Don’t miss the next Camp iPad for Parents (Register today)

If you would like to learn more about:

  • How to use an iPad (hands-on)
  • How the Learning Technology Plan is impacting your child’s learning.
  • Have beneficial discussions with other parents and SVVSD staff members

Then register for the next Camp iPad for Parents!

What: Camp iPad for Parents
When: April 23, 2015
Times: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM or 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Where: Coal Ridge Middle School (6201 Booth Drive, Firestone, CO)

Register by following this link but hurry because slots are limited and filling up fast!

Some images from the first Camp iPad for Parents held on February 24th at Westview Middle School.

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Develop Coding Skills for Teens

Have you heard of the world-wide trend called Hour of Code? The non-profit organization,, started in 2013 and focuses on providing opportunities for students to learn more about computer science.  Over 15 million students participated this year in schools around the world. It is not too late – the Hour of Code is available to anyone interested in learning more about computer science and coding.

Code Jobs


Why is computer science important?

Students need to possess 21st century skills. Of students in the STEM fields only 2% are in computer science. This is going to create a gap in the job market by 2020. Introducing students to computer science at any age will help prepare them for future jobs because 67% of software jobs are outside the tech industry – in banking, retail, government, entertainment, etc.


Two kids who are a fantastic influence.



Thomas Suarez, loved playing video games so much that, at the age of 12, he taught himself how to make them. He released his first iphone app called Bustin Jieber, a game in which players try to catch Justin Bieber as he moves around the screen. He has since started his own company, CarrotCorp and has planned to release “the most advanced, the most reliable, the fastest, 3D printer ever created.”


Super Awesome Sylvia started making videos tinkering with projects in science and technology when she was 9 years old. Now, as a middle schooler, she has attended Maker Faires at the White House, Rome and Switzerland, she has published a book, and has created a WaterColorBot. Yes – that’s right – a robot that paints in watercolors!

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Click image above to play video



Here are a few iPad Apps that develop coding skills.



Codea allows you turn any visual idea into a game using Lau Language, which is perfect for iPad use.


Hopscotch is programming designed for everyone! In a few minutes, you’ll make characters move, dance,draw, and interact. Control your project by tapping, tilting, shaking, and even shouting at your iPad.


Daisy the Dino

Daisy the Dinosaur teaches the basic of programming. Kids will intuitively grasp the basics of object, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app’s challenges.

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The Three Essential Kinds of iPad Parental Restrictions

The software that powers your student’s iPad has a large collection of very powerful parental controls, called restrictions, that each family can use to customize their student’s experience with their iPad. We believe that parents need to make the right decision for their families about which of these restrictions to enable to ensure appropriate use at home and at school.

What all parents need to know about these restrictions is that they are present, they are optional, and they are customizable to allow every family the freedom to make the decisions that make the most sense for them. While there are literally dozens of options, three big categories can help you think about how and when you might want to employ restrictions on your student’s iPads. (Be aware that some of these restrictions might interfere with schoolwork – be sure to be in conversation with your student about how they affect school and be willing to be flexible.)

Allowed Content

This category of restrictions limits what types of content can be on the device using ratings from the iTunes, App, and iBooks stores. It’s important to know that these content restrictions only apply to the Apple content stores and, in the case of Websites, the use of the Safari browser.

In order to stay in line with board policy, all St. Vrain students already have some content restrictions turned on. Specifically, student iPads are set so that students will not be able to download any media that is not rated TV-G or G or from downloading explicit music and books. Here’s a recommended whitelist for those families that choose to enable website filtering on the iPad.


This category of restrictions turns on and off various features of the Apple content stores. Perhaps the most commonly used one is the limit on in-app purchases.


These restrictions allow you to control what types of information the iPad can send, receive, and share. In this category you can control the camera, microphone, and location services as well as other ways of sending and receiving information via the iPad. This collection of restrictions contains lots of options – so take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the menus and be sure to look for explanations and help text sprinkled throughout the choices.


Remember – you can restrict the items that make sense for you and your family. Don’t be afraid to tinker with the options.

What restrictions are most important to you? Let us know in the comments.

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Five Fantastic Apps for Family Fun Night

Want to bring your family game night into the 21st century? Here are five free iPad games that promote learning and cooperation while providing fun for the whole crew!

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Reverse Charades A fun twist on the traditional game in which the entire family acts out the words while a single person tries to guess as many as they can within the time limit. The free version comes with several sample packs of words. This app does offer in-app purchase of additional words. Another fun charades game, Charades for Kids has a free version, but you’ll need to be ok with ads if you select that one.

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Mr. Words is a Scrabble version for two players that doesn’t connect to FaceBook. A great vocabulary building game that even includes a Jr. version for younger players.


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Othello The classic game, without the need to keep up with all those pieces. (This app includes ads at the bottom of the screen)


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Five Dice. Can you use the dice to create an equation? This game is great to practice order of operations. Bonus: No ads or in-app purchases!


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SpaceTeam Have two or more iPads? Looking for a nonsense night of fun? This game is for 2-4 iPads and focuses on cooperation as your spaceteam follows nonsense commands to keep your ship in flight. In-app purchase unlocks additional levels.

What are your favorite games? Share them with us!


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Would you like to help shape the LTP? (Apply for ITAC before February 25th)

An important part of the Learning Technology Plan (LTP) is an ongoing discussion and review process of what is going well, what we can change or improve, etc. A large, representative group of teachers, administrators and parents, known as the Instructional Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC), provides recommendations about the implementation of the the LTP.

ITAC is very important because I take the committee’s recommendation to the District’s Leadership Cabinet for approval and implementation.

Anyone interested in serving on the committee should read the ITAC overview document, then complete the application before February 25th. New ITAC members will be required to participate in a brief orientation before the April 2015 meeting.



Thank you,

Joe McBreen
Chief Information Officer
St. Vrain Valley Schools
Twitter: @svvsdcio
Enriching Education – Service::Teamwork::Communication

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