Parent Tech Coffee Morning: Minecraft

For our final Parent Tech Coffee Morning of the year we had a great conversation about Minecraft. It was a very popular topic, with over 30 parents joining us this morning!

We started our session with a short video (warning: the presenter speaks very very fast):

This was a great conversation starter for all of the things that students can actually do on Minecraft. It’s not just for building (especially with the addition of different mods)! The video also prompted lots of great questions, so we had a group of grade 6 students join us to share how they use Minecraft.

Gr6 students explaining to parents about how they use #minecraft in class

 

A few of the key highlights from the students included:

Minecraft is a great tool for learning! They learn how to collaborate, cooperate, and create in a digital environment. They have to explain themselves clearly (either in person or via the chat in Minecraft) so they can collaborate and get things done.

 

They use Minecraft for all sorts of things including: creating a dwelling in a specific type of biome (like an igloo), creating buildings from different time periods that they are learning about (like the Renaissance), creating regions that they study (like the Silk Road). Mostly students are using Minecraft in Humanities here at YIS, but it can be used for other subjects.

 

There are many different mods that can be added to a Minecraft server and students like to explore new ways to interact with the Minecraft world. Mostly they play a pretty friendly and non-violent game, and mostly they play with people they already know from school.

 

They are really happy to have access to Minecraft for learning. Students can also choose to play outside of school time on other servers (not managed by YIS).

Once the students left, we continued our conversation, mostly talking about:

Today's parent tech coffee morning is packed! Topic: #minecraft explained by our gr6 students

The importance of talking with your children about what they’re doing online. These parent coffee mornings are intended to help parents understand the basics of how things work so they can have a more knowledgeable conversation with their children. Some of the questions that might be helpful conversation starters are:

  • Tell/Show me about what you’re doing in Minecraft.
  • How did you learn how to do that?
  • What are you learning about when you do that?
  • Are you playing on a server?
  • Who owns the server?
  • Is the server public?
  • Are you talking to other people as you play?

Children can spend lots of time playing online. Sometimes parents aren’t sure if they’re doing what they say they are doing so some good strategies are:

  • keep the computer/iPad in a central place
  • talk to your children about what they’re doing
  • ask them not to wear headphones so you can hear what they’re doing

Sometimes children end up creating bad habits in online spaces – like being violent in Minecraft, sharing personal information with others, or chatting with strangers in spaces, so it’s very important to help them build a strong understanding of what is safe and what’s not. This is a great opportunity for conversations – the same way we talk to students about how they interact with strangers in real life can be applied in a digital environment.

A very important takeaway from this session is that as parents, you already have all the skills you need to help your children learn how to make good choices in online spaces, it’s just a matter of transferring those skills to a digital environment. Often children will say to their parents “you’re the only one that makes me….” but trust us, you’re not! It’s ok to be a parent in online spaces the same way you would in physical spaces.

Some Minecraft related resources that you might find helpful are:

And some articles:

We hope you enjoyed today’s session and look forward to seeing you again next year! Have a great summer!

Parent Tech Coffee Morning: Life After Facebook

We had another great Parent Tech Coffee Morning today! We talked about many of the different ways that our children communicating today – from Snapchat to Instagram to group messaging. Noticeably absent: Facebook. Most students today treat Facebook more like an obligation, or a place to check e-mail, than a place to network. Today’s session was about some of the newer places that students are getting connected.

We started by sharing some of the places that YIS students are sharing online:

We had a look at this chart created by Student Council during Digital Citizenship Week:

Snapchat is already off the charts as gr6-8 students track their time spent online for Digital Citizenship Week #yisdcw15

All middle school students were asked to track the amount of time they spend online in the spaces listed above. You can see that Snapchat was the most popular among all grade levels, with Twitter a close second. Interestingly this chart changes every year, which makes it a great way to track where YIS students are spending their online time. In previous years, Tumblr was most popular – this year it wasn’t even on the chart!

Why is Snapchat so popular this year? Have a look at this video:

After watching the video we talked about how and why students like to connect in online spaces, and why they are constantly changing. Here are some highlights:

One of the most interesting things about this Snapchat video is the addition of “stories” – the idea that people can share little clips of their day to create a whole digital story, rather than creating a “perfect” version of their day through filtered images highlights an increasing interest in the ephemeral – the idea that we want things to be available for a short time, rather than permanently.

