What Do You Know About Artificial Intelligence & How It May Affect Your Life?

Ideas about artificial intelligence (AI) have tended to swirl around without offering me much to think about. I use Siri and Hello Google on my iPhone, I’m aware of the increasingly powerful social media algorithms, and I’ve watched, with some interest, the accomplishments of IBM’s Watson. Yet I haven’t really thought much about it.

The developments and decisions made about AI over the next couple of years may well affect our lives and the lives of our descendants. It’s best to get to know a bit about what is going on, especially when it comes to personal privacy, and also to ensure that our children learn about the positive and negative aspects of artificial intelligence.

Over the past several days I’ve read Maureen Dowd’s long and detailed report in Vanity Fair, Elon Musk’s Future Shock, describing the unbridled, and sometimes turbulent Silicon Valley debate about AI. This is the first detailed AI article that I’ve read, and it offers readers much to think about as Dowd circles, again and again, from Elon Musk to other AI researchers who oppose his views and back Musk again. I’ve realized that artificial intelligence is no longer something we see in science fiction movies. It may well affect our health and digital wellness. Continue reading

How Are You Helping Kids Learn About MediaLit & Fake News? Progress?

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Check out Google’s new fact check feature.

Teachers all over the country are sharing ideas about how to help their students identify news that is made-up, unsubstantiated, or just plain false. Now Google has added a feature that identifies false information that comes up on user searches. An April 7, 2017 article at the Pointer Journalism site describes Google’s new fact check in detail and explains how the company went about developing its new feature. You can also read the CNET article about Google.

I’ve been delighted by the articles, such as Five Ways Teachers Are Fighting Fake News, an NPR education article that describe how three teachers are incorporating media literacy activities into their curriculum.  Plenty of other similar reports have appeared in various the media. I hope that, somewhere, there is an organization that is archiving as many teacher ideas as possible.                          Continue reading

Quiz- How Much Do You Really Know About Cybersecurity?

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Click on the image to take the quiz.

How about taking a quiz to see how much you really know (or don’t know) about how cybersecurity affects your digital life?

Statisticians over at the Pew Research Center are well known for seeking answers to Internet questions using telephone surveys. Sometimes a part of one research project or another includes an interactive piece that people not involved in the survey can use.

In 2016 Pew researchers conducted such a survey project seeking to learn how much people know about cybersecurity. They sought answers by surveying online a nationally representative group of 1,055 randomly selected adult Internet users and using this cybersecurity quiz.

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When Did We Stop Thinking of Bedrooms as Places to Sleep?

bedroom deviceShould we make kids’ bedrooms better for sleeping?

I’ve just finished reading an October 2016 editorial in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, Problems Associated With Use of Mobile Devices in the Sleep Environment — Streaming Instead of Dreaming. The short piece describes the problems that digital devices, especially those that are mobile and easy to glance at or grab in the middle of the night, reflects on research published in the same issue of the journal. Unfortunately neither article is freely available; however, the links I’ve added offer a summary describing how the research was conducted and highlighting the findings.

The JAMA Pediatrics research article explains how the study asked the question, “Is there an association between screen-based media device access or use in the sleep environment and sleep quantity and quality?” Researchers conducted a meta-analysis (examining the results of many studies and combining the results) by searching through 20 previous studies, involving more than 125,000 children, that examined sleep patterns of children between 6 and 19 years old.                       Continue reading

I Love My Sonos Play:1 Wireless Speakers!

It’s great fun to think about how technology improves our lives, especially given how much people worry about digital world problems. For me one of the best changes in our 21st Century lives has been the new and improved ways that I can listen to music, podcasts, and radio programs.

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One of my Sonos wireless speakers

These days with our Sonos Play:1 wireless sound system, my family listens to a vastly expanded range of music, radio stations, podcasts, and much more. Tune speakers sit at strategic  locations around the house, and though we still regularly listen to “old-fashioned” radios, our wireless system is gradually taking over because of its amazing sound quality. The first time we played music on one of our Sonos speakers we joked that it felt like the musicians were in the room with us.

Using the Sonos app, each Play:1 speaker — we now have four — is easily connected to our wi-fi network, and then it runs through a sound test to become familiar with its room. The app also allows us to group the speakers and play the same music throughout the house or keep them separate, thereby allowing any member of the family to listen to different media on the closest Play:1 — once each speaker played different music at the same time for people in each of the rooms.  Perfect for any household with diverse listening tastes!       Continue reading

Teach Students to Use Words Other Than Fake!

screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-10-06-52-amFake is a generic term. It means one thing to one person and another thing to someone else. Anyone can say that something is fake or made up.

More descriptive words make it more difficult to label information that is untrue, and easier to challenge. We — kids, adults, parents, and teachers — need all the help we can get in this 21st Century connected world when it comes to evaluating credibility

My ideas?

  • Confirmed news
  • Authoritative news
  • Substantiated news
  • Verified or validated news
  • Corroborated news
  • Proven news
  • Authenticated news
  • Reliable news
  • Credible news
  • Unambiguous news

Teaching our children and all citizens to check for credibility, evaluate, and celebrate substantiated news has become more urgent In today’s hyper-connected world. Read my more detailed post on this topic.

Media Literacy Educators Are Not Responsible for Society’s Digital Problems

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-10-39-42-pmThe Media Literacy community is dedicated and passionate about its work — but not according to danah boyd (yes she spells her name this way).

I’ve just read her article, Did Media Literacy Backfire? and honestly, I am puzzled. Boyd aptly describes today’s problems with unsubstantiated information and dramatic cultural divides, but she goes on to blame media literacy.

Medialit has no causal relationship with the cultural issues that divide us. In fact, if there is any connection between today’s digital information and cultural communication problems it’s that we don’t have nearly enough school literacy programs to help all students learn how to deconstruct and consume media.

Continue reading