Young Children, YouTube Kids & Learning: Thoughts to Consider

If you have preschoolers in your family, check out The Algorithm That Makes Preschoolers Obsessed With YouTube, appearing in The Atlantic.

YouTube Kids splash screenWritten by Adrienne LaFrance, the eye-opening article describes how the YouTube Kids app works as well as the experiences of 21st Century preschool children who use it. The author also shares thoughts about the app (though not endorsements) from academics including Michael Rich, who directs the Center on Media and Child Health at Harvard Medical School and Sandra Calvert, who heads up the Children’s Digital Media Center at Georgetown University.

It appears that many older toddlers and preschool kids spend a considerable amount of time with YouTube Kids. They love the app, and the article in The Atlantic details many of the reasons why.

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Collaborative Family Digital Activities For Summer 2017

Summer 2017 is here, and as we enjoy family fun, outdoor activities, trips to museums and historical sites, vacations, and all sorts of camps and special programs, it’s also important to discover activities that will help 21st Century children use screen time creatively and wisely.

So with less frenetic schedules and no school, use the summer months to collaborate — that’s parents and kids doing things together. Adults can learn more about the digital whirl that’s such a huge part of young people’s 21st Century lives, and kids can engage in meaningful, creative, and interesting projects — and even have fun working with their parents. The pay-off? Everyone will figure out more about digital life and add variety to the types of digital activities that they typically do.

Below are 12 family digital project summer suggestions — all work best if people work together —  to consider for summer 2017.

Twelve Summer Digital Projects for Families                        Continue reading

Check Out Harvard’s Free Online Course: Religions of the World MOOC

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MOOC stands for massive open online course.

We all need to learn more about the religions of the world. Even people  who are not especially religious need to become respectfully informed. Now a Harvard online MOOC course on the world’s religions is enrolling and welcoming participants — for free. A lot more about the course by reading a Huffington Post article.

The course is offered as a series of modules, each focused on a specific religion. The course can be taken for free, but if students want a certificate of achievement they will need to pay $50. The instructors leading the classes teach at Harvard University and Wellesley College.               Continue reading

Japanese Internment in the U.S. — Information to Share With Today’s Students

I have known six people whose families were forced to move into United States government Japanese internment camps. It’s been an honor for me and my family to listen to their stories — though not always easy to hear about or imagine the cruelty they experienced. The internment, a reaction to the war with Japan and called an evacuation by the United States government, began in 1942 and essentially imprisoned more than 117,000 people. Two-thirds of them were born as American citizens and over half were children,

February 19th, the day in 1942 that President Roosevelt signed an executive order known as the internment order, is a Day of Remembrance in many states. Educators and parents can use the day to understand more — and help 21st Century children learn more — about the internment of Japanese families during World War II. Today, as we deal with the challenges of increasing diversity in the United States and recognize our immigrant history, it’s more important than ever to understand what happened and why the United States now recognizes the internment policy as a mistake.

As U. S. President Gerald Ford said, “Not only was the evacuation wrong, but Japanese Americans were and are loyal Americans.”      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.

5 New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Parents’ & Kids’ Digital Literacy Skills

The New York Times recently published For the New Year, Let’s Resolve to Improve Our Tech Literacy, about the need for leaders, law enforcement officials and policy makers to increase their digital world literacy. The December 23, 2015 article, written by Farhad Manjoo, points out that many the big problems that occur in our world become even more complicated because the leaders and law enforcement personnel do not have a big-picture understanding of the vast changes technology brings to today’s world. Greater understanding might strengthen our leaders’ problem solving skills.

This article looks at the importance of digital literacy on a large-scale.

Tech Literacy

As I finished reading, I began thinking about resolutions on a smaller scale — those steps that adults and children can take in 2016 to improve a family’s tech literacy and perhaps prevent at least some of the potential connected-world problems. It’s a fast-paced, always-changing 21st Century world and everyone has a lot to learn. Many of the issues that do occur are made worse because kids and parents do not have enough knowledge to anticipate what might go wrong and take steps to steer clear of problems.

Below are five digital literacy resolutions that parents can make, and all of them can help people — both adults and children — become more sensible and savvy connected world citizens.                                                                  Continue reading

Digital Opportunities That Make Life Better — Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving GratitudeIt’s Thanksgiving 2015 and time for my annual list celebrating what’s good about our digital world.

As a parent, teacher, and 21st Century learning advocate with a digital parenting focus, I spend lots of time suggesting ways that families, educators, and children, can strategize, enrich, and improve their digitally connected lives. And, of course, I am always encouraging people — kids and parents —  to learn and understand enough about digital life to avoid potential problems.

This year I am especially grateful for a young new family member and for the digital tools that allow me to continually stay in touch. The ability to see, chat, laugh, watch reactions, and almost touch family members who live at a distance enriches life in countless ways.

My 2015 Thanksgiving List 

I am thankful that digital life allows me to:       Continue reading