Tag Archives: macbook

Trying out cases for the MacBook Air 11″ with @donbuckley


Next year, we’re buying MacBook Air 11″ laptops for the 3rd grade and 6th graders. Kids keep the same machine for three year until they graduate to a new model in 6th grade (or simply graduate from the school after 8th grade). The kids in K-2 have an iPad assigned to them. Up until now, we’ve provided MacBooks and Always-on Cases from InfoCase for the students. In preparation for next year, Don Buckley and I ordered a bunch of different cases from Amazon.

My favorites:

CaseCrown faux leather book cover clip on case for $18.18 (it’s an always on case with a snap closure)

Belkin MacBook Air vertical sleeve with shoulder strap for $14.99 (slim profile and cross-body carry strap)

Flort shoulder bag for $9.99 (I’ve always been intrigued by this IKEA bag…)

The others:

Acase faux leather book cover clip on case for $14.95 (same exact design as the CaseCrown but it doesn’t have a snap closure)

Hard Candy Cases convertible case for $36.99 is ok but pricey [RETURNED]

Gumdrop cases surf convertible case for $37.35 is the same as the Hard Candy design but pricier [RETURNED]

InCase perforated hardshell for $45 looks cool, is super expensive, and the bottom didn’t stay attached [RETURNED]

Red mCover hard shell cover case for $19.99 is overpriced considering the next item is…

Slim Crystal hard cover case for $12.99 is totally reasonable

** update 7/1/14 — Prices have been reduced significantly on many of the cases. Click the links for more current and more reasonable pricing. **


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5th graders are updating their #GoogleSites digital portfolios in preparation for parent conferences


All students in grades 3-8 at The School at Columbia University are keeping a personal digital portfolio created with GoogleSites. I wrote an earlier post here about how we are using a really simple Announcements template to organize their New Posts.

Today, I worked with 5th graders in Dena Rothstein‘s class to gather some of their work and archive it digitally. We talked about labeling their posts with the subject so that they align alphabetically and clustered by subject in the sidebar. Kids wrote about their Spanish calacas, Spanish altars, Math locker problem, Math Handshake problem, and more.

Kids either took pictures using PhotoBooth on their MacBooks or with an external point-and-shoot camera. Dena provided them with a short list of writing prompts: Describe the process, Describe any challenges, Describe what you makes you proud…

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This year, our Acceptable Use Policy was renamed our Respectable Use Policy

(presentation designed by Don Buckley)

This year we are saying RIP to our AUP to make room for our RUP. 

Back in 2006 when I started at The School at Columbia University (it was entering its 4th year!), the Technology Department strove to create a simple and clear Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that was 10 items long. We review this AUP with each grade at the beginning of every school year, The kids invent a million what if? scenarios, and it’s equally hilarious and exhausting to counter them all. After we review the policy point by point for 20-30 minutes, students have to sign the AUP and take it home to get a parent/guardian’s signature as well. Only after they return the signed form to me are they allowed to use the machines we provide for them. We’re a 1:1 school: Child in grades K-2 are assigned an iPad and children in grades 3-8 are assigned a laptop – with overlap as needed for projects.

This year, Don Buckley (@donbuckley) decided to rename our AUP, so we are now calling it our Respectable Use Policy (RUP). It’s not just semantics, shemantics. We want our community to fully appreciate, internalize, support, and ultimately respect our policy and not just accept it. This is an example of how we use/reinforce a consistent vocabulary for our student body. (In my case, I reinforce this vocabulary in a very shrill and repetitive way.)

For the record, we do not filter. We use Columbia University’s network, and they do not filter. This means that we ask/expect/hope/pray members of our community will make good choices. Our RUP is below:

The School’s Respectable Use Policy

The School’s students will use its technology facilities in the spirit of The School’s code of conduct and in a responsible and legal manner, following the rules listed below:


  • I will always use the computer with consideration and respect for others and myself.
  • I will not eat food or drink beverages while working on the computers.
  • I will be responsible for my computer’s whereabouts at all times. If I am not using my computer, I will return it to a charging station

Email and Communication

  • I will use electronic mail only for school-related purposes. I will never use abusive or profane language in public or private messages.
  • I will not access my personal e-mail account, social networking sites, or personal instant messaging software from any school computer.
  • I will not use others’ names or passwords.


  • I will ask a teacher for permission before I download or install anything from the Internet.
  • I will keep my network and electronic mail account passwords private.


  • I will use teacher-approved software and apps when given permission at appropriate times.
  • I will not illegally copy or download software or media (games, MP3s, etc.).


  • I will not shop online or make any purchases using a school computer.
  • I will not visit inappropriate websites. Teachers and administrators will determine appropriateness.

I understand that failure to follow these rules when using The School’s technology, whether at The School or off-campus, will result in suspension of my technology privileges and/or additional disciplinary action.

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