Talking to Kids about Technology Use

During a recent podcast, How to Talk to Kids about Tech Milestones and Digital Readiness, Drs. Robyn Silverman and Devorah Heitner, author of Screenwise and Raising Digital Natives, chat about how we can be better models for our children, how to set technology limits collaboratively, and how to stay curious about the way kids are using technology.

If you don’t have time to listen to the entire discussion, consider skipping to these sections:

  • minute 5:30 – How do you know when your child is ready for a tech milestone (phone, social media, etc.)?
  • minute 18:20 – Should I monitor or mentor (or both)?
  • minute 45:25 – What’s one crucial tip Dr. Heitner has for parents?

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Engaging Students with Robotics

Our best learning happens when we are engaged, challenged, and encouraged to be innovative. One way students in St. Vrain experience this type of learning is through the rich robotics opportunities offered throughout the district. 

Teachers are using a variety of interactive tools to introduce students to robotics.  Many schools have Spheros whizzing about, programmed by students to draw shapes or perform a light show. 

Students working with Spheros.

Other schools challenge students to help Beebot robots find their way through a maze, create a Cubelet creature, or write an original story for a Dash robot to perform.  Schools are hosting after-school clubs for competitive robotics, in which teams develop strategies for annual challenges and then design, build, test, and compete with their own original robots.  Robotics is also one way many students get introduced to coding.  St. Vrain has produced numerous successful robotics teams over the past few years, from elementary all the way to high school.  Teams have won national and world awards for BEST, FIRST and VEX robotics.   Other programs in the district have students developing robotic devices for real-world clients, ranging from underwater drones to in-the-air quadcopters.  That’s some serious achievement! 

As important as the technical side of robotics is, it’s probably the non-technical skills which students develop that matter even more.  By participating in robotics, students refine their critical and analytical thinking, use creativity and innovation, and regularly apply the skills and knowledge from other classes such as writing, math, and science, to authentic learning tasks.  More importantly, students build skills in communication, collaboration, project management, and more.  Finally, because there are rarely easy solutions to complex robotics problems, robotics helps support students’ development of patience, persistence, and grit.  

If you are interested in having your student participate in any of the after school robotics offerings around the district, please contact your school for more information.

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Schoology Accounts for Parents

Schoology is an online tool and app that allows users to create, manage, and share content and resources for classes.

Parents have their own username and password to log into Schoology.   If you do not already have a parent Schoology account set up, click here for directions.

Also, did you know you can customize your Schoology notifications?

Schoology sends you email notifications for Social, Academic, Group, and School activity that occurs in your account. These notifications pertain to the schools, courses, and groups in which you participate.

You can select which notifications you would like to receive from Schoology. To customize your notifications, follow these directions:

  1. Select the arrow next to your name on the top right side of the page.
  2. Click Notifications from the drop-down menu. 
  3. Select the button next to the notification you’d like to change.
  4. Choose On (receive from all sources), Off (no notifications), or Custom (pick and choose the sources).
  5. Click Save Changes at the bottom. 

Note: If you receive notifications for Schoology Messages you’ve received, you may respond to the message directly from the notification in your email.

If you’d also like to receive the notifications that your child receives, we recommend adding your email address or phone number to your child’s Account Settings and Account Notifications area.

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Relationship Advice?

It’s February and many of us are having conversations about relationships. One relationship that often gets overlooked is the relationship we have with our own technology.

Our hope is for students to develop healthy relationships with technology: relationships that encourage curiosity and discovery. Relationships that are – hopefully – unlike the relationships depicted in these humorous #DeviceFreeDinner Video clips.

What can we do to foster healthy relationships with our tech? 

  1. Be mindful of our own technology use as adults and role models
  2. We can change how and where we use our devices
    • Check out these explorer Backpacks from the Longmont Library
    • Identify trees from their leaves with the Leafsnap App
  3. Find a balance between using tech to create and not just consume

In the end, modeling healthy relationships with technology is one of the most powerful ways to teach our children how to have healthy relationships with their own technology. For more resources, check out additional hints in this article

Authors: Casey Luker & Eric Rasmussen

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Innovation Center Tech Team

Students with the Innovation Center Tech Team would like to invite you to bring in your Apple equipment (Mac, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple TV) for software and how-to questions. They also do hardware repairs on personally-owned Macs. The Innovation Center, located at 1200 S. Sunset Street, is open Tuesday – Friday, 3pm-5pm.  Students also can answer questions via text chat at 707.832.4783 (S0S.Tech.Que).
The Innovation Center Tech Team is a  program that provides SVVSD students an opportunity to complete Apple Certified Technician Training. This year 21 students (10 young men and 11 young women) passed the certification course and now work at the Innovation Center after school. Over the past four years, approximately 100 students have acquired this valuable certification in SVVSD.  On a recent visit,  two young women were working at the service desk.  When asked, they said the best part of the work was the real-world experience and opportunity to help customers. They are learning new skills about asking the right questions, addressing customer needs, completing work in a timely manner, and communicating with customers about progress made. Student workers are able to respond to questions via text chat or in person.
What a great SVVSD program that develops relevant skills and provides students a competitive edge!

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