Instructional Technology

The Instructional Technology Department helps improve student achievement and academic growth by integrating technology into the curriculum to increase academic opportunities. The department works closely with the Teaching and Learning Department to enhance the curriculum and to increase 21st-century technology skills of all students and all staff members.

The department’s goal is to ensure that every school has the infrastructure to support learning with technology. The adoption of the Pickerington Schools Technology Plan in 2016 will allow the district to move toward a One2One model, providing a device for every student in the district.
Logos showing the Technology Awards won by Pickerington Schools

The Instructional Technology Team

Brian Seymour
Brian Seymour
Director of Instructional Technology
614-920-6140
Jennifer Furey
Jennifer Furey
Instructional Technology Coordinator
614.833.2110
Stephanie Howell
Stephanie Howell
Instructional Technology Coordinator
(614) 382-2467
David Hayward
David Hayward
Instructional Technology Coordinator
614.920.6140
Jena Cooper
Jena Cooper
Instructional Technology Coordinator
614-833-2110
Shelley Sakowski
Shelley Sakowski
Administrative Secretary Technology Department
614.833.2110

The Data Team

Cheryl Robinson
Cheryl Robinson
EMIS Coordinator
614-920-6151
Kristie Volosin
Kristie Volosin
Database Analyst
614.920.6184
Bethany Thompson
Bethany Thompson
Data & Student Information Analyst
614.833.2110
Ricki Rossiter
Ricki Rossiter
Data Assistant
614.920.6186

Resources & Forms for Students, Parents and Educators

Overarching Goals for Technology

• Improve student achievement and academic growth

• Enhance the curriculum

• Integrate technology into the curriculum to increase academic opportunities

• Increase 21st century technology skills of all students and all staff

• Every school will have the infrastructure to support learning with technology

• Utilize technology to expand the academic environment outside of the traditional school day

• Educate staff members on the importance instructional technology best practices and social media skills and give professional opportunities to all staff members.

District Instructional Technology Plan

The Pickerington Schools technology plan is the current best representation of the District’s vision, goals, and objectives for instructional technology. As such, it is a living document that will always be under revision and adjustment. It is flexible, but specific enough to act as a guide in decision making and budgeting funds. It is the intention of the Pickerington Local School District Technology Committee to make recommendations with specific goals and objectives in mind. This on-going, constantly updated plan, with its associated timelines and priorities, provides guidance.

Instructional Technology Applications

Pickerington Schools provides access to numerous online products and services that support the educational goals and mission of the district.

Click here for access to all PLSD Instructional Technology Applications

Student Online Personal Information Protection Agreement

Pickerington Local School District (“PLSD”) takes the protection of student data very seriously and PLSD adopts all reasonable measures to protect personally identifiable information (“PII”) about students.  PLSD asks each company that requests or is provided PII about students to agree to the terms of the following agreement.  The purpose of this agreement is to protect the students of PLSD. Accordingly, PLSD and operator hereby agree as follows:

This agreement applies to the operator in which PII of a PLSD student is:

  • Provided by a student or parent for PreK-12 school purposes;
  • Provided by PLSD, agents for the PLSD, or the Fairfield County Educational Service Center
  • Gathered by the operator through the operator’s services that clearly describes a PLSD student or identifies a  PLSD student.

The PII about students that is covered in this agreement includes, but is not limited to:

  • Information in the student’s educational record maintained by PLSD;
  • First and last name, home address, telephone number, email address, or other information that allows physical or online contact with the student and/or parent;
  • Date and place of birth;
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports;
  • Dates of attendance and graduation;
  • Discipline records, test results, special education data, juvenile dependency records, grades, and evaluations;
  • Criminal and/or juvenile court records, medical records, health records, social security number, any recognized disabilities;
  • Socioeconomic information, food purchases, 
  • Text messages, student identifiers, online search activity, photos, videos, voice recordings, or geolocation.
  • Personally identifiable student information as referenced in Ohio Revised Code 3319.321;
  • Information contained in student records as defined by 20 USC § 1232g and 34 CFR Part 99

The operator is prohibited from using PII student data to:

  • Conduct targeted advertising on their website, mobile application, etc or use targeted advertising on other websites, when such targeting is based on information (as defined above or persistent unique student identifiers) acquired by the operator because of the use of the operator’s website or mobile app.
  • Create or gathering information about PLSD PreK-12 students and using that collected information to create a profile of the PreK-12 students, except in cases when the information is used for PreK-12 school purposes.
  • Selling student’s PII (including information defined above).

If the operator utilizes a subcontractor or other third party vendor to manage students’ data then, the operator shall require the subcontractor or other third party to prohibit the use of any PII about PLSD students for any purpose other than providing the contracted service to, or on behalf of, the operator. Also, the operator shall require the subcontractor or other third party to prohibit the disclosure or sharing of any PII about PLSD students with subsequent third parties, and shall require the subcontractor to implement and maintain reasonable information and data security procedures and practices.

Aside from the non-disclosure of PII about PLSD students, operators will comply with the following security and deletion requirements:

  • Implement and maintain security procedures to protect PII about students from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure;
  • Operator shall not release PII about students without parental or student (if age 18 or older) consent, other than the release of such information to authorized subcontractors and other third parties who provide services to operator to support operator’s service to PLSD under this Agreement;
  • Delete all PII about students if PLSD requests deletion of data under the control of PLSD.
  • The operator will indemnify, defend and hold PLSD harmless from any damages, costs, losses (including loss of state or federal funding), fines, claims, demands, suits, actions or causes of action in law or in equity, in state or federal court, or before any administrative body that are caused by or arise out of operator’s breach of this Agreement.

