Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner: A Short Review

For some time on this blog I’ve listed Creating Innovators as my current read.

Tony Wagner’s book looks at young adults who are successfully navigating a transforming world of work, where a deep understanding of teamwork and innovation is a prerequisite for success. His profiles focus especially on the educational and parenting experiences that helped each young person flourish. Wagner prods us to identify what we — educators, parents, concerned adults — need to do to engage young learners and help many more of them grow into innovative and creative thinkers.

Creating Innovators features two blended tracks — one text and the other media. Wagner supplements the traditional book with a host of videos that extend and amplify what we have just read. QR codes in each chapter make it easy to access the videos, so we need only scan the image with a smartphone app and off we go to view the related media. If a reader does not own a smartphone — and I’ve discovered that for financial reasons quite a few of my younger colleagues don’t — Wagner’s website includes a page with links to all of the videos.      Continue reading

Kids, Parenting, Gadgets, and Sleep…

I’ve just finished re-reading The Price of Privilege, a 2008 book by Madeline Levine. Last week at a professional development event at my school, I heard Dr. Levine speak, while taking nearly three pages of notes and recalling some of the parenting strategies my husband and I  used when our daughter, now out of graduate school, was in middle and high school.

Almost every concern that Dr. Levine raised — perfectionism, discontent, and insecurity — is familiar after years of parenting and teaching. I especially like her descriptions of effective parenting. Most importantly, when I read her book four years ago and reread it again last week, I thought about sleep and how much of a priority it needs to be for parents and children.

After the lecture my husband and I thought back to our daughter’s middle and high school years, considering all of the things we did well or could have done better. In the process we remembered the emphasis our family placed on getting enough sleep and eliminating computer screens each evening — sometimes to our daughter’s chagrin. Continue reading

Bullying and Cyber-bullying: Myths and Reality

Read Five Myths About Bullying in the December 30, 2010 Washington Post. While the media focuses on the high-profile cases of bullying and cyber-bullying, the author of this article, Susan M. Swearer, a co-author of Bullying Prevention and Intervention: Realistic Strategies for Schools, writes that the relentless coverage may distract schools and parents from more traditional types of bullying. While technology has made bullying worse, a significant  number of students are bullied without the use of technology.  The author points out that:

While it’s hard to stereotype bullying behavior in every school in every town in America, experts agree that at least 25 percent of students across the nation are bullied in traditional ways: hit, shoved, kicked, gossiped about, intimidated or excluded from social groups.

The article mentions and links to several programs that have been successful at reducing bullying behavior. Swearer, who is an associate professor of school psychology at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, points out that, “…when awareness of bullying becomes as much a part of school culture as reverence for athletics or glee club, we’ll have a shot at finally stopping it.”

New Book on Cyber-Safety Gives the Big Pictures to Parents

FINALLY! Oops, sorry if I am shouting out on my blog … I’m just excited about a new book on parenting and technology. Notice, I’ve put the word parenting first.

Written about technology, cyber-behavior, cyber-safety, and parenting, CyberSafe: Protecting and Empowering Kids in the Digital World of Texting, Gaming, and Social Media by Gwenn Schurgin O’Keefe, M.D (Dr. Gwenn) explains how to get going with solving, and maybe even avoiding, cyber-problems by applying the same old parenting skills that we use in the non-virtual world. According to an article in the Kansas City Star, Dr. Gwenn points out that parenting hasn’t changed — same rules, same values — even though the technology-filled parenting world feels a bit daunting and requires us to learn a few new things.

Continue reading

Back-to-School Digital Reading Assignment, #1

Today’s Digital Parent Reading Assignment is an article, Rumors, Cyberbullying and Anonymity, appearing in a July 22, 2010, column by New York Times technology writer David Pogue. The article is his interview with Harvard Law Professor John Palfrey, one of the directors of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. In question and answer format, the interview ranges over some of the significant and critical technology issues that concern parents: rumors, cyberbullying, digital literacy (knowing what is credible), the opportunity to for anonymity, and the online social lives of pre-adolescents and teens. Professor Palfrey is a co-author of Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives (Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s). When he describes the way digital natives (our children) behave, Dr. Palfrey comments that he studies “… how young people use technology, how they relate to one another. And one of the big things is they’ve moved their social lives, by and large, online.”