ES Student Portfolios

portfolioAYour child will be bringing home his/her portfolio on Friday, 21nd January 2011. Reports will also be arriving at a similar time via mail.  In combination with the written report, we hope that the contents of the portfolio will help to illustrate your child’s progress during Semester One at YIS.

The portfolios will include a welcome letter that will help guide you in the enjoyment of sharing your child’s portfolio. Also included will be a parent reflection letter for you to complete and return with the portfolio to school.  Your child and his/her teachers will value your encouragement and feedback.

portfolio1Portfolios are to be returned to school by MONDAY 7th February 2011.

Parent Technology & Literacy Coffee Morning: Internet Safety

Again we had a fantastic turnout for our Parent Technology & Literacy Coffee Morning, thank you! Our topic for the day was Internet Safety and Online Responsibility, so we showed two public service announcements (PSA) from the US:

Both videos prompted some great discussion, here are a few highlights:

Parents would like some suggestions about how to start a conversation about these issues with their children at home. Brian had a great suggestion of starting with some simple stories like how Stephen Lehmann (our new IT director) was Googled before being hired here, or sharing articles from the newspaper about people who are impacted by their lack of understanding about privacy settings (like this onethis one, or this one). Whatever approach that fits with your parenting style works!

We discussed the value of being friends with your child on Facebook. On the one hand, some parents felt it was important to respect their childrens’ privacy, on the other hand other parents felt it was a great back-up or early warning detection to be friends (Bob shared his strategy of being friends, but with a no-commenting rule).

In regards to Facebook privacy, we talked about the evolution of the privacy settings and how they can change at random and with little to no announcements or warning.

In talking to your children about Facebook, it’s important to discuss not only their privacy settings, but the settings of their friends. If they have friends who have their information public, it’s possible that information your child thinks is private is not.

Regarding the first video, we talked about the nature of digital artifacts. Even if you remove a photo (or text or video) that you posted, it’s possible that (because it’s digital) someone else could have made a copy during the time it was published, and now they can post it wherever they want. Digital artifacts are almost impossible to delete in this way. We didn’t discuss this during the session, but the Way Back Machine is an initiative to archive all websites from 1996 to present. Even websites that have long-since been deleted (or changed drastically) can still be found here.

Another issue that come up was the technology needed to filter or limit what your children can see on the Internet. For the most part, although it’s possible to set initial filters, there are always ways around them (Google it or check the tutorials on YouTube to get an idea of how easy it is to find out), or the possibility of your child simply using another person’s computer, iPhone, iPad, XBox, etc either at school, on the train, or at their house. We advocate open and honest conversations with your children, setting limits and boundaries together, and developing an understanding of what is appropriate and what’s not appropriate that is comfortable with your ethics and values as a family.

One very simple strategy to help limit the number of explicit sites that could potentially come up in a Google Search is to use Google Safe Search. Here’s a video that explains how to do it:

A question came up about whether we should post any pictures online at all. We would advocate building a positive online presence by posting pictures (text, video or audio) that you are proud of, that your parents or teachers or employers would be proud of. It’s very important to be in control of your own online presence and to create something positive that both universities or employers will use to evaluate your personality and professionalism. If you are not in control, then anyone else could be.

Both parents and teachers can have conversations with children about understanding digital citizenship – those conversations may be slightly different, but it is important that we are promoting the same message: responsibility and safety.

We also promised to share a few resources for you about digital citizenship:

And a few resources that Shelly shared with us:

Thank you again for coming! We so appreciate you spending your time with us!

Our next session will be Wednesday, Feb 2, 2011 from 9:15 – 10:15 in the Loft. The topic will be an introduction to blogging and RSS – what is it? How does it work? How can it help me keep up with my child’s learning? We’ll also share examples of student learning here at YIS using the Learning Hub blogging portal.