Word Order: When You Search It Matters!

The word order of a search matters in today’s connected world, so 21st Century learners — of all ages — should understand how search results change when a user rearranges the words. A short video on word order, uploaded by Google’s Search Anthropologist Daniel Russell – check out his Search-Research blog – teaches this lesson effectively.

Use this less-than-two-minute video — I found it in a blog post at Free Technology for Teachers — as a quick and succinct teaching tool with students, parents, and other educators.

Teaching Kids to Search Well and Evaluate What They Find

TechforSuccessMy post, Back-to-School Research Tip: Help Your Child Use Curated Online Databases, is posted over at the Platform for Good website. It describes strategies that parents and educators can use to help children understand more about quality searching and help 21st Century kids become better evaluators of their search results.

To get the new school year started in a digitally sensible way, please take a few minutes to read my post and learn ways to direct 21st Century children to resources curated by experts, materials chosen to help students get good results when they search. The more they encounter quality search results, the better they will become at recognizing poor quality when they use a less curated searching tool.

On the same page, at the right, is a wonderful graphic called Tech for Success that I will definitely use as a handout with students and their parents during the 2014-15 school year. Similar to an acrostic poem, the graphic uses the word “success,”  spelling it down the left-hand side of the page and attaching an important digital citizenship message to each letter of the word.

How Quickly Do New Apps Gain Kids’ Attention?

See the larger charts below.

See the larger charts below.

As we get ready to return to school for the 2014-15 academic year, my thoughts turn toward the digital life changes that I’ll observe in the lives of my 21st Century students when we come together in September.

After three months of summer activities such as volunteering or part-time jobs and the less structured time at camps and on vacations, most kids arrive at school with new digital experiences, devices, and apps — and they want to share everything. I’ve especially thought about the number of apps that seem to come out of nowhere — suddenly appearing in kids lives and on their mobile devices — and I know popular new ones will appear this fall.

Below I am sharing three slides from digital parenting presentations that I made over six months, from October to May during the 2013-14 school year.

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Project Eavesdrop: NPR’s Story About Our Unintentional Sharing

detective-2

Picture courtesy of Ollie Olarte on Flickr. Click to visit his site.

Just what can our Internet activity tell about us, and who can find the information? What do we unintentionally share? We tell our children not to share specifics kinds of personal information, but much of that information is somewhere — in the digital ether — a result of our various digital footprints, searches, apps settings, and smartphone connections, and waiting to be discovered.

Given the news about the massive amount of data collected by the National Security Agency, NPR reporter Steve Henn set out to find out how much of our data “seeps” out, potentially allowing others to learn all kinds of personal information about a person. Henn used himself as a test subject.

He called his story Project Eavesdrop, and NPR featured a radio report and posted the story online during the second week of June 2014 (a time when so many of us, busy with the end of the school year or the beginning of summer activities, missed this story).   Continue reading

Do We Support Those Digital-Age Students With Passionate Interests?

Invent to Learn graphic art

Invent to Learn Graphic Art. Click to check out the book.

As my learning activities continue at the 2014 Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute (CMK14) I’ve spent a significant amount of time thinking about young 21st Century connected learners who come to our classrooms with special talents or unusual interests.

Often our classes include students who discover especially interesting topics, and these kids learn more and more until they develop expertise in the area. Sometimes the students go even farther with a subject, developing a passion and spending enormous amounts of personal time looking for more to learn. Last year at my school a fifth grader demonstrated, over and over, his passion for aviation and his all-consuming interest continues to thrive.

Cam Perron is just such a learner (watch his TEDTalk).     Continue reading