Posted in 21st Century teaching, digital device distraction, digital devices, teaching digital kids

A California School’s Smartphone Solution

hand on phoneDistraction in 21st Century schools is a huge issue. Read this descriptive article about students, digital devices, and paying attention in the classroom, published in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Probably no device has become as frustrating for teachers as the smartphone. Many educators, whether they teach in middle school, high school, or college express a sense of frustration about the amount of time their students spend glancing down at their mobile phones when they are supposed to be paying attention to what is going on in the classroom

Administrators at San Mateo High School, about 20 miles away from San Francisco, have decided that student phones will be locked up during school hours. At the start of the day students insert their devices into a pouch that closes with a school lock. The kids keep the bags with them, and at the end of the academic day, the administrators unlock them.

The goal of this school’s policy is to decrease the student distraction and to stop students’ habit of looking down at their phones every few minutes. The above link includes an interesting NBC news story.

It will be interesting to see if other schools develop similar policies.

 

Posted in 21st Century life, back-to-school, Back-to-school digital reading, digital wellness, parents and technology

Back to School: 2019-20 Digital Parenting Checklist

backpack picThis post includes a downloadable handout.

At the beginning of the school year, what can parents and teachers do to ensure that digital kids — with their hand-held devices, connected school activities, homework, and other online endeavors — get off to a good start?

Back-to-school preparation is more than school supplies, lunch boxes, and carpool arrangements. It also involves reviewing and articulating connected-life expectations with family members and working together to set up a family media plan that works for each person in the family.

Below are a few issues for parents and educators to consider as they seek to maintain quality in kids’ 21st Century digital lives during the 2019-2020 school year. Raising strong and competent digital citizens requires teamwork and immense effort — at home and at school.

handout image 2
Download this PDF handout.

1.  Make decisions about screen time in your family. Altogether, as a family, figure out your plan and then think about how you will re-address your decisions as the year progresses. Check out the 2018 article, How Much Screen Time Affects Kids’ Bodies and Brains at Forbes. Family issues to consider might include:

  • What limits will your family set up for digital devices, electronic games, and television?
  • If your child uses a personal device from school, are you aware of specific teacher expectations and time commitments?
  • What else would you like your child to spend time doing?
  • A good article for parents and educators (and a great back-to-school piece to share with parents) is on the NPR website — Kids and Screen Time-What Does the Research Say?   

Continue reading “Back to School: 2019-20 Digital Parenting Checklist”

Posted in data collecting, data sharing, digital life, online tracking, parents and technology

Do You Really Understand How Much You Are Tracked in Your Web Activities?

When we use Chrome, Google’s tracking cookies follow us everywhere, and the video below perfectly illustrates how these trackers operate in our digital lives. It was produced by Washington Post technology columnists, Geoffrey A. Fowler and James Pace-Cornsilk.

Enjoy watching, but also ask yourself how much of your personal data and your daily activities you want to share with these trackers? Moreover, how much of your children’s data do you want these cookies to collect? In a connected world, digital life is complicated as is personal privacy.

This video appears in a Post article, Google’s Data Collection Drives Some Consumers Away, by Greg Bensinger.

FYI, I have stopped using Chrome completely (I use Duck Duck Go as a browser), and I am migrating to an email that I pay a small fee for each month.  To learn more about what I use you may want to read two past MediaTech Parenting posts.

Posted in digital life, evaluating news, fact-checking, information credibility, media literacy, parents and technology

7 Games & Simulations that Can Strengthen Fact-Checking Skills

7 fact checking games
Click to read about the games at the Poynter fact-checking newsletter.

Today everyone needs to get better at fact-checking –a critical digital world skill. Interestingly, as we parents and educators help young people learn to distinguish what is true from what is not, we quickly discover that many adults need as much or more practice than the kids.

Online games and simulation activities can help people supercharge their fact-checking and evaluation abilities and even have a bit of fun doing it. Recently the weekly Poynter fact-checking newsletter, Factually, featured a list of seven of these games that can help people fine-tune their content evaluation skills. While each of the games is different from the others, all of them aim to help individuals gain the confidence and competence to determine what is true and what is misinformation or disinformation. All can be good teaching tools.

I recently wrote a blog post about Factitious, a game that is included in Poynter’s list, but the other six games look like they have enormous potential when it comes to helping kids and adults practice and understand a lot more about the need to fact-check and how to go about it.

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, digital health and wellness, digital kids, digital parenting, family conversations, New York Times, parent child conversations, parents and technology

Learn Lots More from the New York Times About Addressing Kids’ Tech Use

screen timeAfter nine years of blogging at MediaTechParenting, I’ve written posts about kids, technology, parenting, screen time, citizenship, 21st Century life, digital devices — well you get the idea. Now a New York Times Smarter Living published report summarizes a good deal of what I’ve been writing about in a parents’ guide to raising and guiding kids in the digital world.

How (and When) to Limit Kids’ Tech Use by Melanie Pinola (@MelaniePinola) includes just about everything a digital age parent needs to know. The comprehensive and well-packaged guide overflows with information. Keep it nearby, whether your child is a new baby, a teenager, or any age in between.

Pinola breaks her digital parenting guide into three parts:   Continue reading “Learn Lots More from the New York Times About Addressing Kids’ Tech Use”

Posted in 21st Century life, data collecting, digital footprints, facial recognition, parents and technology, personal data security, privacy

7 Articles to Help You Educate Yourself About Facial Recognition

Privacy is a big topic on this blog, and today, JULY 9, 2019, was an interesting day in the 21st Century privacy department.

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Image from PixaBay

It’s a significant day because just about every newspaper features an article about facial recognition software and how it may be misused by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department (ICE). This government agency uses the facial recognition software to go into state driver’s license databases and collect information about the faces associated with those licenses. This is accomplished without the permission of the people whose images they scan.

As a privacy-conscious person, I turn off facial recognition on Facebook, on my phone, and for my photos, but I never considered my driver’s license. I also did not think that researchers might be harvesting photos from social media, using them to test their facial recognition products.

Continue reading “7 Articles to Help You Educate Yourself About Facial Recognition”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, 21st Century vocabulary words, evaluating video, family conversations, media literacy, parents and technology

Building Habits of Video Evaluation into the Conversation & the Curriculum

Videos are everywhere on social media, but quite a few that we view on various sites are doctored and edited, often seeking to muck up the facts. Understanding how to evaluate and identify red flags in a video is now a critical 21st Century media literacy skill that everyone — parents, students, and educators — needs to acquire.

Recently the staff at Washington Post Fact Checker created a useful teaching and learning tool that can help all of us — young people and adults — understand more about today’s video landscape.

Seeing Isn't Believing
Click to visit the website as the Washington Post.

Seeing Isn’t Believing, the title of this guide to manipulated video, says it all. In today’s always- connected world, with people able to create and publish just about anything they want, we cannot always believe what we see in a video. Instead it’s necessary to take the time to evaluate — considering how the video is made, thinking about the purpose it serves, and looking closely to see if it has been doctored in some way.     Continue reading “Building Habits of Video Evaluation into the Conversation & the Curriculum”