Apr 17

Creating with iPads!

Utilizing iPads in our PreK-5th grade classrooms enables students to create and share independent and group creations.  Students are not merely consuming content, but teachers are encouraging creations to share with a wide audience!  

Some apps we’ve used in this process include: Book Creator, Explain Everything, iMovie, and DoInk Green Screen.

How can you inspire and support at home?  Below are some project ideas you and your student can create with an iPad to share with family and friends.  I bet Grandma would love to see and hear about school through one of these digital projects!


1) Journals

Use Book Creator to create a digital journal documenting the process of a project, trip, experience, etc.  Book Creator will allow you to add text, photo, video, audio, and drawings with a very friendly user interface.  (Will you try the comic book feature too?)

Book Creator Tutorials


2) Tutorials

Use Explain Everything to teach others the content learned at school.  This year, students have shown how to do the steps of a math problem with text, drawing, and audio.  Students can specify and point out parts of their illustrations with the pointer feature in Explain Everything.  We learn best by teaching others, right?  

Explain Everything Tutorials


3) Commercials

Use iMovie to showcase what your student is learning in a fun way!  What is their opinion on the book they are currently reading?  Use iMovie to retell major story components in a trailer for potential readers.

iMovie Help and Support


4) Travel Vlogs

Use the DoInk Green Screen app to document travel through time and location with a video blog !  Find photos of the moon, ocean, or anywhere of interest to serve as a background.  Students can record themselves in the scene explaining their location. (Some research might be necessary here, so head to Kidrex.org for a safe, kid-friendly search engine!)

DoInk Green Screen Tutorials

Give it a try and let us know how it goes with a message below!

Permanent link to this article: https://tech.svvsd.org/family/2017/04/17/creating-with-ipads/

Apr 17

Digital Footprints

“I can delete it, don’t worry!” Kids today frequently say this in regards to what they do online. The reality is that we live in a world of data collection and this trend is not going away. Data collection can be as benign as keeping the history of the websites you visit or as invasive as inserting bias into your search results based on your previous visits and searches. Everyone has a digital footprint. The Oxford Dictionary defines a digital footprint as the information about a particular person that exists on the Internet as a result of their online activity. As the world changes and technology becomes more prevailing throughout our society, everyone should be aware of their digital footprint.

So why should you care? Looking at social media and doing a Google search have become very common with universities, employers, and many others.  Digital footprints are used to make decisions about you, so how do you protect yourself?

1. Don’t overshare – Use privacy settings to control who see what on your social media. An inappropriate comment from a “friend” can degrade your positive footprint.

2. What goes online stays online – Remember that even after you may delete something, that data still lives somewhere. There is always data that is left behind that could reflect upon you in a negative way.

3. Think before you post – Before you post that picture or comment, think if you would want your boss or that university you hope to attend or your 90-year-old grandmother to see it.

Use your digital footprint as a positive reflection of yourself. Know that others are watching what you do online, so use this to your advantage and make wise choices as to how others will form their impressions about you.


More resources:

  1. How Important Are Students’ Digital Footprints?
  2. Creating a Positive Digital Footprint
  3. Protecting Your Profile

Permanent link to this article: https://tech.svvsd.org/family/2017/04/17/digital-footprints/

Apr 17

End of Year Tech Tips and Conversations

With the end of the year fast approaching we hope you’ll help your middle and high school students think about things they’ll need to save PRIOR to the date when they turn in their iPad at the end of the year. With the advent of cloud computing, saving data or backing up looks different than when we were in school. Below are some helpful tips for parents and students.

Note: Here’s a resource for students exiting the school district. 

Before we get to the tips consider some of the conversations that you could engage in during this time:
  • The importance of regularly backing up data – Perhaps you have a story about a time when you lost something because you forgot to back it up.
  • What kinds of things might be desirable to save and why. (Think about saving their best work for a portfolio they can use for scholarships and applications.)
  • What was learned throughout the year and how their iPad data demonstrates their learning.

Tech Tips

If your student uses an an Apple ID on their school device:
  • They will not be able to restore from an iCloud backup due to the tool we use to manage devices, but their can still use iCloud to save and sync some things such as Notes, Reminders and Contacts. The green indicates that this tool is being backed up.
  • iCloud can be used to save or sync some data, but is limited to 5 GB.
  • Students will need to save any content connected to their apps if they want access to it in the future. See below for recommendations on how to do this.
If your student doesn’t have an Apple ID connected to their school device:

We recommend using Google Drive to back up important information, as there is unlimited storage available for SVVSD students.

Content students might want to backup includes:

  • Photos
  • Files from important apps used in school such as Keynote, Pages, Numbers, iMovie etc. [Note: only completed movies will transfer in a backup.]
  • Explain Everything files
  • Notability files
  • Files from other apps that can be shared to Google Drive
With regard to Schoology:
  • If a student has submitted an assignment that was created in Schoology, they will not have access to it once the school year is over. If they have an assignment they’d like to save they will need to save it in their Schoology Personal Resources folder to access it the following year.

Permanent link to this article: https://tech.svvsd.org/family/2017/04/17/end-of-year-tech-tips-and-conversations/

Mar 17

Reading Landscapes

Geographers are experts at reading landscapes.  The surroundings of a particular area give us clues about the culture, history, and climate of that area.  People of all ages can practice reading the landscape in their own backyards and around the world with a fun online game called GeoGuessr.  Practice your skills and impress your family with your ability to locate a place somewhere in the world using just visual clues from the ground.  It is a fun game for families to play together! Please note that the site has an option to create an account, though one is not needed to play.  

Permanent link to this article: https://tech.svvsd.org/family/2017/03/17/reading-landscapes/

Mar 17

Digital Drama

 “Cyberbullying is just one slice of the digital experience that adolescents grapple with…So the question becomes: how can we support students in managing every type of digital stress?” (Walsh, 2015)


Though the media and public have focused on hostile actions causing digital stress such as cyberbullying, research has discovered that adolescents also experience stress from digital drama (“Study Identifies Digital Stressors in Youth Experiences Online,” 2014).

What is digital drama?

Walsh (2015) noted that digital drama could be:

  • feeling smothered by someone’s digital communication;
  • breaking and entering into accounts or phones; and
  • feeling pressure to comply with requests for intimate photos or access to accounts.

How do we support children in dealing with digital drama?

Walsh (2015) suggests:

  • Offer an empathetic ear, and try not to be dismissive.
  • Convey interest in understanding the breadth of socio-digital challenges teens experience, and be a partner as they navigate these challenges.
  • Realize that although young people are operating in a new digital context, many of the skills they need aren’t new. Learning how to align their behavior with their values, identifying their individual needs, and developing the confidence to communicate effectively with others — these are the evergreen challenges of adolescence.

Additional Resources:

Family Tip Sheet: Dealing with Digital Drama

Common Sense Media: Activity for Discussion of Digital Drama

Common Sense Media: Connection Conversation on Digital Drama

Permanent link to this article: https://tech.svvsd.org/family/2017/03/17/digital-drama/

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