Technology Update for Grades 5 – 8

Technology Update for Grades 5 – 8: My Child Has a Laptop – Now What?

student sitting on ground with laptopNow that all 5th through 8th grade students have devices to use throughout the day at school, it is time to give you an update on how the 1:1 implementation is going. It is amazing to see how quickly the students have adapted to the responsibility that comes with more access. After an overview of expectations and acknowledgement of appropriate use, the students are off and running with their teachers, using the many online and computer-based resources that the Chromebooks and MacBooks provide.  Great Job!

New Internet Filtering Program Provides Added Protection
As an additional layer to our current web filtering program, the FSSD is partnering with Securly, a company that specializes in cloud-based web filtering. With so many new devices in use, the district added this extra level of protection to help provide teachers with monitoring assistance, allowing them to concentrate on teaching and assisting students. Securly uses algorithms to alert school administrators when a student has searched for inappropriate content or used pre-determined “red flagged” words in internet searches.  It specifically audits for words associated with cyberbullying, self-harm, or other inappropriate content. If a flagged word is detected, it generates a notification in real time to school-level administrators, who can quickly intervene if necessary. Inappropriate search results are blocked and alerts are sent to the administrator for follow up if warranted. This double-layered approach is designed to keep students protected while they collaborate with teachers and peers using their devices in a safe and secure online environment.

Coming Soon:  Google Student Emails and Online Safety Presentations

Student Emails
The parent agreement form you signed at registration provided some information regarding your child’s access to Google Suite for Education, with information about your child’s individual Google account. Now that students have learned how to access the many apps and features of the Google Suite, we are preparing to activate the email feature associated with their Google account in January. Don’t worry – restrictions will be set for this protected account! For example, students will only be able to email within the FSSD Google domain, meaning they can only email other students and teachers who have FSSD Google email accounts.

Online Safety Presentations
Finally, while we stoke your children’s desire to explore the world through web-based resources, we are keenly aware of the digital dangers that exist outside of the school’s filtering programs. Next semester we are offering students and parents an interactive and extremely informative presentation about the inherent dangers of online access. Dennis Fetting with Homeland Security Investigations will again come to inform students on the importance of safe online behavior and how to avoid falling victim to perpetrators use websites, game-based systems and smartphone apps. More information will be sent home in January regarding these opportunities. In the meantime, if you would like to see episodes of Special Agent Fetting’s video series, go to www.fssd.org, click Parent Information, then Safety.