Wednesday, May 15, 2019

10 Great movies emphasising STEM Skills

Apple Teacher Resources

Learn. Earn. Get inspired.
Explore more than 75 new learning resources to help you master key iPad features and apps. You’ll discover hands-on tutorials that make it easy to learn new skills and earn your badges. Find fresh ideas that you can apply in your own lessons and daily workflows. And get inspiration to take your teaching further, no matter where you are on your Apple Teacher journey.
Add drawings in Keynote.
Visualise data in Numbers.
Bring photos to life in iMovie.
Create flyers and posters in Pages.

Google for Education Teacher Center

Here is a great resource for teachers with training sessions on specific apps as well as certification opportunities to become a Google Certified Educator.

Monday, May 6, 2019

The benefits of Artificial Intelligence

"If you’re a gamer, you’ll already be familiar with some of the benefits of AI. No longer are ‘CPU players’ dumb, but actually play a lot like human players. That means with no unfair advantages programmed in by the designers of the game, the AI can work out strategies to defeat opponents. "

Another excellent post from Doug Belshaw's blog.

Read the full blog post

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

Let’s not force children to define their future selves through the lens of ‘work’

An excellent post on Doug Belshaw's blog explaining why asking children what they want to be when they grow up is a rubbish questions.

"The jobs I’ve had over the last decade didn’t really exist when I was a child, so it would have been impossible to point to them. Let’s encourage children to think of the ways they can think and act to change the world for the better – not how they’re going to pay the bills to enable themselves to do so."

Lego digger

full blog article

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The digital citizenship skills students need most

from Common Sense media

Photo by Fabian Irsara on Unsplash

1. Make news and media literacy education a priority.

As the Common Sense study suggests, teachers know that students are struggling with news and media literacy. For students to become informed citizens who are able to distinguish among fact, opinion, and misinformation, media literacy education is essential. Fortunately, these skills are broadly applicable no matter what content area you teach: whether you're digging into research projects in ELA, investigating how scientific misconceptions spread online in biology, or analyzing social media's impact on elections in U.S. history. Try adding a news literacy lesson to a relevant unit, or find ways to incorporate media-analysis strategies into your existing lesson plans.

2. Model and encourage media balance in the classroom.

Teachers' second top technology-related concern was digital distraction in the classroom. Add to this the statistic that nearly half (47 percent) of teens report feeling "addicted" to their phones and it seems clear that students need some help with media balance.
We've long advocated for device-management plans as opposed to bans in the classroom. While this can take some work for teachers to put in place, it allows the classroom to be a place to model and practice intentional and mindful use of devices. Teachers can also empower students to take control of their own media use through media balance lessons that focus on self-reflection and critical analysis of how media contributes to their lives and relationships. Students can develop individual plans for healthy media balance and practice these skills in and out of the classroom.

3. Empower upstanders with habits of mind.

Though cyberbullying and hate speech didn’t surface as the most pressing technology-related concerns for educators, the rates at which teachers observed these issues in their classrooms is significant. The frequency of cyberbullying and online hate speech increased with grade level, with nearly half of middle and high school teachers reporting that cyberbullying occurred at least occasionally in their classrooms. Regarding online hate speech, about one in 10 middle and high school teachers said it happened at least occasionally in their classrooms.
Whether you teach dedicated lessons on cyberbullying and hate speech or address these topics more informally when teachable moments arise, it's helpful to focus on what students can do as opposed to what they shouldn't do. Encourage students to pay attention to "red flag feelings": when something happens on digital media that makes them feel uncomfortable, worried, sad, or anxious. Habits of mind like "slowing down," "exploring different perspectives," "envisioning options and possible impacts," and "taking action" can prepare students to recognize and respond to cyberbullying when they encounter it.

from Common Sense media

Google Classroom. Screencasts to help you be an expert

List of screencasts to help you learn the tips and tricks of using Google Classroom

2019 Common Sense Census: Inside the 21st Century classroom

Many of these observations will not be a surprise to you. To read the full report. Click the link.

Key Findings

1. Digital citizenship is being taught in a majority of schools.

2. Teachers believe digital citizenship is effective in helping students make smart, safe, and ethical       decisions online.

3. Teachers worry about their students’ ability to critically evaluate online content.

4. More than a quarter of high school teachers report sexting as an issue.

5. Video is the king of edtech in the classroom.

6. Teachers place a high value on digital creation tools in developing 21st-century skills, but these   tools are among the least used in the classroom.

7. The gap between the edtech products teachers use and what they say is effective is real and cuts     across subjects.

8. Many teachers are not receiving effective professional development (PD) to support their use of   educational technology.

9. Many technology products purchased by schools and districts go unused.

10. Home access to technology continues to be a challenge for teachers and students in
 schools serving lower-income students.

11. Teachers who assign homework that requires access to digital devices and/or broadband internet   outside of school are more likely to teach in affluent, non-Title I schools than in Title I schools.

12. Approximately a third of teachers (29 percent) said that it would limit their students’ learning “a   great deal” or “quite a bit” if their students didn’t have home access to a computer or the internet.

