Just when you feel good about your digital world learning curve, a new device operating system brings a serious case of update-time discomfort. While none of us ever stops learning, sometimes these periods of relearning tasks that, in theory, we already know pretty well can be daunting.
I work with educational technology in a school, where updates are part of the job. Yet each time I need to relearn routine tasks I get a healthy reminder that when it comes to digital skill problem-solving and tinkering, I remain a digital immigrant — always a bit slower at figuring out new things than most of my digitally native students. [See note at the end of this post.]
A few nights ago, when I read the stories about the new iOS7 for my iPhone, I resolved to wait a week or two and let any glitches work themselves out. But the next afternoon, Julian, a middle school student, stopped by my technology office asking questions about the cool new iOS7 system that he was downloading — that very minute. I did not know the answers to his questions.
Aha, I thought. Some of my students may need my help. So the next morning at 5:30, I downloaded the new operating system on my iPhone. An hour later with a somewhat different looking device, I fumbled around, located my Audible account, and listened to my latest recorded book as I drove to school — while patting myself on the back. I can manage the new iOS7 — not to mention change.
Then I arrived at school, got out of the car, and could not turn off my book. For more than five minutes I stood in the parking lot tapping at vaguely familiar iPhone icons and finally managed to turn it off. But in the process I turned on some bluegrass music. I had no idea where that music was coming from, because as far as I know, bluegrass does not reside on my iPhone.
If you are an educator who teaches teenagers or a parent of adolescents, check out this newest research release — Teens and Technology, 2013 — from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The survey results come from interviews with 802 adolescents between the age of 12 – 17 and separate interviews with their parents, conducted over the phone in English and Spanish.
If you have any doubts about how fast digital life is changing for young people, this should dispel many of them.
78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of them own smartphones. That translates into 37% of all teens who have smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011.
23% of teens have a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population.
95% of teens use the internet.
93% of teens have a computer or have access to one at home. Seven in ten (71%) teens with home computer access say the laptop or desktop they use most often is one they share with other family members.
25% say they mostly use their phone online.
Most Interesting Quote
One in four teens are “cell-mostly” internet users, who say they mostly go online using their phoneand not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer.
Schools must find ways to incorporate phones into the 21 Century learning paradigm.
Take a look at a terrific letter about cell phone conduct, appropriately written for a middle or high school age student. In a Huffington Post article, To My 13-Year-Old, An iPhone Contract From Your Mom, With Love, Janet Burley Hoffman shares a mobile phone contract that she wrote for her son after giving him a cell phone for Christmas. The post also includes a link to a video of Hoffman and her son appearing on “Good Morning America.”
This piece is cleverly written, focusing on cell phone issues that worry many parents of pre-adolescent and adolescent children. Hoffman’s contract addresses, in non-lecture style, the concerns that arise especially as parents watch their children using digital devices.
In a matter of weeks last spring quite a few older elementary and middle school children whom I know jumped on the Instagram bandwagon, and they continue to have fun with it. The social networking photography app, now owned by Facebook, lives on their wireless devices, making it easy to use without getting encumbered with computers.
The minimum age for the Instagram app is 13, but that hasn’t stopped the site from attracting many children younger than that. While I tend to be someone who takes age requirements seriously, many parents, after checking out various sites, are more comfortable than I am with letting their children use sites when they are a bit younger than 13 years of age.
The biggest challenge for adults is keeping an eye on the content and quality of the photos that their children are uploading to Instagram. Problems can occur when children err in judgment as they make decisions about what to share (and what not to share).
In any event, all of us — parents, teachers, and any other adults in children’s lives — need to learn more about Instagram. I’ve added the app to my phone and plan to get acquainted with it. The list of articles below offers parents and teachers lots of information — how Instagram works and how children socialize when they use the social networking app with their friends. Continue reading “Getting to Know Instagram – Links to Bring Adults Up to Speed”→
The Techlicious blog features an information-filled post, with resources for parents who want to learn more about features and limits-setting as they go about considering whether to purchase a cell phone for a child. In her May 28, 2012 piece Suzanne Kantra describes some of the newest parental control packages on the market at large mobile phone carriers.
Kantra compares and contrasts various features that address a variety of parent concerns including:
Keeping track of kids
Text messaging limits
Below are a few past blog posts from MediaTechParenting on mobile phones and kids.
In my years as a teacher and parent (now with a with a young adult child), I’ve seen lots of public service announcements that focus on improved parenting, better health, preventing substance abuse, and the like.