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HeathcoteTech has moved!

HeathcoteTech has moved! Scarsdale students are now building blogs on the CampusPress platform. CampusPress is a managed service that uses...

Friday, December 19, 2014

3rd Grade - History of Typography

3rd Graders,

When we are typing we are entering our text using a particular font, or style of writing. But fonts aren't just fonts, they are "typography" or the art or technique of arranging type in order to make language visible.

Before computers there were typewriters and before that, handwriting. In order to make writing universally legible there needed to be typography.

Watch the video below and answer the questions as comments...

5th Grade - December 2014 - The possibilities of technology

Technology provides a wide range of possibility and opportunity.

There is possibility to create in ways previously unavailable. Opportunity to see & experience things previously out of reach. Possibility and opportunity to discover and question all the things in your world.

The greatest power of technology is that possibility and opportunity to question what you see & find answers for yourself.

Your assignment...

"Why isn't my comment posted?"

That is a questions I get a lot.

Students will do the homework assignment, maybe even re-post a comment multiple times, and never see it published.

Before I get into why a comment isn't published let me remind students of the only appropriate way to sign a comment:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Commenting on Heathcote blogs

There are often assignments for students that require them to comment on a blog post.

All blogs at Heathcote (be it this one or a teacher blog), and the comment form, can be accessed from any internet-enabled device; smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, Android, iOS, Mac, PC, etc. With the assignments being given over extended periods of time, and with the blog being open & accessible (no need to log in) I have made every effort to ensure all students have plenty of time & opportunity to complete the assignments.

Posting comments require a few steps and are moderated to help ensure only appropriate content is published. Here is a short video tutorial on how to post a comment:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Free apps for free apps...

Occasionally I will be posting things applicable to teachers as well as students and parents. Today is one of those days a post is applicable to everyone, and anyone, with an iPhone or iPad...

One of the best ways to get use to the wide variety of possibilities of the iPad is to take advantage of free apps.

Here are a few free apps that alert you to when other, paid apps, are on sale. Once you "purchase" an app, free or paid, you get all future updates for free too. So, if you find a $4.99 app has gone free one day, download it, it's free, and you'll get all future updates for free too. Any app is worth a test run if it doesn't cost you anything...

Monday, November 10, 2014

5th grade Rocketry Books

This post is a work in progress as students finish & tweak their animated books

The following items are animated books created using Google Slides with Ms. Boyer's class.

From start to finish our Rocketry unit spanned eight weeks.  The children read, researched, watched, learned, documented, designed, created, evaluated and analyzed throughout the entire project.  These books represent their learning, not only of rocketry, but of non-fiction narrative writing, the writing process, design thinking and Google presentations.  The rubric that accompanies their projects is one that the students created to help them revise, edit and evaluate their own work.  Enjoy! - @5Boyer

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

HeathcoteTech's nameplate

The lab @HeathcoteTech has a new name...

Before I explain I would love to hear guesses as to the meaning.

Everything on the sign was done very specifically and intentionally and references both what happens in the lab and with technology throughout Heathcote. There is even a nod to a genre students are very familiar with...

As the guesses come in I'll give more clues.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Updates to HeathcoteTech!

As you can see HeathcoteTech has been updated!

I hope these updates will help make HeathcoteTech more useful and user-friendly.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Twitter @Heathcote - Embracing social media & addressing concerns

I've written a few posts over the last week about how we will be using Twitter here at Heathcote.
I also wanted to put up a post addressing the two most obvious sides of the same coin, the benefits and concerns.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The only 2 things on the internet

I have long told my students "there are only 2 things on the internet."


Nothing more, nothing less.

I use this, especially with elementary school students, as a way to explain, simply, the tenets of safe web use.

The only two things on the internet are

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Twitter @HeathcoteSchool - Our Hashtag!

In the previous post, Twitter @HeathcoteSchool, I wrote about Twitter as a platform and offered a solution for following Twitter users without actually have a Twitter account, or even a smartphone.

The previous post also listed all the teaches with Twitter accounts at Heathcote.

This post is more geared toward people with a Twitter account looking to get a more streamlined Heathcote experience out of the Twitter platform...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Twitter @HeathcoteSchool - a primer

Twitter is a great resource. It is no longer just Ashton Kutcher talking about what he ate for breakfast (although, I'm sure there is probably still a lot of that going on).

These days teachers are using Twitter as another method of communicating with parents. There is a Heathcote School Twitter account that posts school announcements, shares classroom work, and in general acts as another way to connect the school with the community. A lot of parents have signed up for Twitter (its free) just to follow their child's classroom feed or the Heathcote School feed. There are many teachers who speak highly of the home-school connecting Twitter fosters and the instructional engagement it supports.