Although the video highlights an example of Snapchat fame, we talked about how hard it actually is to build such a following on any social media site. If there was a quick and easy formula, we are sure we would already know all about it! So, although our YIS students might be following some social media stars (on Snapchat or Instagram or YouTube), the chances of them becoming that famous are pretty slim.

Awesome impromptu social media quiz for each grade level at MS Assembly #yisdcw15

As international school families, we understand the importance of staying connected – not just with our friends and family who happen to live in the same city or country, but also with all of the friends and family who live so far away. Staying connected on a variety of social networks can soothe the anxiety of moving to a new country, and help maintain long lasting friendships. A great example is this article: Grandparents Develop App to Stay in Touch with Family.

Although each family has their own practice in terms of allowing their children on social media sites, it’s important for parents to understand the value of having access to these tools, particularly in terms of staying connected with family and friends. Some of the main challenges are:

  • stay on top of all of the new social media sites that students are using
  • understanding how to use each tool so parents understand what their children are doing
  • deciding if it’s OK for their children to sign up for apps with an age minimum

Here are a few resources that may be helpful:

Thanks for joining us this morning!

Parent Tech Coffee Morning: Mobile Learning

This month’s topic has been suggested by parents. As requested, we talked about mobile and wearable devices:

  • What’s so powerful about mobile devices (including iPads)?
  • Why do we have them at YIS?
  • How do they reflect society’s use of technology?
  • What might we see in the future?

We started out with a glimpse of what mobile learning looks like at YIS. We are in the midst of our 2:1 iPad Trial in Grade 7, where all students have both an iPad min and a MacBook Air 11″. In order to get an idea of how things are going, we created a mini-documentary featuring our own YIS students and teachers:

After watching the video we talked about the difference between a laptop and a mobile device, and the kinds of things we can do now that technology is becoming more and more mobile.

A few highlights were:

  • Being able to use devices in different places with ease – students feel more comfortable using their iPad on a train, rather than a laptop, for example.
  • Different devices work well for different types of things. Laptops are great for lots of writing and heavy work that requires multiple apps or tabs open. iPads are great for interactive things, creative things, or even just reading. The form really matches the function.
  • Being able to use different kinds of devices helps us be more creative. There are many different ways to do things that we can now explore.

Some of the challenges are:

  • More access to more devices often means more time on devices. We have to manage this in the same way that we manage other “traditional” behaviors that we might want to change. If students spending too much time online, that means they may need a little bit of help making better choices. Lots of strategies can be found here.
  • As a society we’re not quite sure where and how mobile devices will take us. Technology is constantly changing and we are still learning how to deal with them.

To get a better idea of where we might be going, we watched this video:

Although some of these ideas seem far off and challenging, it’s good to think about what might be on the horizon!

Thanks to those parents who joined us this morning! Looking forward to our next session!

 

Parent Tech Coffee Morning: Dealing with Explicit Images Online

We had another interesting conversation today in our Parent Technology Coffee Morning! Today’s theme was strategies for dealing with explicit  images online – a popular topic from last year.  One of the most challenging aspects of the constant access and availability of information is that our children can find and explore images and media that is well beyond their developmental readiness level, particularly explicit imagery.

Although we make every effort to filter out this type of material from our school network, this may not be the case at home, or at a friend’s house, or the local coffee shop, or through 4G access. Today’s session focused on understanding the impact of what children can see, how we might best talk to our children about these experiences, and how they may impact future relationships are all areas for discussion. We did not have one-size-fits all easy answers, but we did have a lively and informative discussion.

We started our conversation thinking about the times in our lives when we’ve seen something that made us uncomfortable – the suggested videos after you watch something on YouTube, ads in the sidebar, graphic (really graphic) novels on the subway in Japan, certain people (or objects) you might see on the street in Bangkok. In all of our examples, we weren’t searching for something explicit, but we found it, in a very innocuous way, totally by accident. This kind of experience will eventually (or may have already) happen to your children as well. The important part is how they deal with what they see.

