Posted in 21st Century life, back-to-school, Back-to-school digital reading, digital wellness, parents and technology

Back to School: 2019-20 Digital Parenting Checklist

backpack picThis post includes a downloadable handout.

At the beginning of the school year, what can parents and teachers do to ensure that digital kids — with their hand-held devices, connected school activities, homework, and other online endeavors — get off to a good start?

Back-to-school preparation is more than school supplies, lunch boxes, and carpool arrangements. It also involves reviewing and articulating connected-life expectations with family members and working together to set up a family media plan that works for each person in the family.

Below are a few issues for parents and educators to consider as they seek to maintain quality in kids’ 21st Century digital lives during the 2019-2020 school year. Raising strong and competent digital citizens requires teamwork and immense effort — at home and at school.

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Download this PDF handout.

1.  Make decisions about screen time in your family. Altogether, as a family, figure out your plan and then think about how you will re-address your decisions as the year progresses. Check out the 2018 article, How Much Screen Time Affects Kids’ Bodies and Brains at Forbes. Family issues to consider might include:

  • What limits will your family set up for digital devices, electronic games, and television?
  • If your child uses a personal device from school, are you aware of specific teacher expectations and time commitments?
  • What else would you like your child to spend time doing?
  • A good article for parents and educators (and a great back-to-school piece to share with parents) is on the NPR website — Kids and Screen Time-What Does the Research Say?   

Continue reading “Back to School: 2019-20 Digital Parenting Checklist”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, anonymity, choosing reliable resources, civility, connected learning, conversations on commenting, data collecting, digital citizenship, digital life, digital parenting strategies, fact-checking, information credibility, misinformation, NewseumEd, parents and technology, personal information, privacy

5 Digital Life Topics for 21st Century Family Dinner Conversations

Parents often ask for suggestions about the steps they can take to help their children develop stronger and more robust digital world skills. I often suggest that families use the time spent eating together at the dinner table to bring up and consider connected world topics. Most adults will recall that, as they grew up, dinner table conversations were a time when family members learned together, chatting about critical issues and challenges in the world, Today’s family mealtimes are just as important. Below are five topics that can encourage learning, lively discussion and improved decision making, all while eating a meal together.

dinnter conv topicsPersonal Information
Begin a discussion about the collection of personal information in the digital world. Share ideas about what comprises an individual’s personal information — considering what can be public and what should not. Why is it important to think about protecting personal information? The MediaTechParenting blog posts below to help get the conversation started.   Continue reading “5 Digital Life Topics for 21st Century Family Dinner Conversations”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, American history, citizenship, curated resources, digital citizenship, digital learning, First Amendment, informed citizens, NewseumEd, web resources

All About the First Amendment at NewseumEd

These days I hear many people talking about the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, but as they talk I often wonder how much they really understand about the document? Can they describe the five freedoms and how those freedoms affect people’s lives in the United States? Children and adults probably need to learn lots more.

An excellent NewseumEd activity, designed for students in grades three through eight, introduces the First Amendment using materials, discussion, and scenario examinations that explore how the First Amendment works in real-life situations. Similar resources are available at the website for high school and college learners.

Below are some interesting facts from the activity, although students will discover much more. Continue reading “All About the First Amendment at NewseumEd”

Posted in 21st Century life, 21st Century teaching, American history, and media, digital learning, media literacy, museums, parents and technology

Video Tour of the Newseum’s News History Gallery

bill-of-rights-cropWatch this inside video tour (below) of the Newseum’s updated News History Gallery. The exhibit features 400-plus historical newspapers, newsbooks, and magazines —  documents that reported some of the greatest and most amazing news stories. You can visit the Newseum’s web site to explore some of the other exhibits without leaving your home or school.

After you watch the video, check out and sign up for NewseumEd, a site that is filled with ideas for teaching First Amendment and media literacy and with resources that can be easily downloaded. These are terrific connected world teaching tools that can be used in 21st Century classrooms.     Continue reading “Video Tour of the Newseum’s News History Gallery”

Posted in 21st Century teaching, civics, connected learning, credibility, free press, media literacy, museums, teaching

The Newseum’s Front Pages — A Rich Media Literacy Resource

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The Front Pages exhibit in front of the Newseum. Can you see the Capitol dome in the distance?

If you are seeking a new and creative medialit resource — for home or school learning — take some time to discover and explore the Today’s Front Pages exhibit on display at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Visitors to the city can set aside a block of time to visit the Newseum itself, but those who don’t have time for a longer visit can still check out the front pages on the sidewalk in front of the Newseum (for free).

Not traveling to the Nation’s Capital? No problem. The Newseum makes it easy to visit Today’s Front Pages online — each day all 800 Front Pages are posted on the website. And there’s even a Today’s Front Pages app.

No matter where you see them, the Front Page exhibits are rich with learning possibilities.

Continue reading “The Newseum’s Front Pages — A Rich Media Literacy Resource”