Tag Archives: The School

Link to this year’s version of the Responsible Use Policy I ask middle school students to sign. #edchat #edtech

Welcome back! It’s the beginning of another year and thus time for me to review our school’s Responsible Use Policy (RUP) with each of my students before they can use their assigned school devices. It provided yet another opportunity to stress that we should strive to use technology academically, creatively, and responsibly especially as everything we do is public, permanent, and traceable. This year, I wanted to innovate the language a little to reflect changing attitudes and uses, so I asked my colleagues for input and included them in this new and improved RUP. Enjoy!


The School’s Responsible 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 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.


  • I will use The School’s devices with consideration and respect for others and myself.
  • I will remember that school devices are the property of the The School and should be treated with care.
  • I will not eat food or drink beverages while working on the computers.
  • I will be responsible for my device’s whereabouts at all times. If I am not using my device I will return it to my charging cabinet.
  • I will think before I print to avoid wasting ink, paper, and resources.


  • 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 accounts, sites, or messages from any school computer without permission.
  • I will think before I send an email. I will not spam the community or share chain letters.


  • 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 and I will not log in with others’ usernames or passwords.
  • I will not use devices assigned to other people unless directed by a teacher.
  • If my device is not in the cabinet, I will communicate with: 
    1) My Advisor 2) Security 3) Ms. Nicholson 4) Ms. Blumberg

Internet/Social Media

  • I will make wise choices, because everything I do online is public, permanent, and traceable.
  • I will avoid inappropriate websites. I will visit teacher-approved sites and apps when given permission at appropriate times.
  • I will not illegally copy or download software or media (games, songs, images, videos…)
  • I will T.H.I.N.K. before I post to academic and social sites. 
    T – is it true
    H – is it helpful
    I – is it inspiring
    N – is it necessary
    K – is it kind?

__________________________________ Student Name (Print)

__________________________________ Student Signature

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Volunteer efforts at @The_School in the aftermath of #Sandy:

Unlike most other schools in the city, The School at Columbia University opened its doors on Thursday and Friday. A great majority of our community made it in for both days; I heard stories of people carpooling over 2.5 hours to get to school on time. Others biked in and needed to wait until the sun was up as many streets still had non-functioning traffic lights. There were teachers and students among us who were evacuated: some still are not in their own homes almost a week later, some are “camping” without electricity or hot water, and some are facing irreparable loss and heartbreaking/expensive repairs.

However, it is amazing how communities rally. Teachers invited colleagues to sleep over, commute together, clean up parks, and gather supplies to be donated. Lisbeth Uribe, science teacher extraordinaire, organized a relief effort over email yesterday. This morning, she and her son filled her car to the brim with items gathered from us: blankets, coats, boots, clothing, bedding, toiletries, toys, diapers, household utensils, bottled water and beverages, dry and canned food, and brownies. They drove to Rockaway, Queens where the items were sorted and dispatched to shelters. Here is a snippet of Lisbeth’s email to the community after returning from the trip:

The volunteers at the distribution center in Rockaway were so grateful and asked that if we make a return trip to please bring more water and cold medicine. The car ride to Rockaway was quick and easy.  We passed many incredibly long lines of cars waiting for gas.  I still have 3/4 of a tank of gas and would be happy to make another trip if we gather more donation items. They can also use volunteers to help with unloading cars, sorting items and then reloading the items onto Red Cross vehicles that take things to the shelters.
For more information about how we can help victims of the Hurricane, please go to the following links:
Support one of the initiatives the University is launching. The Office of Communications has provided this list of programs at http://news.columbia.edu/home/2946.
You can sign up to volunteer through Bill de Blasio’s Public Advocate office.

Eve Becker (8th Grade English) called to invite me to Rockaway with her on Sunday (tomorrow), and we’ll be delivering, sorting, and dispersing mountains of supplies. Joining us will be Belinda Nicholson, Middle Division Head.

*** My photos from the trip are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/specialkrb/sets/72157631935174207/

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Year of Innovation pop-up houses on display at @The_School

After the incredible success of the Tools at Schools design collaboration with aruliden and Bernhardt Design, Don Buckley (@donbuckley) was inspired to have faculty at The School apply the design thinking model for our Year of Innovation.

These pop-up houses, on display throughout the school for a few weeks, are the result of many months spent researching discussing, researching, ideating, and prototyping. Inside are snapshots and notes from each group and an iPad3 (on an iPevo Perch with headphones) running a video where students, faculty, and parents talk about each concept (Homework, Discipline, Recess, Lunch, Grading). Kudos to Hil Szanto (@hilszanto) and Cristina Martinez (@finlaycm) for the videography and editing!

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The geek shall inherit the earth: Video of kids from @The_School building a #Minecraft city

This is IPW week at The School at Columbia University. Integrated Projects Week is a week when normally scheduled classes are suspended, and kids sign up for a week of in-depth exploration of selected topics. It’s one of the things that make The School so special.

I’m collaborating with Don Buckley and Gina Marcel to lead this Minecraft IPW. We bought 10 licences of MinecraftEdu and are couching the kids’ exploration of the virtual environment with conversations about architecture, city planning, Minecraft Lexicon, and best practices for collaborative building projects.

We also went on some field trips to observe city structures and integrated spaces: Monday, we visited the Queens Museum of Art to see the Panorama of the City of New York. Tuesday, we took an architectural tour of The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. Wednesday, we walked the full length of the High Line park to see how abandoned elevated train tracks were transformed into a unique park that inspired many of the newer buildings around and above it. Thursday we spent the day at school choosing an area on our hosted landscape to plan and build a joint city

This has been my first time in a room full of kids actively playing the game. I’m surprised by their interest, investment, conversations, learning, hypothesizing, sharing, and willingness to experiment. Their communications have not all been positive – building too close to each other, sabotaging each other’s strucures, exhibiting disrespectful physical/virtual behavior  – however, each incident is a teachable moment, and we’ve had reinforcing conversations about respect, appropriate behavior, community norms, etc. Overall, I’m watching them demonstrate the importance of “Play.”

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