Posted in 21st Century Learning, digital citizenship, digital devices and gadgets, digital parenting, leadership, research on the web

Back-to-School Research Tips: Use Curated Online Databases

September brings the start of a new school year, and once classes begin, it’s not long before the first research reports and projects are assigned. To get started, your child will head right to his or her computer; however, adult assistance at home ensures that a student uses quality sources, as well as develop stronger 21st Century research skills.

Just about any time digital kids search for information at home, they fire up Google. While their teachers use substantial classroom time and energy introducing students to the best online research resources, children often need assistance, not to mention frequent reminders about applying these research lessons on their home computers.

As often as possible adults should remind children that results from Google — as wonderful as Google searching is — provide a huge number of links, many of them of questionable quality. A better way to search for information is to access library online resources and databases — the crown jewels of student research (Links at the bottom of this post will take readers to a few libraries that describe their virtual databases.) Searching in these databases decreases quantity and dramatically increases quality — which, in turn, improves the caliber of a student’s assignment. A web page chart at Illinois Institute of Technology compares  Google searches and database inquiries. A library tutorial from Western Oregon University also compares research on Google and online databases.                       Continue reading “Back-to-School Research Tips: Use Curated Online Databases”

Posted in parents and technology, research on the web, social media, social media friends, social networking

Communicating on Social Media: As American as Apple Pie?

Check out the full report at http://bit.ly/vNhmnw

The Pew Internet and American Life Project recently published new social media data, this time asking why American adults use social networks.

From my point of view, keeping in touch with people is a grand old American tradition, as traditional as apple pie. Over the years whether it’s over the backyard fence, via snail mail letter, postcard, telephone, or e-mail, Americans like to connect and communicate.

Interestingly, according to this new Pew data, adults become involved with social media — Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and others — because of the ease of keeping in touch. People use a social medium if it makes communicating with friends and family easy and fun.

Moreover, users like that social media now offers faster and faster ways to reconnect with the people from the past — something that was far more difficult in the “olden days.”

Posted in attributing sources, digital learning, digital parenting, Evaluating Web Resources, interesting research, research on the web

Kids and Web Resource Credibility

If you find yourself thinking about the digital research activities of children, especially older students who complete significant amounts of their research using the unlimited resources available on the World Wide Web, you are not alone. Over the past 10 years I have wondered — more than once and sometimes with great angst — if my child and the many children I’ve known really understand the need to evaluate the resources that they find on the web.

Earlier this year I discovered a small book, published by the MacArthur Foundation, describing research that explored how children perceive the quality and reliability of digital media. It’s a book that concerned parents may want to read. In Kids and Credibility: An Empirical Examination of Youth, Digital Media Use, and Information Credibility, authors Andrew J. Flanagin and Miriam J. Metzger, summarize their study as a “…comprehensive investigation into youth’s Internet use and their assessment of the credibility of online information.” The authors wondered whether young digital media users, while sophisticated and fearless about using technology, could evaluate information and determine its quality.

To learn more about young people and web credibility the researchers planned and executed a web-based survey of more than 2,000 children age 11 – 18. Study participants also completed a range of Internet tasks, evaluating information, making judgements about content, and explaining how and why they complete web tasks in certain ways. While there is far too much to cover in one blog post — check out the many interesting graphs in the publication — I’ve listed a few of the most interesting observations below. Continue reading “Kids and Web Resource Credibility”

Posted in attributing sources, digital learning, digital parenting, family conversations, parents and technology, plagiarism, research on the web

In a Digital World: Always Attribute Sources! Back-to-School 2011

Old card catalog drawers at the Library of Congress

When I was in what we used to call junior high, working on my first bona-fide school research projects, mired down with things to read, and wishing to be finished, my father reminded me over and over again, “… you cannot attribute too much, only too little.” Even now, years later, with only a few words written on a page, I start thinking about Dad’s attribution credo.

Every parent of digital kids needs to share Dad’s strategy whenever children are working on school projects and papers. It is way too easy, in this age of Google, Wikipedia, and easy instant access to digitized scholarly articles, to write about another person’s ideas without giving credit.

I was reminded of my dad when I read the September 11, 2011 Washington Post Ombudsman column. In Plagiarism or Poor Attribution? Patrick B. Pexton writes about an op-ed piece on women and computer programming that appeared two weeks earlier, one that described how many woman used to be programmers. Pexton wonders if the author credited enough of her sources. Continue reading “In a Digital World: Always Attribute Sources! Back-to-School 2011”

Posted in cultural changes, digital citizenship, digital parenting, media literacy, parents and technology, research on the web

Virtual World Questions and Thoughtful Surmises

Check out Is the Virtual World Good For the “Real” One? in the February 23, 2011 Huffington Post.  The article, by Joseph Kahane, describes a longitudinal study focused on the amount of time that young people (age 18 – 29) spend online. Researchers wondered whether time in the virtual world may be keeping young people from paying enough attention to the tangible needs of the real world.

Kahane, who currently chairs the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics, describes some interesting findings and concludes, ” In short, the virtual world can be good for the “real” one. There are forms of online activity that can give youth civic and political engagement a much-needed boost. We need to fully tap this potential.”

Read the entire article.

Posted in digital parenting, Evaluating Web Resources, parents and technology, research on the web

Kids and Web Credibility

Click for PDF of the book.

If you worry about the digital research activities of children, especially older students who complete significant amounts of their research using the unlimited resources available on the World Wide Web, you are not alone. Over the past 10 years I have wondered — more than once and sometimes with great angst — if my child and the many children I’ve known over the years really understand the need to evaluate the resources that they find on the web.

Recently I discovered a small book, published by the MacArthur Foundation, describing research that explored how children perceive the quality and reliability of digital media. It’s a book that concerned parents may want to read. In Kids and Credibility: An Empirical Examination of Youth, Digital Media Use, and Information Credibility, authors Andrew J. Flanagin and Miriam J. Metzger, summarize their study as a “…comprehensive investigation into youth’s Internet use and their assessment of the credibility of online information.” The authors wondered whether young digital media users, while sophisticated and fearless about using technology, could evaluate information and determine its quality. Continue reading “Kids and Web Credibility”

Posted in digital parenting, online health resources, parent education, parents and technology, research on the web, web research

Immunizations: Digital Resources for Families

When we are sick or injured or when we are planning to travel, we often try to recall past immunizations as well as determine if boosters are required. Yearly flu shots are fairly easy to remember. However, the boosters that update past inoculations are more difficult to recall. Most adults do not keep good enough inoculation records and because we move from place to place, or at least doctor to doctor, our medical charts are not as complete as they should be.

The MedlinePlus immunization page provides lots of information for families. Moreover, if you family is traveling the CDC’s Travelers’ Health page also gives vaccination information to help everyone prepare for the trip.

Early this fall, because of my work, I went to my doctor to get a booster for pertussis, and sure enough, cases in my area right now. I am glad I got the booster. Check this pertussis information website at CDC for more information.

For a great immunization review, take this Adolescent and Adult Vaccine Quiz. When you finish click the My Results button.