1. What do you think of Office 365?
    1. I think it’s a great tool for those who need to know how to use a variety of computer programs. It’s comprehensive and easy to navigate while still permitting the user to accomplish complicated tasks.
    2. Office 365 makes it very easy to access files from multiple devices and share information with a variety of people. It’s best suited to a school/work environment.
  2. Why do you think that?
    1. The homepage has automatic access to many Microsoft programs and makes it easy to download the applications to your desktop. Also, upon entering a program for the first time, it gives you basic rundowns on how the program works and cool features you have access to. There is also always access to a help centre if needed.
    2. I rely very heavily on OneDrive for a lot of my school work – I can save something on my computer and open it on a school computer within a minute. However, I’m not sure how useful this is in a purely home/personal environment.
  3. What are the strengths of this program?
    1. Easy to navigate/maneuver
    2. Large variety of capabilities to accomplish an even larger variety of tasks
    3. I just have a high opinion of Microsoft/Windows programs. I think their strength lies in their compatibility with any device and other programs, and making it very easy to share files and information across many platforms.
      1. I wonder if Microsoft is going to follow Amazon’s example and open-source Cortana. That would be cool.
    4. What are the weaknesses of this program?
      1. There are quite a few redundant programs
        1. Sure, Sway is kind of fancy but it’s complicated and at times, confusing to use. PowerPoint is perfectly capable of accomplishing what Sway can, and people actually know how to use PPT!
      2. There are some glitches, like with all programs. OneDrive Online will occasionally not sync with the OneDrive downloaded program, OneNote will need log-in on numerous occasions.
    5. How can this program be used in a classroom setting to enhance student learning?
      1. Besides the obvious – Word is great, PowerPoint makes presentations not cringeworthy, Excel is my actual life saver – Office365 has a lot of potential to be incredibly capable of being fully integrated into student learning.
      2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: OneDrive is I have the app on my phone, and it’s so much more convenient than sending myself documents and audio files. It cuts presentation-making and group-project time in half.
      3. I’ve also used OneNote frequently in class, and while it’s little difficult to get the whole class up and running, it proves very effective in getting documents out to the whole class, doing group projects, and taking notes.
    6. What suggestions do you have to improve the program?
      1. Overall, I like the program. I think minimizing the number of programs available on a student account would make everything a little bit less confusing, or making it easier to mold elements from each program.
      2. Currently, it’s difficult to transfer formatting from Word to Powerpoint and vice versa. I’m not sure if this a problem with any other programs (I know Sway isn’t very versatile when it comes to their formatting) but providing more ease of access between the two most popular programs would be beneficial.
      3. Also, what is up with Sway? It would be a much better program if it was possible to change the layout of the templates, resize things, and combine different types of media seamlessly. But that’s a whole different essay.
    7. Do you have any questions about the program?
      1. What’s the difference between a student account and a teacher account? I know the permissions are different, but are the programs changed?
        1. If so, this could potentially be the source of a lot of confusion between the teacher and the class when it comes to the online programs.
        2. That, or Wi-Fi.
      2. Are there any voice-automated/artificial intelligence assistant systems accessible with Office365?
        1. If so, how?
        2. If not, are there plans for this? Cortana is great.


Tech Team Coding (or: how to rewrite the entire internet, for beginners)

I actually really liked how it was formatted: instructions on the left, all the work in the middle, and the results on the side so you could see what you were doing in real time. It walked you through everything very clearly, but there were some parts that were a little tedious. I understood the different functions of headings and paragraphs right away, but the site made you run through everything. I get why, but a “skip” option would have been appreciated.

Overall, I definitely understand a lot more about coding now than I did before I started the program. It used to be this really obscure thing, but it’s pretty simple. I’ve used Linux coding on my Edublog extensively (tis what happens when you’re in two different math courses), so I understood the basic structures already. Codeacademy does a really good job of explaining all the ins and outs of HTML and CSS, and it explains what everything really does, even if it doesn’t show up on the webpage itself.

I would’ve liked to have been able to create my own website on the program, with the site walking me through it and me putting in my own information or tools. Maybe it comes in some of the later courses, but I think a teacher would be able to use the same format and instructions of the site, but enable students to create their own websites. Once you know what most of the codes themselves do, you’re pretty good to do whatever you want from there (with limitations of course). I think it would be a good first-year course project to create your own website, and then build upon it and add more design options as the course goes on.

Parent Tech Tips

  1. Explain in detail one issue surrounding the use of technology at Riverside. Explain what the issue is in detail. Why do you believe it is a concern for students, parents, and teachers? You level of detail needs to be thorough so someone who is not knowledgeable with technology, should be able to understand what the issue is.