Many of us have heard statistics about how much explicit imagery is online, which can make us feel like this accidental viewing might happen every time we open a web browser. However, we read an interesting article from the BBC which puts a more balanced perspective on the topic. Another article based on the same research is available from Forbes if you’d like a longer description. Reading and discussing these articles helped give a more research-based and factual viewpoint to the amount of explicit material available online.

This prompted a conversation about infrequent, random or short-term exposure to explicit images. Adam shared a number of resources that confirms that this type of exposure does not have long term impact on a child’s development or perception of relationships. The challenge comes with long term, repeated exposure, which can result in addiction.

We then watched this TED talk, which describes the “worst-case” scenario:

While this is a very specific example, and describes addiction at a very high level, we talked about the importance of how adults, and most importantly, parents react to discovering this kind of information.

Adam shared Diana Baumrind’s matrix of parenting styles to give us a framework to discuss:

Parenting Matrix

Adam created this graphic based on Baumrind’s research to reflect both the parenting style and the child’s reaction or behavior in response to that style. Using this graphic, we intended to discuss different parenting strategies using the Visible Thinking Routine, Circle of Viewpoints, but ran out of time. If you’re interested, give it a try at home or with some friends. This is a great way to understand the different parenting style and how that might impact future communication and interactions.

Finally, we wrapped up with a few key points:

Seeing explicit images or video will happen eventually. What is most important is how we react. Striving towards a more balanced approach will help children understand that it’s OK to ask questions, the adults around them are here to help, and that exploration is a natural thing, but it’s important to note that many things we see online are not emotionally or physically accurate. This is an industry designed to make money, focused on what works best on camera and who’s watching, rather than the reality of intimacy.

We have many conversations with students about these kinds of images, starting in a special session with the counsellors in grade 8 and continuing in PSHE in high school. Our Digital Citizenship curriculum also addresses these big themes at age appropriate levels.

Open and honest communication with your children will help them develop a network of supportive adults to ensure that they have a realistic understanding of intimacy and real relationships. These conversations also support the building of strong decision making skills based on family values and shared ethics. The goal is to help children make good choices when they are on their own.

We recommend that families make the choice that feels best to them (based on the amount of supervision that children have at home). There is blocking software available, and we recommend that it’s your last resort because blocking means that children can’t learn the skill to self-monitor, and can encourage them to seek alternate ways to access material.

If, at any point, you are concerned about this behavior at home, please feel free to come in and talk to us. We can help and support you in many ways. If you’re interested in more reading on this topic, Adam curates a regularly updated list here.

Thanks for joining us today!

Parent Tech Coffee Morning: Living with Laptops

Note: this session runs several times a year at YIS.

We can all relate to the struggle to balance our many devices, from mobiles, to  laptops, to kindles, to iPods, and everything that comes next, so this time for focused conversation was perfect.  Along with our wonderful parent community, Mr. Clark, Ms. Cofino and Mr. Hamda were there to help share ideas and practices that have worked (as well as those that haven’t). We had a very productive session, and developed tons of great ideas to help our children build and maintain a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. This session was also run last school year, at the request of parents. We’ll host it again later in the year!

We started our session with a brief presentation, highlighting the big ideas to be discussed:

A few of the key points we discussed:

Although many of the tools we use to connect and communicate have changed, what we’re doing with them is very similar to more “old school” methods – like passing notes in class, or reading under the covers at night, or talking on the phone.

For some reason, it seems that when children (or adults) are using technology tools, we are reluctant to interrupt them. We have developed a kind of societal norm that “laptop space” must be private space. Adam shared a story about being hesitant to ask his son, in fourth grade, to show him what he was doing on the laptop, simply because it was a laptop – even though he’s the parent, he bought the computer, and it was actually his wife’s laptop.

Even though we already have great strategies, as parents (and teachers), to help children manage their time and responsibilities well, sometimes it’s challenging to remember to apply those strategies in this new context, because of the perceived privacy norms.

