Coding Unplugged

IMG_7261It is wonderful to see students as young as 5 years old become completely engaged in creating simple step-by-step instructions using a program like Scratch Jr or witness an 11-year old solve a problem and move up a level after debugging a misstep within her instructions. But do these students know that this is computational thinking? Do they understand that with these programs they are decomposing, abstracting, searching for patterns, and creating algorithms?

Much like a person would use a recipe when baking a cake, a computer is programmed with a set of instructions to perform a task or multiple tasks. With coding unplugged IMG_7550(no technology devices within the lessons), students are beginning to see the logic and reasoning behind coding. They learn to use symbols to communicate and that these symbols must be clear and precise. Students also learn how to take a big problem and break it down into smaller problems to create basic computer programs.IMG_6758

With coding unplugged, students gain a deeper understanding of computer science while developing the skills of critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, creativity, and perseverance.

If you are interested in coding for children, the primary school is currently using resources. However, please feel free to explore more resources below:

Tool literacy – EasyBib a powerful tool for citing information

Grade 6 is about to begin their Exhibition research. They were introduced to the electronic citation maker EasyBib

How Much Time?


In an effort to get students to reflect upon their daily technology habits and their overall screen time, we asked grade six students what types of digital devices they are using at home and school (Smartphones, laptops, television, tablets,etc.). We then asked students what they were doing on these devices (Instagram, YouTube, SnapChat, video games, Google, etc.).From there, grade six students were asked to record their use of digital devices and what they were doing online on an average school day.


why_digitalAfterwards, students explored the reasons behind using digital media. The top three responses were communication and sharing, entertainment, and education and skills.

All students completed the daily log similar to the one above. Then each student calculated the amount of hours they spent using digital media per day. In order to determine a percentage of daily use per student, we agreed that six grade students were awake an average of 16 hours a day. From here, students could compare how much they used digital devices on a average waking day.IMG_4462

As the technology integrator, I found this lesson quite powerful because it gave students hard evidence of how much time they spend using digital devices. Some students reached as high as 81% of their day and others came in at about 30 to 40%. As a class, we asked students what surprised them about the results and if these results made them rethink how they spend their time.

With the understanding that digital devices are effective tools that can play very positive roles in our lives, we also looked at how we could spend our time without a digital device. Could we have a better balance? Are we using these because we are just bored? Could we get outside a bit more? Would it be a good idea to develop some new habits?

student_calculatingOne interesting aspect that come up for me was the high use of YouTube for watching videos and listening to music. Out of 50 sicth grade students, 44 said they used YouTube daily – that is 88% of sixth graders.  YouTube is a fantastic resource, but there are also many alternatives. I recently found an article ‘47+ Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom’ that can be applied to home use as well.



How much time do you spend on your digital devices?



Dove Evolution video

Transferring Your Cloud

IICS Leaving Procedure – Transferring your Tech

Before you leave IICS, we would like you to safely backup your data and transfer any teacher resources to your HOD or incoming staff accounts.

  1. Google Takeout
  2. Teacher Resource Transfer
  3. Backup Your MacBook
  4. IICS WordPress Site
  5. Final Disconnect

Google Takeout

Google Takeout is a free service from Google that allows you to download files and data stored in your Google account. There are a number of Google services from which you can download your information:by default 2014-06-16 at 15.10.25

The downloaded information can be saved on your computer and then uploaded into another Google account at a later time. Documents downloaded out of Drive will be in Microsoft Office format which can be saved and worked on locally with MS Office or uploaded to a different Google Account and used online in Drive. Similarly, YouTube videos will be downloaded in their highest quality and can be re-uploaded to a different YouTube account.

Quick Steps

(IMPORTANT – You will do the first 4 steps so that Google Takeout will also download files you do not own)

  1. Download Google Drive to your computer
  2. Login to your IICS Gmail account.
  3. Wait for all of your Google Drive items to sync. COPY & PASTE everything you want to download and take with you into one folder called “_DOWNLOADS”
  4. Wait until this finishes copying AND uploading to your Drive.
  5. Go to Google Takeout website.
  6. Choose Create Archive.
  7. We suggest choosing the following:
    1. Drive (All files stored in Drive, ie. docs, spreadsheets etc.)
    2. YouTube (all movies uploaded to YouTube)
    3. Email
  8. After this you will be guided by on-screen instructions depending upon which items you chose to download

Teacher Resource Transfer

Now that you have downloaded an archive of your data, it’s important to make sure that any teacher resource is organized into relevant folders and that the ownership of the files and folders are transferred to either your HOD or the account of the incoming teacher. The process takes a few minutes, and is made easier if you have created folders to organize your Drive with some simple Drive search techniques.