Monday, September 15, 2014

As week three begins...

As week three begins we are one step closer to getting all the technology up and running. But first I wanted to thank the parents who stopped by the lab during the Open House. It was great to meet so many parents and have the great conversations we did.

Here are a few follow-up points:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Open House

Welcome parents!

Tonight is Open House, feel free to stop by the Computer Lab and say hello.

If we don't get the chance to meet face-to-face, here is a quick introduction...

Looking forward to a great year.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Google Chrome - setting up multiple users

As the year gets underway one of the things everyone has heard me say a lot is "Google."

I am a huge fan of Google Apps as a platform. It does wonders for collaboration, communication, and efficiency. One of the biggest perks is that with our 4th and 5th grades on Chromebooks we can all interact within the same digital environment, just as we interact in the same physical environment.

One of the things that makes the full Google Apps platform work to its fullest potential is Chrome. Chrome is a web browser available, for free, on all operating systems.

The follow is an overview of Chrome and a tutorial on setting up one of Chrome's most powerful features, multiple users. No more need for Safari for personal Google use and Firefox for Scarsdale Google use. Chrome lets you sign in to multiple Google accounts in separate windows without needed to log out when switching between them.

I hope you find this useful...

Why Chrome? The basics:

  • free
  • supported on Windows, Mac, and Linux (full specs here)
  • Google suite fully integrate (ie: search from address bar, sign in to all services once, etc)
  • Multiple users

To paint a picture...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Social media at Heathcote

Yesterday at the faculty meeting I mentioned my love of social media in education.

I have written a few blog posts about how we used social media in my previous school. I will be writing new posts here, on HeathcoteTech, about best practices and the great successes of our social media use. In the meantime feel free to read some of the previous things I've written:

All of the above posts and more here: http://thecasalos.blogspot.com/search/label/twitter

Let me know if you have any questions. I'm excited to get all of Heathcote sharing our successes with the world and demystifying social media alongside our students....

Friday, September 5, 2014

Heathcote Network Update

As the 2014-2015 gets underway I wanted to give the Heathcote community a status update on technology, and when students will begin to access the resources (lab, Chromebooks, iPads, etc).

We are in the process of re-imaging and configuring all Mac desktops in the building, so that they all have the latest available software and access to printers. This process should be complete by Tuesday morning, if not Monday afternoon. Currently, students do not have access to their network accounts (district-wide). Typically, students are not allowed to log into their network account until they have been presented with the Acceptable Use Policy (which I will do) or for the youngest students, a lab orientation. This year there will be a slight delay in allowing student access, even after the AUP presentation, all in the name of progress.

In a nutshell, we (the entire elementary tech team, district-wide) are creating new student user accounts and we are re-organizing our network structure and management practices. Planning for this began last spring and was implemented through the summer. The traditional method of saving network files on a remote server and shuttling them back and forth between classroom, lab, and library computers had become outdated, and no longer supported by Apple. This setup became increasingly faulty as more and more students received login errors or had their connection crash, preventing them from saving their files. Moving forward is our best option and we are confident that these changes will result in more reliable network performance.

We are having a soft opening of the computer labs in the week of September 15. This is a week later than planned, but we need the time to hammer out final network issues. The soft opening will involve a handful of classes who are willing to take the new network setup for a test drive. If all goes well, we'll then roll out the lab calendar for open scheduling.

A great deal of planning, coordination, and technical effort have gone into a number of technology improvement projects over the last few months. Too much to write about in a single blog post. More details to come. 

Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Welcome to HeathcoteTech!


This blog is centered around technology here at Heathcote.

This is very much an extension of Mr. Casal's computer lab but will also strive to encompass far more than simply "the computer lab."

HeathcoteTech will:

  • post updates about technology at Heathcote
  • cover topics both in and out of the computer lab
  • provide resources and tutorials for reference beyond lab time
  • house the "Heathcote TechHelp" form for easy submission of technical assistance requests
  • house the "PD Surveys" for submitting ideas, wants, and needs for technology-centric professional development 
  • be open to all areas of technology, for staff, students, and parents alike

It will also
  • have opportunities for student authors, creating original student-written blog posts 
  • have opportunities for staff authors, creating original staff and teacher written blog posts about how they are using technology at Heathcote
  • post examples of technology projects students have created

Welcome to this new endeavor, we hope you enjoy the updates!