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Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

Sewickley Academy's Private School Blog

5 Tips to manage your email

How many messages do you have in your inbox? 100? 500? 1,000?  

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Topics: Technology

Email Management: How to Keep Your Inbox Under Control!

If you are like many people in this day and age, you probably rely on your email for all sorts of communication. However, it can be easy for things to get out of control very quickly, and it can leave you dreading dealing with your overflowing inbox. Luckily, a few simple email management habits can help you keep your inbox under control.

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Topics: Technology

Back to the future day

As many of you know, today is “Back to the Future Day”, the day Emmett “Doc” Brown traveled in his time machine from the year 1985 to the future: Wednesday, October 21, 2015.  They were talking about this on a morning news program and it also appeared in an on-line feed I subscribe to.  It made me chuckle at first, but then it got me to pause and think about how far we’ve really come in the last 30 years.  While we don’t have flying cars or hoverboards, we do have some other amazing technology in our daily lives that would have seemed like science fiction to people from the 1980s.

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Topics: Technology

What Is Blended Learning?

As we move to adopt a 1-to-1 framework in Grades 6 through 12 at Sewickley Academy, we remain mindful of the importance of the teacher in inspiring students and of the centrality student-teacher relationship in achieving the best outcomes.  Adopting a 1-to-1 program assures that teachers have a consistent and predictable set of tools they can use in their work with students.  Just as the talented carpenter will benefit from having a range of wood-working tools, so too do teachers benefit from having a range of tools that increase the number of ways to engage a range of learners.

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Topics: Technology, Education, Head of School

The Art of Storytelling with Prezi

As a history teacher, I look for creative ways to communicate stories of people and places. Many mediums tell these narratives such as memoirs, film, art, and music, which add voice and depth to students’ understanding of the past and present.  In the past couple of years, I have discovered that Prezi is a tool that not only allows me to curate many of these sources into one place, but also adds its own artistic dimension to the art of storytelling in history and the humanities.

Three years ago, I worked with a Jordanian teacher, Ms. Noor, and her class over Twitter to compare perspectives on the Middle East and the United States. I was able to sum this experience up visually through a Prezi, “What is the Middle East?”, which combines word clouds, animations, and representative zooms.  The goal of this exercise was to develop perspective and empathy, as well as a broader understanding of how identity, culture, and environment influence each other.  Questions in the Prezi allow for pauses and reflection and the Prezi flips around to represent “thinking another way.”  The assignment was intended to give students and others a glimpse inside the mind of “the other” and the Prezi is designed to take us on a tour of that complex mental process.

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Topics: Technology

What Type of Laptop Do I Need?

Whether you're browsing the aisles of your local retailer or an online reseller, you can expect to find many choices in the laptop department. Which type of laptop you choose depends primarily on personal preferences and how you intend to use it.

Below are a few laptops at different price points that I recommend for our students here at Sewickley Academy:

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Topics: Technology

Teachers are Learners, 2

In my last blog post I reported to you about teachers learning with and from one another on the February 13 day of professional learning and collaboration.

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Topics: Technology

I Like Skype

Of all the television programs from my childhood, it is the Jetsons that seems to have stuck with me the longest. I loved all of the technology and the bells-and-whistles of that gleaming future society which stood in contrast to the Stone Age Flintstones. While I am still waiting for my flying car and robotic maid, there are parts of that fictional future that have, much to my delight, come true. One of these things is video telephony.
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Topics: Technology

I Don't Like Skype

Some people have wondered why on earth Sewickley Academy is moving to implement a 1-to-1 program. Won’t laptops and other devices mean that kids are even more withdrawn from the vital interactions we want them to have with their teachers and peers? Doesn’t this mean that technology will take over the world at SA? To these questions, I answer robustly No! And no! OK, but why?

If you grew up as I did, you were raised in a house with one black rotary phone in the kitchen provided by Ma Bell. This was the big technology, and it was used reverently; in fact, we kids were not allowed to use the phone without permission. Contrast that with the world of today where telecommunications are ubiquitous and texting has overtaken calling as the principal means of communications among teens – and even some adults. What does this have to do with my dislike of Skype? A lot, I think. I am not comfortable with Skype; I don’t like the delays, and I find it awkward to be watching someone on the screen who is looking at their screen and not at me – that is they are looking at the screen and not the camera. 
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Topics: Technology, Head of School

5 Tips for Meaningful Mobile Learning

Mobile devices are playing an increasing role in what we learn, how we learn, and the ways in which we share our learning. However, with all the apps, devices, and platforms out there, how can we begin to determine what helps foster MEANINGFUL mobile learning?

As a student, parent, or educator, how do you identify useful aspects of mobile devices while refraining from time-wasting technology?  As I continue to use and experiment with mobile learning in the classroom, I have found these five tips to be tremendously helpful when encouraging meaningful mobile learning.

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Topics: Technology

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