May 22

Tech-Tip Friday – Be a Super-Searcher

Happy end of the week! I hope its been a good one. I’ve been busy working in schools with three different hats on. One day I’m a teacher educator working with teachers in their classrooms, then I’m a university lecturer coaching trainee-teachers on the job, and then I switch hats again and I’m a researcher collecting data for my PhD. It’s a busy time!

To save time online I like to make sure I’m as efficient as possible, so I can on with what I’m actually trying to achieve! So here are my top 3 tips to find what you are looking for online with minimal effort! I use Google and it’s the most popular search engine of course – it’s even a verb now! When we are busy (and maybe on our mobile phones or smaller screens) these quick tips will help you find what you are looking for without spending losing hours scrolling through pages and pages!

  1. Use more than one keyword – don’t worry about fully sentences but pick the key words you are searching for.

  2. Use ”  ” symbols – if you have a specific phrase (say, gluten-free cupcakes) typing in those words will spit out anything that matches those words in any order. But if you search for “gluten-free cupcakes” instead, you will only see websites/pages with those words in that exact order and on that exact phrase, no extra words = quicker results

  3. Use AND – looking for more than one keyword? Use AND in between and you’ll only find pages with both keywords. So, instead of ‘movie reviews’, trying typing Movie AND Review to see only the pages with both terms.

These quick and easy tips will help you find what you are looking for and be on your way MUCH quicker!

Any tips you’d like to add? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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May 20

20 Things You Don’t Know About Me…

I’m stealing an idea I’ve seen on other blogs today – can’t find where though so feel free to link to your blog if it’s your idea! It’s about sharing more about me, so you know who I am hidden behind this computer screen, so here we go… :0)

  1. I was born in the UK and lived there until I  was 19 but the first time I travelled alone was for a student exchange to Germany when I was 14. Yep, I (used to) speak German!!
  2. I moved to live in France for about a year when I was 19, yes, I speak French!
  3. I am quite short 5′ 4″ – but small packages and all that…
  4. I have a cat I wanted to call Mitch, but he looked more like a Ned (after the Aussie outlaw Ned Kelly) so Ned he is.
  5. It’s lucky I didn’t name the cat Mitch as I now have a step son is called Mitch and that would have been confusing/annoying/stressful (for the cat I mean!)
  6. My fave fruit has to be mango – my husband gags at the smell of it e.g. all the more mango for me
  7. I like to run, but in private on my treadmill at home. It’s on the back verandah so it feels like I’m in ‘nature’, and no need to go anywhere else!
  8. I completed my under-grad in the UK at Keele University. Largest university campus in Europe – we had our own stately home, lakes, vineyard, dairy farm, village and golf course! The pub crawls were epic.
  9. My cousin went to Keele Uni as well, two years after me – entirely coincidentally! We met up on a pub crawl once, that was fun too.
  10. I haven’t been back to the UK in 13 years but am going back this year for my cousins wedding – yay!
  11. I have to have clean kitchen bench tops before I go to bed at night. For no other reason than I think the germs are mocking me otherwise.
  12. I drink de-caf coffee. No I don’t miss ‘real’ coffee and yes, I do feel better for it.
  13. We live on an acre that very nearly looks like the countryside and soon (very soon) we are going to be mummy and daddy to some chickens. I want one of those with the cool pom-poms on their feet (anyone know what they are called?!?)
  14. I lived up north in Michigan USA on and off for about 10 years. It was very, very cold – makes me feel silly for complaining about Melbourne winters…
  15. In the USA I drove a snowmobile, taught cross-country skiing and ‘snow-shoeing’ – honest, it’s a real thing.
  16. I love to snowboard but haven’t been in a few years now.
  17. Although I can snowboard, I cannot surf. Just can’t do it. Something to do with gravity/fear of drowning/coordination…
  18. I love heights and every time I go into an office on an upper floor at work, I have to remind myself not to get caught up in the view and focus back on the meeting, sorry about that folks.
  19. I don’t eat gluten or eggs or grains – so semi-paleo, but on my terms!
  20. This is my 4th personally run blog but I’ve set up about 100 blogs for teachers and students over the past few years.

So there you go! A bit more about me. Care to share about yourself in the comments? Would love to meet you xx

 

 

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May 18

How much are our kids really online?

Good morning! First I have to say I’m sorry it’s been so sporadic on the blog over the past few weeks. Life just gets too busy sometimes, and for me that was all about supervising trainee teachers and collecting data for my PhD (neither of which can be rushed!). I think I can see light at the end of the tunnel though….maybe!

Today I wanted to share some interesting stuff with you. For no real reason other than I think it’s important to know what’s going on with our kids’ generation. So here are two graphs that I love. They are from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (but seem to follow the pattern of other developed countries) and it tells us a little bit about what’s happening across our country….have a look!

 

ABS Statistics

Compared to adults, our 15-17 year olds use the Internet the most – no surprises there! But even our over 65s are online – 46% of them at least.

 

ABS Statistics

Where are our kids accessing the online world? Mostly at home! 97% of them in fact, that’s a lot of online interactions. Do you know what is happening at your house?

This may not be revolutionary information , but I think it is something we need to consider.  Our kids – just like in every other generation with rock music or punk hairstyles – our kids are influenced by their peers. So knowing what they are up to can help us look after out kids – and prepare them for 21st Century life :0)

 

 

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May 10

Tech-Tip Friday – Ideas for a busy (and rainy) weekend

It’s getting colder here in Melbourne and winter is definitely with us. While I love kids to be outdoors and running around, when it’s another rainy weekend, I’m ok with them playing inside!

