Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, data collecting, digital footprings, digital footprints, parent child conversations, parents and technology, searching

Google Dashboard: A Connected-World Teaching Tool for All Ages

A screen show from the Google Dashboard.
A screenshot from the Google Dashboard.

If you use Google, take a few minutes to check out the Google Dashboard and look over a detailed digital footprint snapshot of your Google activities. Learning about digital footprints is an important 21st Century connected-world skill.

The Dashboard keeps track of everything — and I mean everything — that you do on Google. It’s a dynamic digital footprint collection. To sign in and examine your Gmail or Google Alerts is easy, and you can also check out the other features offered by Google such as Google Docs, Google Calendar, Blogger, or Google Reader (many more Google products are available and new ones become available on a regular basis).

Google Dashboard is an awesome connected-world teaching tool for 21st Century children at any age and for adults, because it makes a point — concretely — about the amount of information that Google accumulates on each of us. Many people are surprised, and a bit disconcerted, on a first visit, because the Dashboard depicts a good deal about each user.

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Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, Back-to-school digital reading, data collecting, digital devices, digital kids, family conversations, parents and technology, supervising digital kids

5 Digital Parenting Questions to Ask As Your Kids Return to School

Now that we are all returning to school routines, take the time to make a few 21st Century family decisions — choices that can help the device-users in your family grow more careful, thoughtful, and serious about their connected world  responsibilities. With so much going on the digital world, parenting today is a bit like riding a roller coaster. But some carefully considered decisions can set the stage for fewer digital world scrapes and bumps in a family’s life.

1. Where will digital devices be charged at night? Most educators recommend that families charge devices in a centralized location away from bedrooms. Many parents also set an evening time limit after which mobile phones, iPads, and even the Internet cannot be used.made_at_www.txt2pic.com

2. If students have significant amounts of online homework, where will they work? Dining room table? Family room? Den? Most educators and pediatricians suggest that students do  homework on computers that are located in places where other people also spend time and not in the bedroom. Check out How Does Multitasking Change the Way Kids Learn over at the KQED Mindshift website.

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Posted in 21st Century Learning, data collecting, digital devices, digital learning, research on the web

Digital World Research-What It Tells Us About Causation vs. Association

On a fairly regular basis I hear presenters and parents cite research results about technology and 21st Century kids. Often they justify their points by making comments such as “According to research,” or “Research demonstrates that…”

causationassociationSome time ago, for instance, I heard a presenter comment that too much use of digital devices causes students’ lack of concentration, and she cited a university research study. Trouble is, when I subsequently checked out the research, it was based on 25 participants — a small number on which to form a conclusion and make assumptions about a dramatic outcome. After I read the abstract, I discovered that the researchers who conducted the study concluded that the outcome is an association with kids’ lack of concentration and not a cause. The data did not indicate that too much technology causes a lack of concentration.

The difference between association and causation is significant, and parents, as well as those of us in the educational technology community, need to recognize the difference. Much of our accumulated data about technology outcomes are collected over a short-term, and in many areas we have no data collected long-term. Television statistics are the exception because, after years and years of well-designed, science-based studies, the causal connection between television viewing and childhood behaviors is only now being firmly established. That’s because enough data exist to enable researchers to draw firmer conclusions about how TV screen time affects certain childhood problems.

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Posted in acceptable use, data collecting, data sharing, digital footprints, digital parenting, Do Not Track Kids Act, parents and technology, privacy

Kids’ Online Privacy Legislation – Will It Ever Happen?

Image made with Wordfoto with a picture taken at the Library of Congress.

Much of what a child or teen does online gets added to a digital profile. Even when information is not supposed to be collected, it accumulates – somewhere. Moreover, when a child or adolescent acts impulsively or thoughtlessly online, no way exists to erase or delete a digital mistake. Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society posts a great digital dossier video that parents and educators may want to use as a conversation tool.

To learn a lot more about the state of privacy policy, especially as it concerns children and adolescents, read the article Congress Revisits Online Privacy Legislation over at Boston.com.

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Posted in data collecting, online databases, online safety, parents and technology, searching

Still Think Google is Mostly a Search Engine?

The next time people in your family use Google to look for personal health information, they may be contributing to scientific research.

Google search data is beginning to be used to learn more about the flu. In fact, it’s beginning to look like Google Flu Trends (GFT), which keeps track of searches that inquire about influenza symptoms, may be faster and more effective than the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) surveillance network when it comes to predicting where the flu will become most prevalent. To learn more read this Google Flu Trends FAQ.

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Posted in data collecting, data sharing, digital parenting, media literacy, parents and technology, social media, social networking, teens and technology

Quiz: How Much do You Know About Social Media?

Take the quiz!

To get a sense of how much you really know about the social networking world and the movers and shakers who are actively developing and tweaking it, take a social media quiz. The Big Social Media Quiz over at the Liberate Media website.

A user needs 70% to pass this quiz, and though I know all sorts of minutia about social media, I only answered 50% of the questions correctly. Sigh!

Liberate Media is a PR firm with social media expertise.