Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century teaching, cell phones, digital devices, student learning and cell phones

The Enormous School Cell Phone Conundrum

Last week I read a great article describing how teachers and students might use mobile phones in the classroom.

All sorts of apps promote student learning, but it takes time an patience to identify the good ones.
All sorts of apps promote student learning, but it takes time and patience to identify the good ones.

Will Ferriter, the proprietor of The Tempered Radical blog, posted an article Interview on Cell Phones in the Classroom, that explains his personal views — based on years of teaching experience — about using student mobiles should be used in the classroom.

“Our goal,” he writes, “shouldn’t be to ban access to powerful tools for learning. Instead, our goal should be to show the students in our classrooms how to take full advantage of the learning potential sitting inside their purses and their back pockets”.

Read the entire blog post which addresses — broadly — the opportunities for learning that digital devices offer  21st Century students. Lots of educators may disagree with Ferriter’s view, but the fact is we fight a loosing mobile device battle. Students own these devices, and while they are always close at hand and the kids know how to use them to connect with others, most have no understanding for the true learning power of these devices offer. We could help them learn a lot more and become more thoughtful about using their mobiles.

Continue reading “The Enormous School Cell Phone Conundrum”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, Conversation skills, digital devices, digital health and wellness, parents and technology

Does Digital Life Distort Our Conversation Skills?

Jacket-for-Reclaiming-Conversation
Learn more about the book.

Do our conversation skills weaken as we continually connect — virtually and physically — with our digital devices? How does this always-connected environment affect our children and youth? Are conversational and empathy skills developing as they should?

Sherry Turkle describes these problems in Reclaiming Conversation, a book that relates how the individuals in many of her interviews note — uncomfortably so — that they are less and less able to carry on a conversation confidently. More worrisome, children, in general, appear to be less able to converse, put themselves in another individual’s shoes, and empathize with that person. Turkle backs up her assertions with evidence.

Continue reading “Does Digital Life Distort Our Conversation Skills?”

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

Top Mobile Apps? Interesting Data from ComScore

top-25-mobile-apps-by-unique-visitor_reference
Click for a larger image.

Parents and educators often wonder aloud just who produces the most popular mobile apps and how many people, especially preadolescents and adolescents, actively use them on mobile devices.

Check out this ComScore image that depicts the most popular apps. Click on the image to visit a larger one at the company’s website that is much easier to read. The numbers represent unique visitors, though we cannot figure out ages. Still, it is interesting to wonder how many of these apps are on your digital devices? Your children’s digital devices?

ComScore is a company that statistically measures the activities of people on the web. It collects information from all over the world and the website is available in a range of languages. If you visit ComScore you can discover all sorts of interesting digital-world info-snapshots depicted with charts and graphs.

I am not at all surprised by this list of most popular apps in our 2014 21st Century lives. Are you?

Posted in digital devices, digital parenting, family conversations, parent education, parents and technology, setting technology limits

Many Tech Executives Are Low Tech Parents

iPad MelangeWhen a new iPhone, iPad, Android, extra cool website, or app debuts, many of us, right along with our kids, can’t wait to indulge. One only has to observe homes, schools, shopping malls, athletic events, or even carpool lines (both parents and kids) to see the extent of our devotion to digital devices — sometimes in lieu of face-to-face interaction.

So what surprised me about a New York Times article Steve Jobs Was a Low Tech Parent was that at the height of the early iPad onslaught, Steve Jobs did not give one to his kids. The September 10, 2014 article, by technology reporter Nick Bilton, points out that Jobs was not alone. Many tech executives, it turns out, are conservative about the amount of time their children have access to digital activities and gadgets. Many of these digital world leaders, Bilton writes,: “…strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends.”  Others, the reporter points out, don’t even let their children have social media accounts.                    Continue reading “Many Tech Executives Are Low Tech Parents”

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.

Continue reading “5 Digital Parenting Questions to Ask As Your Kids Return to School”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, 21st Century teaching, apps, Back-to-school digital reading, digital devices, digital kids, digital parenting, mobile phones, parents and technology

How Quickly Do New Apps Gain Kids’ Attention?

See the larger charts below.

As we get ready to return to school for the 2014-15 academic year, my thoughts turn toward the digital life changes that I’ll observe in the lives of my 21st Century students when we come together in September.

After three months of summer activities such as volunteering or part-time jobs and the less structured time at camps and on vacations, most kids arrive at school with new digital experiences, devices, and apps — and they want to share everything. I’ve especially thought about the number of apps that seem to come out of nowhere — suddenly appearing in kids lives and on their mobile devices — and I know popular new ones will appear this fall.

Below I am sharing three slides from digital parenting presentations that I made over six months, from October to May during the 2013-14 school year.

Continue reading “How Quickly Do New Apps Gain Kids’ Attention?”

Posted in 21st Century parenting, apps, digital devices, digital life, social media, spelling and editing

New York Times Report on FCC Snapchat Settlement

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just announced a settlement with Snapchat over questions of privacy and mis-information.  New York Times reporter Jenna Wortham published an article, Off the Record in a Chat App: Don’t Be Sure, a May 8, 2014 piece that describes the situation and the terms of the settlement.  I’ve written a post, Have A Chat If Your Child Uses Snapchat, with more details at my other blog, Discover Your Child’s Digital World.

Twenty-first century parents — take note.