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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Building Habits of Credibility into the Curriculum & the Conversation

21st Century Vocabulary Words - Credibility

21st Century Vocabulary Words – Credibility

How do we help children identify and understand information that is not credible?

Election seasons provide some of the best opportunities to teach 21st Century young people about credibility — in school, at home, online and off. As we go about electing new leaders, we see and hear candidates stating all sorts of claims, assertions, rumors, and postulations. Some are true, others slightly true, some absurdly false, but all come via various media, social and otherwise, though not always online.

Use the months before an election to encourage young people, and your child especially, to think about credibility. Focus on the ways that media share information and on how to discover whether facts are true or not true.           Continue reading

Digital Literacy 101 for Kids, PreK -Grade 6: A Checklist

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In his book Net Smart, Howard Rheingold writes that for any of us to become knowledgeable connected world users and citizens, each of us needs to develop and continually strengthen five areas of digital literacy. People  who uses the web wisely and with good results develop fundamental skill in five literacy areas — attention, participation, collaboration, network awareness, and critical consumption of content.

New Smart

New Smart – Read Rheingold’s Educause book excerpt.

As the lives of children, online and off, grow more complex by the day, we adults spend a good deal of our time helping them learn more about the lives they will live in a 21st Century world. We are accomplished at mentoring children in the parts of their lives that are offline, but often teachers and parents simply react to digital life problems rather than build fundamental digital literacy skills that will help children avoid problems. For kids to really be prepared to develop the five literacies that Rheingold describes, they need to build up a foundation of knowledge about the connected world environment.

How is it that children, pre-adolescents, and teens can understand how to use digital devices, consume digital culture at an early age, and even figure out digital device problems for their parents, but have only the barest knowledge about how to relate thoughtfully to people online, take complete advantage of digital resources, and solve problems rather than create them? The reason? We adults have so often put the cart before the horse. We give children their own personal devices or let them borrow ours — gadgets  connect in various ways to the entire world,  albeit different ones at different ages — and only gradually go about teaching the fundamental literacy aspects later on and especially when something goes wrong.                          Continue reading

10 Digital Wellness Thoughts to Consider

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.              Continue reading

Help Students Evaluate Digital Sources-Howard Rheingold Video

Rheingold’s vision of a person’s personal trust network copied from the video.

Teaching children to evaluate resources and determine credibility is the biggest challenge of our 21st Century world. Until now authoritative textbooks have dominated the world of education, but not anymore.

In the video below, Howard Rheingold, the digital thinker, professor (Stanford and UC Berkeley), and personal learning network advocate, describes how parents and educators should help students develop the ability to ask questions when they discover digital information, thereby evaluating the quality or lack of it. Rheingold calls this “crap detection,” a term originally coined by Ernest Hemmingway.

We need to teach kids, Rheingold points out, “how to search and how to find” and how to be sure that what is found is of good quality. The long-range goal is for each individual to develop what Rheingold calls a “personal trust network.”

Continue reading