iPads are a MAJOR Distraction

…Or at least it was four years ago


As my high school career is coming to an end, I’ve done a lot of reflecting on grades, sports, friends, and all of my experiences. Over the past four years I’ve had my ups and downs, but through those, I’ve learned a lot. There aren’t a lot of things that I think back on and wish I could change or redo, but one thing would be the ways I used my iPad in school. iPads can make or break a student. Many critics say that using technology in school, specifically iPads, are a huge distraction to students in school. This, however, is cdcab46699211b7233af6ef015560abcnot true. It’s not the iPads that are distracting the students from their school work, it’s the students that are distracting themselves with their iPads. It’s like saying that guns kill people; guns don’t pull their own triggers, people do. The way that students decide to use their electronic devices in school determines how their grades are impacted. Take it from me: a senior in high school who could have been top of her class had she not distracted herself with an iPad throughout high school.

Freshman Year

What’s cooler than going into your freshman year of high school with a new iPad? At the time, there really wasn’t anything. I had been warned by older peers that iPads could be distracting and to not download games because all I’d do is play them during class. Of course, being a know-it-all, I ignored them. I had gotten straight A’s in middle school, so image1 (1)high school wouldn’t be any different, right? Wrong. freshman year is definitely the most confusing year of anyone’s life. A new school, new classes, new people, new sports, and now on top of that, a new device. I thought it was all great, until my test grades started coming back. I went from an A+ student to a C+ student in the span of 6 months. Granted, I was in way over my head with all of the honors classes I was taking, but it wasn’t anything at the time that I couldn’t handle. The first few months of ninth grade were a struggle for everyone, but after the first quarter, everyone seemed to buckle down. That was my problem: I couldn’t buckle down. There were times where I would attempt to pay attention by leaving my iPad in my backpack, but as soon as I realized I didn’t have a clue what was going on, I would get bored and grab my iPad out of my bag. It was my escape from the frustration of not understanding anything my teachers were saying. Although I’m making it sound like I failed every class my freshman year, I didn’t. I was able to get myself together in a few of my easier classes, but the rest were pretty hopeless. After a year of horrible grades and a sinking self-esteem, I decided I needed to make some changes.

Sophomore Year

You know how they say you can only go up after you’ve hit rock bottom? Well, I’d have to agree with that. This year, there were no more excuses for me. I addressed my distraction by deleting all of my non-school apps and disabling my iMessage. By ridding myself of possible distractions, I felt much more prepared for the school year. There was a image2significant improvement in my grades. I’m not one to brag, but my grades were so outstanding that my GPA went up by a significant amount and my report cards filled my parent’s eyes with tears of joy. Not only did my grades boost, but my confidence did too. I received two awards that year: the coach’s award for my junior varsity volleyball team, and the “Miss Synergy Award” from my dance studio which is an award given out to the dancer who is in excellent academic standings, involved in extracurricular activities other than dance, and is an asset to their community through organizations and charity work.

Getting good grades was something I identified myself by and helped me thrive. Obviously my grades were not perfect, but they were remarkably better than they had been the year before. Because I was doing so well in my classes, my teachers all recommended that I take higher level classes my junior year, which I did. I figured that because I had such great teachers sophomore year that the issue really wasn’t me, it was the teachers I had Freshman year (mind you, this was my sophomoric mentality and philosophy at the time). Therefore, I decided I could handle having apps like Twitter and Instagram on my iPad during the school year, and began my junior year.

Junior Year

I had been warned that junior year is the hardest year in high school, but I thought that was only academically speaking. If I had to pick a least favorite year of high school, it would be junior year without a doubt. Everything that could have gone wrong that year did image3go wrong. One thing happened after another and I couldn’t catch a break. I crawled back into my hole that I had created freshman year. I was having troubles with sports, friends, and family.


One of the toughest things I endured was my Papa being diagnosed with cancer, again. Although we had been through this before because the previous year he had fought esophageal cancer and won, this time it was terminal. The short time frame he had left gave me high anxiety because I was so nervous that something would happen while I was at school, dance, volleyball, etc. I was constantly checking my phone and getting updates from family members to make sure that he was still okay. I was even close to backing out of my exchange trip to Spain because I didn’t want to miss anything. My papa ended up passing away early January, so I took some time off of school to help make arrangements. When I got back to school, I was very lost. My teachers had tried to help by sending notes, but to me it was like reading hieroglyphics. I tried to hide my confusion by sitting on my iPad and pretending I was fully engaged in class, but that didn’t help me at all.