Operator may use PII about PLSD students for the following purposes, as long as all aggregated or anonymized data must be adequately de-identified :

  • Maintain, develop and improve the operator’s website or mobile app;
  • Legitimate research purposes as required by state or federal law;
  • Using de-identified data to improve operator’s products;
  • Learning purpose, such as for adaptive learning;

EdTech Companies that have signed the national or PLSD’s agreement that PLSD contracts with:

Apple BrainPOP ClassDojo
Clever Compass Learning – (Renzulli Learning) Edmentum – Reading Eggs, Study Island
Edmodo EDpuzzle Hapara
Front Row Gaggle GoGuardian
Google Illuminate Education Imagine Learning
Infinite Campus JAMF Software Khan Academy
LearnZillion Microsoft MIND Research Institute
MobyMax Nearpod Newsela
Promethean Renaissance Learning Screencastify
Seesaw TenMarks Turnitin
Typing Club TCI – History Alive/Social Studies Alive  Learning A-Z

EdTech companies that have not signed the agreement that PLSD contracts with:

NONE


NOTE: This agreement is similar to the Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SOPIPA) (
https://studentprivacypledge.org/) that was recently signed into law in California on January 1, 2016.

2017-2018 One2One Information and Resources

Student Chromebook Handbook

It is an exciting time in Pickerington Schools as we start our journey to utilize blended learning with our students, giving students access to communication, resources, and learning tools like never before.  Our adoption of One2One Chromebooks will allow students to access new online and digital content created by our talented staff in addition to content provided by textbook companies and software vendors. 

Pickerington students will be able to communicate and collaborate in a digital environment that was not available to the world just a few years ago.  We’re excited about working with our students as they learn good digital citizenship in a safe and responsible atmosphere.

We’ll continue to be amazed by what our students create and how they incorporate the tools of their generation into the learning that will shape their future.  Tools like a Chromebook will allow them access to software that will encourage their artistic abilities, improve their reading and writing, and push them to think critically as they spark new interests and insights into their journey of being a lifelong learner. 

Pickerington educators are dedicated to continuing to offer rigorous and engaging learning opportunities for students.

Receiving Your Device

The Chromebook and all accompanying equipment, such as the charger (hereafter, collectively “Chromebook”) will be distributed during a “Distribution Night”. Parents and students must sign and return the Device Agreement before the Chromebook can be issued to the student.

Distribution Nights

  • Fifth (5th) Grade Students entering Diley, Harmon, or Tollgate Middle Schools and 6th Graders new to the District – your device pickup will be August 10, 2017 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at Diley Middle School.  A parent/guardian may pickup with or without the student.
  • Sixth (6th) and Seventh (7th) Grade Students will receive their same device back during the first three days of school.
  • Lakeview JH Eighth (8th) Grade Students can pick up their device during schedule pick up times on August 8, 2017 from 8:00 -11:00am or August 9, 2017 from 4:00 -7:00PM in the Lakeview Media Center. A parent/guardian may pickup with or without the student.
  • Ridgeview JH Eighth (8th) Grade Students can pick up their device during schedule pick up times on August 8, 2017 from 8:00 – 11:00am or August 9, 2017 from 4:00 – 7:00PM in the Ridgeview Media Center. A parent/guardian may pickup with or without the student.
  • Pickerington High School Center (All Students) can pick up their device during schedule pick up times. August 8th from 8:00 – 11:30 AM (Seniors only), August 8th 12:00 – 2:30 (Juniors only), August 9th 8:00 – 11:30 AM (sophomores only) and August 9th 12:00 – 2:30 PM (freshmen only). All devices will be handed out in the media center.
  • Pickerington High School North (All Students) can pick up their device during schedule pick up times. August 8th from 8:00 – 11:00 AM (Seniors and some Freshman only), August 8th 12:00 – 3:00 (Juniors and some Freshman only), August 9th 8:00 – 11:00 AM (sophomores and some Freshman only) and August 9th 12:00 – 3:00 PM (freshmen only). All devices will be handed out in room 109.

Ownership of the Chromebook

PLSD retains sole right of ownership and possession of the Chromebook. The Chromebooks are lent to the students for educational purposes only for the academic year. Moreover, PLSD’s administrative staff and faculty retain the right to collect and/or inspect Chromebooks at any time, including via electronic remote access and to monitor student work or to alter, add or delete installed software or hardware.

Student’s Responsibilities

Student and parent/guardian are solely responsible for the Chromebooks issued to them and must adhere to the following:

    • Students must comply with the District’s Acceptable Use Policy and the Student Chromebook Handbook when using their Chromebooks.
    • Students must bring their Chromebooks to school every day and make sure it is fully charged. Failure to do so may result in loss of instruction.
      • Note: A fully charged Chromebook should last at least 8 hours.
    • Students must treat their Chromebook with care and never leave it in an unsecured location.
    • Students must report any problems with their Chromebook to the main office as soon as possible.
    • Students may not remove or interfere with the serial number and other identification tags.
    • Students may not attempt to remove or change the physical structure of the Chromebook, including the keys, screen cover or plastic casing.
    • Students may not attempt to install or run any operating system on the Chromebook other than the ChromeOS operating system supported by the district.

Responsibility for Electronic Data

    • The students are solely responsible for any apps or extensions on their Chromebooks that are not installed by a member of the PLSD Instructional Technology staff or by classroom educators.
    • Students are responsible for backing up their data to protect from loss.
    • Users of District Technology have no rights, ownership, or expectations of privacy to any data that is, or was, stored on the Chromebook, school network, or any school­-issued applications and are given no guarantees that data will be retained or destroyed.

Devices Left At Home

If students leave their Chromebook at home, they are responsible for getting the coursework completed as if they had their Chromebook present. If a student repeatedly leaves his/her Chromebook at home, he/she will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

Protecting Your Data and Files

Students are responsible for the appropriateness of all files, data, and internet history on their Chromebook. Although these devices will be logged and filtered on and off campus it is still the responsibility of the student to use good judgment when accessing or transmitting data.  Do not take photos or video of other students or staff without their permission. The possessing, forwarding or uploading of unauthorized data, photos, audio or video to any website, network storage area, or person is strictly forbidden. Do not access another individual’s materials, information, or files without permission.

