Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, 21st Century teaching, digital citizenship, digital devices, digital parenting, parents and technology, teaching digital kids

Starting Out With Digital Devices Is Just Like Learning to Swim

swim-meetThe minute a child gets that first web-connected mobile device, the adults in the family commit themselves to extended digital life “swimming lessons.”

Young swimmers become increasingly competent and skilled while at the same time needing adult support, supervision, and occasional intervention. Twenty-first Century digital natives require the same parental attention and guidance as they learn to operate safely and adroitly in the connected world waters. Swimming and connected-world activities, though they require long-term adult oversight, help children explore the world around them and gain confidence, learn new things and grow their abilities, learn to make good decisions and yes, avoid making bad ones. The key to their success is adult support.

Continue reading “Starting Out With Digital Devices Is Just Like Learning to Swim”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century teaching, connected learning, constructing modern knowledge, digital change, digital devices, educational technology, maker movement

Farewell Dr. Papert: May Your Technology & Learning Vision Live Forever!

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Professor Seymour Papert passed away recently.

A picture I took onside the MIT Media Lab.
A picture I took inside the MIT Media Lab.

While he had been fragile for some time following an accident, his extraordinary influence on teaching and learning, including how he really created the maker movement more than 25 years ago, will continue for many years to come.

Without his wisdom and vision, many educators in the school technology fields, where I spent most of my career,  would not have been fortunate enough to pursue exciting and deeply meaningful vocations. Every school, every teacher, every educational technology specialist, and every K-12 technology director can trace their professional activities back to Dr. Papert’s deep understanding of the power of learning with computers and digital devices. The Media Lab remembrance page notes that:

Papert’s career traversed a trio of influential movements: child development, artificial intelligence, and educational technologies. Based on his insights into children’s thinking and learning, Papert recognized that computers could be used not just to deliver information and instruction, but also to empower children to experiment, explore, and express themselves.

Continue reading “Farewell Dr. Papert: May Your Technology & Learning Vision Live Forever!”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century teaching, advertising, civics, civility, credibility, digital devices, digital health and wellness, digital kids, digital life, ethical behavior, information credibility, media and family life, parents and technology, social media, teaching digital kids

Civility Is Now Devalued — So What Will Adults Do About It?

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Image from http://www.public-domain-image.com.

If there is ever a time to emphasize ideas on civility, commenting, fact-checking, and media literacy, it’s during an election. Children, preadolescents, and teens will learn much during the 2016 presidential campaign just from all the watching. (Read my post The Children are Watching and Seeing, Listening and Hearing.)

Our traditional expectations for civility and ethical behavior are cracking apart right before our eyes.

On the basis of what’s happened at recent political conventions and the beginning of the election season, young people will be witnessing name-calling, stereotyping, hateful comments, online hate, and in some cases veiled bodily threats. Kids will hear things on TV at home and on the televisions that are broadcasting in lounges, waiting rooms, doctor’s offices, and everywhere else. They will hear radios broadcasting the news at home and in other peoples’ homes. And, of course, there’s social media.

Continue reading “Civility Is Now Devalued — So What Will Adults Do About It?”

Posted in digital devices, digital devices and gadgets, parents and technology

My Itty-Bitty Bluetooth Speaker — Best Summer 2016 Travel Device

Looking down from the top.
Looking down from the top.

One of the most difficult decisions before leaving home at any time of year is deciding what digital devices to bring along on the trip. My laptop or just the iPad? My iPad and my iPhone? My digital camera or just my iPhone? Then there are all the chargers and the surge protector with extra USB ports that I now bring along.

This summer I discovered one more digital device that I cannot live without when we travel — a tiny JAM bluetooth speaker that has big sound and darn good quality. About the same size as the small plastic drinking glass that I bring along when I am not in hotels and weighing not much more, this speaker connects with my laptop or iPad or iPhone (doesn’t matter which devices I decide to bring or not bring).

Continue reading “My Itty-Bitty Bluetooth Speaker — Best Summer 2016 Travel Device”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, digital devices, digital devices and gadgets, digital life, parents and technology, smartphones, teamwork

The Right Age for a Smartphone? Interesting NY Times Article

os7iphone-2Take a few minutes to read What’s the Right Age for a Child to Get a Smartphone? by Brian X Chen. The July 20, 2016 New York Times article includes interviews with Internet Safety experts and contains some advice from other parents.

The Take-aways? (Well, we know most of this, but reminders are always useful.)                      Continue reading “The Right Age for a Smartphone? Interesting NY Times Article”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, cell phones, digital devices, digital kids, family conversations, parents and technology, screen time, teens and technology

Digital Devices & Parent-Teen Time Issues — New Research

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Click here to visit the Common Sense Media research page and sign in for a larger and higher quality image.

Check out the interesting new research just out from Common Sense Media about the issues and challenges when it comes to 21st Century digital kids and their mobile devices. The image depicts a range of statistics and device issues, collected via a poll of 1,200 parents and teens.

This infographic can be an excellent resource to use for family conversations about teens’ and children’s screen and digital device times (and adults’ times, too). It offers a range of information that can help parents discuss potential problems and concerns.

Continue reading “Digital Devices & Parent-Teen Time Issues — New Research”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, digital devices, digital kids, digital parenting, parents and technology

Screenagers: An Excellent New Documentary & Digital Parenting Resource

Watch the official trailer below.
Watch the official trailer below.

I just finished reading a New York Times Well Blog article about Screenagers, a new documentary that addresses the challenge that too much screen time presents for families. The March 15, 2016 piece by Jennifer Jolly interviews Dr. Dulaney Ruston (read about some of her past projects), the director of the documentary, Screenagers. Dr. Ruston is also in the film.

This movie shares evidence-based scientific research on screen time — a reason the movie will become an important resource for educators and parents as they struggle with the issue of how to manage 21st Century young people and screen time. The experts in the film offer advice about how to support and guide young people as they grow up in a densely digital age. Thank goodness the film focuses on facts and does not inspire fear.

The issue of parents designing and using contracts or agreements and how much they help parents and kids focus on important screen times issues come up in the article and in the documentary. You can check out a comprehensive list of sites that offer these types of contracts and agreements on MediaTechParenting.net. You can also read this blog’s digital parenting checklist.

View the Screenagers Official Trailer                                Continue reading “Screenagers: An Excellent New Documentary & Digital Parenting Resource”