Are You Sometimes “Botified” When You Communicate Online?

Watch David Ryan Polgar’s video below.

Take some time to watch an interesting video, Are We Becoming Bots, presented by tech ethicist David Ryan Polgar. In his video Polgar describes how in today’s digital age, each person is connected to many, many other people. Too many connections can lead individuals to send “botified” responses —  meaning that we sometimes behave more like robots and less like people. “Botified” behavior occurs because of the digital world challenges that arise when we try to accommodate way too many online connections.                                Continue reading

Digital Kids to Parents — Don’t Break Your Own Rules! A Poem

Several years ago I uploaded a post, Advice from Digital Kids to Parents, including some of the thoughts that kids in grades 3-6 shared with me about adults’ digital activities. My students often commented that it was unfair when parents asked their kids to sign a digital life contract or agreement, because adults then proceeded to break many of the common sense rules.

For some time I’ve felt those children’s voices bubbling up with their ideas, and since today (Sunday) is the last day of National Poetry Month 2017, I listened to those voices, penning this poem about kids, parents, contracts, and common sense.

So here’s my second, and I hope amusing poem about digital life from kids’ perspectives. (Read my first poem.) Children have brought up all these events in discussions with during digital citizenship activities.

Hey Mom and Dad…

I’m really glad I got my phone,
It’s cool and lots of fun.
I’m texting friends and playing games,
It seems I’m never done.

I signed your contract with my name,
Yes, it was right to do.
But I wish you’d take the time
To follow those rules too!

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Wordless Videos Can Teach Problem-Solving

Ormie the Pig

The YouTube site where Ormie the Pig is posted offers this description of the video: Ormie is a Pig, in every sense of the word. Pig see cookie. Pig want cookie. But they are out of reach…or are they? … Ormie has garnered 8 Festival Awards including Best Short Film (Savannah FF 2010, Palm Springs Int’l Shorts Fest 2010, Sprockets 2010, Seattle Int’l FF 2010) and the Audience Award (New York Int’l Children’s FF 2011). To see other videos in the collection, visit SpeechisBeautiful.com.

The old saying — a picture is worth a thousand words — is beautifully demonstrated by a collection of non-verbal videos at  SpeechisBeautiful.com. The miracle of the web allows an expert to collect a group of relevant materials — in this case delightful, but wordless professionally produced film shorts —  and share them with teachers and parents.

Children can watch the videos, observe how problems are solved, and then figure out how to talk about what they’ve seen. While the film shorts have no speech, they do have delightful sound effects, providing excellent learning opportunities for children who need conversational encouragement. Teachers who work with children of all ages will recall students of theirs who would benefit from this strategy.

Sarah, the host of the website is a bilingual speech pathologist, and she has curated a collection that will please and encourage the most timid speaker or slightly nervous bilingual child.

The image on the right describes Ormie the Pig, one video in Sarah’s collection.

Also, the Speech is Beautiful site is full of other ideas, features a blog, and also offers some resources for sale.

Poor News Literacy Skills Combined With Fake News Can Hurt Real People

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via Pixabay

For years to come there will be no better case study to illustrate the damage that fake news, internet trolls, and social media can create than ‘Pizzagate’. The shameful, made-up information and the events that followed will comprise an authoritative discussion piece for parents, and it should enter every middle and high school media/news literacy curriculum.

In the April 20, 2017 Washington Post, Comet Pizza owner James Alefantis writes about how fake news concerning his restaurant went viral. His article What Happened When ‘PizzaGate’ Came to My Restaurant describes what happened when his business, neighbors, and customers suffered because of harassment, frightening phone calls, menacing comments to workers and their families, intimidation toward nearby businesses, and even death threats.  Yet Alefantis also describes how his strong community — neighbors and other businesses — rallied in support.
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News Literacy Skill Requires Knowledge About Evaluation and Credibility

Check out the News Literacy Project video below.

I’ve spent some time on this blog discussing the importance of credibility and evaluation — what I call 21st Century vocabulary words. Understanding how to evaluate and judge the credibility of content is digital life survival skill. Thus, when I discover a new resource that supports student learning I am always excited.

The News Literacy Project website features an excellent video with individuals — of all ages — sharing their thoughts about how news literacy skills can help people know what information to trust. It will be a useful tool for teachers who are developing student activities that focus on media credibility and evaluation. It can be well-paired with student activities that feature the online or app exhibits of the Newseum front pages

Watch the video.          Continue reading

What Do You Know About Artificial Intelligence & How It May Affect Your Life?

Ideas about artificial intelligence (AI) have tended to swirl around without offering me much to think about. I use Siri and Hello Google on my iPhone, I’m aware of the increasingly powerful social media algorithms, and I’ve watched, with some interest, the accomplishments of IBM’s Watson. Yet I haven’t really thought much about it.

The developments and decisions made about AI over the next couple of years may well affect our lives and the lives of our descendants. It’s best to get to know a bit about what is going on, especially when it comes to personal privacy, and also to ensure that our children learn about the positive and negative aspects of artificial intelligence.

Over the past several days I’ve read Maureen Dowd’s long and detailed report in Vanity Fair, Elon Musk’s Future Shock, describing the unbridled, and sometimes turbulent Silicon Valley debate about AI. This is the first detailed AI article that I’ve read, and it offers readers much to think about as Dowd circles, again and again, from Elon Musk to other AI researchers who oppose his views and back Musk again. I’ve realized that artificial intelligence is no longer something we see in science fiction movies. It may well affect our health and digital wellness. Continue reading

Even a Web Founder Worries about Today’s Connected World Climate

the-innovators-9781476708706_hr-1Can a world wide web creator be a doubter about what he helped to create?

I’ve just finished reading The Innovators by Walter Isaacson, a book that highlights the many people who helped create, step-by-step, the digital world where we now reside.

The book begins way back in the mid-1800s with the ideas of Lady Ada Lovelace, an amateur mathematician (and the daughter of poet Lord Byron). It was Lady Ada, Isaacson writes, who provided the ideas and laid groundwork for early computer developers to use nearly 100 years later when they created their first computing machines.                              Continue reading