I am just back from a huge technology conference in Philadelphia, the International Society for Technology in Education(ISTE), and I blogged from the event uploading nine or ten entries on a separate MediaTechParenting page. I also tweeted — sometimes using Twitter myself and at other times just watching, reading, and processing the tweets of others.
During the week — before, during, and after the conference — Twitter was my most important communication too. Over the four days it let me know where especially great workshops and presentations were occurring, helped me discover other people who shared my interest, kept me up-to-date about who was blogging, informed me about presenters who were sharing resources beyond their presentation rooms, and yes, even announced the location of the special snacks each afternoon. Without the #ISTE11 Twitter handle, and also the continuing backchannel tweets on #edtech and #edchat, my week would have been slower, less interesting, and nowhere near as dynamic.
Day after day frightening stories bombard us with warnings about what might happen to children and teens when they use the Internet and World Wide Web, so it’s useful to remind ourselves that these digital resources can provide our children with unparalleled opportunities to learn, socialize, and become active citizens. An article, Our Overblown Paranoia About the Internet and Teens, recently published in the online publication,Salon, provides just such a reminder.
Pediatrician Rahul Parikh, who practices in the San Francisco Bay area, points out that, despite all of our anxiety about teens and Internet risks, no statistics really exist to offer a full picture of the incidence of exposure to risk. Those few that do are often biased because of a common problem for research, posing questions to get the desired answer. Situations that do occur are often covered by a hysterical media, making us feel like a problem happens over and over, just around the corner. Continue reading “Teens, Parent Anxiety, and the Internet”→
Every digital-age parent with a Blackberry or smartphone needs to read Four Lessons for Parents in a Constantly Connected World. This short article, by Mashable writer Soren Gordhamer, offers a few pointers for parents of digital kids. I’ve summarized each of the recommendations for below.
Learn about the games your child plays.
Put down digital gadgets and spend time with children (and not letting the gadgets interrupt the time).
Keep the gadgets our of the bedroom (for everyone).
Start sharing and collaborating on technology searches and projects (and resolve to learn more).
I have just read a colleague’s post, Lessons of a Broken Window, over at The Learning Curve blog. The author, Chris Shriver, describes her son’s persistence as he practices throwing a baseball, even though a few of those pitches have broken windows. He has not let the occasional problem or temporary roadblock keep him from learning and fine-tuning his throwing skill as he seeks to become more expert at pitching.
I am spending three days with technology colleagues from a wide range of schools, and all of us are learning more about the ever-increasing technology tools in our lives. At a conference, held on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the goal is to discover, share, and learn as much as we can. We are continuously modeling appropriate behavior, discovering and exploring new technology devices and websites, mastering new skills, and figuring out how to manage our online social media personas rather than letting those personas manage us. All of this information will return to school with us, helping students learn and supporting parents as they confront complex and confusing digital parenting issues. Continue reading “Collaboration and Technology on the Maryland Eastern Shore”→
“Facebook depression” is a small part of the policy statement, but the benefits and the learning opportunities offered by social media are a larger part. Rather than focusing on the positives and on the recommendations for moderation, the media is shouting out the negatives. My fifth grade media literacy students can run circles around these headline writers.
A recent US News and World Report articlefeatures a headline that is balanced and far more sensible.
As usual, Common Sense Media is right on top of the latest media/television family dilemma, and the website has published a short piece to help parents talk with their teenage children about the MTV program, Skins. In Tough Talk: How Parents Can Use MTV’S Skins As a Jumping Off Point, Liz Perle writes, “MTV’s teen drama Skins (a remake of the even edgier British series) showcases every behavior that keeps parents of teenagers up at night.” Perle suggests conversation pointers that can help parents begin conversations on these all too nerve-wracking topics. While these subjects keep parents in a perpetual state of jitters, teenagers confront many of the issues the issues on a daily basis — though honestly the show itself seems overly contrived. Check out the article.
The point is – and this is a Common Sense Media mantra (about page) — no matter how uncomfortable the topic may be, the most important thing is to work hard to keep the dialogue going throughout the challenging teenage years. The conversations, even if they don’t go as smoothly as a parent wishes, nevertheless help adolescent kids think about making better choices.