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

Real Answers to Parents’ Digital Questions? You Bet!

Digital World QuestionsMy greatest connected learner satisfaction comes when I discover answers to questions that I haven’t yet thought to ask — something that occurs almost every day in my digital world. Online I’ll search on a topic, read, or merely glance over a site, and suddenly I discover a resource and think — I need to know about that!

As I read the blog post, Learning Online: Real Answers to Real Questions, by colleague and master teacher, Susan Lucille Davis, that’s exactly how I felt. Davis shares a range digital parenting resources that help to answer parents’ 21st Century learning questions, and along the way she helps us realize just how much more we can learn in our connected world.

Writing for A Platform for Good, Davis offers resource suggestions that parents can use to gain digital skill and knowledge right along with their children, and teachers can share with their students’ parents.

A Few of My Favorite Tips  — For links and more information read the entire post.

  • I had no idea that parents can set up subsidiary e-mail accounts, despite the fact that I am on Google and Gmail countless times each day.
  • Somehow I’ve missed Joyce Valenza’s TEDTalk about helping kids expand online research skills, but it’s a resource to share widely in an academic community.
  • Good quality COPPA information sources, that provide basic information to share with parents, are hard to find, but Davis found one and its good.

I, too have found that parents need lots of information about digital kids and learning.  On my “class-on-a-blog,” initially set up for parents at my school,  I write about tools, apps, and sites. On this other site, Discover Your Child’s Digital World, my posts concentrate on digital adventures that kids experience and adults may not know much about.

E-mail, Scandals, and Digital Footprints — AGAIN!

One of the digital citizenship posters made by my students a year or two ago.

On a fairly regular basis a public scandal occurs, and these days just about every one of them reminds us of how ignorant people are about the transparency of their digital footprints.

If reading about the most recent scandal doesn’t convince you of how easily accessible digital footprints can be, then this November 17, 2012 Washington Post article should. In The FBI’s Long Reach Into Digital Lives, reporters Greg Miller and Ellen Nakashima describe how easily the FBI gets into an individual’s e-mails and how accessing one account leads to exploring the accounts of other people who have sent or received e-mails.

Interesting Quote from the Post Article

Investigators with a warrant to search a house for drugs can seize evidence of another crime… But the warrant does not allow them to barge into the house next door… But what are the comparable boundaries online? Does a warrant to search an e-mail account expose the communications of anyone who exchanged messages with the target?

Scandals arising from common digital mistakes can provide opportunities for adults and children to participate in family conversations, learning more about their online and networked world. However, if you do not want to talk about the scandal, that’s fine — talk about the lack of privacy that everyone experiences today. Children who make mistakes have no protection as they  explore the digital world, because what they do can easily become public and embarrassing. In any past era their common and developmentally appropriate errors would mostly remain private, but with today’s speedy and electronic communication tools, that’s less and less likely.

We are not trying to scare children, but we are trying hard to make common sense second nature.
Continue reading

Comparing Tech Skills: Pre-Schoolers vs. Adults

I recently discovered an interesting comment on a Linked In discussion, part of the ed-tech topics that I often follow.

The conversation asked the question, “Are tablets and iPads the new textbooks?” and the discussion was about an Educause article, E-Books in Higher Education: Are We There Yet? Educause is a non-profit sector organization that aims to help individuals “who lead, manage, and use information technology to shape strategic IT decisions at every level within higher education.”

In the Linked In conversation, Randy Tanner (Linked In profile) described the research of a colleague who is a doctoral candidate at Capella University whose dissertation research investigates the influence of iPads, tablets, and smart phones on pre-schoolers. According to Tanner:

One amazing fact she shared is that the typical 4-year-old is technically more competent with tablets and smart phones than the average adult. Think of the impact to primary school methodology. This isn’t the tech-savvy Millennial Y-generation; this the post-Millennial Z-Gen who may never touch a desktop PC and categorize laptops with 8-track players.

Continue reading

Beloit College 2016 Mindset List: How Fast Life Changes

The new Beloit College 2016 Mindset List — a great start-of-the-school-year  conversation piece for adults — is out.

Watch a video about the list.

At the beginning of each academic year several faculty members at Beloit compile a list to demonstrate how students in the entering freshman college class experience life, learning, and culture differently from many of the adults they know. Some items are silly, others compare digital kids with their parents’ generation; some I don’t understand; and others I can fit into a bit of context, but they are mostly unfamiliar to me.

The list’s mission is to remind educators and parents that it takes energy and openness to new literacies to understand how dramatically the “growing-up” and learning processes change over time (and many of these have nothing to do with digital life). 

Every fall I look forward to the release of this list, which Beloit releases just before the start of the school year. I’ve included a few of my favorites from this year.          Continue reading

Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner: A Short Review

For some time on this blog I’ve listed Creating Innovators as my current read.

Tony Wagner’s book looks at young adults who are successfully navigating a transforming world of work, where a deep understanding of teamwork and innovation is a prerequisite for success. His profiles focus especially on the educational and parenting experiences that helped each young person flourish. Wagner prods us to identify what we — educators, parents, concerned adults — need to do to engage young learners and help many more of them grow into innovative and creative thinkers.

Creating Innovators features two blended tracks — one text and the other media. Wagner supplements the traditional book with a host of videos that extend and amplify what we have just read. QR codes in each chapter make it easy to access the videos, so we need only scan the image with a smartphone app and off we go to view the related media. If a reader does not own a smartphone — and I’ve discovered that for financial reasons quite a few of my younger colleagues don’t — Wagner’s website includes a page with links to all of the videos.      Continue reading

You Can Start a Family Blog – Summer 2012

Visit Start a Family Blog and Get Started!

This summer think about starting a family blog. It’s a terrific communication project as well as a collaborative learning opportunity for everyone — kids, parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles.

Last year I taught a short online blogging course to parents at my school. My Start a Family Blog classhosted on a WordPress blog, is still available. The posts will guide interested families through the basics of starting a blog for relatives and friends.

Over at SomeNovelIdeas, a blog authored by librarian Stacy Nockowitz, would be bloggers will find a comprehensive and rich list of resource links to help get started. She organizes her links into categories:

    • Blogging Basics
    • Blogging Resources
    • Blogs About Blogging
    • Blogging Platforms
    • Images

Also included at the bottom of the resource page is a cool glossary of blogging terms.