To read the full report. Click the link.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Leaving SFS? What about your Google files?

How to do Google Takeout and Google Transfer (click on the image below)

Links for Google Takeout and Transfer

Log into your school account

Any questions?  Contact the DLCs at:

Tuesday, April 16, 2019


image credit:

It’s that time of year when people are upgrading computers, switching computers, or leaving SFS (sniff sniff). This is a great time to think about backing up your files.
Here’s the simplest way to backup your files on a Windows computer:
1. Get an external hard drive like this one for around 100,000 KRW.
2. Plug it in to your Windows computer.
3. Choose “Use this Drive to Backup my Computer” from the window that automatically pops up and follow the steps.
Here’s the simplest way to backup your files on a Mac:
1. Get an external hard drive like this one for 100,000 KRW.
2. Plug it into your Mac.
3. When prompted “Do you want to use “Name of Hard Drive” to back up with Time Machine?” choose “Use as Backup Disk”. 
***I also personally use an online backup system that backs up my entire computer (plus any external hard drives I have attached). This costs around USD 50 per year but I know even if jump into the pool with my laptop (and backup drive;-) or my house burns down I will have my files available to me. The one I like to use is called Carbonite. You just install it and forget about it. Easy.
***Remember that if you use the Google Drive app for Windows or Mac all files you store in your Google Drive folder are automatically backed up. And you have UNLIMITED storage with Google Drive.
Don’t put it off. Backup your files today!

Must-Have Apps for Family Travel

from Common Sense Media
Use these apps to make getting there as fun as your destination.By Christine Elgersma 
Topics: We Recommend
Must-Have Apps for Family Travel
Traveling with kids is always an adventure. And anything longer than a trip across town requires some strategic planning to keep kids entertained, civil, and -- ideally -- learning along the way. In the mix of homework, books, music, and of course actually talking, apps can be super helpful when you're trapped in a car or a plane. Whether you want to listen as a group, have the kids play together, or let them get their thinking caps on, check out these apps and our other travel lists to find what works best for your family.
All-Together Audio
Tales Untold, 4+. These short audio stories are in perfect bite-sized bits to get you from one rest stop to the next. With fiction and nonfiction, there's something for everyone, including a magical adventure story, a mystery-based series, and a fact-based nonfiction series, among others. The first episode in each series is free, but you'll have to pay for the rest. Also check out Pinna - Audio for Kids.
Leela Kids - Best Audio Content for 3-15 Yr Olds, 7+. Instead of providing original content, this app curates the best podcasts and audio content for kids, so you don't have to do the legwork. You can choose topics based on your kid's age and the categories that interest them most, like Animals, Music, and Space. Leela Kids is free and the quality of the content varies. But you can always switch to something else without worrying about the price. Also check out This American Life.
Backseat Bonding
RelationShapes, 3+. RelationShapes (get it?) allows for more than one finger to match shapes and solve puzzles at the same time. So if you have two kids playing on the same device, they can practice playing cooperatively and helping each other. Not only do kids match and construct shapes into pictures -- a bit like Tangrams -- they can make original creations as well. Parents can also set up multiple profiles if kids want to take turns playing instead of working together. Also check out Duel 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade Math Games for Kids.
Heads Up!, 7+. This classic guessing game is still one of the best co-play apps around. The person who's "it" holds the phone or tablet at forehead level with the mystery word facing out, and the other player gives hints. After each correct answer, the player tilts the device to get the next answer on the screen. Kids can easily play while seated, but it's better for the car versus the plane or bus because it can get rambunctious. Also check out Trivia Crack.
Off-the-Grid Good Times
Monument Valley 2, 8+. This mind-bending adventure through a surreal landscape tests your spatial sense. And its soothing, sensory environment is ideal for those who like problem-solving without pressure (who needs more of that when you're traveling?). Once it's downloaded you can play offline, and there are lots of levels to keep kids occupied. Though it's not really a co-play game, kids can help each other figure things out if there's one device to share. Also check out Zoombinis.
The Room, 11+. This creepy puzzle-based app has an involved story and lots of mystery. As kids solve complicated and beautiful puzzles, they move along in the story -- and to the next puzzle. Once you pay and download, you no longer need to be connected to play. If your kid loves it and wants more, you can invest in parts two and three of the series as well. Also check out Lifeline.
Low-Key Learning
Busy Shapes & Colors, 2+. This great problem-solving app has kids sorting colors and shapes while solving simple puzzles (it can also be played offline). The difficulty increases as kids progress, which will help beat back boredom. If there's an older sibling in a generous spirit, it's also an opportunity for some gentle guidance and instruction. Also check out Artie's Magic Pencil.
codeSpark Academy, 5+. codeSpark introduces the basic concepts of logic and looping in a fun game, and it's great for kids who aren't reading yet. Parents can include up to three profiles, so siblings can all use the app on their own. It's free to download, but if you subscribe, kids can get new content every month. Also check out The Robot Factory by Tinybop and Thinkrolls: Kings & Queens.
Weirdwood Manor, 8+. Half book and half game, Weirdwood Manor reads like a digital book but with lots of interactivity and puzzles to solve. And the atmosphere is mysterious and eerie without being too scary. Kids can try the first chapter to see if it's a hit, then parents can purchase one chapter at a time or the whole collection at once. Also check out Device 6.

