Why Did It Take So Long to Get More Women in Computer Sciences?

This podcast from National Public Radio’s Planet Money explains how women were early programmers and why their numbers dropped off as the digital age progressed. The podcast was originally broadcast in 2014, but I just discovered it when it was rebroadcast. Also, check out the graph that goes with the program..Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 6.04.52 PM

Women in programming and computer science  are ongoing topics of interest on this blog.

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The Right Age for a Smartphone? Interesting NY Times Article

os7iphone-2Take a few minutes to read What’s the Right Age for a Child to Get a Smartphone? by Brian X Chen. The July 20, 2016 New York Times article includes interviews with Internet Safety experts and contains some advice from other parents.

The Take-aways? (Well, we know most of this, but reminders are always useful.)                      Continue reading

Innovation & Coding — Fine Tuning the Mission

How can we ensure that young people, who enthusiastically embrace innovation, creating, and coding, also associate their work with the fundamental concepts of empathy, humility, and conscience?

As we adults thrill to help children learn, imagine, ideate, explore, and make things, we also need to define a compelling mission for each of our innovation and maker spaces — a mission that emphasizes the significant values that young people should apply to the problems they identify and try to solve. An innovation mission provides a foundation for children, illuminating important issues and providing benchmarks that help them to consider and choose problems. It should also help young learners differentiate between the significant problems that need to be solved from those that are insignificant.

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Building Habits of Credibility into the Curriculum & the Conversation

21st Century Vocabulary Words - Credibility

21st Century Vocabulary Words – Credibility

How do we help children identify and understand information that is not credible?

Election seasons provide some of the best opportunities to teach 21st Century young people about credibility — in school, at home, online and off. As we go about electing new leaders, we see and hear candidates stating all sorts of claims, assertions, rumors, and postulations. Some are true, others slightly true, some absurdly false, but all come via various media, social and otherwise, though not always online.

Use the months before an election to encourage young people, and your child especially, to think about credibility. Focus on the ways that media share information and on how to discover whether facts are true or not true.           Continue reading

How Much Privacy Do I Have? DuckDuckGo Gives More

book-dg3-150wAlthough I believed that I had taken significant steps to maintain a modicum of privacy in my 21st Century digital life, I was wrong.

I am less than halfway through Bruce Schneier’s book, Data and Goliath, all about the hidden methods of collecting our personal data, and already I am discovering that my personal privacy plan has many holes. I’m not that different from most adults. Privacy, however, is going away, and we collaborate in the process by not making any specific decisions and by going along with the ways the Internet tracks us. We do have choices, and we educators and parents need to learn a lot more about maintaining privacy and then share what we’ve learned with young people.

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Vanity Fair has 11 trackers and widgets.

In the book’s first chapters Schneier addresses data collection, how trackers get added to my computers and digital devices as little files called cookies. With a quick search II found over 1,000 cookies and cache files on my laptop, despite the fact that I only allow cookies from places that I visit (about 650 were cookies). Some of these are useful and don’t bother me — like the cookies for the several catalogs where I  regularly make purchases, the newspapers which I read, and the educational and musical organizations which I like. Read more about cache. Continue reading

Privacy: I’ve Got Nothing to Hide So I’m Not Worried …

Just the other day, in a conversation about personal privacy, I overheard one adults say to another person, “I’ve got another to hide… “ I wanted to jump into the conversation, but instead I am republishing this 2013 blog post.

Media! Tech! Parenting!

imageI often hear people of all ages, including children, say, “It doesn’t matter that my digital information is collected, because I have nothing to hide.” What bothers me most about this comment is the limited understanding that it demonstrates — a lack of knowledge about how fast the traditional walls of privacy are tumbling down and how little of it has to do with the bad things that people do.

People who make the comment usually know little about what happens to collected digital data, most of it documenting everything we do in our daily digital lives and almost none of it destined to identify wrongdoings or help to find “bad guys.” So much data is now collected about each of us in so many different ways, that almost nothing about us cannot be found out.

Our phones document where we go, our cars move through intersections with mounted cameras…

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