Cost of Repairs/Replacement

Pickerington School District recognizes that with the implementation of the One2One initiative there is a need to protect the investment by both the District and the student/parent. Therefore, we have set the following charges in place, which are subject to change

If you do not select the Technology Protection Plan, you will be responsible for paying for the needed equipment or replacement Chromebook if needed. The prices do not include labor which is $25/repair. You will be issued one charger with your Chromebook. The Technology Protection Plan does not cover the charger if lost or damaged. Total replacement cost for the device is $285.

PLSD Technology Protection Plan

This agreement covers the Chromebook loaned to the student against accidental damage, up to two occurrences of broken screen, broken keyboard, battery replacement and/or device not working properly OR one complete replacement of the device. The charger is NOT covered and is the sole responsibility of the student. Coverage is 24 hours per day. Damages or need for replacement due to intentional, reckless, willful, malicious and/or wanton conduct is not covered.

Coverage is effective from the date the Technology Protection Plan is received by the school. The coverage shall end on the earlier for the date payment is due or the date that the Chromebook is required to be returned to the school.

The total premium cost is $35 for the 2017-2018 school year. The Technology Protection Plan is non-refundable.

• The PLSD Technology Protection Plan will offer coverage to all students.

• Participation is totally voluntary. If a student does not participate, the student-parent/guardian will be responsible for any costs associated with repairs, loss, or damage. See list of assessed fees above.

• A separate application will be needed for each Chromebook issued.

The Building Administration, in its sole discretion, will determine if damages were due to accident or intentional, reckless, willful, wanton and/or malicious conduct.

Please see Technology Protection Plan form for all terms and conditions.

Vandalism and Theft

In cases of theft, vandalism, and other criminal acts, a police report MUST be filed by the student or parent as soon as practicable by in no case more than 48 hours after the theft of vandalism is discovered.  The police report must be presented to the building principal. Further, students/parents must contact their building principal ASAP after the Chromebook is determined to be stolen, lost or vandalized. There is geo-location software that can be activated by the technology department once the principal is notified.

Technical Issues/Damage/Loss

Take your Chromebook to your school’s media center if you experience any technical problems or damage. If it cannot be fixed at that time, a loaner device may be issued to you, if available. All device policy agreements and technology protection plan will remain in effect for the loaner device.

Audio & Sound

The sound must be muted at all times unless permission is obtained from the teacher for instructional purposes. Earbuds/headphones may be used in the classroom based only upon individual teacher approval.

Device Identification

Student devices will be labeled in the manner specified by the district. Devices can be identified based on serial number. Serial numbers and the PLSD logo have been etched onto the top of the Chromebook. Do not remove any identifying labels or markings.

Personalizing Devices

Students are permitted to place school appropriate stickers on the top of their Chromebooks. The presence of weapons, alcohol, drug or gang related symbols or pictures are not permitted per school/district policies.  Stickers CANNOT cover the PLSD logo, the asset tag number or the indicator light.  Stickers are not permitted on the sides or bottom of the Chromebook.

Students are permitted to install school appropriate personal apps on their Chromebooks.  If storage on the Chromebook becomes an issue all school required application have a priority over student downloads and may require the student to uninstall personal apps.

Check-In

Chromebooks must be returned to the building media center during the final weeks of the school year by the date announced each spring.   Any student who withdraws, terminates enrollment or is expelled must return their device and accessories immediately.  If a student fails to return the device and/or accessories when requested the student will be billed for the replacement cost of the device and/or accessory.  Any device not returned or immediately paid for in full will be considered stolen property and law enforcement will be notified.

Care of the Device

The Chromebook is the property of Pickerington Local Schools and all users will follow these rules and the Acceptable Use Policy.  Students are responsible at all times for the care of the device to which they are assigned. 

  • Use only a soft, lint-free microfiber cloth to clean the screen.
  • Avoid getting moisture and liquids on the device/accessories.
  • Do not use window cleaner, household cleaner, aerosol sprays, solvents, alcohol, ammonia, or abrasives to clean the device.
  • Devices must never be left in an unlocked or unsecured space such as a locker or car.
  • Under no circumstances should devices be left in unsupervised areas including school grounds, athletic fields/areas, cafeterias, computer labs, classrooms, dressing rooms, and hallways. Unsupervised devices will be confiscated and disciplinary action may be taken.
  • Students will not have the opportunity to charge their devices at school, devices are to come to school, each day, charged to 100%.
  • Too much pressure may crack the screen, avoid placing anything on top of the device.
  • Do not cram the device in a bag or locker.
  • Never place or consume food or drink near the device.  Do not use your device at cafeteria tables when food or drink is present.
  • Extreme heat or cold can harm the device.  Never leave the device in a hot or frozen car.
  • Never leave your device on the floor, a chair, or sofa.  Stepping or sitting on the device could cause significant damage.
  • Do not disassemble or attempt to repair the device, or take the device to a third-party for repair.  All repairs must be made by the PLSD Technology Department.

Transporting Devices

When transporting the device between classes or outside the building you are required to close the lid.  NEVER walk with the device open.  Students are required to take their devices home every day after school, regardless of whether or not they are needed.

Passwords

Students will be required to maintain an updated password on their device.  Students may NEVER share, distribute, or otherwise allow other students access to their password.  At anytime a parent, teacher, or school administrator may request and obtain the password and access to the device.

CHROMEBOOK FAQ’s

Q. What is a Chromebook?

A. “Chromebooks are mobile devices designed specifically for people who live on the web. With a comfortable, full-sized keyboard, large display and clickable trackpad, all-day battery life, lightweight and built-in ability to connect to Wi-Fi and mobile broadband networks, the Chromebook is ideal for anytime, anywhere access to the web.”