Although the idea of chatting, sharing, and interacting with peer groups is not new, perhaps the greatest difference is the visibility of the activities – which can be perceived in two ways:

  1. Technology as more visible: In the “old school” context, when children spent time hanging out at places like Gigi’s, their parents might not know really what was happening, and any mistakes made could be forgotten with time. It was almost like those mistakes and behavior were invisible. In contrast, today’s “hang out” space is often online, where every action is visible and permanent.
  2. Technology as less visible: In the “old school” context, when children hang out and chat at home, their friends are there, so parents can see and hear what they’re doing. However, with technology, children can be “hanging out” in a common space in the house, but parents can’t actually see or hear anything, since it’s all on the computer. In this sense, the technology almost makes the behavior “invisible”.

It’s important to remember that all of the adults in our children’s lives are role models. The behavior they see being modeled as adults is behavior they are implicitly being told is appropriate. At Parent Teacher Student Conferences yesterday, there were long rows of students on their mobile phones, sitting next to their parents, typing away on their mobile phones.

Although it sounds too simple, we see in the classroom that by clearly stating specific expectations and setting clear boundaries, students are much more likely to follow those directions. In contrast, if we allow expectations to be more implicit, it’s so much easier for students to ignore those unstated “understandings”.

In the end, we’re working towards each student developing their own self control, and an appropriate level of balance that works for them and their family. To do so, we would like to work as a team: parents, school and students.

In order to help get an idea of what students are thinking and feeling about these topics, Mr. Clark recorded some great discussions with students all across the middle and high school:

Our focus for the meeting was to develop as many strategies as possible to help support a healthy balanced lifestyle. Some of the ways that we’re doing this at school are:

  • All students sign a Responsible Use Policy, which highlights the importance of balance and responsibility
  • To help clearly define the expectations for balance (and to set clear boundaries), no laptops are allowed at break, and laptop use is only allowed in the CLC workroom during lunch (otherwise students are not allowed to use their laptops during lunch.
  • To get started well, we had two full days of orientation at the beginning of the school year where we discussed the Responsible Use Policy, Digital Citizenship and Balance at length in a variety of contexts, as an introduction to our CLC. We also had a mandatory parent information session for middle school parents and all middle and high school students (voluntary for high school parents).
  • We have an overarching Digital Citizenship curriculum, called Digital Dragons, which is currently being taught through Humanities in middle school.
  • After Spring Break, we’ll have a Digital Citizenship Week, when we revisit the major themes of the Responsible Use Policy through a variety of activities and discussions.
  • Our Student Tech Team regularly produces short video tutorials, to highlight important aspects of effectively using the laptops. Recently, they highlighted a number of productivity apps like “Self Control” which was one of the ways that students could help manage distractions.
  • We’re implementing homework calendars in all middle school tutor groups, where all major assessments will be added as events in a shared calendar for each tutor group. Parents and students can then subscribe to these calendars to have the reminders pop up on their mobile devices.
  • We’re developing a digital student planner to help students manage their assignments in an efficient way.
  • All of these topics are important points of discussion within our Tutor program at all grade levels.

Once we had an idea of the support structures in place at school, we spent the rest of the meeting developing similar structures for the home in small groups. Here are the strategies we developed:

Setting Limits:

  • Set time limit per day for total screen time, and gradually allow the child more control over how they allocate that time.
  • Set a specific time, or set of times, when the computer can be used.
  • No computer use after a certain time.
  • No technology at the dinner table.

Developing Time Management:

Take Advantage of Tech Breaks: Research shows that knowing you have specific time set aside to check social networking sites actually helps students focus better, so Dr. Larry Rosen recommends 25 minutes of homework time, then 5 minutes of a tech break, then study again.

Family Agreements:

Monitoring:

  • regular monitoring of comments made/received
  • checking the history regularly

Regular and open conversations with your child are always the best way to make these strategies successful.

Some further resources:

Thanks to all the parents that attended today’s session! See you next time!

 

First Parent Tech Coffee Morning of the Year!

Welcome to another great school year at YIS!

Please join us for our first Parent Tech Coffee Morning of the year on  Thursday, 11 September 2014 in M101 from 11:05 – 12:05. The topic will be Living with Laptops:

We know that developing strategies for maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle in our Connected Learning Community is a key priority for many families. We all struggle to manage our many devices, from mobiles, to laptops, to kindles, to iPods, and everything that comes next. During this session we will share ideas and strategies to help your family build and maintain a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle based on current research, experiences last year and suggestions from families here at YIS.

