Your News, My News – Do We Get the Same Views?

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-10-24-28-amAccording to a video shared by the DuckDuckGo website, when we  search for information on Google each of us can get slightly different, or sometimes enormously different results – even if we use the exact search terms in the exact order and at about the same time. DuckDuckGo, a search engine that emphasizes privacy, is a Google competitor.

The order of Google’s results may guided by what it knows about the individual who is doing the search. (Check out Ghostery to identify trackers on any or all of your pages.)

Collected information – including any previous searches, where we live, what we read, where we get our news, what we purchase, how much we travel, and much more can affect what we see in the results. I never thought about this much, but I do remember how a few years ago a group of my middle school students were searching on Google for information, and I noticed and was puzzled that similar searches sometimes generated lists of slightly different results. Continue reading

Real or Fake? How to Check Yourself

img_7661If you think a lot about fake news these days, and if you aim to help your students or family members develop the ability to effectively evaluate and decide what’s real and what’s not, National Public Radio (NPR) just published an excellent article, Fake or Real? How to Self-Check the News and Get the Facts. This piece highlights six steps that individuals can use to judge the stories they encounter, and the article includes a detailed description about how to go about following through with each step.

The entire NPR post, which is chock full of helpful information, will be a useful teaching tool for anyone who wants to gauge a news item’s authenticity, and the six basic steps are easy to master. Post the list near computers, on the refrigerator, and in rooms where family members use digital devices and on digital devices’ note pads.

News Evaluation Steps from National Public Radio (Read the article for lots more detail.) Continue reading

More on Using DuckDuckGo & My Extra Bit of Privacy

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-2-38-25-pm

Check it out.

Last June I wrote How Much Privacy Do I Have? DuckDuckGo Gives More, describing how I am using the DuckDuckGo search engine for most of my online inquiries. Interestingly after six months using the  alternative, I’ve made some observations and noticed some changes. I’m so glad that I switched.

Check out what I’ve learned below.      Continue reading

Picture Books Help Digital Children Understand the Images in Their Lives

In today’s digital world children, pre-adolescents, and teens are bombarded with images that they must try to understand and not the issues around fake news make image evaluation skills increasingly important. It turns out that old-fashioned, non-digital children’s picture books may be one of the best ways to help young children begin to build the 21st Century skills that are needed to evaluate and draw conclusions about images.

This post from several years ago explores the topic.

Media! Tech! Parenting!

Many years ago my early elementary school aged daughter met author Daniel Pinkwater in a bookstore. After listening to him read and getting his autograph, she offered him a suggestion about a picture in one of his books. My husband and I were shocked at first, but then we congratulated ourselves — our daughter was so experienced and comfortable with picture books that she felt right at home giving a suggestion to a noted author.

Visit Eric Carle’s Museum of Picture Book Art

Ensuring that picture books — lots of them — play a significant role in a child’s life is a required task for digital world parents. Today all children need to evaluate the images — especially the digital pictures — that saturate their lives. The Google Answers site points out that an average American is exposed to huge numbers of commercial messages each day (note the wide range of…

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After Buying a Device & Before Giving It to Kids — 2016 Update

iphone-6s

My new iPhone, purchased in early 2016.

Every 21st Century parent needs a holiday digital parenting checklist that describes the tasks to accomplish between purchasing a new digital device and watching a child gleefully unwrap it. This list gives parents a head start, identifying challenges, offering explanations, anticipating problems, and most importantly, setting the stage for responsible and respectful use of exciting but extraordinarily powerful devices.

The time adults spend preparing for new devices that enter a family’s life is well spent and spending that time up front  may well prevent a huge time drain later on after a your child experiences a connected world problem. Parents are simultaneously guides, limits setters, and lifeguards, whether or not they know as much about digital life as their children.

The MediaTechParenting 2016
         Digital Parents’ Holiday and Beyond Checklist        

Continue reading

Hackathon Participants Figure a Way to Identify Fake News

Photo used with permission of Hack Princeton Team

Photo used with permission of Hack Princeton Team

A week or so ago four college students at a Princeton University hackathon  came up with a way to identify fake news on Facebook. You can read about the specific fake news solution at a Business Insider article, Students Solve Facebook’s Fake News Problem in 36 Hours.

A hackathon is an event attended by students who gather for a few days to focus on solving problems by using their programming skills. Collaboration is key. According to Zachary Liu, a manager for the Princeton event, about 600 students attended from over 80 universities.

Photo used with permission of Hack Princeton Team

Photo used with permission of Hack Princeton Team

A hackathon is 21st Century learning at its best. The aim of each event is to identify problems that need solving and encourage students to work collaboratively, using their programming (coding) skills, to figure out potential solutions.

At the Princeton event, and at many other hackathons around the country, there is no charge for room and board, and in some cases buses pick up participants at different schools. Travel costs can be reimbursed.      Continue reading