and how teachers and students are using them.

Google Classroom and Apps

Parents got to experience the workflow between teacher and students. Google Classroom and many Google based apps are highly used in the classrooms for workflows and collaboration. The complete Google Apps for Education suite of tools enables powerful collaboration tools across the board in a school district. Teachers, students, administration and surrounding community too!


If ever needed, students and teachers can access Google apps without an iPad too. Google based apps are available on any computer and on any browser that is connected to the internet. They are in the “cloud”. Students can find the link for Google log in on our main website. Here is a direct link too.

Explain Everything

Another app often used with the iPads is Explain Everything. It is an interactive screencasting whiteboard app.

All 1:1 classrooms are budgeted to have media streamers connected to the large display (projectors) in classrooms. This enables any iPad in the classroom to be shared with the whole/large group - free from any cables. A teacher can walk around the classroom space while demonstrating through their iPad. They can even have a student share their iPad up front to demonstrate their work or thought process!

Digital Media Family Resources

These resources are useful for parents with concerns centered around digital media consumption and disconnect issues.

Common Sense Media is a San Francisco based non-profit organization that provides education and advocacy to families to promote safe technology and media for children. This is a great resource for iPad usage at home. Beyond the iPad, Common Sense Media is a powerful resource around all media and technology that families are exposed to in today’s world.

More information can be found here: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released screen time rules for Kids by Doctors that has information pertaining to screen time. Included is the Personalized Family Media Use Plan. By creating a Personalized Family Media Use Plan, you can be aware of when you are using media to achieve your purpose. This requires parents & users to think about what they want those purposes to be.

More information can be found here: https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Pages/Media-and-Children.aspx?

Family Contract (English): https://www.healthychildren.org/English/media/Pages/default.aspx

Family Contract (Spanish): https://www.healthychildren.org/spanish/media/Paginas/default.aspx

MARC Center presentation at the Middle School
There will be a presentation by the MARC center sponsored by the PTO. Keep an eye out for more information coming! On December 15th from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at the Wellesley Middle School.

Catherine Steiner-Adair Parent Night
Catherine Steiner-Adair presented to staff on Professional Development day on November 28 and will be giving another presentation for parents in February (TBD). More information about her and her work can be found at http://catherinesteineradair.com/about-2/

Thursday, October 27, 2016

iPads for Parents Evening!

iPads for Parents Evening!

Wednesday, November 16 from 6:30 - 8:00pm
Wellesley Middle School Cafeteria



Have questions about apps on your son/daughter’s iPad?
Curious how teachers "distribute" and "collect" student work?
Interested in iPad assistive tools and tips?
Want to learn more about iPad usage and tools at home?

A team of technology staff is prepared to share an evening with you on these topics!


If you have any questions please feel free to contact the 1:1 Coordinator at 1to1coordinator@wellesleyps.org.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New Screen Time Rules for Kids by Doctors

Guidelines on screen time and media exposure were recently shared from the American Academy of Pediatrics last week. The AAP hosted a national conference in San Francisco where 10,000 pediatricians met to discuss children's health recommendations for 2017. Screen time, social media and cyberbullying were main points at the conference.

The AAP Media and Children Communication Toolkit and Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents Abstract can be found here.

Media and Children Communication Toolkit

Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents Abstract

A tool that we like is the Personalized Family Media Use Plan. "By creating a Personalized Family Media Use Plan, you can be aware of when you are using media to achieve your purpose. This requires parents & users to think about what they want those purposes to be."

Personalized Family Media Use Plan (in English) (in Spanish)

Friday, May 6, 2016

Scheduling is here for Google Classroom!

For those of you using Google Classroom and wishing to plan announcements and assignments in advance, you probably noticed that you were able to save these posts as drafts to share at a later date.  The problem was that you would then have to go back and assign these drafts when you wanted students to be able to view the announcement or assignment.  As of Tuesday this week, that is no longer the case.   Please watch this quick video to learn how to schedule your announcements and/or assignments in Google Classroom.
video


Thank you Google!




Friday, December 11, 2015

Hour of Code

Students across the district participated in the Hour of Code this week in celebration of computer science in education week. The 3rd annual Hour of Code is organized by code.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting computer science in education. Code.org provides a variety of hour long, high interest student guided tutorials including . . .
  • programing droids with Star Wars
  • using blocks of code to move characters through Minecraft
  • using code to create snowflakes and patterns with Anna & Elsa
  • using drag and drop programming to move through mazes with Angry Birds
Those that participated shared that they enjoyed seeing the excitement their students had while participating as well as the level of engagement while problem solving to program characters and objects to move across the screens of laptops and iPads. The level of thinking, problem solving, persevering and teamwork observed was phenomenal. Many students left school throughout the week eager to explore more on code.org at home.



              

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Student iPad YouTube Access at Home

A quick update on changes to YouTube access at home for middle school students.

We have deemed that certain content on YouTube is inappropriate for middle school students. YouTube is no longer accessible on iPads while students are outside our building's WiFi network (6-8th Grade).

We feel that there is more supervision and observation in the schools to keep it available while in the schools. Where at home, adult supervision can be limited.

