Jun 16

Checklist for using iPads at home with kids

School Holidays are approaching here in Australia and I’ve had a few parents comment that they are thinking of using the end of the financial year as an excuse to buy their kids an iPad (just in time for those holidays too!). If you’ve been around here for a while you’ll know htat I don’t think technology should replace good old-fashioned outdoor fun – but when it’s as cold and rainy as Melbourne’s been this week, then I’m all for some good indoor amusements!

If you are thinking of buying an iPad (or any mobile device really), here’s a quick checklist of things to think about!

iPads at home

 

 

 

 

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Jun 12

Tech-Tip Friday – sharing a webpage

A quick tip today! Have you ever been looking at a website and thought ‘I wish my mum/dad/friend could see this – they’d love it!’

Well, there’s a quick and easy way to share a website with anyone that has an email!

Just find the URL and paste it into an email!

  • Ok, so first step – What is a URL?

A Uniform Resource Locator is a unique address that links to a specific ‘place’ on the in Internet. Every webpage as a URL as do all images and videos too. For our purposes we just need to find the URL of a page (although you can usually right-click on an image and find the URL for the specific image too.

  • Next step – find the address.

There are number of web browsers that let you surf the net, and each is set up slightly differently. But you can always find the URL or address of a website at the top of screen. Like this:

finding the URL

 

So you copy that ENTIRE thing (don’t miss bits off the end!) and paste it into an email! That’s it. Done. Easy peasy and no need to try and spell a complicated website address over the phone or in a text message (I’ve seen that done, not easy or fun :0(

So a quick and easy tip this week – but one I’ve been asked for a few times lately!

Want other tips or tricks? leave a comment below and I’ll see what I can do.

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Jun 09

If I had a thousand dollars….

If you had $1000 to spend, what would you buy technology-wise? iPads, laptops, tablets, TVs, watches? While we might not have that much ready cash all the time, even when you do need to buy a new tech, it can be  hard to know what might be most useful for you and your daily online life. To help you out I’ve rounded up my Top Four Tech buys for the first half of  2015!

Surface Pro 3

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (128 GB, Intel Core i5)

I think I’d have to go look at the new Surface Pro 3. It’s a Windows tablet that runs full software – so everything from the Evernote app to Adobe In-Design can be used. I’ve had a play with a couple of them and I’ve seen them used by kids. It’s got a bigger screen size that makes it easier for little kids to use. Surface Pro 3 comes with a stylus that works just like a pen, AND you can lean your hand on the screen like real paper without ‘drawing’ all over your page. The Stylus is, I think, the biggest selling point of the Surface Pro 3. It feels, looks and acts just like a pen or pencil, but all your drawings and doodles are digitised, searchable and share-able instantly. I want one!

surface pro 3

iPad Air

The iPad is lighter, faster and prettier than previous iPads! I love the image clarity, the fact it doesn’t weigh my handbag down and that it has even more storage space now. Many of us have iPads at home these days. If you are looking to upgrade, my best recommendation is the Air. The camera quality alone is worth the cash.

apple air 2

 

iPad Watch

Oh how I covet thee! A friend let me play on her Apple Watch and I love it. Yes, it might slightly unnecessary and yes, you still need to carry your phone around with you. But it is sooo pretty, does all sorts of cool stuff including health and fitness monitoring, instant email access and phone calls (great for in the car apparently) and is a *real* gadget! I’m hoping Santa is kind to me this Christmas.

apple watch

Internet TV

An internet connected TV is like a computer and traditional TV in one. Watch your fave shows but then rent movies, watch YouTube or access services like Netflix or Presto. Internet streamed TV is slowly taking over the world and hopefully we won’t have to watch boring old advertising or one show at a time for much longer! There are lots and lots of brands now offering Internet TVs. Samsung and Panasonic seem to be the leaders at the moment but as it takes off expect more companies to come on board.

