Keeping Up With App Trends

New apps come and go with great frequency. There’s no shortage of social media, video-sharing, and homework-help apps that are popular at any given time. And while it’s nearly impossible to keep up with every new app, it’s still important to know the specifics of what new or up-and-coming apps you might see on your student’s device.

This Common Sense Media article describes some new popular apps to know about in 2019.  Common Sense Media regularly writes about new app trends and what you need to know about each app.  It is a great resource for keeping up with app trends with teens and tweens!

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Using Screen Time Settings to Build Healthy Tech Habits

For those of us who have resolved to be more intentional about technology use, consider using the Screen Time settings on your iPad or other Apple devices. Screen Time is a relatively new feature from Apple that provides more information about the use of the device as well as specific parental controls that might be helpful.

Screen Time is a tool that is available for parents to enable on all district iPads.  Please contact your school if you need more information on getting started with Screen Time on your student’s district iPad.

This site describes how the features work and the information below gives some ideas for using these features.


Capability: Allows you to select times when specific apps will be available screenshot of Screen Time settings

Ideas for Use:

  • Set times for tech use to come to an end – for example, an hour or two before bedtime and through the night.
  • Turn on Downtime during the school week, allowing only the apps necessary. Allow entertainment apps once your child has finished their family responsibilities.

Tip: To allow or disallow apps during Downtime, go to Always Allowed and select and deselect the apps you want or don’t want.

App Limits

Capability: Allows for time limits to be set for certain apps

Idea for Use: Invite your child to work with you to decide how much time they should be using the apps that cause them the most distraction or challenge.

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Family Movie Making

If you’re a child of the 80s, you may have fond memories of your parents lugging around a huge camcorder to record every event, milestone, and vacation and then watching those experiences together on the family television.

Now we have that powerful video making capacity at our fingertips. In SVVSD, we’re particularly excited about apps like iMovie and Clips available on district iPads to help students become their own storytellers.

We encourage you to embrace storytelling in your own home! Here are a few ideas for video-making opportunities in everyday experiences:

  • Favorite Dance Moves
    • Take videos of each family member doing their favorite dance moves and combine them into an awesome dance party movie!
  • Interviews with Each Other
    • Create a list of questions to ask each other and film the interviews. These make amazing gifts!
  • Book Talks
    • After a trip to the library, film your book recommendations to share with friends and family. What books would you recommend and why?
  • Sport Moves
    • Use options like Slow Motion or Time Lapse and film your child playing a game, kicking a ball, swinging a bat, doing a cartwheel, climbing, etc. Have your child reflect on their technique or improvements they want to make, or just celebrate the movement! Be brave–have your child film you performing a skill!

For more tips from the Family Adventure Project, click here!

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Tech Use and Teen Well-Being

Conflicting headlines on screen time have increased in recent years and can fuel anxiety among parents and educators. How much screen time is too much? Is technology use related to negative effects on health and well-being?

A recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Oxford may help answer some of these questions. Click here to read an article about the study.

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Save the Date!

Supporting and mentoring kids in the digital age is a community effort. St. Vrain Valley Schools is pleased to partner with Dr. Devorah Heitner in hosting a family engagement night this spring for parents of current and incoming middle school students.

photo of Devorah HeitnerAn expert on young people’s relationship with digital media and technology, Dr. Devorah Heitner is the  author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World  and founder of Raising Digital Natives. Her mission is to cultivate a culture of empathy and social/emotional literacy. Dr. Heitner’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal,  TIME magazine and Education Week. She has a Ph.D. in Media/Technology & Society from Northwestern University and has taught at DePaul and Northwestern. She is delighted to be raising her own digital native.

Join us Tuesday March 12th at 6:00 pm at Trail Ridge Middle School as we engage in meaningful conversations, learn from one another, and better understand both the challenges and opportunities facing our students, parents, and educators around technology use.

If you are interested in attending, please let us know by filling out the form at The first 50 families who respond will receive a copy of Dr. Heitner’s book, Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World.

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