Words to Use Besides 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.

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

iCivics: Former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is a Video Game Entrepreneur?

With so much discussion today about the three parts of the United States Government — legislative, executive, and judicial — and the role and responsibilities of each section, it appears that the idea of checks and balances, what the founders of the United States had in mind, has become muddled. This information, often called the study of civics, used to be a part of every American child’s education, but now it may need a reboot.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor had an idea about refreshing the study of civics, and you can read about it in the post below.

Media! Tech! Parenting!

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 4.48.36 PM Click to visit iCivics!

When she retired as a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor could have headed to the golf course or just relaxed. But she did not. Instead she started an educational organization, iCivics, and she has been instrumental in the release and promotion of that group’s free video games — 19 of them!

iCivics is a non-profit founded by Justice O’Connor, and its goal is to “empower teachers and prepare the next generation of 21st Century students to become knowledgeable and engaged citizens.” Read the iCivics story.        

The organization has also created video games along with lesson plans and resource materials that aim to fill in the gaps in students’ civics education. Unfortunately the subject has often fallen by the wayside in many schools, so the focus of the games is to help kids learn about the different branches of government…

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No-Tech Zones Enrich a Child’s Life — and the Family’s

You might want to read 5 No-Phone Zones for Parents and Kids Alike, a January 2017 New York Times article.

screen-shot-2015-04-06-at-8-36-54-pm-e1428367741259Written by Perry Klass, M.D., a pediatrician and long-time writer, the Times article reminds  parents to put down their phones when they interact with their 21st Century children, and it emphasizes the importance of any time that a child spends away from digital devices.

Despite the wonders and access that our mobile phones and other connected world devices bring to our lives, screen-free time is essential in a child’s life as well as for an adult. Klass suggests five phone-free times that she considers sacred, though she points out that she is not always successful in her quest. Check out the article.

Posts on this blog highlighting the importance of screen-free time and space include:   Continue reading

George Takei’s TED Lecture About His Family’s Internment During WW II

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Watch George Takei’s TedTalk.

My recent blog post Japanese Internment in the U.S. — Information to Share With Your Students, was filled with learning tools that teachers (and parents, too) can use to help young people learn about the Internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. One of the connected world resources merits it’s own post.

Recommended by a colleague, George Takei’s TED Talk, Why I Love a Country the Once Betrayed Me, describes what happened when soldiers arrested his family and imprisoned them at one of the internment camps.Takei, who played Sulu on Star Trek, explains how his parents lost everything and yet possessed the resilience to start rebuilding their lives after the United States government allowed them to leave the camp. I was sure that I had watched this talk, but it turned out that I had not.

Takei’s TedTalk is powerful and engaging, and it brings to life fear, sorrow, patriotism, and the terrible things that can happen when people fear others solely because of their race and ethnic background.

An important lesson in this age when so many people fear refugees and others because of their religion..

Can Honesty With Security Questions Not Be the Best Policy?

Do your security question answers unlock too much information?

Do your security question answers unlock too much personal information?

We hear a lot of discussion about secure passwords, but now people are wondering whether we should pay more attention to the answers we give for security questions.

The article Why You Should Lie When Setting Up Password Security Questions, over at the Techlicious site, makes me wonder whether security questions — and the answers that we provide —  should be re-evaluated. The article emphasizes the lack of security and privacy in our lives, and notes that by giving answers to security questions that describe our personal lives we set ourselves up for potential identity theft problems when hacks do occur.

Continue reading

Can We Stop Using the Word Fake to Describe Made Up News?

Thought I’d republish this post, given some of the current events in the United States.

Media! Tech! Parenting!

describing-real-newsFake is a generic term. We don’t use it much when we teach — in any subject — because it’s judgmental and doesn’t tell us much about whatever it’s supposed to be characterizing. Besides, anyone can say that something — anything — is fake or made up.

So let’s not use fake to describe the news.

I recently read The Fight Against Fake News Starts in the Classroom, an article that describes media literacy lessons developed by Project Look Smart (at Ithaca College) and the principles of evaluating, deconstructing, and applying unambiguous descriptions to the news. The literacy lessons aim to help students gain more understanding of the practice of media evaluation and inquiry rather than simply designating something as true or false. When I finished reading the article and look over the wonderful teaching units, I realized that every lesson can be completed without focusing much, or at all on the word fake…

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