Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century teaching, cell phones, digital devices, student learning and cell phones

The Enormous School Cell Phone Conundrum

Last week I read a great article describing how teachers and students might use mobile phones in the classroom.

All sorts of apps promote student learning, but it takes time an patience to identify the good ones.
All sorts of apps promote student learning, but it takes time and patience to identify the good ones.

Will Ferriter, the proprietor of The Tempered Radical blog, posted an article Interview on Cell Phones in the Classroom, that explains his personal views — based on years of teaching experience — about using student mobiles should be used in the classroom.

“Our goal,” he writes, “shouldn’t be to ban access to powerful tools for learning. Instead, our goal should be to show the students in our classrooms how to take full advantage of the learning potential sitting inside their purses and their back pockets”.

Read the entire blog post which addresses — broadly — the opportunities for learning that digital devices offer  21st Century students. Lots of educators may disagree with Ferriter’s view, but the fact is we fight a loosing mobile device battle. Students own these devices, and while they are always close at hand and the kids know how to use them to connect with others, most have no understanding for the true learning power of these devices offer. We could help them learn a lot more and become more thoughtful about using their mobiles.

Continue reading “The Enormous School Cell Phone Conundrum”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, 21st Century teaching, apps, Back-to-school digital reading, digital devices, digital kids, digital parenting, mobile phones, parents and technology

How Quickly Do New Apps Gain Kids’ Attention?

See the larger charts below.

As we get ready to return to school for the 2014-15 academic year, my thoughts turn toward the digital life changes that I’ll observe in the lives of my 21st Century students when we come together in September.

After three months of summer activities such as volunteering or part-time jobs and the less structured time at camps and on vacations, most kids arrive at school with new digital experiences, devices, and apps — and they want to share everything. I’ve especially thought about the number of apps that seem to come out of nowhere — suddenly appearing in kids lives and on their mobile devices — and I know popular new ones will appear this fall.

Below I am sharing three slides from digital parenting presentations that I made over six months, from October to May during the 2013-14 school year.

Continue reading “How Quickly Do New Apps Gain Kids’ Attention?”

Posted in cell phones, digital devices, parents and technology

My iPhone was GONE, I Thought – But Then It Was Rescued!

arlington storm drainSometimes you think something is permanently lost, but with a bit of perseverance, it can be found again.

We parked our car near a restaurant and started to get out. I was holding my iPhone, but just as I opened the door something made me lose my balance a bit, and I dropped my cell. Usually this is not a problem, because I have a well-lined case that ensures my phone is not damaged when I drop it.

Unfortunately, this time when I looked down I saw my iPhone 4s hit the ground and — almost in slow motion — slide into the storm drain. I was stunned.

My husband tried to get me to explain what had happened, but it took a while, because for a few moments I stood there, speechless. Then I threw up my hands tearfully, assuming that after dinner at the restaurant we would head over to the Apple Store where I would purchase a new model that I was planning to buy anyway.

Wait a minute, my husband said.                                     Continue reading “My iPhone was GONE, I Thought – But Then It Was Rescued!”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, acceptable use, cell phones, digital devices, digital devices and gadgets, parents and technology

Getting Your Child a Cell Phone This Summer? Read This First!

It’s summer 2013…

…and lots of families will soon purchase a new mobile phone for a fifth, sixth, or seventh grade child.

cell phoneRemember, however, you are not just handing over a telephone. A child is getting a mini-computer — a digital device  that takes pictures, shares locations, communicates via text, e-mail, and phone calls, and easily installs apps that connect in all sorts of other ways. A new cell phone networks your child in nearly unlimited ways to the entire world, and most of what he or she sends on the web via cell phone will never be deleted.

Before handing over the new mobile device, 21st Century parents need to think about how they want digital kids to use their new prized possessions and also about what they don’t want children to do.

Adults can be specific and clear about what is acceptable by setting up a cell phone user contract. Use an agreement word-for-word from the list of links on this blog. Or copy one of the contracts as a template and write a more personalized version that is appropriate for your family. Today’s kids are 21st Century learners, eager to use and explore the digital world — a great way to be — but parents need to set clear expectations that help to ensure that a child explores and experiments as much as possible without humiliation and  embarrassment.            Continue reading “Getting Your Child a Cell Phone This Summer? Read This First!”

Posted in acceptable use, apps, cell phones, digital devices, nothing is permanently erased, parents and technology

SnapChat: Instantly Deletable Images? Sort of…

Snapchat: the free mobile app that promotes itself as a disappearing act. Parents and educators need to know just enough to understand its attraction to children and adolescents and the potential problems that may occur

Teens and, yes, some tweens are now playing with Snapchat because it’s designed to make pictures disappear at their destination — in ten seconds or less.

I’ve tried to use the app, and pictures really do disappear. Voilà! The content is gone. So does this mean a child (or an adult) can go ahead and send all sorts of pictures?

Well, not exactly. Read A Warning about SnapChat, Teenagers, and Online Photo Sharing, appearing on February 11, 2013, over at the Forbes website.

After downloading and installing the Snapchat app on a mobile phone, a user chooses a picture, text, or drawing and decides how long to allow the picture to reside on the recipient’s screen — anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds. For Snapchat to work the sender must trust that the recipient will allow the picture to delete and that the recipient will be trustworthy and respect the wishes of the sender. Any user is supposed to be 13 or older.

So yes, the content does disappear, but even a picture residing for just a few seconds gives an unreliable recipient enough time to take a quick screenshot, preserving the image. Read this April 10, 2013 New Yorker article, Delete This Picture When You’re Done, by Matt Buchanan, who points out that the Snapchat site is handling over 60 million images a day. Another informative article is SnapChat: Sexting Tool or Next Instagram, a CNN report by Doug Gross.      Continue reading “SnapChat: Instantly Deletable Images? Sort of…”

Posted in cell phones, digital devices, digital parenting, mobile phones, parent child conversations, parents and technology

Mom Writes Phone Contract for Middle School Son

cell phone vocab  image wordfoto
This cell phone vocabulary image created with one of my pictures and the app Wordfoto.
Note: Please check out my Digital Contracts and Agreements Page if you want to learn more about this topic.

Take a look at a terrific letter about cell phone conduct, appropriately written for a middle or high school age student. In a Huffington Post article, To My 13-Year-Old, An iPhone Contract From Your Mom, With Love, Janet Burley Hoffman shares a mobile phone contract that she wrote for her son after giving him a cell phone for Christmas. The post also includes a link to a video of Hoffman and her son appearing on “Good Morning America.”

This piece is cleverly written, focusing on cell phone issues that worry many parents of pre-adolescent and adolescent children. Hoffman’s contract addresses, in non-lecture style, the concerns that arise especially as parents watch their children using digital devices.

Last fall, my post, So You Want a Family Digital Device Contract or Agreement, included links to a broad range of web resources that can help parents set up contracts or agreements with their digital kids.

Interesting Ideas that Janet Burley Hoffman Incorporated into This Contract Continue reading “Mom Writes Phone Contract for Middle School Son”

Posted in cell phones, digital parenting, mobile phones, parents and technology

Getting a Cell Phone for a Child in Summer 2012?

Check out Techlicious!

The Techlicious blog features an information-filled post, with resources for parents who want to learn more about features and limits-setting as they go about considering whether to purchase a cell phone for a child. In her May 28, 2012 piece Suzanne Kantra describes some of the newest parental control packages on the market at large mobile phone carriers.

Kantra compares and contrasts various features that  address  a variety of parent concerns including:

      • Keeping track of kids
      • Text messaging limits
      • Entertainment

Below are a few past blog posts from MediaTechParenting on mobile phones and kids.