Wednesday, October 29, 2014

iOS 8 Comes to San Domenico

Each year Apple introduces new technologies designed to improve software and hardware functionality, better integrate computer systems, and expand our ability to communicate in the digital world.

Often new computer operating systems (or iOS for mobile devices) create problems for users with older hardware devices. In addition we sometimes experience incompatibilities with Apps which are yet to be updated and optimized for these operating systems.

The San Domenico technology department works very hard to assist in the transition to new operating systems. We help users avoid the system conflicts and loss of data that might occur in the process of updating their devices.

This is why we delayed the introduction of iOS 8 on the iPad. We appreciate the patience of our hundreds of staff, students, and families as they wait for our planned migration to the new iOS this year.

There are four major benefits of waiting to upgrade in these situations:

1. Software developers have time to catch up and update their Apps to be compatible with the new operating system.

2. Apple has time to improve and release their own OS and iOS updates in response to problems they identify.

3. This extra time also provides the San Domenico technology team time to analyze how the new OS impacts the important Apps we rely on in our daily work.

4. Our team can develop strategies and provide instructions on the update process for our users.

Next week we will give the go ahead for students and staff to update their San Domenico iPads. We'll provide some instructions specifically related to the new iCloud Drive and how it can impact different Apps we use.

Contact us via the tech support system if you have any questions before you update your iPad or if you experience problems afterward.

Of course, as always, please remember to perform your backups before moving ahead.

Brad Lakritz
Director of Technology

Monday, October 27, 2014

World Language Corner

As teachers and speakers of world languages, we occasionally hear parents say, “My child doesn’t need to learn a second language. I prefer that s/he focus on the ‘real’ subjects like math and English.” Likewise, students sometimes ask, “Why do I have to learn another language? Everyone in the world speaks English!” 

Below, we share a few of the reasons why other language learning is beneficial, useful, enriching, and (we would say) even life saving. These excerpts come from the Middlebury College Interactive Languages program:

FIVE (totally objective) REASONS everyone should know at least two languages:

1)     Students who study a world language for just one year score an average of 38 points higher on the SATs. (Even cooler: Students who took four years of a world language showed scores that were more than a hundred points higher on average.)
2)    The National Institutes of Health discovered that people who speak more than one language are much better at multitasking, which means walking on your hands while chewing gum should be a breeze.)
3)    According to an MITstudy, people who know two or more languages earn an average of $128,000 more in their lifetimes.
4)    2012. The year that researchers at the University of Cambridge discovered that people who know two languages are nicer. According to the research, bilingual folks are better able to tolerate differences and find solutions to conflict.
5)    835 eleven-year olds were tested on their cognitive ability in Scotland in 1947. Between 2008 and 2010, those same people were retested in their seventies. Of the 835 case studies, 260 knew at least two languages. THOSE 260 PEOPLE TESTED SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER IN COGNITIVE FUNCTION THAN THEIR SOLELY ENGLISH-SPEAKING PEERS.

People who know two or more languages can order dinner in another country without accidentally getting broiled squid. They can make friends with people from different cultures and countries. They can also ask for directions to the restroom and actually end up in the restroom. In our opinion, everyone should learn another language!

FIVE WAYS that being bilingual makes you smarter:

1)     In a Florida study, kids who knew two languages SCORED AN AVERAGE OF 23 TO 34 POINTS HIGHER on both math and language arts standardized tests than kids who only spoke one language.
2)    54% of PRESCHOOL AGE BILINGUAL CHILDREN ARE ABLE TO EASILY DISTINGUISH THE MEANINGS OF WORDS. Most children aren’t able to do this until elementary school.
3)    BABIES RAISED IN BILINGUAL HOMES demonstrated SUPERIOR COGNITIVE ABILITY – specifically the ability to seek new stimuli more quickly, as early as seven months old. (According to the National Academy of Sciences, that’s an early indicator of a high IQ.)
4)    People who know more than one language are able to PAY ATTENTION for 20% LONGER on average than their one-language-speaking friends.
5)    Bilingual people have .05 cubic millimeters more of gray matter in the parietal regions of their brains than those who speak only one language.