About Christine Elgersma

Image of blog author
Christine Elgersma wrangles learning and social media app reviews and creates parent talks as Senior Editor, Parent Education. Before coming to Common Sense, she helped cultivate and create ELA curriculum for a K-12 app... Read more

Help kids unlock the power of Easter!

"For kids, understanding the true reason for Easter can be challenging. But the Bible App for Kids can help, making it easy and fun.
Each Easter story, from “A Goodbye Meal” to “A Happy Sunday!” includes fun activities and interactive images that will help kids understand Jesus’ death and resurrection.
This Holy Week, the week leading to Resurrection Sunday, is the perfect time to start discussing Easter with the children in your life."

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Digital Tools for School Libraries and Media Centers

"Librarians and media specialists often don't get enough credit for creating safe spaces that inspire students and make them feel part of a community. Libraries have always been places of innovation, and those of you at their helm have been some of the first to embrace technology. We've created a list that can help you sift through all the tech options out there to stay at the forefront of your craft and to make your learning commons a central hub of information and culture in your school. Once you've checked out these apps, games, and websites, take a look at our Digital Citizenship curriculum for lessons that help students use technology responsibly to learn, create, and participate."

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Student Voice Infused Assessment Conferencing

"This past week I wrote my report cards.
You know that feeling, right?
It’s tediously time consuming.
It’s crunching the calculator.
It’s void of student voice.
And it’s horrible on my mental health (let alone my students’).  
But this time it was different.  This time I made one small change that, as it turns out, has changed everything.  Just one small difference in how my reports cards are written altered how my students feel about assessment, how they define success in our classroom, and how they set goals for themselves moving forward."

Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Balancing Screen Time at Home for Kids

At SFS, we strive to help our students develop each of the learner profiles. Balance is understanding the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for yourself and others.

Our students are navigating a digital world and both teachers and parents are wondering how can we help our students balance their screen use, game time and social media? Here is some helpful information and tools to help your child develop balance in their own life.

Recommendations for Screen Usage from American Academy of Pediatrics
  • For ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and how it applies to the world around them.
  • For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media and the types of media. Parents should make sure that media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.
  • Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
  • Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.
Source: Huffpost

Which media is appropriate for my child?

Not sure if that new game is right for your child? Wondering about the content in the latest Marvel movie? Check out Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in the world of media and technology. They provide independent ratings and reviews for almost everything kids want to watch, read, play and learn. Parents also give reviews as well as children.

What tools are available to help me set limits on my child's device?

Creating a Family Media Plan

Media should work for you and work within your family values and parenting style. When media is used thoughtfully and appropriately, media can enhance daily life. But when used inappropriately or without thought, media can displace many important activities such as face-to-face interaction, family-time, outdoor-play, exercise, unplugged downtime & sleep.
By creating a Personalized Family Media Use Plan, you can be aware of when you are using media to achieve your purpose. The tool below will help you to think about media, creating a family plan of rules that are in line with your family’s values.
Click on Family Media Plan Tool to create your own family's plan.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

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Sign up to receive the Google for Education newsletter. Content will include professional development opportunities and our newsletter with the latest product updates, tips, stories and more. You can opt-out at any time.

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10 Trends for 2019

Each year Core Education highlight what will be the trends in education for the year. This is not a gimmick, highlighting the latest tech toy but a focus on what are important issues and directions education is going. Because Core is a New Zealand company it has a NZ flavour but the trends highlighted have a global impact.
Very interesting reading particularly the one on Wellbeing.

Trends of 2019

"We have been featuring these Trends for over ten years; focusing in particular on the trends and influences shaping how we live, work and learn - brought about by the increasing use of technology in our modern world.

This year we have tried to create a focus within the Ten Trends on the impact of change on society, communities and individuals and go further than simply explain this as something that is inevitably going to occur. Instead, we provide provocations that question the value of the change, and implications for us as humans - now and into the future. We hope you enjoy the read."

Core Education website

Trends of 2019

Bring Lessons to life with video

Bring lessons to life with video.
Clips is a free app for iPhone and iPad that makes it easy
to create expressive videos that are unique, informative and fun.
Learn to use Clips.
We’ve created a new collection of tips and idea starters to help you introduce Clips into your lessons.
Watch real teacher videos.
Check out these Clips videos to see how Apple Distinguished Educators around the world use Clips to support learning across grades and subjects.
See how an Apple Teacher uses Clips to bring literature to life.
Jamie Clark is integrating Clips in his Year 12 writing class as they explore dystopian authors. Read about his recent project to help students improve the quality of their work.
Bring video to your lessons and assignments.
Teach your students fun and easy skills to share ideas and learning through film with the Everyone Can Create Video guide. And, in the Everyone Can Create Teacher Guide, you'll find dozens of ideas on how to bring video into lessons and assignments in any subject.