Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century parenting, data collecting, digital footprings, digital footprints, parent child conversations, parents and technology, searching

Google Dashboard: A Connected-World Teaching Tool for All Ages

A screen show from the Google Dashboard.
A screenshot from the Google Dashboard.

If you use Google, take a few minutes to check out the Google Dashboard and look over a detailed digital footprint snapshot of your Google activities. Learning about digital footprints is an important 21st Century connected-world skill.

The Dashboard keeps track of everything — and I mean everything — that you do on Google. It’s a dynamic digital footprint collection. To sign in and examine your Gmail or Google Alerts is easy, and you can also check out the other features offered by Google such as Google Docs, Google Calendar, Blogger, or Google Reader (many more Google products are available and new ones become available on a regular basis).

Google Dashboard is an awesome connected-world teaching tool for 21st Century children at any age and for adults, because it makes a point — concretely — about the amount of information that Google accumulates on each of us. Many people are surprised, and a bit disconcerted, on a first visit, because the Dashboard depicts a good deal about each user.

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Posted in 21st Century parenting, digital parenting, social media, social media friends, social networking, supervising digital kids

Google+ vs. Facebook

Google Facebook privacy
This clip is from the info graphic.

Please check out my post comparing Facebook and Google+  over at Discover Your Child’s Digital World another blog that I maintain.

My content addresses issues of interest for parents whose kids use either or both of the sites and focuses on interesting facts, some of the differences between Google+ and Facebook, and privacy issues.

I  illustrate with a terrific infographic from Veracode Application Security.

Posted in 21st Century Learning, embedding a YouTube video, YouTube

Embedding a YouTube Video – Getting Started

The other day a parent asked me to review the steps for embedding a YouTube video on a blog or in PowerPoint. It’s easy to do. It’s also useful for parents to know a bit about using videos because, in the coming years, your child will likely be using YouTube videos as a part of reports and presentations.

As an example I am using the Mayo Clinic’s video guide to social media. Mayo produced this in-house movie to serve as a teaching tool for members of the medical community, informing staff about social media user responsibilities. The video is a model for any organization that wants to help employees learn more about using social media as well as other digital issues in professional life.

Once you discover a YouTube video that you want to share or embed and know where you want to put it (blogs, PowerPoint, etc.), scroll down so you can see the words just below the video. Click on the word share.

embed video 2

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Posted in 21st Century Learning, digital citizenship, digital devices and gadgets, digital parenting, leadership, research on the web

Back-to-School Research Tips: Use Curated Online Databases

September brings the start of a new school year, and once classes begin, it’s not long before the first research reports and projects are assigned. To get started, your child will head right to his or her computer; however, adult assistance at home ensures that a student uses quality sources, as well as develop stronger 21st Century research skills.

Just about any time digital kids search for information at home, they fire up Google. While their teachers use substantial classroom time and energy introducing students to the best online research resources, children often need assistance, not to mention frequent reminders about applying these research lessons on their home computers.

As often as possible adults should remind children that results from Google — as wonderful as Google searching is — provide a huge number of links, many of them of questionable quality. A better way to search for information is to access library online resources and databases — the crown jewels of student research (Links at the bottom of this post will take readers to a few libraries that describe their virtual databases.) Searching in these databases decreases quantity and dramatically increases quality — which, in turn, improves the caliber of a student’s assignment. A web page chart at Illinois Institute of Technology compares  Google searches and database inquiries. A library tutorial from Western Oregon University also compares research on Google and online databases.                       Continue reading “Back-to-School Research Tips: Use Curated Online Databases”

Posted in cell phones, digital devices and gadgets, family conversations, online communication, parents and technology, setting technology limits

Some Time Out From Digital Devices?

In Google’s Eric Schmidt and the Curse of Constant Connection, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus reports on the Google executive’s commencement address at Boston University (BU). In her May 22, 2012 column Marcus describe how Schmidt made the case for a bit of balance — urging new graduates (even as they stayed connected during the graduation ceremony) to take an hour or so each day away from the digital devices that keep us so connected.

The full text of Schmidt’s speech is on the BU website, and it’s a good read for digital age parents who are seeking ways to schedule a bit more disconnected time with family and friends.

To learn more about the search for digital device moderation I recommend the book Hamlet’s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age. Author William Powers explores how people who lead connected lives (he does) need to find the time for reflection and interaction away from screens. And he describes how his family wants about setting some time to be together and disconnected.

Best Quote from Powers’ Book

If we’ve learned anything in the last decade about technology and human interaction, it’s that as screen time rises, direct human-to-human interaction falls off proportionally.

Posted in 21st Century Learning, commenting, conversations on commenting, cyber-bullying, digital citizenship, digital parenting, family conversations, parent education, parents and technology

Removing Racist and Hateful Comments: A Simple Relevancy Test

Click to hear Tyler’s dad reading a statement after the jury returned its verdict.

After the jury announced its verdict in New Jersey I watched Associated Press video statement read by Tyler Clementi’s father. Sad and clearly with a heavy heart, he nevertheless looked to the future in a way that most of us could not have done had we lost a child the way he lost Tyler. Then I glanced down at the YouTube comments — just about every one included a gay slur or offensive language, and I was disgusted. The comments were not relevant.

Racist and hateful online comments demean writers, video-makers, and people who thoughtfully share digital content. It’s becoming tiresome. Masquerading as run-of-the-mill responses at the end of articles and videos – they are actually cyber-bullies’ remarks left here and there with the goal of offending and hurting others. The time has long past for comment and blog editors everywhere  — but especially at Google’s YouTube — to set up and enforce guidelines.

I know that the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech; however, it’s not freedom of speech we are observing but the freedom to run off at the mouth and bully others in ways that are not relevant to the content. As a result we are teaching all sorts of silent lessons — the kind we don’t really intend to teach to young people as they grow up.

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Posted in data collecting, online databases, online safety, parents and technology, searching

Still Think Google is Mostly a Search Engine?

The next time people in your family use Google to look for personal health information, they may be contributing to scientific research.

Google search data is beginning to be used to learn more about the flu. In fact, it’s beginning to look like Google Flu Trends (GFT), which keeps track of searches that inquire about influenza symptoms, may be faster and more effective than the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) surveillance network when it comes to predicting where the flu will become most prevalent. To learn more read this Google Flu Trends FAQ.

Continue reading “Still Think Google is Mostly a Search Engine?”