Hope to see you there!

 

Parent Tech Coffee Morning: Creativity

We had another great conversation this morning, this time about creativity. We started off with this video from one of our favorite resources, PBS OffBook (if you like this video, you will want to check out the others in the series – they’re all great!):

This video prompted a great conversation about a number of interesting topics:

Creativity takes effort: We often feel like you are either creative or you’re not. This video highlighted for us the importance of effort, motivation and perseverance in our creative endeavors. The process of being creative is something we can learn and practice, and continually work towards improving.

Opportunities for creativity at home and in the classroom: We talked about the type of learning that happens here at YIS and the way that we prioritize creative demonstration of learning (rather than regurgitation). The IB programs (PYP and MYP in particular) emphasize student inquiry and allow for many forms of differentiation, which helps encourage students to share their learning in different ways. As teachers, we also have the opportunity to be creative in our instruction and learning environments here at school.  We also talked about student creativity needing adult support – for example, children may say “I’m bored” when they don’t have a defined activity. Rather than solve the “boredom problem” with a movie, a video game, or another device, we may want to encourage exploration and creative thinking with other options. We noted that for the first few times, children may need guidance and support for how to do this – putting out materials to explore with, for example.

Growth mindsets: The idea of continuing to improve our creative ability sparked a conversation about how our own perception of what we can and can’t do can limit us, unintentionally. A number of teachers read the book, Mindset, by Carol Dweck earlier this year, which emphasizes the importance of developing a growth mindset – basically the belief that you can learn new skills and improve in areas where you are weak (in any area of your choosing). One of the key points in the book is that the language that we use with children is very important in developing a growth mindset. Rather than saying “you’re great at that” or “you have a natural talent for that” we may want to use language like “I can see you’ve put a lot of effort into that” or “you’re working really hard in that area and it’s paying off”. The idea that we can work towards improvement in areas where we are strong as well as weak is part of the growth mindset.

The “Taste Gap”: One of the challenges of being creative is that we can often recognize high quality work that we like (this is our taste level), but when we try to produce work like that, we don’t have the skills or ability to do so. Ira Glass describes this as the “taste gap” – the difference between what we would desire to produce at our taste level, and our ability. In this short video (different version below) he talks about the importance of practicing and continual creation in our field of choice to help decrease the gap. Only through repeated effort can we improve our skills to work towards creating work that meets our taste level. This process can be challenging so we need to continue to encourage our children and students to practice and explore and continue creating so that they can improve their skills.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Wasting time: Because it’s hard to tell what tasks are creative (usually they are also lots of fun), we may interpret what children are doing as “just wasting time” and then ask them to stop. In order to help students develop those creative skills, it may be more valuable to inquire about what they’re doing, how it’s influencing their thinking, and how they might use those ideas to create new works themselves. The earlier we start these conversations, the more routine they will become and the more comfortable students will be in sharing their creative works. This conversation reminded us of this Apple commercial from the holiday season:

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Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out: We came back to the value of play many times. Mimi Ito at MIT is doing some interesting work with teens and digital media, one research report we recommend is called Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out. She has lots of other great work, and this one identifies the different types of activities that teens do when they’re “playing” on the computer. This is a great start to understanding the value of play and spending time online.

Not just creativity, also communication: We realized it’s not only important for students to continue to hone their creative skills, but that they also will need the skills to share what they have created. It’s exciting to think that students can have an global audience for their work, as long as the know how to share. This prompted us to watch a video created by YIS-graduate, Alex Lee, that went viral a few years ago (as well as some creative examples from our current students Julynn (in grade 6), who was inspired by Sara (in grade 7)):

TOKYO SLO-MODE from BRTHR on Vimeo.

iPad Trial in Grade 7: At the very end of our session, we talked a bit about how different devices can allow us to express creativity in different ways, which connects nicely with our upcoming iPad Trial in Grade 7. If you’re not a Grade 6 or Grade 7 parent, and haven’t heard about the trial yet, you may want to take a look at this recap of the parent session we hosted on March 4th. We’ll be continuing to share more details about the trial as it moves forward, starting with parents and students who are involved in the trial and then sharing more with the wider school community.