Q. What kind of software does a Chromebook run?

A. “Chromebooks run thousands of web-based applications, or web apps, that open right in the browser. You can access web apps by typing their URL into the address bar or by installing them instantly from the Chrome Web Store.”  Recently announced, Chromebooks will be able to run Android apps starting in the summer/fall of 2016.

Q. How are these web-based applications managed?

A. Each Chromebook we provide to students will be a managed device. Members of Pickerington Local School District Technology Department will maintain devices through our Google Apps for Education account.

Q. Can the Chromebook be used anywhere at any time?

A. Yes, as long as you have a wi-fi signal to access the web. There is an offline option, as well, when using Google Drive, and when students enter a wi-fi connection, it syncs again to the student’s Google account.

Q. Will our Chromebook have 3G/Cellular Signal?

A. No. The district Chromebooks will not have 3G broadband or a cellular signal.

Q. Is there antivirus software included with the Chromebooks?

A. No, there is not. As all of the data is stored in the cloud, there is no need for antivirus software. They do, however, come with web filtering.

Q. How long will the Chromebook run on a fully charged battery?

A. Chromebooks have a rated battery life of 8-10 hours. However, we do expect that students charge them each evening to ensure maximum performance during the school day without interruption of use.

Chromebook Care Reminders

  • Take good care of your new Chromebook.  You will use the same Chromebook for 4 years.
  • Carry your Chromebook with both hands.
  • Set your Chromebook on a flat surface to use it.  An example of a flat surface is a desk or table.
  • Keep food and drinks away from your Chromebook.  In other words, do not eat or drink while you are using the Chromebook.  Instead, take a study break away from your Chromebook.
  • Never place a heavy object or a lot of objects on top of your Chromebook.
  • Charge your Chromebook every night at home.
    • If you close the lid of your Chromebook, you will help save the battery.
    • You can use your Chromebook when the level is low.  Just remember to charge when you get home.
    • When you plug in your Chromebook to charge it, look for the charging light indicator.  This will assure you that your Chromebook is being charged.
    • Let the Chromebook completely charge to a full battery.
    • Charging a Chromebook could take up to 4 hours.  Therefore, plug it in to charge and go do something else.
Technology Protection Plan for One2One Devices

The One2One devices are owned by Pickerington Schools and PLSD is offering a Technology Protection Plan that will act as a warranty program for accidental damage.  The premium is $35 for the 2017-2018 school year.  Payment is due on Friday, September 15, 2017. The premium can be paid through selecting it in the fees section of Infinite Campus.

Coverage and Benefit

This agreement covers the Chromebook (“device”) loaned to the student against the following accidental damage: (1) up to two occurrences of broken screen, broken keyboard, battery replacement and/or device not working properly; OR (2) one complete replacement of the device. The charger is NOT covered and is the sole responsibility of the student/parent. Coverage is 24 hours per day. Damage(s) due to intentional reckless, willful, wanton and/or malicious conduct is not covered.

Effective Date and Expiration

Coverage is effective from the date this form is received by the school. Subject to immediate termination for the failure to timely pay the premium, the coverage shall end on the date that the device is required to be returned to the school, whether or not that device is returned to the school by that date.

Premium

The total premium cost is $35 for the 2017-2018 school year. Payment is due by September 15, 2017 for the plan to continue to be in effect. The Technology Protection Plan is non-refundable. The Building Administrator, in its sole discretion, will determine if damages were due to intentional, reckless, willful, wanton and/or malicious conduct.

If the Technology Protection Plan is  NOT Purchased

All damages and replacement parts will be charged at the current market rate with a labor fee of $25-$50 determined by the repair.  Damage fees without the Technology Protection Plan will range between $25 – $285.  If the cost of the damage exceeds $285, then a new device will be issued at the cost of $285.  All damage, replacement parts and labor costs will be applied through the parent portal in Infinite Campus.

If Your Device is Damaged

Take your device to the Media Center and inform the Media Center Specialist/Aide what the issue is with the device.  A loaner device will be supplied during the time in which your issued device is being repaired.  Loaner devices are only available to students that have submitted a damaged device to the Media Center.

Device Agreement for One2One Devices

This form must be signed by a parent/guardian and the student before the One2One device will be issued. – Device Agreement Please print out a copy and bring the completed form during the device handout days.

One device and charger (“equipment”) are being loaned to the student and are in good working order. It is the student’s and parent/guardian’s responsibility to care for the equipment and ensure that it is maintained in a safe environment. The equipment is, and at all times remains, the property of Pickerington Local School District (PLSD) and is herewith loaned to the student for educational purposes.

Student Agreement:

I will follow the expectations outlined in the Device Handbook and the PLSD Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) at all times.

  • I agree to immediately return the equipment in good working condition upon the District’s request or withdrawal from the school district.
  • I assume full responsibility of the issued equipment at all times
  • I acknowledge that the handbook is to be used as a guide and does not attempt to address every required or prohibited behavior by its users.
  • I understand that this equipment is the property of PLSD and PLSD has the right to search and/or monitor the equipment issued to me and the digital use on the equipment and PLSD accounts.

Parent/Guardian Agreement:

  • I, on behalf of my minor child (student above), acknowledge and agree to all of the terms set forth about under “Student Agreement.”
  • I will be responsible for the equipment repair or replacement costs as specified in the Device Handbook and/or I will purchase the PLSD Technology Protection Plan.
  • I acknowledge that my student and I are to follow the expectations in the Device Handbook and the PLSD Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and that a violation of these guidelines could result in the student facing disciplinary action.
  • I will be responsible for monitoring my student’s use of the Internet when he/she is not at school.
  • I agree to immediately return the equipment in good working condition upon the District’s request or withdrawal from the school district, whichever occurs first.
  • I acknowledge that the handbook is to be used as a guide and does not attempt to address every required or prohibited behavior by its users.
One2One Device Handout Days/Times

Please have the above Device Agreement Form completed to pick up your device.

