New iOS 12 Parental Controls


Out on September 12, Apple’s latest iOS 12 has loads of new features, including new parental controls to help your kids help themselves manage their technology usage. This new feature is called “Screen Time.”

Screen Time allows you to set up “Family Sharing”, which then enables you to track your kids’ device usage via weekly reports. You can also set time limits on device usage and/or certain apps that your kids enjoy. The new “Downtime” function allows you to block device usage during certain times, such as at night. You can even “Always allow” certain apps, such as phone calls. Finally, you still have control over content and privacy restrictions, which have moved over to the “Screen Time” tab.

Remember, it’s always imperative that parental controls are used with ongoing conversations and guidance. Check out this awesome article by Common Sense Media, “Why the Best Parental Control is You“.


Google Science Journal for Android & iOS

Google Science Journal for iOS & Android transforms your device into a pocket-sized science tool that helps students explore the world and conduct experiments, all while using their phone. For example, using my Samsung 8+, I was able to measure ambient light, sound intensity, pitch, and use the accelerometer X, Y & Z, Linear accelerometer, barometer, magnetometer, and compass, all built within my phone for basic functions.

Google already has many different experiments for students and teachers. They range from “Getting Started with Light“, to the OK Go Sandbox, to building different challenges such as the balloon-powered car challenge or the earthquake-resistant house. (Speaking of OK Go, have you seen their videos? So amazing!) You can also develop your own experiments for students to complete, as well.

I encourage you to download it on your phone and check it out for yourself! The best to learn how to use it is by using it yourself.



Helpful Accessibility Features in iOS 11

For students with disabilities, an Apple iOS device can be their voice in the classroom. Ever since their launch, iOS devices have had native accessibility features. These features help users with hearing, visual, or motor limitations. For those educators who use guided access, they have already peeked under the hood of accessibilities. Here are just a few of the native features in iOS.


  • Increase or decrease text size
  • Open and close a zoom window with a three-finger double tap
  • Invert Colors
  • Turn on a screen reader by swiping down with two fingers
  • Typing feedback (Speak characters, whole words, or auto-corrections when typing)
  • Increase contrast


Motor Limitations

  • Control an adaptive switch
  • Add a hold duration to prevent unintended screen touches
  • Multiple touches are treated as a single touch
  • Use initial or final touch location
  • Change what the home button controls



  • Text Telephone (TTY) support
  • Pair the iOS device with hearing aids
  • LED Flash for alerts
  • Hearing aid compatibility mode
  • Subtitle, captioning, and audio descriptions


To access these features, go to Settings ->General -> Accessibility

Monroe Co. Tech Awards

This year, we wanted to make sure to showcase all of the amazing things that Monroe County teachers and those outside of the classroom were doing to implement and support technology in teaching and learning. We helped to create the Monroe County Outstanding Technology-Using Teacher Award and Monroe County Digital Leader of the Year Award. Any public, private and parochial staff member in Monroe County was eligible to apply. We’d like to take a moment to congratulate these outstanding Monroe Co. educators.

tech using teacher of the year 2018

Our 2018 Outstanding Technology-Using Teacher of the Year, Robert Yusko, is a computer teacher at Airport Community High School. Robert has been in education for five years, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from Central Michigan. He is working on his Master’s in leadership from Arkansas State University. Robert’s students took 2nd and 3rd place in Governor Snyder’s Cyber Security contest this year, and he helped implement a successful Middle College program at Airport. He oversees DECA and this year, they were international qualifiers. In his spare time, Robert loves trail running and competing in endurance and obstacle races. Robert’s favorite piece of technology is Google Classroom because he can post all the information in one organized place. Robert loves teaching because he has a positive impact on his students’ lives.

digital leader award winner 2018

Our 2018 Monroe County Digital Leader of the Year is Karen Chichester. Karen is a Special Education and English Teacher at Jefferson Schools. In her words, she’s been in education since dinosaurs have roamed the earth, or… for 38 years. In her 38 years, she has worked tirelessly to stay up to date with technology. Until recently, she was the only Google for Education Certified Trainer in Monroe County; she is a National Writing Project Teacher Consultant; Eastern Michigan Writing Project Technology Liaison and Lead EdCamp EMWP organizer; one of the original EdCamp Detroit Organizers; and has presented at MACUL, MiGoogle, GoogleFEST, and, of course, EdTech on the River Raisin. She is JHS Writers’ Club Adviser. AND, one of her students has published three novels. Karen holds her bachelors in education from Central Michigan, and her Masters in Teaching from Oakland University. She loves to watch her students graduate and meet their goals, and turn into amazing young adults. She is also passionate about helping her colleagues use technology to make their lives easier. She states, “Technology has allowed me to support my students more easily and effectively. It has made my life easier and my teaching more dynamic.” She is a G Suite for Education fanatic. Outside of school, she still leads professional development sessions around the county and state. She loves to read, ride her bike, write, and learn new things. She has been married to her college debate partner, John, for 38 years, and has one son, Christopher.

Congratulations to both Robert & Karen!

Google Takeout Transfer

With the school year coming to a close, graduating students, retiring educators, and all that are leaving the district will want to take their Google Suite for Education work with them as they transition to new endeavors. Google makes that easy with Google Takeout Transfer! Takeout Transfer allows GSuite users to move their school-controlled account data to a personal Google account. not only does Takeout Transfer handle the copying of files and emails, it also neatly organizes it in their personal account. Takeout Transfer is definitely a tool every G Suite school needs to utilize in their district!

Justin Cowen from Breitung Township School District shares a very helpful video demo on how to use Google’s Takeout Transfer.

Have you seen Pear Deck?

Make your Google Slides presentations more interesting and interactive for your students with the free Pear Deck add-on.  You create the interactive slides with the Pear Deck tool bar, and click on “Present with Pear Deck” when you’re ready to show the presentation to your students.  They will be prompted to log-in to Pear Deck with their Google account, and to enter a unique access code that will connect them with your presentation.  As you are presenting, your students will see your presentation on their screen, and have an opportunity to respond to the interactive slides you created. Here’s a quick overview video:

While most of the Pear Deck tools are free, a few are reserved for premium subscriptions which cost $149 per year.  When you create your Pear Deck account, you will receive the premium features for a short trial period.

MCISD’s Favorite Maker Item: January Edition

flyer that promotes maker kit item keva planks for january 2018If you haven’t heard, the Monroe County ISD has a kit of REMC Maker items that are available for checkout to your classroom throughout the year! We add new items all the time, so check back often for new kit additions!

Our current favorite Maker Kit item is KEVA Planks! KEVA Planks are 4.5 x 1 inch wooden planks for building – basically, a more “adult” version of building blocks. Even though they are more advanced, even 2 and 3 year olds are using them successfully, and even adults enjoy “playing” with these planks! These are so versatile in the classroom. They can be used in a variety of different subjects and grade levels. student builds tower with keva planks

We’ve had a Spanish teacher create vocabulary cards so students build what the card said, and they had to guess what the other student had created. Another teacher used our “KEVA Plank Challenge Cards” which are available to check out, as well, for your classroom. These challenge cards are a great way to implement the KEVA Planks into your classroom quickly. Then, you can use your teacher imagination to adapt and change to something that suits you and your students!

Contact Kerry Guiliano at to check out the KEVA Planks today!