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

Constructing Modern Knowledge: Sometimes Out of My Comfort Zone

CMK 2014

Click to visit the CMK14 site.

Occasionally we educators (and parents, too) participate in a learning experience that requires us to struggle for understanding and work hard to figure out what’s happening. Young learners go through this situation day after day in their school lives, even in the most wonderful classrooms. Adults not so much.

I’m in the middle of a challenging learning experience right now. This week the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute (CMK14) requires me to stretch. I’m expected to learn new things, figure out problems, and use all sorts of materials to invent, explore, and, yes, construct new ideas and information. Sometimes the work is heavy with digital materials and sometimes we use resources that have little to do with technology. It’s all about ideas and self-directed learning. No one tells me what to do or what to choose, but plenty of people are around to help me once I’m engaged with a task.                           Continue reading

It’s Summer: Take this Quiz and then Visit Your Local Library

Pew Internet Libraries

Click to visit the Pew site and take the quiz.

It’s summer and if you and your children — those digital kids you are raising —  are not regular library users, you should be. Almost any teacher will tell you that children who regularly use libraries develop better and more sustained reading habits. More significantly, I’ve observed that my 21st Century students with public library habits are often more critical and thoughtful users of digital materials, whether they use those digital materials at home, school, or even away from adult supervision.

No matter where you are located this summer, a library is probably nearby. Moreover, in addition to great books, many public libraries provide excellent tutorials on searching, evaluating resources, and digital commonsense. Be sure to visit.

Continue reading

10 Digital Summer Projects for Parents and Kids: Collaborate!

Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime.  

Yup, it’s almost summer 2014! summer digital projects

With less frenetic schedules the summer months are a good time to learn more about the digital whirl that’s such a huge part of kids’ 21st Century lives. So when school is out, plan to do some connected world exploring and learning together, concentrating on projects that can help family members — children and their parents — figure out even more about digital life.

Below are 10 family digital project summer suggestions — all activities require collaboration —  to consider for the upcoming vacation. Note: Be sure to collaborate on these projects so that adults and children make meaningful contributions.

Ten Summer Digital Projects for Families                        Continue reading