Fifth (5th) Grade Students entering Diley, Harmon, or Tollgate Middle Schools and 6th Graders new to the District – your device pickup will be August 10, 2017 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at Diley Middle School.  A parent/guardian may pickup with or without the student.

Sixth (6th) and Seventh (7th) Grade Students will receive their same device back during the first three days of school.

Lakeview JH Eighth (8th) Grade Students can pick up their device during schedule pick up times on August 8, 2017 from 8:00 -11:00am or August 9, 2017 from 4:00 -7:00PM in the Lakeview Media Center. A parent/guardian may pickup with or without the student.

Ridgeview JH Eighth (8th) Grade Students can pick up their device during schedule pick up times on August 8, 2017 from 8:00 – 11:00am or August 9, 2017 from 4:00 – 7:00PM in the Ridgeview Media Center. A parent/guardian may pickup with or without the student.

Pickerington High School Center (All Students) can pick up their device during schedule pick up times. August 8th from 8:00 – 11:30 AM (Seniors only), August 8th 12:00 – 2:30 (Juniors only), August 9th 8:00 – 11:30 AM (sophomores only) and August 9th 12:00 – 2:30 PM (freshmen only). All devices will be handed out in the media center.

Pickerington High School North (All Students) can pick up their device during schedule pick up times. August 8th from 8:00 – 11:00 AM (Seniors and some Freshman only), August 8th 12:00 – 3:00 (Juniors and some Freshman only), August 9th 8:00 – 11:00 AM (sophomores and some Freshman only) and August 9th 12:00 – 3:00 PM (freshmen only). All devices will be handed out in room 109.

Former Chromebook Project FAQ

Years ago, the junior high schools held a Chromebook pilot that lasted for 2-3 years.  Those devices are no longer effective and do not meet the needs of our current curriculum and digital content and software.  Students that were in the former Chromebook pilot need to pick up a new device during the scheduled pick up times.

The older Chromebooks are the property of the parents/students and do not need to be turned in for a new Chromebook.

Parenting in the Digital World: Hints, Tips and Tricks for Social Media

Introduction

Does your child have a phone or other new piece of technology? Are your children always on their iPhones or tablet? Do your children have a Twitter, Facebook, SnapChat, or KIK account? If you answer yes for any of these questions – or if your answer was, “What’s SnapChat and KIK?” – these hints, tips and tricks for parenting in the digital world will be helpful.

After a recent study on the impact of social media on kids and families, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported that there could be benefits to children using sites like Facebook. Those benefits include increased communication, access to information, and help in developing a sense of self. But, there can be serious downsides to all this online sharing, too.

Social networking is on the rise. The study found that 22 percent of teenagers log onto their favorite social media sites more than 10 times a day, and 75 percent own cell phones. This level of engagement online increases the risks of cyberbullying, “Facebook depression” (a new phenomenon where “de-friending” and online bullying lead to symptoms of depression), exposure to inappropriate content, and sexting.

Just as we prepare our kids for life in the real world, we should prepare them for life in the online world.

Smart Practices for Parents in the Digital World

No Underage Facebooking

Did you know that no one under the age of 13 is permitted to join Facebook? Of course, there is no real way for Facebook to truly enforce this limit, because everyone can lie about age. That’s why it’s up to parents to ensure their children stay away from Facebook until 13 – and until you as a parent are comfortable with them having an account.

Check the Device’s Privacy Settings

Check that the privacy settings for the Internet and Facebook on your children’s digital devices are set to the strictest levels. Depending on which browser you are using, you can adjust settings directly from the “options” tab. Adjust levels on things such as cookies, third party sites, and more. This protects the computer user as well as the computer from the threat of viruses.

Checking Facebook privacy settings is easy, too. Ensure that you are up to speed on Facebook’s privacy policy and make any changes you deem necessary.

Create Ground Rules

If your kids are old enough to use the computer on their own, they are old enough to understand that there are rules they need to follow. Breaking those rules should not have a lesser consequence than if they broke a rule in the offline world. One way for families to agree on ground rules is to create a contract that all parties must sign. The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) (www.fosi.org) encourages parents and kids to have an open discussion about what these rules mean, and offers a good example of a contract here.

Learn Your Child’s Habits

You don’t need to be a super sleuth and spy on your kid’s every online move, but it is important to be aware of the people they are associating with and the kinds of sites they are frequenting. After all, you get to know the friends they are hanging out with at school; knowing their online friends shouldn’t be any different. Parents should require full access to their children’s Facebook friends and the ability to take a look whenever they wish.

Keep Computers in a Central Location

It’s much easier to keep tabs on online activity when computers are located in a high-traffic zone rather than in the privacy of a child’s own room. Place computers in a central location like your kitchen or family room so everything is out in the open.

Teach Children to Avoid Online Questionnaires, Free Giveaways and Contests

A pop-up ad appears and tells kids they can win a free iPad by simply clicking the link. Anyone would be tempted by this kind of offer, but kids are particularly susceptible. It’s important to warn kids against falling for this kind of Internet trick. Many of these ruses are attempts to glean personal information or to download malware to digital devices. Teach children that even if a friend forwards a fun online questionnaire, it’s best to close the window and not participate.

Monitor Pictures Your Children Post Online

In an ideal world, your children would never post photos of themselves online, but that might not be entirely realistic. If children want to share photos with their friends via email or a social networking site, be sure you know exactly which pictures are being posted. Make sure the content of the photo is completely innocuous and that no identifiable locales are noticeable in the background.

Set a Good Example

If parents are tweeting and updating their Facebook pages at a stoplight or taking every opportunity to “just check something,” they are setting a poor precedent for social media use that children will surely follow. Always ask yourself if you’re setting a good example and demonstrating proper technology etiquette as well.

