Collaborate with Google Docs

Google Docs
This past Monday, USM had a school-wide inservice.  This inservice was a very productive time due to the preparation of Judy Bloch and Google Docs.  While Judy did all of the planning and organization of materials, Google Docs made it possible for all faculty and staff members to collaborate in real time with each other.  Google Docs was the main tool that we used.  This a word processor that allows the creator of a document to share with other members who need access to the document.  The access allowed members of different committee to share their screens with each other without the use of a projector.  Each member of the committee saw updates on their devices in real-time.
Google Docs is available not only to USM but to anyone with a Gmail account.  If you have the need to collaborate on a document with others that have a Gmail accounts, I suggest that you look into Google Docs.
Here is a video on how Google Docs works.

iPad Security

This past week Steve Villeneuve and I sat down and were looking into ways to keep your child from wondering into unsafe websites while on their iPads.  The best solution (not the most convenient) is to shut off access to Safari altogether.   This can be done by going into the settings of the iPad and customizing the restrictions area.  While this may work for some instances it is not a method we recommend.  If you happen to forget to turn it back on and they come to school, the child will not be able to access Safari.

While the children are at school, they are on a filtered wireless network, which keeps them from going to certain websites.  There are ways you can set up your wireless network at home to do the same.  There are companies that can help you put these restrictions on your wireless home network.

At the Open the Box sessions you received, in your blue folder, two handouts, one from TechTeriors, and one from Best Buy’s Geek Squad outlining what they do and their pricing structure.   There are certainly other companies in the area that can do this, but these were just suggestions if this is something you are interested in.

Please remember, setting guidelines and adult supervision still are the most effective ways to help manage the iPads.

Common Sense Media – Family Media Agrement – 

Taking Charge of Technology – Strategies for Your Family

Family Media Agreement

Here are 2 links to help facilitate media usage in your household. The first is an agreement that can be used to foster a conversation between you and your child or can be used as a stedfast contract to be up held by you as a parent. Please take a moment and have some conversations with your child as to what you think are some healthy rules for technology. The second link is a wonderfully written piece suggesting ways you can take charge of technology within your household.

Common Sense MediaFamily Media Agrement

Taking Charge of Technology

MacBook Pro Update

MacBook Pro Update
As suggested in the Open The Box events, it is within your best interest to purchase an external hard drive for your MacBook Pro. The external hard drive once plugged into your MacBook Pro will ask if you want to use it as a Time Machine. Time Machine is Apple’s automatic back up system. It is a wonderful piece of software that is already installed on your Mac. For a little piece of mind, I suggest using an external hard drive and Time Machine.
Please take a look at this video tutorial form Apple.

…you are who you are, wherever you go, including online.

Guest Tech Talker – Will Piper

…you are who you are, wherever you go, including online.

Students and Instagram:

What is it? Instagram is a photo-sharing/social media site that is usedexclusively on mobile devices.

What does it do? Instagram allows people to share photos and enhance photos and aggregate them to their friends. It also allows people to comment on the photos in a public forum (just like one would with other social media siteslike Facebook)

What’s it good for?: Instagram is great for people who want to edit or enhance photos. It has the features of other photo enhancing apps, (like Hipstimatic, and CameaAwesome) but also allows users to share photos easily and receive feedback on them from others. It’s great for people that like to take nature shots on their cellular devices and enhance the photos artistically. It is also great for people with young families to share photos of their kids with family and close friends.

Where can it lead to challenges with Middle School youth?

The bylaws of Instagram state that people under the age of 13 are not eligible for an account. Students under the age of 13 that are using this are technically violating the bylaws, as the app is not intended for them.

Instagram’s default setting is “public” so that people who take photos or tag others in photos using Instagram automatically dissiminate them to anyone who is also “friends” with them on Instagram. Tagging photos can lead to challenges, as often times permission is not granted from the person who’s tagged in the photo. The social networking feature not only allows people to comment on the photo, but see others’ comments as well.

What parents can do?
Have a conversation with your children about posting and tagging photos (in Instagram or any other photo sharing social networking site). Some questions could include: What is your goal when you post a photo online? What sort of comments could you get from posting the photo? Who all will be able to see the photo? Do you have others’ permission to tag them in the photo, if you’re posting a picture of someone else?

The following link goes over some of the ins and outs of Instagram for parents, including safety settings and how it works:

What can we do as teachers?
Continue to stress our motto for digital citizenship, “You are who you are wherever you go, including online.” T.h.i.n.k. before you post anything on line. Is the comment thoughtful? Is it helpful? Is it insightful? Is it necessary? Is it kind?. Also, how will others’ read your comment?

These will be points that we will be discussing throughout the year in our advising classes and in class as they come up regarding digital citizenship.–

Back up to iCloud and New 5th Grade Blog

Tom’s Tech Tip

Make sure your iPad is backing up to iCloud and if you need assistance please click the link below.

The 5th grade team has put together a blog for the 5th grade families to help keep you informed as to what is going on in your son/daughter’s classroom in regards to iPad.
Please take a look and leave a comment and follow our blog!