I speak from experience when I say an issue with using my laptop for everything at school is lack of focus. My science teacher will vouch for this – I’ll start thinking about some random bit of information, then start asking questions, then google it. Most of my Wikipedia binges begin in class (and don’t end till days later). And I’m not the only student who struggles to stay attentive in class when something far more interesting is happening online. Students may check social media sites, or aimlessly browse news sites because the presence of a device and strong WiFi calls for endless distraction, which appear more interesting than whatever is being covered in class at the moment. With constantly updating news feeds like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, keeping the attention of the student is harder now than ever before. Students don’t listen to everything said in class, teachers must repeat things or they simply fail to make sure everyone knows the content, and parents have no idea why. The world is changing – technology is in nearly every aspect of modern life. Teachers and parents alike find it difficult to understand what exactly is so interesting about our cellular devices, and it’s not any specific thing – it’s the ever-evolving stream of news and jokes.


  1. Explain what you believe is a possible solution to this issue or problem that you have explained above.


I think, for starters, teachers need to enforce attentiveness in class. Lecture classes are, for lack of a better word, incredibly boring. I’m guilty of checking my social media feeds during these times, and I’m one of the more interested ones. I’m not the most knowledgeable on teaching strategies, but if course content was taught in a more enthusiastic manner, and made to be relevant to teenagers and their passions, more information would be gotten across. Teachers tend to think of high school students as just students, people who go to school and learn, but they forget we’re only teenagers. Our social lives span multiple social media accounts, and teachers and parents should understand that. The average adolescent attention span is a lot shorter than it used to be, and our main source for information tends to be 4 minute videos on YouTube. If we’re interested, we’ll research more, but it’s that instant attention-grabbing that is vital to making sure students understand what’s happening in class.

Parents can help too – educate themselves on social media and what teenagers are really interested in (hint: it’s mostly “memes”). Knowing how to get across to your teenager is super important, and a great way of doing that is being able to relate to them. Most of us are interested in current events – talk to us about them! But don’t spend hours on it. Something more interesting would’ve already happened.

November Reflection

What are some things you have learned and/or tasks you have accomplished this month? (Use videos, pictures, upload materials etc. as evidence of learning in your blog)

            Not necessarily this month, but since September I’ve participated in the Grade 9 Digital Bootcamp (September 6th) and the CUEBC Conference held at Riverside (October 21st). I’ve also put in hours at the WAVE, and helped numerous teachers with Office 365.

At the Digital Bootcamp, I was in the gym going around and helping students with their Windows devices. I answered questions and troubleshot various problems independently. At the CUEBC Conference, I escorted presenters to the rooms where they would be presenting, and helped them set up their devices to the projectors, Wi-Fi, and speakers. I probably met about a dozen presenters, and helped countless other people attending the conference with their own devices and where to find the rooms. (More rave reviews: here)

In general, I learned a lot about how I should be approaching questions about technology to teachers and students. I’m pretty good at it, but it’s a little tricky to explain how to do things when the person you’re helping just wants you to do it, instead of them learning how to do it themselves. It was pretty funny taking over my English teacher’s computer though (“I have no idea Sara you do it.” Later, she raved that I was “a computer genius” to a colleague at the CUEBC Conference.)

What aspects of your passion project are working? Explain why.

My passion project right now is being on the Makerspace council. We’ve only met once so far, but we had a really good meeting filled with lots of discussion about what the purpose of the Makerspace at school should be and what we need to know before we begin designing the library renovations.

What aspects of your passion project are challenging? Explain why.

It was a little challenging to understand what some people were thinking about the Makerspace at the meeting. We all came from very different backgrounds (there were only three students at the meeting – most were educators), so we had different definitions about what a Makerspace is, and had different objectives about what we would like it to be.

What steps did you take to overcome these challenges / what adjustments did you need to make?

Eventually, the “spouting ideas to put on the board” method dissolved until we were having long, in-depth discussions about various topics involving the Makerspace, like how students would probably use it and amazing innovations we could service at Riverside. It was cool to be on that level of conversation with people who I would’ve only talked about SLC with, besides.

Is there anything you can do improve? (with your approach to the project, or altering the project)

I might put together some of my own ideas for the Makerspace, and bring them up at the next meeting. However, most of the planning is out of my hands.

What is the next step, when will it be completed?

The next step is following up with Mr. Ciolfitto. As for the second question, I have no idea. No one really knows.


(I apologize for the lack of imagery. There aren’t many photos about my Tech Team stuff – I’m elusive when it comes to cameras. My hair always looks awful!)