Today I’m sharing  5 online resources that your kids will love for some rainy day fun.
I’m not suggesting these as a replacement for actual one on one play, but when they just want to be indoors and you’d rather they didn’t watch Frozen for the millionth time, these might be a good (more educational) option!

Click the image to visit the site…

National Geographic for Kids Great resources for kids interested in science, animals, geography, the environment...and lots of other stuff too.

Great resources for kids interested in science, animals, geography, the environment…and lots of other stuff too.

 

This week in science...

Great science resources – with updates on what Science is happening this week…

 

Cyber-safety – learn how to be safe online through a series of great videos and activities centred on Kara and her crew aboard their pirate ship.

 

Great interactive games for learning


Great storybooks online (for free) – easy to read and great pictures to go with them.

May 06

My latest project…Super Simple Cyber-Safety ebook

How is your week going? I’m very excited today becasue I’ve got some great news! I have finished my free ebook for parents and it will be ready to be delivered to your inbox in the next week or so.

To received the free ebook you need to be subscribed to my newsletter – you can do that here.  If you are already subscribed you don’t need to do anything! Just wait for the goodies to drop into your inbox!

The ebook:

Super Simple Cyber-Safety ebook is your parent’s guide to cyber-safety at home. From tips on storing technology to ways to ask your kids about what they are doing online, this ebook will set you and your family on the road to safe and effective online learning for your kids.

Technology is great, but it’s what we do with it that makes it useful! This ebook is for all parents and you don’t need lots of tech-know skills to implement these 10 easy ways to keep your kids safe online.

Aimed at parents of kids in Primary and early Secondary school, you’ll find 10 tips to safely use technology at home.

So keep your eyes open! And sign up now to receive this great resource hot off the press!

 

 

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May 04

But they want to keep things private…

Today I’m answering a question from a reader. It’s one I get often actually and it’s about time I talked about it on the blog!

My kids are getting older and won’t tell me what they are doing online – how do I make sure they are being safe online?

As our kids get older, hit high school and start becoming more independent, it’s natural that they don’t want to share everything with us in the same way they have done. To us it might look like they are withdrawing but it’s really normal for them to want to have some privacy.

It’s part of becoming an adult and lets them figure their way through things on their own – friendship problems, maybe also managing school work and work-work and girlfriends/boyfriends. Just like with everything else, we want to help our kids through this, of course.

With technology it can feel really scary when they start interacting online in ways we don’t know about or even understand. You might even be tempted to turn off the wifi and take away the devices

My advice is: Don’t Unplug!

Our children need to understand how to deal with situations and a head-in-the-sand-turn-it-all-off approach doesn’t teach them anything.

Of course if there is some serious bullying going on, get some help from your school and maybe even your local police station. But turning off the device won’t help them the next time something untoward happens.

The best thing we can do is to start early with cyber-safety. As I say over and over again, you need to ask about what they are doing and be interested in what they answer.

Be involved early – before they hit the I-need-my-privacy stage – and have them use the devices in a public space where you can look over their shoulder and ask about what they are up to.

As they get older, you might not be able to see what they are doing online, but you can still ask. It’s not prying to ask how that game is going or whether they’d come across anything new or interesting lately. Even ask them to teach you a skill if you need – a great way to have a chance to work together and chat!

We want to trust our kids as they hit the mid-teens, but we want to be sure we are doing what we can too – just keep talking and make sure you listen to what they have to say!
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May 01

Where do your kids do their homework?

Happy Friday! I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me this weekend. Mostly typing and working at the computer, fun but lots of it! Where do you work at home? I recently made some changes to my home workspace, adding a new chair, new organising tubs and generally dealing with that pile of papers that just seems to magically build up!

Where do you and your kids work at home? With technology it’s a good idea to keep the devices in a public space. So maybe in the kitchen, family room or lounge room? The idea is that if they are in spaces where we are (even if we cant see everything they are doing) our kids are less likely to do something silly….I don’t think this is foolproof but it does seem to make our kids talk to us more about what they are doing online and even ask questions if they need to.

A workspace at home for our kids also helps delineate between playing and working, and hopefully helps them focus more on their homework! It doesn’t have to be a fancy set up either. A cheap desk or table and a chair is really all they need.

Posture is increasingly important for our kids too – slumped on their bed or the couch doing homework can’t be good for their backs and necks in the long run. They need a table-like surface and an upright chair – and if you are feeling creative, maybe some storage and stationary/supplies to keep them going…  (confession: any excuse to buy stationary and I’m in)

I’ve made up a Pinterest board with some inspiration for you  – but here are my top 5 kids’ workspaces that might work at your house.

(all these images and their sources are on my Pinterest Board)

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Really simple and doesn’t take up much space. From Ikea

 

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Really like this one – get those kids working together! A shared space can be really great for younger kids – and that storage is important too (for your own sanity)

 

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This one is just pretty – a chair with a proper back is good for out kids’ posture and the drawers keep mess out of site.

 

 

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So sweet and simple, a proper chair and a good light for working – and those containers are adorable!

 

 

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Love the natural light and that the table is the right height for little ones…

 

So have a think about where your kids are doing their homework. Is there a small space at home you can steal to set up a homework nook? Doesn’t need to be fancy but for posture, cyber-safety and just generally more being social (!) it’s a great idea!

 

 

 
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