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.

How Many Digital Footprints Does Your Family Make?

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 3.12.51 PMHave you ever thought long enough about digital footprints to imagine how many digital tracks family members or students make in a day or two?

Early in the school year fifth graders and their parents kept a short diary, estimating the footprints in a range of categories and then returned to school with the results. Footprints were estimated for sending texts, banking, receiving texts, purchasing groceries, cell phone calls, online banking, web sites, online purchases, and about a dozen more categories.

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Third Grade Good Things for 2015 Safer Internet Day

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Think of One Good Thing for Safer Internet Day 2015!

If you are a parent or an educator, it’s easy to think about some of the complications that the Internet brings into our lives.

Far more significant, however, are the many good  changes such as access to information and easy communication. Celebrating the good things is what Safer Internet Day 2015 is all about. (Check out these K-8 lesson plans.)

Yesterday I spent time with a group of third graders, and we spoke about the difference between digital and non-digital activities in their lives. We made lists of the things that we do off-line, those that we can do online, and the activities that are possible to do both online and off — reading, for instance, and playing games.

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