Tag Archives: student

Grateful for yet another awesome year of working with the student reporters of @The_School’s @NewRoarTimes.

I spent Wednesdays from 11:00-11:30am with this amazing group of 4th graders. They gave up 30 minutes of recess time in order to exercise in a different way. They researched, wrote, linked, and cited their way into my heart, and every week I reminded them how much I enjoyed our sessions.

This year, Editor-in-Chief Hope D., reached out to other classes, and it was so gratifying to hear back from 3rd-8th graders who are interested in submitting guest posts to the New Roar Times. Can’t wait for next year!

Follow the kids on Twitter: @NewRoarTimes

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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. **


Filed under Uncategorized

Showing 5-8th graders how to set up personal digital portfolios using Google Sites.


The kids arrived last week. Since then, I’ve been trying to schedule time with the 5th-8th grade classes to get them started on setting up a GoogleSite as a super simple space for their digital portfolios.

Before the first day of school, the other instructional technologists and I decided to have kids set up a GoogleSite that they could presumably start in 3rd grade and add to each year until they leave in 8th grade…or when the technology changes. (I managed to last one year using iWeb until I declared it was dead to me.)

This was my plan with the kids after our talk:

1. Create a new GoogleSite and name it their server name. Anticipating they’ll use these sites for consecutive years, we decided on a naming convention that will never change during their time at The School, like their username – mine is kblumberg.

2. Rename the Home page to About Me or About Karenor whatever their name is. Then they inserted an image taken with Photobooth and a brief autobiographical description about themselves – like a mini digital profile. I reminded them they could edit this endlessly from any location. We love The Cloud!

3. Create a new page, choose the Announcements template, put it at the top level, and call it 2011-2012. Belatedly, I realized they maybe could have called it “5th grade work” or something more specific, but it’s not the end of the world. Next year’s work will be on another new page (using the same announcements template) and titled 2012-2013.

4. Posts should include the subject first, like English R+J Podcast or Art Mosaic or SS Artifact Jars. Turns out posts are listed alphabetically rather than chronologically in the Sidebar on the left of the site, so I like that they can be organized by subject this way.

5. New Posts should contain an artifact like a link, photo, video, music file, slideshow, and/or something visual. They should put that artifact in context by using some sentence starters like the following: What is the artifact? What subject is it? What does it represent? Why did they choose it? What was the process? What was the most challenging part? What did they enjoy the most?

Here’s my example: https://sites.google.com/a/theschool.columbia.edu/kblumberg/home

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized