Posted in digital learning, digital parenting, parents and technology, teaching

The Virginia Earthquake: Oh How I Love Teaching and Technology

My upstairs hallway

Yesterday in the District of Columbia (my school) and Virginia (my home), we had an earthquake, the largest quake in our area in 70 years. At school things rumbled and doors slammed, so most of the adults, who were preparing for the start of the school year, headed outside for a bit. At my house I returned to find pictures askew. A few things fell on the floor at home, but my neighbor checked on the house and picked them up before I arrived.

But here’s an interesting observation. On a day in August, when teachers like me are getting ready for the start of school — and bemoaning the end of summer just a bit — I found myself wishing the students were already back in school, because I know how special “the day after” can be for young learners and for me, too. Continue reading “The Virginia Earthquake: Oh How I Love Teaching and Technology”

Posted in media literacy, parent child conversations, parents and technology, social media, social networking

Media Literate Disaster Discussions Balance Concern with Hope

NOAA Chart Comparing Distance from Earthquake Epicenter and Wave Height

After a disaster like the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear catastrophe in Japan, media — both social and traditional — saturate our lives. We process the events as radios and televisions blare the news and our smartphones, laptops, and computers constantly update. Paper editions of newspapers, quaintly behind the news cycle, nevertheless provide a kind of security, allowing us to hold a finite amount of news right in our hands — amounts we can process.

By the time children are in fourth or fifth grade, the pervasive media coverage ensures that almost nothing remains hidden for long, despite adult attempts to shield their children from the most frightening images. Media literacy matters at times such as these, but conversations with children about the news can still be challenging. I address this topic in an earlier post, Talking to Children About the News. That blog piece included online resources to support family discussions.

When a disaster occurs and the news churns on about it, I am always on the lookout for the unique article or media story that allows children balance concern and anxiety with hope and resilience.

Continue reading “Media Literate Disaster Discussions Balance Concern with Hope”