Getting to Know Pinterest: A Parent’s Guide

Pinterest digitizes image collecting, the non-digital activity that lots of us have been doing for years. In a sense Pinterest offers a 21st Century way to bookmark and collect images instead of accumulating pieces of paper. I’m loving it!

Visit Pinterest.

Many people spend time looking through magazines and catalogs, identifying images such as the best looking clothes, interesting plants, comfortable shoes, or pictures with ideas for an upcoming home construction project. An individual cuts out (or tears out) the image and puts it into a folder. I used to have folders (and more folders) filled with images on all sorts of topics, waiting for me to consult. And I used them from time-to-time, especially at the beginning of a project.

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Play in the Social Media Sandbox? Decisions, Decisions!

socialmediarainbow

Found on Flickr.

Check out Nick Bilton’s New York Times  article, Letting Your Kids Play in the Social Media Sandbox. The February 18, 2015 piece shares Bilton’s experience as he considers how much initial access his nephew should have to social media, after the boy asked about signing up for a YouTube account.

The best part of his decision-making process, is the author’s metaphor describing the three doors that open to progressively more complicated social media and how each door leads to a more complicated social experience for a younger person. Bilton explains how each door opens to    trickier types of social media that allow — or more likely promotes — certain types of negative behavior. He is not against social media access at all, but he has some specific recommendations about child supervision and parent responsibilities.

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Makerspaces Are Amazing, Yet I Remember When…

My local makerspace in Washington, DC — FabLab.

My local makerspace in Washington, DC — FabLab.

I am so energized by makerspaces, where people — children and adults — have access to all sorts of equipment to invent, try out ideas, and make things. I’ve spent some time in makerspaces at a number of conferences, and last summer I wrote about my experience at Gary Stager’s Constructing Modern Knowledge 2014 (CMK14) conference in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Read CMK post # 1. Read CMK post #2).

At my school our fifth graders have a small but lively makerspace where they can try ideas, often fail, and always have an opportunity to keep going and try again and the room is awash with small motors, LED devices, needles, fabrics, and even a few arduino boards. Parents and teachers should become aware of the trend for these innovative spaces and learn more about them. It will only benefit the learning of their 21st Century children and students.                        Continue reading

Happy 10th Birthday, YouTube!

Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 10.26.39 PMFor many people, even those of us who are digital immigrants, it feels like YouTube video sharing has always been around, but actually YouTube is just celebrating its 10th birthday. The site, which makes it so easy to upload, view, and yes, use video resources, has changed 21st Century online culture.

Over at the Pew Internet and American Life Project researchers have put together a celebratory piece with five interesting facts about online video and how people use YouTube.

Most interesting is the graph depicting large numbers of people of all ages who use YouTube and how the number of users has increased dramatically over the 10 years.

Learning How to Code: Demonstrating How to Learn – Report #2

scratch_logoWe educators offer great gifts to our 21st Century students when we demonstrate that we, too, can learn new things. By letting children see us mastering unfamiliar information, figuring out problems, overcoming challenges, and yes, even making mistakes, we help them develop more comfort and confidence when they make errors and feel like they are not making progress. We adults teach all the time, but we probably don’t model learning new material nearly enough, and the kids notice it.

UnknownAs Ted Sizer wrote in his book, The Children Are Watching, they notice what we do and what we do not do. (A good book, by the way, for teachers and parents to read).

So this year I’m demonstrating how much I have to learn for students in grades one through five who attend my MIT Scratch coding activity. Literally, they are watching me learn how to code Scratch scripts.

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Happy Safer Internet Day 2015!

Today, February 10th 2015, is Safer Internet Day.

The good things that happen in the connected world make us safer and more secure because they demonstrate that people are using the Internet well. We all need to think about the “One Good Things.” that make the connected world a better place.

Please encourage your children and students to think about “one good thing” that the Internet has brought to each of their lives.

Read Third Grade Good Things for Safer Internet Day 2015.