StoryCorps’ Great Thanksgiving Listen – Check It Out!

Great TG Quote 2Every Thanksgiving I write a post on each of my blogs listing the digital opportunities in my life for which I am thankful. In this age of constant worry about the various problems and challenges that technology presents for growing children, I like to remind myself that the connected world has given me and young people much to enrich our lives.

Visit the StoryCorps website.

Visit the StoryCorps website.

This Thanksgiving one more item will definitely be added to my list. StoryCorps, the  storytelling feature that we listen to on National Public Radio (NPR), is featuring The 2015 Great Thanksgiving Listen. The goal is to:

… work with teachers and high school students across the country to preserve the voices and stories of an entire generation of Americans over a single holiday weekend.

Listen to a National Public Radio report about the Thanksgiving StoryCorps event.

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Project Eavesdrop: NPR’s Story About Our Unintentional Sharing

detective-2

Picture courtesy of Ollie Olarte on Flickr. Click to visit his site.

Just what can our Internet activity tell about us, and who can find the information? What do we unintentionally share? We tell our children not to share specifics kinds of personal information, but much of that information is somewhere — in the digital ether — a result of our various digital footprints, searches, apps settings, and smartphone connections, and waiting to be discovered.

Given the news about the massive amount of data collected by the National Security Agency, NPR reporter Steve Henn set out to find out how much of our data “seeps” out, potentially allowing others to learn all kinds of personal information about a person. Henn used himself as a test subject.

He called his story Project Eavesdrop, and NPR featured a radio report and posted the story online during the second week of June 2014 (a time when so many of us, busy with the end of the school year or the beginning of summer activities, missed this story).   Continue reading

Digital Childhood and Technology: Another Good NPR Series

All Tech Considered

Visit All Tech Considered

Parents and educators can learn a lot about children’s digital lives — and the importance of helping young people develop strong digital citizenship skills — by listening to a series of broadcasts from National Public Radio (NPR) on raising digital natives (also available in print). The radio reports focus on children’s experiences in daily connected life and present wide-ranging information about the responsibilities of parenting 21st Century digital kids. All of the stories are posted at All Tech Considered blog, but I’ve included links for each story below.

The entire set of news stories, shared by a number of different NPR reporters, contains information that can help parents and educators think more carefully about how to strengthen their roles in children’s lives.

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Digital Footprint Series on All Things Considered

collecting dataWe cannot discuss digital footprints and privacy with children and family members too much or too often. The point is not to scare anyone — the virtual trails that we leave are becoming almost routine — but rather to help family members consider how much data we share, intentionally or otherwise, and whether at times we should consider making at least a few changes in our online behavior.

On September 30, 2013, NPR’s All Things Considered program aired the first of a series of reports on digital footprints, and it’s worth taking the time to listen or read and to learn more about just how much data is collected on each of us. I expect the other reports will be just as compelling. NPR is collaborating on the series with the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIROnline.org).

Reporter Daniel Zwerdling describes the obvious digital trails we leave behind with our computers, mobile phones, GPS-guided car trips, and credit card purchases, and also our less-than-obvious footprints from prescription drug purchases, traffic camera sitings, and wifi tracking and facial recognition cameras that track us in shopping malls. That we make digital footprints is not surprising, however the amount of data that is collected about us and used to form profiles is extensive and worrisome.  Privacy — our privacy — has gone out the window.             Continue reading

Kids and Reading: Widening Digital Opportunities

Check out the app!

Recently NPR reporter, Lynn Neary, broadcast a report, Children’s Book Apps: A New World of Learning.  You can also listen to the story.

In her March 28, 2011 radio report, Neary describes the increasing number of children’s books that are available as apps, useable on smart phones 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

Social Media, bin Laden and Student Reactions

Read this Spotlight Blog post.

Are you looking for an interesting overview of the surreal celebrations on Sunday night, May 1, 2011 after the announcement about the death of Osama bin Laden?  Check out this post on the MacArthur Foundations’s Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning blog.

The Rise of Social Media and the Death of Osama bin Laden: Students Debate the Meaning of it All includes quotes, links to various media coverage, social media communication and helpful resources that shed some light on the spontaneous and unusually celebratory events that occurred around the United States.

A link to the NPR story on the celebrations takes readers to one of the most interesting comments, for me anyway. Part of one comment is below.

Mr. ADAM EVAN ANGLE (Student, Boston University): So I grew up under the specter of Osama bin Laden as the boogeyman. He was our Lord Vuldemort, if you will, like in Harry Potter, you know. He was pretty much the face of evil.

As a teacher and parent who lived through years with the Harry Potter phenomenon I can completely understand this comment.

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5 Podcast Series that Teach About Technology

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.

To get you started, here are a few of my favorites. Continue reading