So What Else Can Google Do?

Made with Tagul!

Made with Tagul!

Did you know that, besides searching, Google can carry out a variety of simple tasks in daily life — making 21st Century connected life easier or at least a bit quicker? Amaze your children or students by trying out and sharing a few of these Google bells and whistles. A few of the tasks may also support learning activities.

  1. Use Google as a timer by typing set time to 24 minutes.
  2. Find a movie release by typing the name of the movie and the word release: e.g., Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel release.
  3. Check out the sunrise and sunset times by typing sunrise in [town or city].
  4. Get the weather forecast by typing forecast [town or city].
  5. Get a definition by typing define [word here].
  6. Figure out a tip by typing tip calculator.
  7. Get songs by groups you like by typing songs by the [group name].
  8. Convert measurements by typing convert and the units that you want to convert to: e.g., convert 3 yards to meters.
  9. Find books by a certain author by typing books by [author’s name].
  10. Get a definition by typing define [word here].

Check out even more!      Continue reading

12-Year-Old Researches Male & Female App Characters

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.51.32 AM

Symbols from http://www.flickr.com/photos/43812360@N05/6123054395 with my  labels added.

With all the talk in today’s educational world about innovation, inventing, and making things, we sometimes forget that lots of good ideas still develop when an individual takes the time to organize a basic research project, sees it through to completion, and then clearly writes and reports about it. This process takes time.

Sometimes it seems that time is lacking when it comes to many of today’s digital products, an app for instance. Once it’s developed and deployed, it often feels like no one developing the product took enough time to think about and develop perspective about how many ways it might affect consumers.

Parents and educators will want to read I’m a 12-Year-Old Girl: Why Don’t the Characters in My Apps Look Like Me?, appearing in the March 4, 2015 Washington Post and written by Madeline Messer, a digitally native 12-year old. This young woman took the time to investigate the potential effects a product can have on individuals.

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Google Dashboard: A Connected-World Teaching Tool for All Ages

A screen show from the Google Dashboard.

A screen shot from the Google Dashboard.

If you use Google, take a few minutes to check out the Google Dashboard and look over a detailed digital footprint snapshot of your Google activities. Learning about digital footprints is an important 21st Century connected-world skill.

The Dashboard keeps track of everything — and I mean everything — that you do on Google. It’s a dynamic digital footprint collection. To sign in and examine your Gmail or Google Alerts is easy, and you can also check out the other features offered by Google such as Google Docs, Google Calendar, Blogger, or Google Reader (many more Google products are available and new ones become available on a regular basis).

Google Dashboard is an awesome connected-world teaching tool for 21st Century children at any age and for adults, because it makes a point — concretely — about the amount of information that Google accumulates on each of us. Many people are surprised, and a bit disconcerted, on a first visit, because the Dashboard depicts a good deal about each user.

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Social Media Week? What a Great Idea for Schools!

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 11.37.21 AMJust imagine what we could teach our 21st Century students and ourselves if, together with students, we organized social media weeks (or days) with presentations, demonstrations, and talks about all aspects of social networking — what’s good, what’s not so good, and what can be done with social media to make our lives better?

More  importantly, what if in the process, we educators and some of our social-media-savvy parents demonstrated to students that we understand the role that social media plays in all of our lives while also emphasizing the need to manage and curate our profiles?

Social Media Weeks seek to do just that. The mission of social media week events is to promote a discussion about our always-connected lives, examining how things have changed, how to make the world a better place, and perhaps most importantly, how to learn from our mistakes. Online conferences, offline events, lectures, and dialogues are scheduled  during four official social media weeks, held in major cities around the world.    Continue reading

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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