Our next Parent Tech Coffee Morning will be Wednesday, 14 May from 9:15 – 10:15 in M101 on the theme of connectedness. This session will highlight some of the ways that students (and teachers) stay connected and why those connections are so important. From Twitter to Instagram to Facebook, many people in our community are sharing, collaborating and communicating in a variety of contexts. Come to this session to find out why!

Parent Technology Coffee Morning: Dealing with Explicit Images Online

We had another interesting conversation today in our Parent Technology Coffee Morning! The theme, as requested by parents at our last meeting, was strategies for dealing with explicit  images online.  One of the most challenging aspects of the constant access and availability of information is that our children can find and explore images and media that is well beyond their developmental readiness level, particularly explicit imagery.

Although we make every effort to filter out this type of material from our school network, this may not be the case at home, or at a friend’s house, or the local coffee shop, or through 4G access. Today’s session focused on understanding the impact of what children can see, how we might best talk to our children about these experiences, and how they may impact future relationships are all areas for discussion. We did not have one-size-fits all easy answers, but we did have a lively and informative discussion.

We started our conversation thinking about the times in our lives when we’ve seen something that made us uncomfortable – the suggested videos after you watch something on YouTube, ads in the sidebar, graphic (really graphic) novels on the subway in Japan, certain people (or objects) you might see on the street in Bangkok. In all of our examples, we weren’t searching for something explicit, but we found it, in a very innocuous way, totally by accident. This kind of experience will eventually (or may have already) happen to your children as well. The important part is how they deal with what they see.

Many of us have heard statistics about how much explicit imagery is online, which can make us feel like this accidental viewing might happen every time we open a web browser. However, we read an interesting article from the BBC which puts a more balanced perspective on the topic. Another article based on the same research is available from Forbes if you’d like a longer description. Reading and discussing these articles helped give a more research-based and factual viewpoint to the amount of explicit material available online.

This prompted a conversation about infrequent, random or short-term exposure to explicit images. Adam shared a number of resources that confirms that this type of exposure does not have long term impact on a child’s development or perception of relationships. The challenge comes with long term, repeated exposure, which can result in addiction.

We then watched this TED talk, which describes the “worst-case” scenario:

While this is a very specific example, and describes addiction at a very high level, we talked about the importance of how adults, and most importantly, parents react to discovering this kind of information.

Adam shared Diana Baumrind’s matrix of parenting styles to give us a framework to discuss:

Parenting Matrix

Adam created this graphic based on Baumrind’s research to reflect both the parenting style and the child’s reaction or behavior in response to that style. Using this graphic, we intended to discuss different parenting strategies using the Visible Thinking Routine, Circle of Viewpoints, but ran out of time. If you’re interested, give it a try at home or with some friends. This is a great way to understand the different parenting style and how that might impact future communication and interactions.

Finally, we wrapped up with a few key points:

Seeing explicit images or video will happen eventually. What is most important is how we react. Striving towards a more balanced approach will help children understand that it’s OK to ask questions, the adults around them are here to help, and that exploration is a natural thing, but it’s important to note that many things we see online are not emotionally or physically accurate. This is an industry designed to make money, focused on what works best on camera and who’s watching, rather than the reality of intimacy.

We have many conversations with students about these kinds of images, starting in a special session with the counsellors in grade 8 and continuing in PSHE in high school. Our Digital Citizenship curriculum also addresses these big themes at age appropriate levels.

Open and honest communication with your children will help them develop a network of supportive adults to ensure that they have a realistic understanding of intimacy and real relationships. These conversations also support the building of strong decision making skills based on family values and shared ethics. The goal is to help children make good choices when they are on their own.

We recommend that families make the choice that feels best to them (based on the amount of supervision that children have at home). There is blocking software available, and we recommend that it’s your last resort because blocking means that children can’t learn the skill to self-monitor, and can encourage them to seek alternate ways to access material.

If, at any point, you are concerned about this behavior at home, please feel free to come in and talk to us. We can help and support you in many ways. If you’re interested in more reading on this topic, Adam curates a regularly updated list here.

