Summer Vacation and Family Digital Conversations

I recommend this documentary for a summer family movie night.

Are you thinking about digital citizenship and safety conversations? Do you want to learn more about Wikipedia?  Summer is a great time for these talks. Here’s why.

School’s out and many children fill at least part of their summer days with World Wide Web activities on fast internet connections. Camps and daycamps feature computer labs and lots of specialized digital programs. On the go we increasingly carry more gadgets — mobile phones, smartphones, iTouches, Blackberries, and iPads. In fact, even on vacations and at hotels, cottages, and many of those rustic country cabins we all hope to escape to, we stay connected. After years of teaching I’ve found that my students’ digital skills usually expand during the three-month summer hiatus from school.

Adults can learn more, too. Ask your children to help you expand your own skills. Maybe you want to download videos or save podcasts to your smartphone. Perhaps you can start a family blog, really learn how to use your digital camera, or ask your child can show you how to make special ringtones from your favorite music. If you don’t know how to text, summer is a great time to learn. Read 7 Constructive Digital Suggestions from Kids to Parents.

While you work together, your conversations — asking questions, sharing points of view, and reviewing important family values — will be less formal than if you just sit down for a serious chat.

Summer Movie Recommendation

To help everyone in your family learn and understand more about Wikipedia, check out the compelling new documentary, Truth in Numbers: Everything, According to Wikipedia. This movie tells the story of the birth and amazing growth of the online encyclopedia, now one of the most visited sites on the web. Featuring interviews with Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, venerated Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Ward Cunningham, scholars including Lawrence Lessig and Noam Chomsky, journalists and writers Susan Jacoby and Simon Winchester, and a host of others, including Wikipedia contributors from all over the world, journalists, and web 2.0 entrepreneurs, the film poses thoughtful questions and reminds all of us to always use more than one source when we set out to learn about a topic.

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