Note: You can only change ownership to other IICS accounts and your documents will be inaccessible after you leave for the Summer.

Quick Steps
YouTube Tutorial

  • Review folders that you own that have been shared with others.
  • Select the folder and change the Sharing settings.
  • Make another person the Owner of the folder (HOD or Incoming Teacher). If the account is not already on the sharing list you will have to add it first as an Editor, save and then change to Owner.
  • Changes will NOT propagate down to the documents and subfolders.
  • Repeat steps to change ownership for any individual documents.
  • Search for files that are “Owned by me”.
  • Review and change ownership as needed.

Backup your MacBook

You will need to decide what data is on your laptop that you need to take with you. You may wish to copy all of your documents, music, videos and whatever else you are storing on your laptop. The best way to do this is to transfer your files to another device using an external hard drive. You have three options:

  • TimeMachine: When you connet your external hard drive, your Mac should ask you if you’d like to use this as a Time Machine. Use this to backup all of your data and user settings for your next computer. Here’s a tutorial on how to use TimeMachine
  • External Hard Drive (manual) You can simply plug in a hard drive and manually drag and drop the files and folders from your laptop to the hard drive but be warned, don’t forget about small files like bookmarks, or large files like music, photos and videos.
  • Cloud Storage If you have personal cloud storage accounts, you may choose to add them to your MacBook and back up your files that way. This may take a bit longer, but you will have the comfort of having access to your files from any device. This is the best option if you do not yet have another personal computer or an external drive.

Exporting Your WordPress (Class) Site

WordPress Tutorial Your WordPress (Class) Site can be transferred to a personal account. You need to export your blog and then import into another WordPress Domain.

Quick Steps

  • Log in to your blog.
  • Go to Tools >> Export
  • Save the XML file.
  • Create a new account on (or create your own domain and add WordPress).
  • Upload your XML file to your new domain.

Final Disconnect

After you have saved and organized everything, you will want to disconnect any cloud sharing tools, like iTunes, Google Drive, Google Chrome, Dropbox, and  The following section shows you how to do this.

iTunes Deauthorization Apple only allows 5 computers to access your iTunes library. To ensure that your current school-issued computer is not included in the five, de-authorize your school-issued computer.

  • Go to iTunes
  • Click on Store
  • Click on De-Authorize This Computer

Google Drive

To sign out of Google Chrome, go to SettingsSign inDisconnect your Google Account.




Google Chrome




  1. Click on the Dropbox icon from the menu bar.

    The Dropbox icon on the menu bar
  2. Click on the gear icon and select Preferences… from the menu.
  3. Select the Account tab. (Dropbox for Business users: If you have connected your personal and work Dropboxes, you’ll also need to select the specific Dropbox you want to unlink.)
  4. Click on Unlink This Dropbox… and confirm your choice.
Unlink button from Dropbox preferences
Unlink button in the desktop application



When you sign in to Skype, your Skype Name is added to the drop-down list in the sign-in screen.

Skype Name selected from the drop down list in the sign-in screen

To remove your Skype Name from the Skype sign-in screen:

  1. Quit Skype.
  2. Open Finder.
  3. In the menu bar, click Go > Go To Folder….
    The Go to Folder option selected under Go in the menu bar
  4. Type ~/Library/Application Support/Skype into the dialog box that appears and click Go.
    ~/Library/Application Support/Skype typed into the dialog boxImportant: Make sure that you include the ~ sign at the beginning of the path as it indicates the user folder. Using the path without this sign navigates you to the general system folder that doesn’t include the Skype folder.
  1. Locate the folder named after the Skype Name you wish to remove from the Skype sign-in screen, and move it to trash.

When you restart Skype, your Skype Name will no longer be displayed.

Remove Information from Browsers


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Open your browser and click the hamburger menu in the upper right corner.  Older versions of Chrome have a gears or wrench icon instead.

Step 2   Delete Chrome Cookies.png

Click Tools > Clear Browsing Data from the dropdown list.

Step 3 Delete cookie timeframe.png

Select the timeframe you want to delete. Check all, select the beginning of time.

Click “Clear Browsing Data”


Open the Firefox – Go to Preferences

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Click “Clear your recent history”

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Select everything and press “Clear Now”

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Adapted, with permission, from Yokohama International School, 12 June 2014