parents

Connecting Families- Parent Workshop at CIS

Parents chatting about their biggest distractions.

Parents chatting about their biggest distractions.

On September 30, a group of interested parents joined us at CIS for a “Connecting Families” discussion and Coffee with the counsellor.  We introduced ourselves and then identified our own personal distractions.  Most of us answered with “my phone”.

We used the Common Sense Media’s distractions and multitasking video to  guide our discussion.   We shared what methods we were using at  home  to help our children learn life balance.   We had a variety of strategies which included locking it up, turning wifi up, requiring “outside” time, and we brainstormed more.  The sharing of ideas was helpful to all.

Another thought, are students using thier online time to create , not consume?  We recognized that creating is different than consuming.

At the end a few parents asked some direct questions about homework and texts.  Parents left knowing the CIS does have physical text books and that all students have access to them.  Parents left knowing that they are not the only parents feeling the way they are feeling.  Parents left knowing how to set restrictions on the iPad.

We will host another Connecting Families session soon. The resources used in our discussion sre linked below.

distraction_multitasking_time_management_-_video_use_case

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/connecting-families/distraction-and-multitasking

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Our iPad feedback survey results- some surprises, some confirmations, some wild ideas!

CIS’s iPad Feedback Survey Results- 6 months in

So please provide feedback.  Did any of these results surprise you?  Will this feedback cause you to rethink your iPad initiative.  Let me know.CIS’s iPad Feedback Survey Results- 6 months in

VPN- Virtual Private Networks- Should secondary students be using them?

CIS raises money with a fun rum and a great talent show.

CIS raises money with a fun run with Nithin Tolani- Cancer Survivor.

I was truly surprised, when I googled this issue and found nothing.  No posts on explaining VPNs to students or to parents.  No posts on why it might not be recommended. Okay, I had better start at the beginning.

Students at CIS are downloading a VPN and then by passing our school’s websense filter.  This is not strictly against the iPad agreement, but is it Responsble Use.  The answer is No!

A VPN is allowing them to access apps and sites that our school’s firewall is blocking.

So what is a VPN?

http://www.comparebusinessproducts.com/briefs/essential-guide-vpns

This answer from The Essential Guide to VPNs

Updated: April 30, 2009

VPNs (virtual private networks) aim to provide secure communications within distributed enterprises, among business partners, and between mobile workers and corporate IT resources.

VPNs make use of the public Internet, and for that reason, advocates view the technology as more cost-effective than dial-up networking — with its attendant phone-line costs — and dedicated WANs. To secure the VPN, an organization generally installs some form of gateway, a network device that manages a VPN’s connections. A gateway may consist of VPN software installed on a server or a specialized VPN appliance.

VPN Express– the App available on the App Store says this

WHAT IS IT?
VPN is a 128-bit encrypted tunnel between your device (computer, iPhone/iTouch/iPad) and one of our servers.

WHY HAVE A VPN ACCOUNT?
If you want a total Internet traffic anonymizing experience, a VPN account is the best way to go – there’s no IP numbers to configure into the webapps, and no software to install – just set up the VPN and it’s done! Other features include, but are not limited to:
-Bypass websites that are blocked in some countries/geographical regions.
-Bypass Skype and other VOIP blocked in your area or by your ISP.
-Grant access to restricted sites at work or at school even behind firewalls.
-Assigns your computer a new IP address, hides your real IP to anonymize all web applications.
-Security & anonymity with a secure encrypted connection between your computer and the Internet.
-Protect your wireless (Wi-Fi) connection at home or at public Hotspots.
-Virtual Firewall – Attacks are often directed at a known IP address.
-International Internet Users – ISPs or some countries would like to prevent users from enjoying the Internet, with a USA IP there are no controls!
-Unlike a proxy, you get secured connection for all programs you are using, (e.g ICQ, Email, FTP, News and anything that uses a Internet Connection)

Okay so, are VPNs illegal?  No, they are sometimes used for illegal activities.  Are VPNs allowed at your school?  Do I think CIS should allow VPN apps to run on their iPads during the classtime?  No! Please let me know.

Do I have a VPN? Yes, and I use it for Netflix.  Am I a hypocrite?  Probably…

What do you think?  How would you present VPNs to an audience of your parents?

Finally the largest number of articles on VPN were describing how to get around your school firewall and how to gain access to something that was restricted.  Some VPNs are free apps.   Please share your thought on VPNs, schools, and students.

Coffee and Tech- Introducing our Parents to 1:1 Learning

Image

 Some rights reserved by amanda28192
In the Secondary Library, about 15 parents learned about CIS’s one 2 one learning environment for next year.
Many were handling iPads for the first time.  All completed a Socrative quiz, and the immediate results were viewed in real time on the projected screen.
We did not succeed in completing all of the agenda below, but the discussion was encouraged.  Doubts about iPads vs other tablets were cleared.  Purchase plans were explained.
After a 45 minute introduction and seeing that iPads truly are educational, I feel that parents left happy that the iPad as a learning tool will be a great addition to their child’s learning experience.

Our Agenda is listed below and cross posted on my wiki.

Welcome!

1. Think BIG- Introductory Video
2. 1:1 learning introduction
3. Hands on workshop- Learning with the iPad

  • Socrative
  • iBooks
  • iTunes U
  • iMovie
  • Edmodo
  • Viseoprompt
  • Pages + Keynote

4. How will it work at CIS?
5. Questions and Answers

Another step in the Planning Process…Coffee and Tech- Introducing our Parents to 1:1 Learning

Image

 Some rights reserved by amanda28192
In the Secondary Library, about 15 parents learned about CIS’s one 2 one learning environment for next year.  CIS students and their families will be purchasing iPads for August and will have to have 5 purchased APPs.  This will be required of all students grade 8-11.  Parents and students were told this last August for complete implementation this August. 
Many were handling iPads for the first time.  All completed a Socrative quiz, and the immediate results were viewed in real time on the projected screen.   They also followed a QR Code to get to the wiki created for the event.  I demo’d Edmodo, showing them what is going on in my Physics class.  Many our students are already using Edmodo in their classes, so this was not new to our parents.
We did not succeed in completing all of the agenda below, but the discussion was encouraged.  Doubts about iPads vs other tablets were cleared.  Purchase plans were explained.
After a 45 minute introduction and seeing that iPads truly are educational, I feel that parents left happy that the iPad as a learning tool will be a great addition to their child’s learning experience.
Having this meeting, fielding parent concerns, having a plan, and sharing ideas is helping the adoption of iPads succeed at CIS.
Next meeting topics:  Apple IDs, No Credit Card Accounts, Download Apps, Gifting Apps.  Our next meeting will focus on the “nitty gritty business” of  getting each child’s iPad ready for learning. 

Our Agenda is listed below and cross posted on my wiki.

Welcome!

1. Think BIG- Introductory Video
2. 1:1 learning introduction
3. Hands on workshop- Learning with the iPad

  • Socrative
  • iBooks
  • iTunes U
  • iMovie
  • Edmodo
  • Viseoprompt
  • Pages + Keynote

4. How will it work at CIS?
5. Questions and Answers