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/