Follow-Up Session

We hope this was a productive conversation! Huge thank you to the parents that were able to join us this morning. We know that there were a number of parents who wanted to come, but were unable to make it. If you’d like us to run this session again, please let Clint, Adam or Kim know and we’ll schedule a follow-up.

Our next Parent Tech Coffee Morning will be: Wednesday 12 March in M101 from 9:15 – 10:15 on the topic of Creativity. Although technology is great for being productive, we also highlight the use of technology tools to promote creativity, collaboration and communication. This session will feature new creative uses of technology along with ideas for how to support your child’s creativity at home.

Parent Tech Coffee Morning: Digital Citizenship

We had a great turnout at today’s Parent Tech Coffee Morning! Thank you to everyone that joined us, and for those that were unable to make it, we hope to see you next time!

Great discussions about digital citizenship at parent tech coffee this morning

Our theme for today was digital citizenship, based on a selection of topics that parents shared at our last session. In order to start our conversation, we watched a TED Talk called Your Life Online, Permanent as a Digital Tattoo by Juan Enriquez:

This was a great prompt for our conversation and got us talking about:

  • the way that teens and adults view their privacy onlinesurprisingly it is very similar!
  • the process of hiring and recruitment for employment. Often employers will start with a Google search on prospective employees. One of our parents made a great point that although it’s important that those search results are not entirely negative (that can easily get your application thrown off the table), it’s equally important that you have some kind of online presence. This shows that, as an applicant, you understand the ways that we communicate today. A balanced profiles shows an understanding of these tools, and a genuine person that does have a personal life as well as professional qualifications.
  • the challenges of being social in a face-to-face environment and how that translates to online environments. Just because we are not taking photos and posting them, doesn’t mean that others are not taking photos of us and posting those. This may lead to a difficult conversation with friends when you have to ask them to take the photo down.
  • understanding that our individual privacy settings do not affect the settings of our friends. So, if a friend takes a picture of me and posts it on their wall, it can be public, even though my personal settings might be private.

One of our parents mentioned that these ideas are all part of the Connected Learning Community here at YIS. We’re regularly talking about digital citizenship as part of our curriculum, as well as extended activities during the year. If you’re interested in seeing more about how we bring these conversations into the school day, here are some resources you might enjoy:

  • Our Digital Dragons site – this is where everything related to digital citizenship at YIS is hosted.
  • Our 2-day orientation schedule – this is how we start each school year.
  • Our Digital Citizenship Week in February – this is a special week to highlight some of the themes that we address in our curriculum, as well as to bring attention back to the importance of maintaining balance in our lives.
  • Our Digital Citizenship curriculum – this is a series of lessons taught in Middle School Humanities.

To close our discussion today, we shared a variety of resources from Common Sense Media that can help parents have these kinds of conversations with their children. Common Sense Media has a great section of their website devoted to helping families talk about the impact of media in our lives. You might enjoy:

As we were wrapping up, another challenging topic came up that we will discuss further at our next session: dealing with explicit images online:

One of the most challenging aspects of the constant access and availability of information is that our children can find and explore images and media that is well beyond their developmental readiness level, particularly explicit imagery. Although this kind of material is filtered out on our school network, this may not be the case at home, or at a friend’s house, or the local coffee shop, or through 4G access. Understanding the impact of what children can see, how we might best talk to our children about these experiences, and how they may impact future relationships are all areas for discussion. We may not have easy answers for you, but we can certainly share the current developments in education and strategize together. Our next session will be Wednesday, 15 January from 9:15 – 10:15 in M101. We hope you can join us!

Introduction to YIS Elementary Curriculum for NEW Parents

There will be an Introduction to the Elementary Curriculum workshop suitable for new parents to YIS and interested community members. This parent workshop is held twice a year in September and in January. This will be presented by the ES Principal, Ms Jacquie Pender, and  the ES Vice Principal / PYP Coordinator, Ms Shanel Catasti.

Sign-up: [email protected]

When: Monday 23 September, 2013 from 9:00 – 10:30 AM

Where: Loft

The Five Minute University – Father Guido Sarducci teaches what an average college graduate knows after five years from graduation in five minutes.  Does this type of education prepare our students for the 21st century?


 

IB Learner Profile – The IB learner profile is the IB mission statement translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 21st century.