Just when I finally had caught up, I was on an airplane going to Spain. I was in Spain for two weeks on an exchange trip through school. I had gone around to collect work from my teachers before I left, but they all told me to just keep up with the work they posted online during the time I was there. That would have been great, had I had wifi most of the time. The times that I had wifi I was going to bed or on the phone with family and friends. When I got home, I had three days to get all of my work done. Obviously I got it done, but I didn’t understand any of it. I either got help from friends or googled the answers. I dug myself into a hole so deep that there was no way of getting out. It actually felt like I was drowning in work. My problem was that I sat in class, not knowing what was going on, so I didn’t pay attention and it got even worse. I hid behind an iPad screen every single day in hopes that one day I would magically understand everything my teachers were saying and get straight A’s. I finished junior year with mediocre grades and lots of frustration. I finally opened up to my mom and told her that I wanted to be tested for ADHD.


Senior Year

At the beginning of senior year, I went to a neurologist at Boston image1Children’s Hospital in Lexington who specializes in ADHD. After a few tests and lots of questions, she diagnosed me with Inattentive Type ADHD. This made perfect sense, seeing as some of the major symptoms are “easily distracted” and “troubles keeping on task and paying attention”. I told her about my iPad misuses over the years and she agreed that iPads are very distracting, but particularly for me with this condition. I was put on medications, deleted all games off of my iPads, and solved all of my problems.
I’m now in my fourth quarter of senior year, and have made honor roll all three quarters so far. My grades are the highest they’ve ever been, and I’ve been accepted to all six schools I’ve applied to. I was also recently accepted into the Honors Program and Salve Regina University, which is where I’ll be attending school in the Fall. Now, just because I went through high school undiagnosed doesn’t mean that’s the reason I struggled in school, I struggled because I distracted myself with resources that were meant to help me succeed. With age and maturity, I have learned how to use iPads for educational purposes and it has reflected through my success this past year. My advice to all Burlington High School students, current and incoming: iPads are given to you for one reason, and that is to excel your learning. You are allowed to use them to your advantage or disadvantage, but that’s up to you. Poor grades are a result of your work ethic, not anybody else’s. If you use iPads the way they are intended to be used, I can guarantee you will exceed your potential at
BHS. And to all of the parents concerned over the use of iPads at BHS: the only thing you have to be concerned about is how your child utilizes their new tool. Although they are free to download games and social media apps, encourage them not to. Like I said before, it’s not the iPad that’s distracting the student, it’s the student that is distracting the student.


iOS 9.3: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The time has come: iOS 9.3 has been released! With every new software release comes the positive and negative feedback. Along with that, there are many issues with new software updates. iOs 9.3, in particular, had quite a few issues with many Apple customers when it was first released, causing Apple to withdraw their release for iPad 2 users and resend the update when it was fixed. The main issue was with iPad 2’s, which is important to me because I use one for school and when there are software issues, it affects my school work. After doing much research on the new features, the issues, and everything under the sun regarding iOS 9.3, I’m writing to inform my readers of what to be aware of with the new update.

The Good

Every time a new Apple update is released, Apple shows off their newest improvements and products. Their goal is to out do the last version and make Apple products better and more efficient. Not only have they improved different tools, they created some. One of their new features that is getting the most attention is “Night Shift”. Night Shift is a nightshiftmodecomparison-800x600mode that changes the colors on your screen from bright to warm, so that falling asleep is much easier. Parents seem to always complain about their children not getting enough sleep because the brightness of their screen keeps them awake, so Apple has accepted the challenge and made technology usage before bed something that all can appreciate. Another improvement that they’ve made is that they now have an option for users to set passwords for their notes, so that their personal information is safe in their phone. They’ve also personalized the news app with a “for you” section, which features articles that are similar to previously read articles. Lastly, they have created a feature called Apple Classroom. This new feature is heavily integrating technology use in classrooms. With this system, teachers can send assignments out to their different classes and receive student’s assignments just as easily. This feature 2016-01-11-194733specifically targets classrooms with shared iPads because students are logged out of their classroom when the teacher marks that the class is over, so student do not have to worry about other students being on their account. Lastly, Apple Classroom is a helpful tool for teachers because they can put students into
groups quicker and in a more randomized way. But, of course, not everything about the iOS 9.3 update is great.

