Archive | Technology

5 minutes of time-saving tips from NY Times technology columnist David Pogue

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Choosing Privacy: Who’s Tracking You?


May 1st to May 7th , 2013 is Choose Privacy week.  The purpose of Choose Privacy Week is to raise awareness about privacy rights in this digital age. The American Library Association established Choose Privacy Week in 2010. This year they invite everyone to answer the question “Who’s tracking you?” In this technological era, our personal information is easy to access. Every time you search online or make an online purchase, a traceable record is kept. Government agencies also have the power to track your phone calls, airline travel and online purchases. The legal system has lagged behind in updating any privacy laws concerning privacy online. The government’s last major privacy law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, was passed in 1986.

Choose Privacy Week believes that everyone should have the right to know who is collecting his or her information. “People who understand how personal data is generated, collected, stored, and used are better equipped to take control of their personal data and demand accountability from the agencies and corporations that store and use their information,” says Barbara Jones, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom. Choose Privacy week will feature a week-long online forum with an introduction by Barbara Jones. Guest Commentators will include Khaliah Barns of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Mitra Ebadolahi of the ACLU National Security Project and many more.

For more information please visit: or inquire in your library!

By Norma R. ’14

Posted in Did You Know?, Student Work, Technology0 Comments

Get the Inside Scoop on Online Learning

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Have you noticed a rise in online learning in recent years? You may even know someone who goes to school online.  If you have come across me in the library, then you do.  I go to school at SJSU for a degree of a Masters in Library Sciences.  The whole program is online.  This is very common for Library Sciences programs due to the technical nature of the degree.  But what about other programs?  Just about every major university is now launching at least some online classes.  This is true for homeschooled kids as well and even kids who go to a traditional school, but want to augment their education.  For example, there are some Castilleja students who have done the EPGY Program (school for gifted kids through Stanford) or OHS (the Stanford online high school which you can take full time or part time).

Or maybe you have been on iTunes lately and seen iTunes U.  This is an app in which you can download lectures from a plethora of universities. You can attend Yale or Columbia for free!

There are many reasons why online programs have become a popular form of education today. The online environment offers unprecedented opportunities for people who would otherwise have limited access to education, as well as a new archetype for educators in which vibrant courses of the highest quality can be developed.  Some of the benefits of online learning are:

  • Anywhere learning
  • Anytime learning
  • Any pace learning (especially helpful for those with learning differences)
  • Rich dialogue between students on discussion boards
  • Cost effective
  • Student centered (carve out your own learning plan)
  • Creative teaching is supported

Although there are many positive aspects to online learning, there are some drawbacks as well:

  • Lack of live social connections
  • Technology glitches
  • Syncing up with other students for group projects
  • Lack of a community feeling (sometimes, but this is being addressed in many programs)
  • Computer literacy & cost (one must have these to succeed)

So although it is still a new concept and opinions vary from person to person, online learning looks like it’s here to stay.  Below is a link to an article that was just published in the Stanford news regarding this topic.  Check it out!

By Heather B., Parent Volunteer Extraordinaire

Posted in Cool Stuff, Technology1 Comment

Blogs Get the Word Out

Have you ever wanted to start your own blog? Tweens and teens all over the world are blogging everyday.  Blogger, WordPress, Livejournal, and Tumblr are all free websites in which you can set up a blog within minutes.  Blogging is a great way to stay in touch with people, express your self, vent, stand up for a cause, or just have fun.

Check out some of these teen blogs from around the world and start one your self!  You may even recognize one of these controversial bloggers (her mom is Madonna.)

By Awesome Parent Volunteer Heather B.

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Skype with Franny Billingsley

After reading her novel The Folk Keeper for summer reading, the 7th grade had the opportunity to visit with author Franny Billingsley via Skype. National Book Award Finalist Billingsley talked with students from her home in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. Ms. Billingsley shared details of her writing process, focusing on developing characters and on the importance of revision. She also asked students to consider what it takes to draw readers in and shared some insight on how to write an irresistible beginning. Students enjoyed the opportunity to ask questions of the author.

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Rebound Rumble

If you visit the Bourn Idea Lab after school, you will probably find the robotics team prototyping, building, or programming their robot for this year’s challenge, Rebound Rumble. The team, Gatorbotics, participates in the FIRST Robotics Competition each year. FIRST announces the challenge in January and teams have six weeks to design, build, and program their robot to play a game. The game this year, Rebound Rumble, is played in teams of three robots, called alliances, and includes shooting baskets in hoops at varying heights and balancing on board in the center of the playing field at the end of the game. Teams do not know who will be in their alliance before competitions and play in different alliances throughout the qualifying matches at each regional competition.

The thirty girls on the team are meeting for three hours every day to choose and improve designs and create code to make the robot work. The new machines in the Bourn Lab have been helpful for making sophisticated prototypes more quickly and the team loves the new space. By the end of the build season during February break, the robot will be around 120 pounds and up to five feet tall. In March, the team will travel to the Autodesk Oregon Regional in Portland and the Silicon Valley Regional in San Jose.

In addition to building a robot, Gatorbotics has started a new vlogging (video-blogging) project called Five Awesome Robots. The vlog is a collaborative project with teams from around the world to share ideas and learn more about how other teams approach the build season. There are teams from Texas, Pennsylania, California, and Australia participating in the vlog and each team posts a video every week. The videos are available at

To learn more about the team, visit, follow gatorbotics1700 on Twitter, and like Gatorbotics Team 1700 on Facebook.

By Sarah Rosston ’12

Posted in Student Work, Technology0 Comments