Internet-TV

For the first 6 months of the year that’s not a bad spread of technology toys! I wonder what the next 6 months will bring!

 

 

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Jun 05

Tech-Tip Friday – Are you kids feeling anxious? Try this app

Happy end of the week! It’s been a big one for me with the release of my new ebook ‘Super Simple Cyber-Safety’. It’s been really well received and so exciting! To get your copy, sign up to the blog here  and I’ll send through your **free** copy!

Back to today’s post!  I’m sharing a great app that I love to use for myself and for kids in my class. It’s a free app with guided meditations – don’t worry it not at all woo-woo but it can help our kids (and us) focus more and stress less. Win-win!

In schools we are seeing more and more students that are having a bit of trouble coping, and we seem to be getting more and more student diagnoses of anxiety, whether from professionals or from parents. It is a busy world our kids live in and sometimes I think we can forget that they are only young – and still learning how the world works.

Available for iPhone and Android

One way we can help our kids cope with all the pressures of growing up in such a busy, always-on world is through mindfulness mediation.

I was put onto mindfulness techniques buy a educational psychologist a few years ago now and have used it with students from age 5 to 17 as a way to focus in on learning and to cope better with demands of study/play/sports/work/family/friends/relationships….

Basically this app – Smiling Mind – contains mini mindfulness meditation sessions for kids and adults.

Mindfulness meditation focuses you in on the present moment, through breathing and thinking exercises. Focusing on the present can help us reduce our stress about what might happen or what has happened (things we often can’t change anyway).

In recent years, Mindfulness Meditation has surged in popularity for use in the treatment of stress, resilience, anxiety, depression and other physical and mental illnesses. Highly regarded institutions such as UCLA, Harvard, Oxford, Monash and Melbourne Universities have developed clinical studies into the positive impacts of Mindfulness Meditation. – See more at: http://smilingmind.com.au/blog/#!/category/background/what-is-smiling-mind

smiling mind app

The app is free and easy to use. Simply install Smiling Mind on your smartphone or tablet and plug in some headphones (or play through speakers or in the car). The meditations are short (most are under 5 minutes) and are led by a calm voice that gives clear instructions on guiding your focus to yourself and the present moment.

You and your kids can do these short mindfulness activities in the car, on the train or at home. While in an ideal world you would be in a quiet, calm space with no interruptions, that’s often not possible. I use the app on the train and love it – despite the noise and lots of people crowded in. Some meditation is always better than none, and I wouldn’t get my meditation in daily otherwise.

The app was designed for kids initially and the meditations are set up in categories based on age groups (but there’s also an ‘adult’ category for us too). I’ve found that doing these short meditations with younger kids keeps them on track while older kids can manage by themselves after the first one or two sessions. Try and make meditation a daily habit to see benefits, although any is better than none!

If you or your kid are feeling under the pump, I highly recommend the Smiling Mind app. Read more about it here  (it’s run by psychologists in Australia and funded by a number of big name organisations).

Give it a go and don’t forget to share how you went here! BTW – this post is not sponsored at all, I just love the app and want to share!

 

 

 

 

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Jun 01

New ebook now launched!

So I just launched my new ebook – Super Simple Cyber Safety at Home! I hope that my lovely subscribers enjoy it!

I’ve been working on this for the past few months and it’s based on the Top Ten Questions I get asked by parents. I’ll bet a few of you have the same questions.

Well now you have the answers all in one place…in a straight forward format that you can read on any screen (or even print it out if you like!)

From what questions to ask, to where to charge your iPad at night, this ebook is for any parent with kids using technology at home.

That might be an iPad, laptop, tablet, Wii or XBox…anything with wifi needs your attention and your kids need your support. These ten tips will get you on your way to being an up-to-date and supportive parents for our young 21st Century Citizens.

super simple cyber-safety ebook

Subscribe to the blog to get your copy now!

 

Super Simple Cyber-Safety is free for subscribers to the blog, but RRP is $9.99.

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