Limit Cell Phone Use

Parents should limit cell phone use, just as they would limit use of a computer, TV or gaming system. Only allow cell phone use at certain hours in the evening or after homework has been completed.

If you have teens of driving age, teach them that under no circumstances should cell phones ever be used while driving. (For underage teens in Ohio, this is a primary offense, meaning police can pull drivers over for texting while driving.) Phones should be kept off or in the glove compartment so incoming text sounds aren’t a distraction.

Teach Kids about their Online Reputation

What is posted online stays online forever. Many kids don’t understand the permanence of the images and messages they post online. They also don’t understand that there are no secrets in social media. Parents should talk to their children about the impact posting inappropriate messages and images could have if a future college administrator or employer were to find them.

Talk to Kids about Online Dangers

You may feel like you’re scaring your kids when talking to them about the dangers of being online, but it’s better for them to be scared than to be unaware. Having an open line of communication is crucial the minute your kids start using the Internet more independently.

Get to Know the Technology

Kids master technology quickly and easily pick up the nuances any new gadget has, often far more easily than adults. It is every parent’s responsibility to know exactly which key features are included in the gadgets their kids are using.

To help parents understand the technology, below is a list of the most common social media apps students are using today, along with a description about what parents should know and understand about each one.

Social Media Apps

Facebook

This is the world’s largest social network, with more than 1 billion users worldwide.

What parents need to know

  • Facebook is not private. Anything posted online, whether it’s an image or a comment, stays in cyberspace forever. A Facebook post is only as good as a friendship. A friend today may be gone tomorrow. What happens with that post or image then? That “no-longer” friend may disseminate it to others. Images might even be digitally altered and sent to others.
  • Many parents think “friending” their kids is enough to keep them safe and ensure they are behaving appropriately on Facebook. However, many kids are creating two Facebook profiles, one for their friends and one for their parents.
  • According to the FBI, there are 500,000 predators trying to engage kids online. Facebook is one of the venues where predators try to “friend” children and establish a relationship.
  • Whenever a child posts anything on Facebook, whether it’s an image or a comment, it can affect their futures. Why? Because every time a child posts something online, they are creating their own personal brand online and permanent digital footprint that stays in cyberspace forever. Children should be taught to think, “Is this post or image really representing who I am? Would I be embarrassed if a teacher or my grandma saw it?”

 

KIK Messenger

This app lets kids text for free. It’s fast and has no message limits, character limits, or fees if you only use the basic features. Because it’s an app, the texts won’t show up on a phone’s messaging service, and you’re not charged for them (beyond standard data rates).

What parents need to know

  • It’s loaded with ads and in-app-purchases.
  • KIK specializes in “promoted chats,” which are basically conversations between brands and users. It also offers specially designed apps (accessible only through the main app), many of which offer products for sale.
  • There’s some stranger danger. An app named OinkText, linked to KIK, allows communication with strangers who share their KIK usernames to find people to chat with. There’s also a KIK community blog where users can submit photos of themselves and screenshots of messages (sometimes displaying users’ full names) to contests.

 

ooVoo

This is a free video, voice, and messaging app. Users can have group chats with up to 12 people for free. It’s common for kids to log on after school and keep it open while doing homework.

What parents need to know

  • You can only chat with approved friends. Users can only communicate with those on their approved contact lists, which can help ease parents’ safety concerns.
  • It can be distracting. Because the service makes video chatting so affordable and accessible, it also can be addicting. A conversation with your kids about multitasking may be in order.

 

WhatsApp

This app lets users send text messages, audio messages, videos, and photos to one or many people with no message limits or fees.

What parents need to know

  • It’s supposed to be for users 16 and over, but lots of younger teens seem to be using the app. This age minimum has been set by WhatsApp.
  • It can be pushy. After you sign up, it automatically connects you to all the people in your address book who also are using WhatsApp. It also encourages you to add friends who haven’t signed up yet.
Microblogging Apps and Sites

Instagram

This lets users snap, edit, and share photos and 15-second videos, either publicly or with a private network of followers. It unites the most popular features of social media sites: sharing, seeing, and commenting on photos. It also lets you apply fun filters and effects to your photos, making them look high quality and artistic.

What parents need to know

  • Teens are on the lookout for digital “likes.” Similar to the way they use Facebook, teens may measure the “success” of their photos — even their self-worth — by the number of likes or comments they receive. Posting a photo or video can be problematic if teens post it to validate their popularity.
  • Public photos are the default. Photos and videos shared on Instagram are public unless privacy settings are adjusted. Hashtags and location information can make photos even more visible to communities beyond a teen’s followers if his or her account is public.
  • Private messaging is now an option. Instagram Direct allows users to send “private messages” to up to 15 mutual friends. These pictures don’t show up on their public feeds. Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with group chats, kids may be more likely to share inappropriate things with their inner circles.

 

Periscope

This app lets you share and experience live video streams direct from a smartphone or tablet. It can be used to capture the atmosphere among fans at an important match, to broadcast an unfolding news story, or to experience what it’s like to walk down the streets of Pickerington or New York City.

What parents should know

  • The premise of the app is that it allows you to live stream video, direct from your phone or tablet.
  • Aside from just watching video streams, Periscope allows for real time interaction. Viewers can “heart” the streams they like and can interact with the person streaming the video through the comments/chat function.
  • You can explore the videos being broadcast in different parts of the world through the interactive map feature. This allows you to search for videos by location and find streams of particular events taking place.
  • All Periscope accounts and broadcasts are public for anyone to see, unless you adjust the settings. The integration with Twitter makes it easier to reach a worldwide audience very quickly.

 

Tumblr

This is like a cross between a blog and Twitter. It’s a streaming scrapbook of text, photos, and/or videos and audio clips. Users create and follow short blogs, or “tumblelogs,” that can be seen by anyone online (if made public). Many teens have tumblelogs for personal use: sharing photos, videos, musings, and things they find funny with their friends.