FIVE REASONS knowing a world language makes you more creative:

1)     People who know more than one language are better able to utilize a distinct area of the brain called Broca’s area. As infinite connections between words and language are made in the brain, these thinkers are able to better think creatively and abstractly.
2)    1, 596, 234 is the number of people who tuned in to the TedTalk by linguist Patricia Kuhl as she explained how bilingualism helped babies as young as six months old make use of sophisticated creative reasoning.
3)    A group of 60 bilingual students were studied alongside 60 of their one-language-speaking peers. The researchers found a noticeable difference in the level of detail and richness in descriptions by the bilingual student – proof that they thin more colorfully.
4)    DID YOU KNOW THAT IN JAPANESE, THERE ARE TWO WORDS FOR THE COLOR BLUE? One refers to lighter shades of blue and the other to darker one. Because different language vary so much in vocabulary, people who speak two languages are able to perceive things like color differently.
5)    45.4 MONTHS. Bilingual children showed a statistically significant increase in mathematical creativity (that’s code for thinking outside of the box) as early as 45.4 months. That’s less than four years old.

People who know two or more languages make our world more colorful. They can tell you about early Renaissance art and also pronounce the names of the artists correctly. They can speak with a flourish and cadence that sounds like a classic song.  In our opinion, people who speak more than one language are some of the most creative people in the world. 

PLEASE SHARE how knowing another language has changed or influenced your life. JUST e-mail your child’s language teacher – we would love to hear!

STAY TUNED for future posts.

Deborah Fugate
Middle School Spanish Teacher

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fourth Grade Has Respect

San Domenico fourth graders have been talking about respect this year and were inspired to write a song about it!
Mr. Hopper has "Respect." 

As part of our Second Step program, Mrs. Yazzolino and students discussed the importance of having respect for the earth, nature, our bodies, each other and most importantly, ourselves.

Students then wrote their own lyrics and we put them together for a "Respect Rap". With the help of Mr. Hopper's production skills we recorded a song called "A Great Word", which turned out to be a huge success.

Check it out and feel free to sing along:

Ryan Hopper
4th Grade Teacher
Lower School Technology Facilitator

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Teaching Beyond Classroom Walls

One of our a lower school technology goals is to connect with other classrooms around the world.

Searching Google+ Communities looking for a classroom to work with, we found many different schools interested in connecting beyond their classroom walls. 

Mr. Hopper's 4th Grade Math class trying to guess the 'mystery number.'
"Mystery hangouts" are a popular method of interaction when connecting students this way. Typically this activity includes an exercise where students ask yes/no questions to identify where in the world the other class is located.

I decided to use a math component in our mystery hangout. We chose a "mystery number" between 1-99 and students asked questions to try and figure out the number. Students asked questions like:  Is it a two-digit number? Is it a prime number? Does the sum of the digits equal 9?

Although our class didn't "win" and correctly guess the number first, they all unknowingly learned a little more about divisibility rules and had a great time in the process.  If you're looking to connect with another classroom as well feel free to take a look at Google+ CommunitiesSkype for the Classroom, or ask me about how you can get connected!

Our fourth grade students also participated in a Mystery Skype! Each student had a job to carry out such as, inquirer, question keeper, recorder and mapper. This was a great way for students to work together, as well as learn more about US geography.

Now that we have identified the location of our buddy classes, we will be communicating with them via SkypeEdmodo, and Kidblog to discuss The Fourteenth Goldfish, a book we will all read together as part of Global Read Aloud.

Ryan Hopper
4th Grade Teacher
Lower School Technology Facilitator
Melissa Yazzolino
4th Grade Teacher

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Learning Management Through Technology at San Domenico

Learning Management Systems are a big topic in education these days. How we define learning management helps schools determine the system(s) they use. Being 1:1 with iPads at San Domenico School, we've learned that the devices themselves are a learning management system.

Students create, organize, and manage their email, photos, audio and video recordings, as well as all the files they make using typical document creation Apps. The iPad helps them keep track of everything they do.

Annotating the Gettysburg Address
Taking it another step further by using Apps like Notability, students manage the notes they take in class or when they are working on assignments. Many teachers provide students with electronic documents and ask their students to work on them using Notability.

Students may choose to annotate the document with highlighters and typed or hand written notes. They may add images and record voice notes to the file. Then, if required, the edited file can be returned to the teacher via a number of different electronic pathways.

Notability "notes management"
Students use other features in Notability to organize and sort their documents. Within the App they can assign notes to color coded subjects to differentiate categories or classes.

Turning in assignments and keeping their files backed up are two additional but important aspects of learning in a 1:1 iPad program. These are another level of learning management and there are a number of different cloud based systems we use for these purposes. I will cover them in subsequent iLearning Blog entries.

At San Domenico School we believe that what students do with their education is as important as their academic performance. We also believe that technology supports that performance by helping students learn and manage their academic course work. That's why 1:1 computing is such a crucial and successful aspect of our educational program.

Brad Lakritz
Director of Technology