The Bad

Although there is a lot of excitement over this new update, a lot of users haven’t been able to actually download it yet. Many users have been getting a message saying that the image_thumbupdate was unable to be verified because they are not connected to the wifi, yet their iPad or iPhone says that they have a full signal. Some users don’t even have the option of updating because their device says that it’s up to date. This has been a major disappointment to many Apple consumers, seeing as software updates are meant to improve devices and having the newest software means having a better-phone. If you think this is a problem, things get worse.


The Ugly

Aside from not being able to download the update, there are worse issues. Users who were able to update were required to sign in to their device using the original Apple ID and password used on the device. This means that even if someone changed their password five times since they’ve first had their phone, they had to recall the original password used for their device and log in with that. Also, people who have bought used phones were required to enter the original owner’s user ID and password. The worst part? Those who could not recall their information were unable to access their device. Many users were locked out of their phones, iPads, and other Apple products. This caused an uproar of frustration and created a bad reputation for iOS 9.3. Luckily, Apple was very quick with handling this issue and fixed it in a timely manner.


Although there were many issues when iOS 9.3 was first released, I personally think that it is a beneficial update. The many improvements and additions will satisfy all Apple citizens. My hope is to see Apple Classroom used in majority of classrooms in Burlington High School. I support iOS 9.3 and am excited to see what Apple has in store for their next software update.








Private Parking: A New Parking Policy That Will Benefit All Citizens of BHS

At Burlington High School, the latest hot topic has been the issue with parking. For those of you who do not know the BHS parking policy, students are required to park in the designated student parking lot. Parking passes for students are $10, and they are given a red tag to show that they are allowed to park there. However, sports captains are given a paper sign allowed to park in the gym parking lot during their designated season, which creates more availability in the student parking lot. Although this seems like a great idea, some people have been taking advantage of parking at the gym. For example, some students that are not captains frequently park at the gym. This has created problems with the teachers that park at the gym, because they are running out of options for parking. Even though non-captain students that get caught parking at the gym are required to cdcab46699211b7233af6ef015560abcmove their cars and are subject to detention, this does not seem to be enough. If anything, the parking situation is only getting worse. To ease these tensions, my classmates and I want to develop a plan to make sure everyone has a parking spot and they are parking in the right area.


Our plan is to develop color-coded parking tags that correspond with designated areas at the high school. We hope to create a more strict and organized system for parking so there are no more issues with parking spaces. For our April 1st deliverable, we want to meet with our head administrators to collaborate and develop a plan that everyone approves of. Then, by May 1st we are hoping to design these tags and make a prototype using the 3D
printer that is in our maker studio. If our prototype is approved by administration, we are hoping to have different colored tags made by June 1st. We are hoping that this new system can debut next year, because it will be difficult to enforce new rules at the end of this school year. With the help of administration, we would like to mark the different parking areas of the school to differentiate parking spots for the teachers, health/physical education teachers, administration employees, preschool teachers, captains, and students. Depending on a person’s status at the school, they will be given their respective parking tag and this way violators will be easily spotted and will face consequences.

Our hopes for this new system are that people will respect the parking policy and will not parking in areas where they are not supposed to be. If students do decide to violate the policy, it will be easier to target them because of the color system. Also, we hope that students will be less likely to break rules because they will be aware of the risks. This way, less students will be getting in trouble, which will create a much more positive environment. Parking is not an issue that should have to be enforced so heavily, so we hope that this policy will help our administration and let them focus on more important issues. Overall, I think that having a more organized system will make parking easier for everyone at Burlington High School.

