We are eSmart!

This week I got an email that started with the line “We are very proud to announce that King’s Christian College has now attained eSmart Status! This is a wonderful achievement.” The email was from eSmart Schools, an initiative of the Allanah and Madeline Foundation and endorsed by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner. While this may not seem like much, let me explain just a little of the significance.

Two years ago, a couple of our staff, Mr Galer and Mr Vallance, went to a Professional Development day where they were first introduced to the eSmart framework. They were already aware of some of the dangers of the internet and were determined to continue to develop a system at King’s to both protect and educate our students about the smart, safe and responsible use of technology. However, that day opened their eyes to the magnitude of this never-ending task.

From that day until today, and continuing into the future, King’s staff have used the eSmart framework as a guideline to growing in this area. We have refined existing policy and procedures as well as developing new strategies to better protect and educate our students and wider King’s Community in the area of eSafety. My position, as eSafety coordinator was created; Staff have had professional development; Students have engaged in various learning opportunities and forums; This Innovation Hub was developed; King’s Concern was launched; Parents and other stakeholders have been given the opportunity to attend seminars with internationally renowned speakers such as Susan McLean and Brad Huddleston, and to have a voice in our ongoing eSafety conversations.

As we continue to refine and develop strategies in this area and continue to educate and protect our students, we are grateful that you, as King’s parents, are willing to partner with us in this as we strive for a new normal. A normal where the Smart, Safe and Responsible use of technology is as commonplace as “please” and “thank you” when you go to dinner at Nanna’s.

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Online Concerns @ King’s

Sometimes your child just needs to let someone know there’s something they are concerned about. One mode of communication available to our students is to visit kings.concern.net.au.

This simple mode of communication is available to students during term time and has been a very helpful way for us to get the right person in contact with your child to help navigate the issues that were concerning them.

It is aimed at online concerns, especially since they often occur off-site and we have been able to help students since implementation last year with issues ranging from lost pencil cases, school-yard name-calling, harrassment via social media and friendship issues right up to disclosures of self-harm or a student concerned that their friend may be suicidal.

Letting us know about an online concern is simple. Your child follows the following 4 easy steps:

1. Go to the King’s Concern website, which has a link on every child’s Compass page and is accessible anywhere that has an internet connection.
concern-graphic
2. Click on the coloured face that matches the level of concern.
3. Enter their Name, School email address and a description of the concern.
4. Click “I’m not a robot” and then send.

This sends an email to both myself, as the eSafety coordinator, and our Student Welfare team so that we can get the correct person in contact with your child to help with the concern as quickly as possible.

These messages are always kept confidential. This is especially important if a student is concerned for a friend, it is a way that we can get help for their friend without ever letting them know who asked for the help.

I’ll talk about this on Middle School assembly this week, why don’t you ask your child what they would do if something online was worrying them and see if they mention Concern?

I hope your child never needs it, but if they do, King’s Concern is one way we hope be able to help.

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This week I got an email that started with the line "We are very proud to announce that King's Christian College has now attained eSmart Status! This is a wonderful achievement." The email was from eSmart Schools, an initiative of the Allanah and Madeline...

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Screens, sleep and study

A good night’s sleep is essential for productive study in two main ways. Firstly, a well-rested brain is a brain that is able to focus it’s attention and therefore is able to learn efficiently. Secondly, during R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement) or deep sleep, the brain repairs itself and transfers new information from short-term to long-term memory, which is one of the most important parts of effective learning.  (After all, if you learn something today but forget it before tomorrow, it was a bit of a waste of time and effort.) As well as being an important ingredient for effective learning, a good sleep cycle “is the foundation of all physical and mental health,” Dr Sarah Blunden (South Australian sleep researcher).

The most important ingredient for a good night’s sleep is melatonin. It helps the body get into a good sleep cycle and is often what makes you start to feel tired in the evening. As the sun goes down, and the daylight fades away, your body naturally begins to produce melatonin. This gives your brain and body the signal that it is time to sleep and go into repair mode after all the learning and activity of the day.

Unfortunately for us, light from digital screens in the evening can affect melatonin production. This gives your brain and body the impression you aren’t ready for sleep. The screens also emit light that tricks the brain into thinking that it is still daytime. This interrupts a normal sleep cycle and can contribute to insomnia or sleep deprivation. This is the same trick that commercial florists use to keep roses flowering both in and out of season. Sneaky florists…

Now that the school holidays are over, and your children have had the chance to binge-watch and catch up on a few seasons of their favourite shows on Netflix or Stan, it is time for their brains to get back into efficient learning mode. Research suggests that in order to get effective sleep, screens should be turned off at least an hour before bedtime so that the body has a chance to produce the correct Melatonin levels.

Let’s work together and remind them to turn off the screens, so they can sleep well, to prepare for effective and efficient study this semester.

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