Check Out Harvard’s Free Online Course: Religions of the World MOOC

screen-shot-2017-03-02-at-8-23-29-pm

MOOC stands for massive open online course.

We all need to learn more about the religions of the world. Even people  who are not especially religious need to become respectfully informed. Now a Harvard online MOOC course on the world’s religions is enrolling and welcoming participants — for free. A lot more about the course by reading a Huffington Post article.

The course is offered as a series of modules, each focused on a specific religion. The course can be taken for free, but if students want a certificate of achievement they will need to pay $50. The instructors leading the classes teach at Harvard University and Wellesley College.               Continue reading

National Library of Medicine Learning Resources for Young Learners

Amazing resources for young learners at The National Library of Medicine!

Amazing resources for young K-12 learners at The National Library of Medicine!

Check out The National Library of Medicine (NLM) resources for K-12 education, including a number of games. The library is a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and also  has an excellent weekly podcast on a wide range of topics.

Teaching Kids to Search Well and Evaluate What They Find

TechforSuccessMy post, Back-to-School Research Tip: Help Your Child Use Curated Online Databases, is posted over at the Platform for Good website. It describes strategies that parents and educators can use to help children understand more about quality searching and help 21st Century kids become better evaluators of their search results.

To get the new school year started in a digitally sensible way, please take a few minutes to read my post and learn ways to direct 21st Century children to resources curated by experts, materials chosen to help students get good results when they search. The more they encounter quality search results, the better they will become at recognizing poor quality when they use a less curated searching tool.

On the same page, at the right, is a wonderful graphic called Tech for Success that I will definitely use as a handout with students and their parents during the 2014-15 school year. Similar to an acrostic poem, the graphic uses the word “success,”  spelling it down the left-hand side of the page and attaching an important digital citizenship message to each letter of the word.

Is Privacy Protected When a Student Learns Online?

Image made with Wordfoto with a picture taken at the Library of Congress.

Image made with Wordfoto with a picture taken at the Library of Congress.

If you think that the digital world may be getting it together on the privacy front, at least when it comes to children, think again.

A disturbing article, Data Mining Your Children, published in Politico, describes how for-profit online learning companies provide digital textbooks, connected learning programs, and record keeping, while collecting an enormous amount of information on individual students. The question is, what will they do with this personal data? Politico is a Washington newspaper that covers national government policy and politics.           Continue reading

Action Words that Describe Digital World Learning

digital-citizenship Can we teach pre-adolescents and teens to reflect on what’s happening as they use digital world tools and  interact with online content? Can we help them understand more about what they are doing when they work and play online?

Educators often provide a checklist or rubric for students to use as they work on assignments or projects. A rubric usually contains editing specifications, project requirements, resource documentation, and expectations — all for students to consider while completing the work.

Now I’ve discovered that Mia MacMeekin over at the An Ethical Island blog offers what I think of as a digital learning graphical rubric. The easy-to-understand graphic features World Wide Web nouns and action verbs that describe the ways people  encounter, process, and use online information. MacMeekin thinks of her infographic as a digital citizenship tool, but it’s much more than that. The chart offers educators with opportunities to ask questions as they teach, and more importantly, expect students to answer them.          Continue reading

Helping Children Navigate Digital Streets: Ideas for Parents (and Teachers, Too)

Several times recently I’ve mentioned a colleague’s blog post, A Letter to Parents of Digital-Age Students. Published at Getting Smart, this piece is so good that I’ve already shared it with half-a-dozen colleagues and handed it to several parents at my school.

Read the post.

Susan Lucille Davis, a colleague of mine and — lucky for me — a member of my personal learning network, writes about the strategies that we adults must use if we want our children to become savvy and safe digital consumers. The task for adults, whether we know a lot or a little about technology, is to support, guide, and help children as they go about learning to manage the challenges in today’s digital world. We must be adult trail guides.

While Susan Davis directs her post primarily toward parents, educators can also take her information to heart.

Three Important Points in this Article                            Continue reading

Finding TED Talks Just Got Easier!

Finally!!

Identifying relevant TED Talks on various subjects just got easier.

Parents, teachers, lifelong learners: these talks contain wide-ranging information, ideas, and lots of content that 21st century learners be used in reports, presentations, and other learning activities.

According to the e-mail with the graphic below, TED Talks will now be posted on iTunes organized by curated collections students, educators, families, and, of course, lifelong learners.  Click on the image to visit iTunes, choose a collection, and download the lectures that interest you. The link may be slow, but you can always go directly to iTunes.

Expect more from TED.

Check out this post about Teaching With TED. You can also read TED Talks for Teaching English. Another essay, by Georgia Tech professor Amy Bruckman, addresses the tremendous growing power of the TED Brand.