About Me

My name is Chandler Joyce and I am a senior at Burlington High School. This is my first semester being involved in Help Desk and I am eager to learn everything this program has to offer. You can find me in here during period three. At Burlington High School, I am a two-year member of the Varsity Volleyball Team, Treasurer of the Rotary Interact Club, member of the Spanish Club, an Alcohol-Ed Representative, and a Freshman Mentor. My favorite school subjects are History and Spanish.image1

Outside of school, I dance at Movement Dance Studio in Wakefield, MA, coach U12 volleyball for Team Evolution in Woburn, MA, and work at Dunkin’ Donuts and A Whole Bunch Flower Market. In my free time, my favorite things to do are traveling and spending time with friends and family. The best experience I’ve ever encountered was the time I went to Spain for an exchange trip. In the Fall, I will be attending Salve Regina University in Newport, RI. I will be majoring in Undeclared Liberal Arts, and minoring in History. I’m unsure of exactly what I want to do with my life, but I know that I want to help people
however I can.

I enjoy helping people with their problems and work in customer service, which is why I think Help Desk is a good course for me. I appreciate using technology to learn because I can simply search for answers that I don’t have, and discover more useful information. My favorite app to use is Yelp! because if I’m ever looking for a new place to eat, shop, get my nails done, or do anything, I can read helpful reviews that will influence my decision and lead me towards the best option. I’m familiar with using Apple products, such as iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macs. My goal is to learn how to fix people’s technological issues and teach others how to use different devices, apps, and software. You can connect with me through my blog and Twitter!


A Crazy Week in the Life of a Help Desk Student

Last week, I wrote my first app review. The app I chose was Seesaw  , an interactive learning program that promotes organization and seesaw-appcommunication. This app allows students to post their work in a private classroom for their teachers and parents to see. Also, parents and teachers can contact each other through a private messaging feature in the app. Being an athlete, I feel as though this app is not only useful for teachers, but for coaches, too. Coaches can use Seesaw to send the team and their parents information, instead of sending mass emails or papers home.  My goal was to encourage teachers to use this app because I personally think it is a great way for teachers to make sure their students are fully engaged in their learning and to inform parents if they are not. Sometimes the use of technology in a distracting way can create a distant classroom environment because kids aren’t paying attention, but this app ensures that they will. To spread the knowledge of this app, Ms. Scheffer, Mr. Larkin, and the BHS Help Desk all tweeted a link to my article. Hopefully, my article was read by teachers and this will help them innovate their classroom.


On Wednesday, we had a group of visitors come to the Help Desk. As Dr. Conti and Mr. Larkin guided them in, we introduced ourselves and explained the concept of Help Desk. Thankfully, they a9e8989ef58892fd8723b392e3bb9de4_400x400were eager to learn about what we do here. We informed them that this is a credited class and we get graded for all of the assignments that we do. They were curious as to what we do when there aren’t any students or faculty members needing our help, and we told them about our app reviews, independent learning endeavor, weekly reflections, and the different assignment Ms. Scheffer gives us. Then, they were interested in seeing our blogs, and we were happy to show them. Our visitors were very impressed by not only our main BHS Help Desk blog, but our individual blogs, too. Ms. Scheffer also showed them the Maker Studio, which is an office next to the Help Desk where we can physically create things with the 3D printer and other tools. After that, they were off to explore the rest of the school. It was a very eye opening experience for me. Obviously, I knew how impressive our amount of technology integration in education was, but I did not realize the magnitude of it. This group of people traveled 6,150 miles just to observe how students in Burlington High School use technology in their classes. To me, that is just astonishing. It made me feel proud to not only be a student of such an impactful school, but to be part of our admirable tech team.
Thursday night from 8-9 pm, the Help Desk participated in a Twitter chat with eight other schools in Massachusetts. Along with these tech teams, we had a special guest join us named Zachary Grimshaw. Zachary was a member of his tech team in high school and started a tech team when he went to college. All together, there were about 30 people involved with this chat. In the days unnamedleading up to the chat, I scheduled my tweets ahead of time using Tweetdeck because I was not available to tweet live at those hours. As a group, us students collaborated and thought of questions for the chat. After each question, we answered and scheduled our tweets for the accurate times. After the chat, I scrolled through the archive and was very impressed by how many people were part of our chat and the feedback I got from my answers. This was my first time being part of a Twitter chat, and I thought it was very cool to be able to interact with tech team members from other schools and districts. Overall, this was a great experience and I am very thankful to have opportunities like this because of Help Desk.

