EdTech @ ISB

Transforming Teaching & Learning

Tag: data

Screentime in the Age of Online Learning: Monitoring and Managing

Image courtesy of Unsplash

While we are in the middle of online learning, helping students to be aware of and to manage their screentime is as important as ever. It’s also important that families have agreements around the use of screens for learning and for entertainment.

Monitoring Screentime

It’s hard to make informed decisions on screentime without some data to consider. Many times, this data will make the discussion easier since it can be used as a point of reference for both students and parents when it comes to how and why screens are being used (and if they are being used appropriately).

A powerful tool to use on your school laptop is RescueTime. This is a third-party app that, when installed, runs in the background and helps keep track of how and when the computer is being used. For students in Grade 6, you can log in to Cisco AnyConnect and then install RescueTime from Self Service. Users in Grade 7 and above can just download the application from the website.

A sample RescueTime Report

In addition to installing the app, you will also need to create an account. We recommend using your school email address. You can use this post to help you with the sign up and setup process. For most cases, using the

For those of you that are using iOS devices like iPhones and iPads, you can use the built-in Screentime app to help you monitor your usage. You can also use the Screentime app to limit your access to your device, either by time period (downtime) or by time limits per app.

Managing Screens and Technology

In all of our parent education sessions, we suggest these same important rules:

  1. Set family technology agreements around how and when screens will be used. (You can also use the Common Sense Media version as a starting point.) If you’ve already created them as a family, it may be worth revisiting them and making sure they still work for you. During this period of online learning, this is more important than ever!
  2. We recommend that devices are used in public spaces of the house, like the kitchen table or in a dedicated study space, so that it encourages students to stay on task. It’s easy to get sidetracked online so use others to help you stay on track!
  3. We also recommend that devices are not charged and stored overnight in the student’s bedroom. We all need a break from our screens, and the constant dinging of notifications can have an effect on the quality of our sleep.
  4. Identify some screen-free times for your family and stick to them. For many, screen-free dinners give everybody a time to connect as a family and share what has happened during their day.

 

 

 

Getting Started with Rescue Time

Image result for rescuetime logo

 

 

RescueTime is an app that can help users understand how they are using their time on their laptop. It can be used in a lot of different ways, but here at ISB we want to focus on empowering students and teachers to take control of their usage and to strive for intentional, balanced and productive use of technology.

Getting Started

To get started, you need to do three things:

  1. Download and install the app from Self Service (or from the RescueTime website).
  2. Create an account for the free/solo/lite. If you are a student, I suggest you use your school email address.
  3. Once you’ve installed the app, be sure to sign in from the menu bar at the top of your screen.

 

Now what?

Once RescueTime is installed and running, it will start collecting data on how you use your computer. This includes websites you visit, documents that you are working on,  and other programs that you use (like PowerPoint or Photoshop).

Setting Up Categories

Part of the way that RescueTime works is by categorizing the sites and apps that you use. It has some default categories (like Communication, Social Media, Design, Entertainment) and default values (from Very Productive to Very Distracting) built-in. RescueTime may not recognize some of the sites and platforms that we use at ISB and might consider them as “Uncategorized” and/or might consider them to be “Distracting”.  As a user, you can create and manage different categories as well as change its productivity value.

For example, I have created a sub-category in “Miscellaneous” for the different ISB Platforms like DX and OneDrive and have rated that time as “Very Productive”:

Once your categories are set up (and I would not recommend spending too much time doing this! You can always refine your categories as you go…), you are ready to take a look at some of your reports:

The Dashboard

The Dashboard is where you get started with RescueTime. This will give you a quick overview of your time for the day. You can also quickly jump to some activity reports for more details.

 

The Productivity Report

The Productivity Report shows your “pulse” based on the different values that have been assigned to different sites and apps:

You can click on each level to see how much time you spent on different sites and apps:

 

The Applications & Websites Report

You can also view your usage data sorted by app and site. Because we use the free version, there are some limitations to the amount of data that we have access to. A very interesting view in this report is the “All Activities by Hour” view. This helps you see when and how you were using your laptop throughout the day (and night!):

Troubleshooting

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when using RescueTime.

The first is that users can disable RescueTime tracking at any time! It can be turned off (quit) or paused; it can also be set to NOT start automatically. Because our focus is on awareness, understanding, and empowerment, it does you no good to turn it off! But, if your RescueTime reports aren’t showing as much data as you were expecting, check to make sure that it isn’t being turned off on accident (or on purpose!).

The second issue that you may find is that RescueTime is not collecting individual web page data. First, your Mac must be on Mojave in order to collect this information. All students should be running this OS; most teachers will be. Second, you need to make sure you grant access to allow RescueTime to collect this information. In order to do this, you can follow the instruction here.

#techchat vol 2

Visual Writing Prompts

How can we encourage our students to write more? How can we capture their attention and imagination? And how can we start students in thinking about the power and purpose of visual literacy? Enter Visual Writing Prompts! Search by subject, grade level or genre. This is just the beginning. Once you and your students have tried a few, you can start making your own!

 

Our World in Data

Our World in Data is an online publication from University of Oxford to “show how living conditions are changing.” There are in-depth looks at data trends over time across a range of disciplines that include some great visualizations. Want to see where we’ve been and where we’re headed? Check this site out!

15+ Ways to Use Flipgrid in Your Class

I first learned about flipgrid this summer at a professional development course I was taking. It’s a quick video response system that can be used to hold asynchronous discussions but with that face-to-face feel. Embed the Flipgrid into your blog or into your DX page to bring the conversation to life! See how Karly Moura is using flipgrid in her classroom.

 

© 2021 EdTech @ ISB

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Skip to toolbar