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.

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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

Is Privacy Protected When a Student Learns Online?

Image made with Wordfoto with a picture taken at the Library of Congress.

Image made with Wordfoto with a picture taken at the Library of Congress.

If you think that the digital world may be getting it together on the privacy front, at least when it comes to children, think again.

A disturbing article, Data Mining Your Children, published in Politico, describes how for-profit online learning companies provide digital textbooks, connected learning programs, and record keeping, while collecting an enormous amount of information on individual students. The question is, what will they do with this personal data? Politico is a Washington newspaper that covers national government policy and politics.           Continue reading

New York Times Report on FCC Snapchat Settlement

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just announced a settlement with Snapchat over questions of privacy and mis-information.  New York Times reporter Jenna Wortham published an article, Off the Record in a Chat App: Don’t Be Sure, a May 8, 2014 piece that describes the situation and the terms of the settlement.  I’ve written a post, Have A Chat If Your Child Uses Snapchat, with more details at my other blog, Discover Your Child’s Digital World.

Twenty-first century parents — take note.