What parents need to know

  • Privacy can be guarded but only through an awkward workaround. The first profile a member creates is public and viewable by anyone on the Internet. Members who desire full privacy have to create a second profile, which they’re able to password-protect.
  • Pornography is easy to find. This online hangout is hip and creative but sometimes raunchy. Pornographic images and videos and depictions of violence, self-harm, drug use, and offensive language are easily searchable.
  • Posts are often copied and shared. Reblogging on Tumblr is similar to re-tweeting: A post is reblogged from one tumblelog to another. Many teens like — and, in fact, want — their posts reblogged. But do you really want your kids’ words and photos on someone else’s page?

 

Twitter

This is a microblogging site that allows users to post brief, 140-character messages — called “tweets” — and follow other users’ activities. It’s not only for adults. Teens like using it to share tidbits and keep up with news and celebrities.

What parents need to know

  • Public tweets are the norm for teens. Though you can choose to keep your tweets private, most teens report having public accounts. Talk to your kids about what they post and how a post can spread far and fast.
  • Updates appear immediately. Even though you can remove tweets, your followers can still read what you wrote until it’s gone. This can get kids in trouble if they say something in the heat of the moment.

 

Vine

This social media app lets users post and watch looping six-second video clips. This Twitter-owned service has developed a unique community of people who post videos that are often creative, funny, and sometimes thought-provoking. Teens usually use Vine to create and share silly videos of themselves and/or their friends and families.

What parents need to know

  • It’s full of inappropriate videos.
  • There are significant privacy concerns. The videos you post, the accounts you follow, and the comments you make on videos all are public by default. But you can adjust your settings to protect your posts so that only followers will see them, and you have to approve new followers.
  • Parents can be star performers (without their knowledge). If your teens film you being goofy or silly, you may want to talk about whether they plan to share it.
Self-destructive and "Secret" Apps

Burn Note

This app erases its messages after a set period of time. Unlike many other apps of this sort, it limits itself to text messages. Users cannot send pictures or video. That may reduce issues such as sexting, but words can hurt, too.

What parents need to know

  • It allows kids to communicate covertly. To discourage copying and taking screenshots, a spotlight-like system that recipients direct with a finger (or the mouse) only reveals a portion of the message at a time.
  • It may encourage risky sharing. The company claims that its “Multi-Device Deletion” system can delete a message from anywhere: the device it was sent from, the device it was sent to, and its own servers. But it’s wise to be skeptical of this claim, and it’s always possible for anything sent online to be copied as an image via screenshots.
  • You don’t have to have the app to receive a Burn Note. Unlike other apps — for example, Snapchat — users can send a Burn Note to anyone, including others who don’t have the program.

 

Snapchat

This messaging app lets users put a time limit on the pictures and videos they send before they disappear. Most teens use the app to share goofy or embarrassing photos without the risk of them going public. However, there are lots of opportunities to use it in other ways.

What parents need to know

  • It’s a myth that Snapchats go away forever. Data is data: Whenever an image is sent, it never truly goes away. For example, the person on the receiving end can take a screenshot of the image before it disappears. Snapchats can even be recovered.
  • It can make sexting seem OK. The seemingly risk-free messaging might encourage users to share pictures containing sexy images.

 

TapTalk

After connecting via Facebook, this app lets you tap the image of a friend to take a picture. By holding their picture down, you record a short video of a few seconds. Using the front-facing camera, users can send a selfie or, as is often the case, a short video message to that friend. Click on the bottom half of the camera field and you can type in a short message.

What parents need to know

  • The app displays both the photo and a map of where you are when you upload the picture.
  • Talking a cue from SnapChat, any photo of video you send can’t be retrieved after you’ve seen it. You also can’t pre-take a photo and upload it. Everything you send to others is unique.
  • Because the app displays both the photo/and a map of where you are — in the case of sending a video — this means the app is turning into a sort of video walkie-talkie.

 

Whisper

This a social “confessional” app that allows users to post whatever’s on their minds, paired with an image. With all the emotions running through teens, anonymous outlets give them the freedom to share their feelings with the perception that they are free of judgment.

What parents need to know

  • Whispers are often sexual in nature. Some users use the app to try to hook up with people nearby, while others post “confessions” of desire. Lots of eye-catching nearly nude pics accompany these shared secrets.
  • Content can be dark. People normally don’t confess sunshine and rainbows. Common Whisper topics include insecurity, depression, substance abuse, and various lies told to employers and teachers.
  • Although it’s anonymous to start, it may not stay that way. The app encourages users to exchange personal information in the “Meet Up” section.

 

YikYak

This free social-networking app lets users post brief, Twitter-like comments to the 500 geographically nearest Yik Yak users. Kids can find out opinions, secrets, rumors, and more. Plus, they’ll get the bonus thrill of knowing all these have come from a 1.5-mile radius (maybe even from the kids at the desks in front of them!).

What parents need to know

  • It reveals your location. By default, your exact location is shown unless you toggle location-sharing off. Each time you open the app, GPS updates your location.
  • It’s a mixed bag of trouble. This app has it all: cyberbullying, explicit sexual content, unintended location-sharing, and exposure to explicit information about drugs and alcohol.
  • Some schools have banned access. Pickerington Schools has blocked this app on our Internet, but all students have to do is use their own phone’s cellular signal and they are online. Some teens have used the app to threaten others, causing school lockdowns in other parts of the country. The app’s gossipy and sometimes cruel nature can be toxic to a school environment.
Chatting, Meeting, and Dating Apps and Sites

Hinge/Tinder/Grindr/OkCupid

This is a photo and messaging dating app for browsing pictures of potential matches within a certain-mile radius of the user’s location. It’s very popular with 20-somethings as a way to meet new people for casual or long-term relationships.

