5 New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Parents’ & Kids’ Digital Literacy Skills

The New York Times recently published For the New Year, Let’s Resolve to Improve Our Tech Literacy, about the need for leaders, law enforcement officials and policy makers to increase their digital world literacy. The December 23, 2015 article, written by Farhad Manjoo, points out that many the big problems that occur in our world become even more complicated because the leaders and law enforcement personnel do not have a big-picture understanding of the vast changes technology brings to today’s world. Greater understanding might strengthen our leaders’ problem solving skills.

This article looks at the importance of digital literacy on a large-scale.

Tech Literacy

As I finished reading, I began thinking about resolutions on a smaller scale — those steps that adults and children can take in 2016 to improve a family’s tech literacy and perhaps prevent at least some of the potential connected-world problems. It’s a fast-paced, always-changing 21st Century world and everyone has a lot to learn. Many of the issues that do occur are made worse because kids and parents do not have enough knowledge to anticipate what might go wrong and take steps to steer clear of problems.

Below are five digital literacy resolutions that parents can make, and all of them can help people — both adults and children — become more sensible and savvy connected world citizens.                                                                  Continue reading

My New KarmaGo — It’s Here So Watch for My Reports #1

I’ve been waiting and waiting. I realized that the KarmaGo was a new device, but I had no idea how popular it would be or how long I’d have to wait for it (like nearly two months). So about two weeks ago I wrote to ask EXACTLY WHEN I might expect it. And the customer service folks got right back to me, explaining that more people had ordered than expected, and that I should have it in hand within two weeks. Also they offered me another gigabyte of memory to use with this mini (and cute) wifi router.

FullSizeRender

The KarmaGo comes with a handy felt storage pocket. It won’t turn on unless I turn it on.

It’s been two weeks and now I have it in my hand, so check out the photo of my new KarmaGo and the handy little felt bag to use when I carry it around in my purse. The felt container ensures that I don’t turn it on by accident. What a nifty little 21st Century gadget!

For those of your who don’t know, the KarmaGo is a mini router with portable wifi that I’ll carry around. I can turn it on whenever I need wifi and keep if off when I’m not using  it. I buy the wifi access that I require. as I need it and I’ll be learning a lot in the next few days!

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StoryCorps’ Great Thanksgiving Listen – Check It Out!

Great TG Quote 2Every Thanksgiving I write a post on each of my blogs listing the digital opportunities in my life for which I am thankful. In this age of constant worry about the various problems and challenges that technology presents for growing children, I like to remind myself that the connected world has given me and young people much to enrich our lives.

Visit the StoryCorps website.

Visit the StoryCorps website.

This Thanksgiving one more item will definitely be added to my list. StoryCorps, the  storytelling feature that we listen to on National Public Radio (NPR), is featuring The 2015 Great Thanksgiving Listen. The goal is to:

… work with teachers and high school students across the country to preserve the voices and stories of an entire generation of Americans over a single holiday weekend.

Listen to a National Public Radio report about the Thanksgiving StoryCorps event.

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25 Years in Ed Tech — 25 Lessons Learned!

After serving at a school for 33 years, more than 25 or them as an educational technology faculty member, I am departing in a few weeks and moving on to new experiences. This year I’ve had plenty of time to think about my service on an edtech faculty team, ruminating on my rich experiences. I’ve helped teachers and students use technology in ways that help them grow into more effective and reflective learners, though in truth, I’ve probably learned far more than I’ve helped others learn.

While I will miss the daily joys and the challenges of 21st Century school life, I expect to continue supporting people — students, parents, family, friends, and anyone else — as they discover more about living and learning in a digital  world  with social media, apps, the latest devices, and whatever else that appears on the edtech horizon. Of course, I’ll keep blogging right here at MediaTechParenting.net.

So below are 25 observations (lessons learned) that grow out of my 25 years of teaching and learning with educational technology.

Me in the cherry picker so  we can film an assembly from a good angle.

Me in the cherry picker so we can film an assembly from a good angle.

1. The curriculum and student learning are at the core of our work. The mission is to figure out how to help teachers learn new skills so they can help students learn more effectively and productively.

2. Collaborating with teachers on new technology projects in their classrooms is essential and best way to help them learn. Communicating with those teachers is paramount.

3. We need administrators to evaluate faculty members regularly, assessing how teachers infuse technology into the curriculum and how these teachers expand their skills over time.

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10 Digital Wellness Thoughts to Consider

Digital WellnessThese days everyone talks about personal wellness — those steps that people need to take to remain physically and mentally healthy and strong. But what about digital wellness? Poor digital health affects not only our connected lives, but also our physical and mental well-being.

Digital wellness is about fine-tuning the 21st Century skills that we use to work and play in a connected world, and it also involves understanding number of common myths about the nature of online life. Helping family members take steps to develop digital wellness habits can challenge parents, mainly because many children, pre-adolescents, and teens appear to be far more advanced online consumers than their parents. Underneath the veneer of digital native expertise, however, are a fair number of information gaps.              Continue reading

So What Else Can Google Do?

Made with Tagul!

Made with Tagul!

Did you know that, besides searching, Google can carry out a variety of simple tasks in daily life — making 21st Century connected life easier or at least a bit quicker? Amaze your children or students by trying out and sharing a few of these Google bells and whistles. A few of the tasks may also support learning activities.

  1. Use Google as a timer by typing set time to 24 minutes.
  2. Find a movie release by typing the name of the movie and the word release: e.g., Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel release.
  3. Check out the sunrise and sunset times by typing sunrise in [town or city].
  4. Get the weather forecast by typing forecast [town or city].
  5. Get a definition by typing define [word here].
  6. Figure out a tip by typing tip calculator.
  7. Get songs by groups you like by typing songs by the [group name].
  8. Convert measurements by typing convert and the units that you want to convert to: e.g., convert 3 yards to meters.
  9. Find books by a certain author by typing books by [author’s name].
  10. Get a definition by typing define [word here].

Check out even more!      Continue reading

Getting to Know Pinterest: A Parent’s Guide

Pinterest digitizes image collecting, the non-digital activity that lots of us have been doing for years. In a sense Pinterest offers a 21st Century way to bookmark and collect images instead of accumulating pieces of paper. I’m loving it!

Visit Pinterest.

Many people spend time looking through magazines and catalogs, identifying images such as the best looking clothes, interesting plants, comfortable shoes, or pictures with ideas for an upcoming home construction project. An individual cuts out (or tears out) the image and puts it into a folder. I used to have folders (and more folders) filled with images on all sorts of topics, waiting for me to consult. And I used them from time-to-time, especially at the beginning of a project.

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