Welcome to the Digital Literacy site for Middle School @ SSIS.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Learning to Search Effectively

This section will guide you through more advanced features of Google Search.

Unit Question

"How can I use search operators and advanced options to narrow down my results?"

Google Search Operators

Image from posterenvy.com [Accessed August 2015]


Try http://www.agoogleaday.com/. What's your highest score?

Google Search Tools

Google Advanced Search

Apart from using operators, you can also use Google's Advanced Search option.

If you click into this page, it gives you a lot more fields to complete before running your search, including usage rights. This is very important if you are looking for images to copy and use.

Types of usage rights:
  • Free to use or share: Allows you to copy or redistribute its content if the content remains unchanged.
  • Free to use, share, or modify: Allows you to copy, modify, or redistribute in ways specified in the license.
  • Commercially: If you want content for commercial use, be sure to select an option that includes the word "commercially."


Find an image of an activity you are interested in. It must be free to use. Embed it in your blog:
  • explaining why you chose it 
  • including the URL 
  • noting the date you accessed the image online

Image Editing with Pixelmator

In this unit, we will learn how to manipulate images in Pixelmator, which is an alternative program to Photoshop.

Unit Question

"How can I manipulate images to create collages and special effects?"

Begin by downloading a free trial of Pixelmator here
NB Once you have downloaded and installed Pixelmator, you will only have 30 days to complete any image editing projects you start!

We cover and try out the following features of Pixelmator in lessons. If you would like to review anything, see below.

From http://www.ifrick.ch/2011/06/pixelmator-2-0-sneak-preview-macht-laune/
[Accessed August 2015]

Introduction to Layers

Practice 1

Create an image with at least 3 layers. Post the image in your blog, linking to the original images you used (credits). The title is Layers in Pixelmator and the tags are Pixelmator, Image Layers & Digital Literacy

Customise the Tools Palette

Practice 2

Add 2 things to your palette and remove 2 things from your palette. Post a screen shot of the items in your blog and explain what they do. The title is Pixelmator Palette and the tags are Pixelmator Digital Literacy.

Practice 3

Blend 2 images - you can use pictures of animals as in the example. Post this to your blog and explain the steps. Remember to include picture credits! The title is Blending Images and the tags is Pixelmator.


  • Create a collage to use as the front cover of your Reader-Writer Notebook
  • Use personal images and images from the public domain only, which reflect the important things in your life
  • Insert your collage into a blog post
  • Title = Collage
  • Labels = collage, image editing, Pixelmator, assignment, notebook cover

Copyright & Creative Commons

A look at copyright and how you can use copyright and Creative Commons in your documents. As we explore different licensing we will also look at search and different tools and preferences that you can use with OS X.

Unit Question

"What responsibilities do you have to respect others' creative work?"

Respecting Copyright

Image result for think!

  • What is something you’ve made that you’re proud of?
  • Can you think of a time when you used someone else’s work in something you created?

  • Why does Nicole want to share her writing online? What are the benefits for her?
  • What are the risks of Nicole sharing her writing online?

Remember: once someone records an original idea, it is copyrighted. Copyright is a law that helps protect the rights of creators so they receive credit and get paid for their work. Most things you find, download, copy and paste from the Internet are copyrighted.
You can use things you find online as long as you:​
  • check who created it​
  • get permission to use it​
  • give credit to the creator​
  • buy it (if necessary)​
  • use it responsibly
If you aren’t careful in how you use other people’s work online, you might be stealing.
It’s great to be able to use things we find online, but we have to do it responsibly. We have to show our respect for other people’s hard work and creativity by giving credit where credit is due.


Creative Work
Any idea or artistic creation that is recorded in some form, whether it’s hard copy or digital.
A law that protects your control over the creative work you make so that people must get your permission before they copy, share, or perform your work.
Creative Commons
A kind of copyright that makes it easier for people to copy, share, and build on your creative work[…]”
A clear way to define the copyright of your creative work so people know how it can be used.
Stealing copyrighted work by downloading or copying it in order to keep, sell, or give it away without permission and without paying.
Copying, “lifting,” or making slight changes to some or all of someone else’s work and saying you created it.
Public Domain
Creative work that’s not copyrighted and therefore free for you to use however you want.
Fair Use
The ability to use a small amount of copyrighted work without permission, but only in certain ways and in specific situations (schoolwork and education, news reporting, criticizing or commenting on something, and comedy/parody).​

Excerpt From: Mr Bertoia “Digital Literacy 6” iBooks.


OS Overview

In this unit, you will learn some of the ways you can customise your Macbook using System Preferences.

Unit Question

"How can I customise my Macbook to suit my work habits and personal preferences?"


  • Sidebar size  (have Finder visible)
  • Default Web Browser

Desktop & Screensaver

  • Customise wallpaper & screensaver (optional password protect)
  • Hot Corners
  • Dock hide / show


  • Remove unnecessary icons
  • ‘Keep in dock’ for those most used
  • Automatic Hide / Show dock (it can get in the way)
  • Minimise window into application icon hides the application then you can get at it by control clicking on the application (right click if you have mouse setup)
  • Command-Shift-3 to capture the entire screen
  • Command-Shift-4 to capture a highlighted area
  • Command-Shift-4 and then hit the spacebar to screenshot a specific window or menu.
  • Screenshots are saved to Desktop by default - location can be changed by following these instructions. WARNING: Editing in Terminal must be done carefully to avoid serious problems with your Macbook’s operating system.


  • CMD + Shift + H - takes you to top level folder of user


  • Take a screenshot of your full screen. 
  • Take a screenshot of any part of your screen. 
  • Take a screenshot of a menu. 
  • Insert all 3 images into a document.


  • Write an entry in your blog with the title 'System Preferences' and the tag 'GTKY Mac'. 
  • In your post, explain 4 different ways you can customise your Macbook using the menus in System Preferences. Each explanation is worth 25 points for a total of 100 points. 
  • Write in paragraphs and check your post against the rubric below.
  • When finished, submit it here.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Tech Audit Results



How familiar are you with Apple Mac (laptop or desktop)?

This is my first time with Apple Mac.743.8%
I can use a Mac but need to learn more to be a confident user.318.8%
I am comfortable using a Mac.531.3%
I am ready to teach others how to use their Macbooks.16.3%

How familiar are you with Google Docs?

I have never used Google Docs.425%
I have started with Google Docs but need to learn more to be a confident user.16.3%
I am comfortable using Google Docs and use this as my main word processing program.743.8%
I am ready to teach others how to use Google Docs.425%

How familiar are you with Photoshop, Pixelmator or other image software?

I have never used Photoshop, Pixelmator or other image software.1168.8%
I have done a little on Photoshop, Pixelmator or other image software but need to learn more to be a confident user.318.8%
I am comfortable using Photoshop, Pixelmator or other image software and have created different effects.00%
I am ready to teach others how to use Photoshop, Pixelmator or other image software.00%

How familiar are you with Scratch?

I have never used Scratch.956.3%
I have done a little on Scratch but need to learn more to be a confident user.425%
I am comfortable using Scratch and have created games / animations.318.8%
I am ready to teach others how to use Scratch.00%