Seesaw: A Way to Connect With Students and Parents

Seesaw is an app designed for teachers of all grades and subjects.image1 
Seesaw allows teachers to connect with not only students, but parents, too. Through this app, teachers create classrooms for each of their classes and this enables students to create their own 
digital portfolios to display what they have learned. Students can use a variety of methods to share their knowledge, such as text, pictures, videos, drawings, PDFs, and links. Once students update their portfolios, their information is immediately available for their teacher to access. Students can access their teachers classroom with a QR code, text code, or an email account.

Seesaw highlights the developments that have been made to education. For example, teachers can take pictures of worksheets and post it into their classroom, and students can draw their work on to the same picture and turn it in. Also, this app creates a blog-like feeling, which allows students to assert their thoughts and explain themselves more thoroughly. This app is helpful to students with different learning habits because they are allowed to express their ideas in different forms. Students that may feel more comfortable verbally explaining their answers are allowed to do so, others that can explain themselves through drawing are welcome to that solution, etc.

This app is great for teachers to check on their students progress and make sure they understand what is being taught in class. It also helps students download.pngwith their organization and time management skills. Seesaw is easily accessible and can be organized quickly and efficiently. One of the drawbacks of students having iPads/the internet for learning is that distractions can become an issue. Instead of utilizing the advantages that come along with having an educational iPad, students sometimes play games, use social media, or text their friends, which can create a distant atmosphere between teachers and students. This app creates a more interactive environment for classrooms, especially those with 1-1 programs, like Burlington High School. Seesaw also has an app specifically designed for parents, so that they are more involved with their child’s education and progress.image2

Seesaw provides a personal and trustworthy audience for students because parents can access their child’s portfolio and check their progress. Teachers can restrict who views each students portfolio, so that students are not copying their peers
work. Also, parents have the options to communicate with teachers via private messaging, creating a strong support system for students. The Seesaw app for parents is designed like the student/teacher app, whereas parents have to enter their child’s classroom code through a QR code. Parents are notified whenever their child’s portfolio is updated and they have full access to their work and the teacher’s feedback. Along with viewing portfolios, parents can save documents and pictures in their phone.

Seesaw is an app that is changing the dynamics of technology integration in education. This app not only incorporates teacher involvement, but parent involvement too, so that slacking off and not paying attention is not an option for students. I personally think that Seesaw is a great app that would be useful in any classroom of any grade. Sports coaches could even use this app to connect with players and parents. I highly recommend this app to teachers/coaches that want to make sure their students and parents are fully engaged in their education.seesaw-logo-script-tagline

iMovie Screencast Review

This week, I produced my first screencast. A screencast is an informational video on how to use different systems or apps. In my screencast, I gave a tutorial on how to use the side-by-side feature in iMovie. iMovie is an app that allows you to create and edit different video productions. The side-by-side feature allows you to play icon175x175videos next to each other at the same time. I think that this feature would really benefit physical education teachers or coaches because it allows you to demonstrate different things at once or show athletes how they can fix or improve things by displaying a video of them and a video of what they should be doing. Along with P.E. teachers and coaches, this tool is useful for any teacher or student for various projects.

Because it was my first screencast, I was a little nervous of how it would turn out. To my surprise, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected it to be. I had a preconceived idea that my voice would sound terrible and I would mess up a billion times, which was not the case. Of course I made mistakes, but after a few practice runs I knew what to say and I was confident. Confidence is the key to making good screencasts. If you are not confident with what you are talking about, then your screencast won’t be appealing to your viewers. There were some points in my video where I lacked confidence and that is when I made mistakes. Towards the end of my video, I explained one of the features wrong, and then got it mixed up with another feature. Luckily, it wasn’t a big deal, and now I know to run through my screencast physically next time before recording it. This was a learning experience for me because now I know how to prepare and make a screencast.

With each screencast I make, I hope to improve my skills and become less nervous. The thing to remember is that it’s okay to mess up because you can simply delete it and start over. Screencasts are not supposed to be a nerve-wracking activity, but rather an informational and fun tutorial for your followers to watch and learn from. My goal for creating this screencast was for my viewers to learn something new and hopefully use this skill in their cla
ssrooms, or even locker rooms.