What parents need to know

  • Meeting up (and possibly hooking up) is pretty much the goal.
  • It’s all about swipes. You swipe right to “like” a photo or left to “pass.” If a person whose photo you “liked” swipes “like” on your photo, too, the app allows you to message each other.
  • It’s location-based. Geolocation means it’s possible for teens to meet up with nearby people, which can be very dangerous.

 

Meet Me

“Chat and Meet New People,” says it all. Although not marketed as a dating app, MeetMe does have a “Match” feature whereby users can “secretly admire” others, and its large user base means fast-paced communication and guaranteed attention.

What parents need to know

  • It’s an open network. Users can chat with others online, as well as search locally, opening the door for potential trouble.
  • Lots of details are required. First and last name, age, and ZIP code are requested at registration, or you can log in using a Facebook account. The app also asks permission to use location services on your teens’ mobile devices, meaning they can find the closest matches wherever they go.

 

Omegle

This is a chat site (and app) that puts two strangers together in their choice of a text chat or video chat room. Being anonymous can be very attractive to teens, and Omegle provides a no-fuss opportunity to make connections. Its “interest boxes” also let users filter potential chat partners by shared interests.

What parents need to know

  • Users get paired up with strangers. That’s the whole premise of the app. And there’s no registration required.
  • This is not an app for kids and teens. Omegle is filled with people searching for sexual chat. Some prefer to do so live. Others offer links to porn sites.
  • Language is a big issue. Since the chats are anonymous, they’re often much more explicit than those with an identifiable user might be.

 

Skout

This is a flirting app that allows users to sign up as teens or adults. They’re then placed in the appropriate peer group, where they can post to a feed, comment on others’ posts, add pictures, and chat. They’ll get notifications when other users near their geographic area join, and they can search other areas by cashing in points. They receive notifications when someone “checks” them out but must pay points to see who it is.

What parents need to know

  • If your teens are going to use a dating app, Skout is probably the safest choice, if only because it has a teens-only section that seems to be moderated reasonably well.
  • There’s no age verification. This makes it easy for a teen to say their older than 18 and an adult to say their younger.
Secret Apps to Hide Items

The following apps were all created to hide things away from others. Many of the apps require additional PIN numbers to access the “hidden” material. Some of the apps even go as far as calling itself a calculator and looking/functioning like a calculator, to only have a PIN unlock a secret hidden vault of items.

Parents should be wary and start asking questions if they see any of the following apps on their child’s device.

 

Private Photo Vault

This allows users to import photos into albums and hide them behind a PIN lock. Beyond basic password protection, the app has two other bonus features called “break-in report” and “decoy password.” If someone tries to enter the app, it will secretly take a photo of the person and log their GPS location so you can see who was trying to access your private photos. Users also have the option to set up a decoy password that launches a different set of pictures.

 

Gallery Lock Lite

Unlike other apps, Gallery Lock Lite lets you put the app icon in “Stealth Mode,” so it doesn’t appear on your phone. If you opt for this feature, you’ll have to access the app by typing in an asterisk, your password and pressing “Call.” Gallery Lock Lite will also catch a photo of any intruder with your phone’s front-facing camera after three failed password attempts.

 

Best Secret Folder

This app is used by people who don’t want anyone to know that they downloaded a privacy app. The icon is disguised as “My Utilities,” so no one will ever guess there are private photos tucked away in a phone.

 

Keep Safe

This is a simple app with basic password protection for photos and videos. Users simply type in a PIN and import photos to albums in the app.

 

KYMS

This app’s icon is disguised as a calculator with the label of Ky-Calc. When the app is launched, a fully functional calculator appears. All a user has to do is punch in a 4-digit PIN number and the equal sign, and they have access to hidden contents. Along with hidden photos, you can store PDFs, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and text files. KYMS allows you to import media from your computer, camera roll, the web and more.

 

Vaulty

In addition to password-protected galleries, Vaulty allows users to edit photos, sort and filter files, and create multiple vaults with different passwords. It hide photos and videos. Like similar apps, Vaulty includes a “mug shot” feature, with which it snaps a photo of anyone who enters the incorrect password.

 

PhotoVault

Specifically designed for hiding photos, PhotoVault differs from other apps because it has public and private galleries. The Private gallery is password-protected for hidden photos, and the Public gallery is accessible to anyone on your phone. Users can choose to set the app to open in Public mode, so it appears to be like any other photo app.

 

Bonus “Hidden” Album in iOS8 and iOS9

Although this isn’t the most secure way to hide photos, it is an alternative to downloading a privacy app. With Apple’s iOS 8 update, users have the option to “hide” a photo from your Collections album. The hidden album is not password-protected, so anyone can still access it.

Social Media in the Classroom

Social media, when used correctly, can a powerful tool for students and teachers in the classroom. There is a myth that if students are allowed to use social media in the classroom, then students will do nothing but tweet, send messages and chat while we are trying to teach. Social media if used properly can allow students, teachers and parents the greater ability to communication, collaborate, and think critically.

Here are a few ways in which some of our teachers are using social media in the classroom:

  1. Tweet or post status updates as a class. Teachers let students propose nuggets of learning that are posted for parents to read. Many teachers and administrators are tweeting about the positive things going on in the District.
  2. Connect to other classrooms through social media. Teachers have connected with other classrooms in other countries to discuss social studies and diversity issues.
  3. Students are creating videos and sharing them via YouTube.
  4. Teachers are using social media to connect with other teachers around the world to create personal learning networks (PLNs) that allow teachers to learn from each other.
  5. Numerous teachers and administrators have blogs in which they post updates for events and activities in their classroom or buildings.
  6. Numerous teachers have created Facebook groups that are specifically for their classes, in which students can communicate in forming study groups or project groups.
  7. Teachers are using Pinterest to find creative projects to use with their students.
  8. Teachers are using Skype to communicate with authors, business professionals and people of interest.