If on occasion, you become concerned about how your child handles stressful learning situations, read this insightful article, Daydreaming is Good for You, and Other Things I Want Kids to Know About their Brains. The writer describes a range of brain capabilities, explaining how they can support young learners. Growing children need to understand how these basic neurological brain features can help them become stronger, confident, and more effective learners. Continue reading “What We Want Kids to Know About How the Brain Learns”
Parents often ask for suggestions about the steps they can take to help their children develop stronger and more robust digital world skills. I often suggest that families use the time spent eating together at the dinner table to bring up and consider connected world topics. Most adults will recall that, as they grew up, dinner table conversations were a time when family members learned together, chatting about critical issues and challenges in the world, Today’s family mealtimes are just as important. Below are five topics that can encourage learning, lively discussion and improved decision making, all while eating a meal together.
Begin a discussion about the collection of personal information in the digital world. Share ideas about what comprises an individual’s personal information — considering what can be public and what should not. Why is it important to think about protecting personal information? The MediaTechParenting blog posts below to help get the conversation started. Continue reading “5 Digital Life Topics for 21st Century Family Dinner Conversations”
For years, when I taught seminars in digital citizenship to third, fourth, and fifth graders, the primary topic was always digital footprints. Oh, we discussed and worked on lots of other 21st Century connected-world issues, civility, for instance, but everything seemed to wend its way back to those always-proliferating digital footprints.
We watched and rewatched my favorite digital dossier video from the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard. The students kept diaries and also asked their parents to do so. They found an online calculator to explore and considered how their permanent digital footprints might look a few years down the road. We made a list of all the potential places that might collect digital footprints, one year creating a list that started at the ceiling, went all the way to the floor and then back up to the ceiling again.
My students were always amazed at the size of their digital dossiers which included, in addition to email, apps, social media, and websites, a range of digital markings that they never considered such as credit cards, license plates, grocery store purchases, EZ pass travel, Amazon purchases, app downloads, and so much more. So when the time came for a final project — more than half or each fifth-grade class chose to concentrate on a digital footprint topic. Two of their posters are shared here. Continue reading “Those Digital Footprints Keep Multiplying”
April is National Poetry Month 2019, so it’s a time to celebrate words, word combinations, rhymes, beautiful thoughts and anything else that one can express with language. Children learn so much about words and language when they listen to or read poems or even when they just play around with rhyming sounds.
The World Wide Web offers dozens of resources to help 21st Century kids learn about poems and celebrate the month.
I discovered several good poetry resources over at the Reading Rockets website. Take some time to watch some of the videos available at the Poets on Poetry link and, on the same page, visitors can explore a link with an extensive list of video interviews with poets who write for children. Continue reading “2019 Poetry Month Resources”
Eighteen teenagers from around the United States are part of a MediaWise fact-checking network, learning about strategies and techniques that can help them identify misinformation. They participate in training that helps them understand how to determine what’s true and what’s not, and then the teens can set about investigating on their own. Finally, and this is the cool part, after the students decide whether the information is true or false, they create videos that illustrate the process they used to evaluate the information.
I’ve embedded two of the videos below. Continue reading “MediaWise: A Cool Initiative for Teens”
These days I hear many people talking about the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, but as they talk I often wonder how much they really understand about the document? Can they describe the five freedoms and how those freedoms affect people’s lives in the United States? Children and adults probably need to learn lots more.
An excellent NewseumEd activity, designed for students in grades three through eight, introduces the First Amendment using materials, discussion, and scenario examinations that explore how the First Amendment works in real-life situations. Similar resources are available at the website for high school and college learners.
Below are some interesting facts from the activity, although students will discover much more. Continue reading “All About the First Amendment at NewseumEd”
Ethan Lindenberger grew up in an anti-vaccine (anti-vax) family, surrounded by misinformation, but at age 18 he decided to get his vaccinations despite his parents’ protests. He testified before the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on March 5, 2019, describing how anti-vax misinformation affected his life.
Ethan explained that as he grew older and learned to evaluate information, he began to understand and look for evidence-based information. He also told the Senators how social media had helped spread anti-vax materials. Continue reading “Ethan Lindenberger’s Senate Testimony: It’s About Evidence & Source Evaluation”