Battle of the Brands: Apple vs. Microsoft

Customer service is one of the most important elements of a business. If you have good customer service, people are going to tell their friends. If you have bad customer service, people are going to tell everyone they know. Customer service reflects on the company and how they value their followers. In Help Desk, we have been learning about the importance of customer service and WIRED, which is Ms. Scheffer’s guide to remarkable customer service. WIRED consists of welcoming the customer, investigating the issue, resolving the issue, encouraging a return visit, and developing a relationship with the customer. Recently, a classmate and I visited two popular technology stores in the Burlington Mall. Our task was to rate their customer service and observe the do’s and don’t’s while interacting with consumers and see how these companies apply WIRED into their customer service.

Our first stop was the Apple Store. Apple is without a doubt the most popular technology brand in the world. Their products are reliable and helpful, but are their employees? We expected to be greeted as soon as we walked in the door, but we were not. I was very surprised by this, but I then realized how busy they were and approached an employee about having a consultation about laptops. She took my name down and sent me to an area where I could be assisted. After about four minutes, a man approached me and introduced himself, saying that he was sent to help me decide which laptop would be a good product for me. Not only was he friendly, he was humorous, too. He asked many questions, like where I’ll be going to college and what my major will be, which helped narrow the options down. He showed side-by-side comparisons of different laptops and then gave me his own personal opinion on which laptop would be the most beneficial for me. Another thing that I thought was impressive is that this sales associate never tried to convince me to buy these because they’re better than other companies products, he tried to sell these products to me because they would improve my life. Although we did not receive a formal greeting, this man investigated my issue, resolved the conflict, encouraged me to come back and purchase a laptop when I’m ready, and developed a more personal relationship with me. I give Apple’s customer service an A-.

Our second and final store was Microsoft. Microsoft is a very underrated store, but is upcoming with new products and softwares. We were greeted as soon as we walked in and asked what brought us into their store. Again, we told them we were looking for laptops for college. Although they were very friendly, it felt as though they weren’t really listening to our request because the employee started showing us tablets, which was not what we were looking for. He began to show us laptops, and did not convince us that they were the right computers for us, rather that they were better than Apple products. He also failed to display how much better they were because every time he turned on a laptop, he either didn’t know how to use it or he said that their demo software was “crappy”. Overall, I felt as though their customer service was very friendly and personable, but they did not do a great job of displaying their products. I would rate their customer service a C+.

In this match-up, Apple had the better customer service. Not only were they friendly and helpful, they were very experienced and confident with the subject matter that they were discussing. If I were to go back to either store and buy a product, I would definitely buy an Apple product. The employees embody their duties as sales associates and go the extra mile to make sure the product that you’re willing to buy is beneficial to your life. This assignment really showed me what it means to have good customer service skills.

My First Week in Help Desk

While picking my courses for second semester, I knew Help Desk was going to be a class like no other, but little did I know how professional this course is. Instead of students, we are treated like workers, peers even. Instead of learning about math equations that we won’t ever use again after high school, we are being taught social and technological skills that will benefit us throughout our whole lives. My first day was spent learning all about the purpose of Help Desk, customer service, and blogging. Throughout the week, I got to put my newly acquired skills to work by helping students with iPad issues, teachers with YouTube malfunctions, and creating my new blog. It was definitely a hectic week, but it was riveting.

My favorite part of this week was when representatives from schools in various states came to visit and explore our Help Desk and 1:1 program. For those of you who don’t know what 1:1 means, it is that every student is matched with an iPad. When the visitors first arrived, they gathered into the auditorium for a presentation from our superintendent, principal, IT department, and Ms. Scheffer. Of course, I had to show up untimely because I feel the need to be early for everything, and was blessed with the opportunity to stand in the front of an audience of strangers and speak to them about Help Desk, a program I had been in for four days. To my surprise, I did pretty well. I discussed how my week had gone and what I had helped people with. After my fellow students arrived, we took groups of our visitors on a tour around the school and showed them how students utilize their iPads in a positive and educational way. Not only did the students display their technological uses, the teachers explained how they use their blogs to communicate with students and all of the interactive ways they use technology. Our last stop was the Help Desk, to show them the professional environment we thrive in. The tour concluded in the auditorium, and visitors asked us many questions about our opinions and experiences with using iPads. Overall, this tour was a great experience in my first week at Help Desk because it was a hands-on occassion that opened my eyes to my future in this course.