Our first interview is with Mr. Pacelli, a local hero and 5th Grade Math Teacher who calls Elisa, Mom. We’ll be discussing Distance Learning and how technology has impacted his work and life. Follow us @GeekiestShow.
Have you ever wanted to research genealogy and learn about your family history, but weren’t sure where to start? Then episode 341 of Geekiest Show Ever is just for you! Elisa walks us through how to get started using the free and paid versions of Ancestry.com as well as other tools like MacFamilyTree and more. Melissa shares a quick check-in on Distance Learning with the ways she’s flexing her geekery at home to get through another day. Elisa gives us even more tips for using watchOS 7 for sleep tracking and shopping — though not at the same time — we’ll save that for another show!
Apps & Tips:
Use an app on your computer or mobile device in addition to an Ancestry.com tree. There are facts, stories, or photos you may not want made publicly available online for various reasons.
MacFamilyTree by Synium Software GmbH
This goes on sale at least once per year so you might be able to get it at a discounted price. The macOS app is currently $59.99. They offer a free demo version. There is also a version for iPhone and iPad that currently costs $29.99
Reunion used to be the app everyone used on the Mac. It’s now it’s up to version 12 and priced at $99.00. The web site is very dated and it doesn’t reflect when the software was updated, but it seems like the message boards are current. It may be worth checking out to see if it has the features you want or need.
You’ve probably heard phrases like “first cousin once removed” or “second great uncle.” It’s quite confusing to figure out the relationships of distant family. A nice feature of Ancestry is that it discloses the relationship of a person to you. For example, when you enter info for your mother’s sister, underneath the death date it will say Aunt. Sadly, there’s no way to figure out how one person is related to another automatically.
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In episode 338 of Geekiest Show Ever, we discuss surviving the first full week of distance learning with some observations and tips. These days, we find ourselves doing a lot more cleaning and disinfecting. Now that more kids are learning from home, all those keyboards are bound to get icky! Melissa shares her hack for how to clean a mechanical keyboard.
Distance Learning Tips & Observations
• Setting up a workstation is crucial whether you’re a teacher, parent, or guardian helping to prepare a child for distance learning.
• Minimize distractions with over-the-ear headphones, preferably with noise cancellation for smaller kiddos who have ears too small for earbuds.
• Over the weekend, take some time to test out your child’s audio input and output settings. Make sure their mic isn’t turned all the way up or all the way down. Teach them how to use the keyboard shortcut for muting themselves.
• Use a decorative sheet or green screen as a backdrop to create a private space.
• Make sure the work area has plenty of light.
• Keep an eye on the thermostat and make accommodations. Children may get sleepy or irritable if it’s too hot or too cold in their workspace. Try adding a fan or a cuddly blanket.
• Take breaks up and away from the workstation and computer to do physical activities.
• Try to replicate your child’s bell schedule with an egg timer, watch, or smartphone app that makes a sound or vibration.
• Remember that you won’t be able to replicate all things that pertain to on-site learning, but you can get creative when teaching skills like staying on a schedule. A routine is good for mental health during these uncertain times.
• Check out your local communities or estate sales and ask around for tech supplies.
Look for wired keyboards, headphones, printers, and other “last year” models that people may want to discard. Many consumers want wireless these days, but going back to wired for kids can be a bit more tried and true. It also negates the need for replacing batteries or negotiating Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections in what could be an already strained network.
Learn Something New
If your child is using a mechanical keyboard and has trouble typing despite being skillful, it may be time to deep-clean that keyboard. Perhaps you just need to inspect under the keys for a foreign object like a loose staple, piece of paper, or potato chip. You can take apart a mechanical keyboard by making your own key cap puller out of florist wire. Here is what a key cap puller looks like. This is a video that shows how to twist the wire into shape. Using florist wire you can skip the step of stripping the coating.
This week Melissa is focused on retrofitting her home in preparation for distance learning. She has many thoughts and questions about what to expect when entire households are all online all at the same time.