Friday, April 22, 2016

How might we scaffold self-management skills for our students?

As an ed tech coach, I am often asked questions about limiting internet access for students. “Can we block youtube?” “How do we block this game site?” “We need to block facebook.” APS has a progressive view on site availability: we recognize that there can be excellent academic and relationship building reasons to leave social media sites accessible by all and we also know that shutting off one game site just means another game site is discovered the next week.

BUT...I empathize with the questions. It's understandable that teachers and principals might want limits on availability. Students finding ways to spend their entire class time on youtube searching for music videos instead of researching the Civil War is frustrating - and the least scary thing about open access. Cyber-bullying, violent or sexually graphic images and videos, and child predators on internet sites aimed at children are infinitely more concerning.

So what can we do about sites like youtube - which can have both excellent resources for students and teachers AND truly objectionable material?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Aurora Borealis Student Film Festival - Aurora Public Schools

Film/video is a passion for students of all ages. Through film production, students gain access to a wide variety of 21st century skills that prepare them for their futures. Along with those skills, students are able to explore their interests while voicing their opinions and views about the world in which they live. Student film is an opportunity for everyone to hear about the ways in which students interpret the world and solutions they possess to some of the world's problems.  It can also be a great way to understand their thinking and allow us to tap into the things that drive their desires and dreams so that we can hopefully support their efforts and achievements.

On May 11, 2016 Aurora Public Schools will host its first annual student film festival the "Aurora Borealis". The film festival will provide an opportunity for APS students to showcase their film production talents. The festival is open to all students in APS who have a desire to write, capture, produce, and edit their own short films, videos, or commercials.

The festival will be an Academy Awards of sorts to recognize and highlight the work of students within the district this year. Anyone is welcome to attend the event and view the student work while engaging in the socializing that will be present at the event.  Light refreshments will be served along with opportunities to connect with various students, parents, teachers, district personnel, and community partners. 

View the official 2016 film festival teaser video below.