Admiral Grace Hopper & Her Singular Achievements

Public Domain from the U.S. Navy website.

Public Domain from the U.S. Navy website.

In the late 1980s, early in my educational technology career, I attended a one-day conference about technology in schools. Held in a hotel in the Washington, DC area — I don’t remember which one — the conference convened a small number of teachers, identified as early adopters, people from that National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, what seemed hundreds of technology consultants from places like Cambridge, Palo Alto, and various state universities, and one older, somewhat fragile woman far ahead in the front of the room, who attended for a short time.

That was my first encounter with the life of retired Admiral Grace Hopper. She lived for only a few more years after that, passing away at the age of 85, but I remember her face, her eagle-eyed attention, and the reverence with which others in the room regarded her.

Yale University has decided to change the name of its residential Calhoun College to Grace Hopper College, honoring the computer scientist who played a significant role in moving the country (and the world) into the age of technology and who became a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy. Hopper received a master’s degree and PhD in mathematics from Yale and was one of the mathematicians  who programmed some of the earliest computers before and during World War II.                                             Continue reading

10 Digital Wellness Thoughts to Consider

Will new devices, robots and other items that connect to the Internet with your wifi be arriving in your home during this 2016 holiday season? If so, check out this post about maintaining digital wellness in your family.

Media! Tech! Parenting!

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.             

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Building Habits of Credibility into the Curriculum & the Conversation

21st Century Vocabulary Words - Credibility

21st Century Vocabulary Words – Credibility

How do we help children identify and understand information that is not credible?

Election seasons provide some of the best opportunities to teach 21st Century young people about credibility — in school, at home, online and off. As we go about electing new leaders, we see and hear candidates stating all sorts of claims, assertions, rumors, and postulations. Some are true, others slightly true, some absurdly false, but all come via various media, social and otherwise, though not always online.

Use the months before an election to encourage young people, and your child especially, to think about credibility. Focus on the ways that media share information and on how to discover whether facts are true or not true.           Continue reading

Teach Children About Anonymity Before They Make Mistakes

childing typingAnonymity presents digital kids with a complicated social obstacle — one they must confront and understand if they are to protect themselves from potential problems. Digital anonymity is not a friendly concept for growing children. I’d argue, in fact, that it’s downright dangerous, but app makers continue to offer the feature. For now these apps are a part of many digital kids’ daily lives, often negatively affecting their digital wellness.

No child with a connected device is immune from possible trouble caused by anonymity, because issues can arise in an instant, often as a part of routine online social interactions. Anonymous opportunities take advantage of kids’ developing brains, encouraging them to make public mistakes in judgment, and enabling young people, sometimes as young as third or fourth grade, to act and communicate with less and less restraint. A mistake made with an app’s anonymity feature can be hurtful or humiliating.

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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

Has Your Child Grown Up With Google? Check Out This Article

Ever so often adults are reminded that the world where we grew up is dramatically different from the world where our 21st Century children live, learn, and grow. What is new and different for parents and educators is merely routine to digital kids.

Over at the TeachThought blog I discovered an interesting article about the dramatic life changes that have occurred during the first 16 years of Google’s existence (dramatic to adults, that is). The author uses Google as a yardstick to measure the ways the world has changed during those 16 years, Click on the box below to read the whole article.

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Family Online Safety Institute Conference 2014: Lots to Learn

A  year has passed and once again I’ve attended the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) annual conference — this time the 2014 edition. I was especially excited to be learning,  connecting, and enjoying the events with a bevy of edtech and teaching colleagues — 15 at last count — educators who are committed to supporting 21st Century learning and to guiding our students’ parents, grown-ups who must continually fine tune their 21st Century parenting skills.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 10.49.52 AMRead my FOSI 2013 posts.

Right at the beginning we learned about FOSI’s latest research, this time focused on parenting in the digital age. A presentation by researchers at Hart Associates gave us more insight into the excitement, the concerns, and the hope that parents have about their children’s connected world lives. The good news is that parents’ knowledge is increasing and so is the confidence that they bring to parenting digital natives. I’ll share lots more about that in a future post, but you can read the full report before I get to my review of the research.      Continue reading