It’s a fact of life. We all spend lots of time attached to headphones.
Most of us know enough to take care with the volume, but are we really doing it? Moreover, what can we do to ensure that our kids are regulating the volume as they listen to music? It doesn’t help that many pre-teens and adolescents don’t always listen to their parents.
Now a new app, Auto-Old My Music, may be able to communicate the dangers of extremely loud music better than we can. This app, available for iPhone and iPod, plays the music differently — it’s muffled and not particularly clear — just the way it might sound to a person who is hearing impaired.
I’ve just read a November 28, 2011 Bloomberg article, iPad Crazed Toddlers Spur Holiday Sales. OK, the title is a bit overly dramatic, but it’s an interesting read, describing the demand for tablets of all kinds and kids’ motivation to use them.
Seriously, though, the tone of the article makes me worry a bit. As a confirmed techie, gadget lover, educational technology specialist, teacher, and parent, I know that children also need lots of outside play time and plenty of experiences working/playing with others. We don’t know what the jobs will be in 15 years when these kids are looking for employment, but we do know that their superior technology skills will matter little if they don’t have great people skills — understanding how to share, take turns, and work collaboratively.
The other day when my 88-year-old dad wrote a daily blog post — about the life and achievements of Steve Jobs — I realized, once again, just how much Jobs’ life, vision, and achievements are a part of our general culture. More importantly, how much Jobs changed our lives.
One doesn’t need to be digitally savvy, a gadget fanatic, an iPhone evangelist, or even a Macintosh loyalist. All that’s required is experience with one intuitive Apple product — in this case, my dad writing on his iPad — and an interest in the news.
Over the many years that I’ve spent working in the educational technology field, that’s the way it’s gone again and again. Give students, teachers, a senior adult — in fact just about anyone — a Mac computer or iPad, and they use it and work with it independently. We tech people barely see them because they are off using their computers.
In her March 28, 2011 radio report, Neary describes the increasing number of children’s books that are available as apps, useable on smartphones and especially on iPads. These applications make reading children’s books into a multimedia experience.
Some added features of these digital books include:
Words that highlight as the story is read.
Object words that are spelled when a child taps an image.
Activities that relate to the story.
While many parents and teachers love these apps, some experts believe that the reading process is dramatically changed by the addition of other features. One expert, a professor at Kansas State University, suggests that we need a new word to describe the enhanced reading that takes place in the app storybook environment, but he is hesitant to label these interactions as pure reading. Continue reading “Kids and Reading: Widening Digital Opportunities”→
Parents with digital kids like to keep up with technology and stay as up-to-date as possible. One way that I keep up is to listen to technology podcasts — radio programs, really — except that they are downloadable and portable. Some podcasts start out as radio or TV programs and then they are uploaded as podcasts after the broadcast, however, most podcast hosts record their programs specifically for uploading to a website.
I’m a regular podcast listener. Every week or two I download various episodes to iTunes and from there it’s easy to sync them onto my phone. It’s convenient to listen to “casts” in the car, during my exercise sessions, or simply when I am walking from one place to another. I just need to remember to have headphones handy.
Podcasts are a great way to learn on the go, and they can help parents get started with those all-important digital conversations.
If anyone in your family received a iPad or iPhone for a holiday gift (I discovered an iPad under my tree.), or if you already have these devices in your home, consider getting acquainted with the Today in iOS podcast series, a program series that devotes itself to the world of iPads and iPhones.
Originally called Today in iPhone — I’ve been listening since May 2009 — its name morphed in the spring of 2010 when Apple released the iPad. Subscribe to the podcast from iTunes or download the programs from the program website. Today in iOS also has its own nifty app, enabling users to download and listen to programs without going through the machinations of syncing and downloading from iTunes. Very handy.
Whether you own a personal iOS devices or merely supervise your child’s ownership, this is the place to find interesting information about apps, answers to questions, and lots and lots of background information. Listeners can e-mail, call, or even use the recording app on their devices to make and send an audio message. An archive of past shows on the Today in iOS website, and sometimes I download a group of older programs and listen to them in while I am driving.
New gadgets are great with new capabilities, advanced features, stellar communications, and exciting applications. Everything is perfect, right? Not really and especially not with the smart devices that children and adolescents carry.
As I work and play with my iPhone and iPad, the world seems pretty good. Yet, on the down side is my decreasing privacy. My two devices share a lot of my personal information with others — something I hardly ever think about when I am using the iPhone or iPad. Thinking, however, is a good idea, as is looking over a child’s Internet-connected devices and talking about what should be turned on and what should be turned off.