We are looking to integrate an educational version of YouTube at some point called YouTube for Schools. This version will need to be setup and tested before deployed.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Parenting in a 1:1 Night Recap

We welcomed parents of the 1:1 program for a hands-on iPad experience, sharing current survey data of iPad usage in the classrooms, and also to discuss the iPad in the home environment. All in 1 hour and 30 minutes! Phew!

This post is sharing items from the evening for anyone that missed it.

Hands-on!

Google Classroom
The hands-on piece was fun as parents were given an assignment via Google Classroom to complete and hand in! This demonstrated the workflow between teacher and students and a taste of using Google Docs on the iPad. Both items, Google Classroom and Google Docs, are highly used in the classrooms. The whole Google Apps for Education suite of tools enables powerful collaboration tools across the board in a school district. Teachers, students, administration and surrounding community too!

Google based apps are available on any computer and on any browser that is connected to the internet. So students and teachers can all access them without an iPad.

Explain Everything
Another app often used with the iPads is Explain Everything. It is an interactive screencasting whiteboard app. Parents had a chance to use this app on a simple level to get a ‘taste’ of what it can do. Some parents even recorded their own voice and demonstration!

All 1:1 classrooms are budgeted to have media streamers connected to the large display (projectors) in classrooms. This enables any iPad in the classroom to be shared with the whole/large group - free from any cables. A teacher can walk around while demonstrating with their iPad, or even have a student share their iPad up front to demonstrate their work or thought process.

Teacher/Student Survey Information

A survey went out to 6-8 grade teachers during the month of October (2015) about iPad usage in classrooms. This is the second year 6th grade teachers have been part of the 1:1 program, first year for 7th grade teachers, and 8th grade teachers currently share carts on a cycle by department. 8th Grade teachers will be part of the 1:1 program next year.

On average, how much time do your students spend on the iPad each day in your class?
*Class periods are 45 min. long

How are students working with the iPads in class?

What are students doing with the iPads in class?

I have found the 1:1 iPad program promotes..
This was an open response text based answer by teachers. For the sake of length, I turned their responses into a Wordle.


iPads at Home

Usage of the iPad in the home environment is an important topic in our 1:1 program. Here are items shared during the night.

Content Filtering 

While students are in the schools and home, the content is filtered. In other words, non educational and inappropriate online materials are blocked. We subscribe to a larger organization that is continuously updating the filtering categories and inappropriate lists. Here is a sample list of sites that are blocked. The real list is much much too large to share in whole.
*Allowed in schools. Blocked at home with student iPads.

We ‘turn off’ internet access at 11:00PM at night and access is on again at 6:00AM.

Mobile Device Manager 

We also utilize a tool called a Mobile Device Manager to manage the deployment of apps and updates to our 1:1 devices. This tool also allows us to set more controls on the iPad itself. Here are a few examples;

Below is more information around iPad usage at home. These questions were gathered before the presentation and shared during the evening.

Is there access in the Wellesley Free Library? 
Yes! Thanks to your questions/responses, we have become aware of the issue and resolved it. The iPads are able to connect to the library's WiFi.

Is it appropriate to check the history of my child’s browser activity (sites viewed)? 
Yes! You have the right to check your child’s browser activity at any point. If you come across browser activity that was cleared or removed then this should prompt a discussion with you child about why.

How long will iPad be restricted? 
As long as your son/daughter is attending the middle school.

How can I (parent) block sites? Is this possible?
Have your son/daughter submit the request to the help desk or come down to the tech center.

Can we add apps?
No. This requires an individual Apple ID and we wanted to protect students from installing inappropriate apps. An individual Apple ID isn’t feasible with our management system as well.

When is it appropriate for us (parents) to check in student’s iPad and work?
Anytime! You have the right to view any of their educational accounts and content at any time.

Outside Resources

Common Sense Media is a San Francisco based non-profit organization that provides education and advocacy to families to promote safe technology and media for children. This is a great resource to use about iPad usage at home. Beyond the iPad alone, Common Sense Media is a powerful resource around all media and technology that families are exposed to in today’s world.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Parenting in a 1:1 Environment

iPads for Parents Evening!

Wednesday, October 28 from 6:30 - 8:00pm
Wellesley Middle School Cafeteria



Have questions about apps on your son/daughter’s iPad?
Interested in iPad assistive tools and tips?
Want to learn more about iPad usage at home?
Have questions about screen time in school?
Looking for tools to help manage technology use at home?

A team of technology staff (ITS, 1:1 Coordinator, Assistive Tech) is prepared to share an evening with you on these topics!


If you have any questions please feel free to contact the 1:1 Coordinator at 1to1coordinator@wellesleyps.org.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Organize Multi-Media projects with Rubrics!

Hardy 3rd grade classes recently embarked on a math assignment requiring students to use the iPad to create a multi-media project explaining math strategies to solve particular math problems.  The teachers utilized rubrics to direct students toward their end product and to keep them focused through the creation process.  Technology is such a great tool in the classroom, as it provides students endless creation possibilities.  This can also be a pitfall, making it difficult for some to stay focused on the task at hand... Rubrics are a great tool to pull students back in and keep them focused on the end goal!

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