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

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.         Continue reading

A Tale of Two Online Newspaper Searches

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The newspaper article in the morning paper

It’s Monday morning and over breakfast I’ve found two articles that I want to read more closely, perhaps to share on my blogs — one in the New York Times and the other in the Washington Post. When I decide to share, I usually print out the article, mark it up a bit, and copy the all-important link. My digital life features online newspapers, but in the mornings I still love to look over the paper version,

The 21st Century searching experience for the two newspapers could not be more different.

On the Times website I search for the headline that I”ve just read and up pops my article. Within moments it’s printed and ready for me to study. Interestingly, even if the Times’ online version leads with a different headline, my article will pop up with a search for either headline.     Continue reading

A Funny TED Talk About Responding to Spam Offers

If you shake your head in frustration when you get suspicious offers from various parts of the world that ask for money and offer to share profits in return, this 2015 Ted Talk given by comedian and writer James Veitch,  Please note that he does not use his personal email account to do this…

Laugh, and then keep deleting any of those emails that get through your spam filter.

10 Digital Wellness Thoughts to Consider

Will new devices, robots and other items that connect to the Internet with your wifi be arriving in your home during this 2016 holiday season? If so, check out this post about maintaining digital wellness in your family.

Media! Tech! Parenting!

Digital WellnessThese days everyone talks about personal wellness — those steps that people need to take to remain physically and mentally healthy and strong. But what about digital wellness? Poor digital health affects not only our connected lives, but also our physical and mental well-being.

Digital wellness is about fine-tuning the 21st Century skills that we use to work and play in a connected world, and it also involves understanding number of common myths about the nature of online life. Helping family members take steps to develop digital wellness habits can challenge parents, mainly because many children, pre-adolescents, and teens appear to be far more advanced online consumers than their parents. Underneath the veneer of digital native expertise, however, are a fair number of information gaps.             

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Video Visually Demonstrates Sharing Fake News vs. Checking It First

A media company in Sweden, MetroSverige, shared this excellent video visualization that depicts the differences between checking on the validity of a piece of news and just sharing it without pausing to consider whether it or not it is fake news.

Teaching Civility to Kids? Excellent Resource @ WikiHow

Civil behavior is a fundamental building block of our democracy, and throughout our history both children and adults have strived — and occasionally struggled — to demonstrate it through their behavior. In our 21st Century connected world, civility has become even more difficult for many people to understand and attain because certain aspects of digital life can thwart many individual’s good intentions.

unnamedIf you are seeking useful information about civility to share in your school or community, check out How to Teach Civility to Kids, over at wikiHow. The article is, in essence, a tutorial, explaining what adults should do to encourage young people to grow into civil and kind individuals, and it offer specific ideas for conversations and activities.

Parents and teachers spend an enormous amount of their time and energy focusing with children on why it’s important to become civil individuals and  emphasizing that these principles are the same either online or off. Yet educators and adults need continuing support and guidance as they go about the work of promoting and upholding civility. Their challenges are encouraging kids to learn how to be respectful and how to disagree respectfully and  demonstrating to children the importance of being polite, even when they don’t feel like it. Encouraging children to assist others and be kind anytime ensures that children understand much more about what it means to be civil. The wikiHow article offers information and help. Continue reading

Can iPads Help Kids Stay Calm & Avoid Meds Before Surgery?

ipad-1Sometimes kids get so ultra-focused on their iPads that they don’t notice anything that’s going on around them, and sometimes parents and teachers despair. There are, however, situations where 21st Century digital kids’ intensive engagement and concentration can be put to good use — even with a digital device.

Physician Dominique Chassard, an anesthesiologist in Lyon, France, wanted to find out whether children preparing for pediatric ambulatory surgery would do just as well if they had iPads to play with before an operation as with a routine pre-anesthesia sedative. The study authors divided participant families into two groups. Half of the children received the standard sedative treatment and the other half were given iPads so they could play with games and puzzles. Continue reading