5 Screen Name Tips for Digital Parents

Choosing Screen NamesThe best screen names are boring.

In a connected world, where even a nuanced word association can invite unfortunate behavior, 21st Century parents need to keep an eye on the online names that children use. The easiest solution is to use a word, nickname, or a middle name, perhaps paired with numbers at the beginning or end. Many years ago I used 29Marti1607, a name that attracted little attention except once when someone asked me if my ancestors had lived in colonial Jamestown (settled in 1607).

Children experiment with edgy screen names as one way to look and feel cool, and as they get older their choices often push limits, unintentionally drawing attention. A suggestive name in any number of categories can encourage the people who interact with your child to behave impulsively — even friends. Parents need to worry less about strangers seeing and using a screen name and more about a 21st Century kid using a screen name that contributes in some way to humiliating or embarrassing behavior.                      Continue reading

Workshop Planning As Extreme Professional Development: My NAIS Conference #3

OurStoriesI’ve just returned from the 2013 National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) annual conference, where I presented a workshop with three colleagues, Renee Hawkins, Vinnie Vrotny, and Larry Kahn. In our Thursday afternoon session we shared our ideas about coaching the parents of 21st Century learners to help them understand more about the digital lives of their children.

As I reflect on our wonderfully collaborative NAIS presentation project — coming up with an idea and developing it over time — I now understand that the workshop planning process led me and my colleagues on a substantial journey featuring what I think of as extremely connected professional development.

Thoughts on Digital Parenting

An example of digital parenting book resources

This workshop’s journey began a year ago at EdCampSeattle, where I shared an idea about the importance of educating 21st Century parents. At my school I work hard at educating parents about their digital kids, so I wanted to learn lots more about what my colleagues do at other schools.

Actually I initially shared my idea with independent school colleague, Liz Davis, a dedicated EdCamp advocate, and she told me that I just had to attend EdCampSeattle. (Note: Liz is also one of the main people responsible for getting me to start blogging, but that’s another story.)

If you’ve attended EdCamp, you know that participants suggest lots of great ideas, but not every one becomes part of the program. At the beginning of every EdCamp people walk around the room suggesting and choosing the topics they are most interested in — called the “law of two feet” in “EdCampSpeak.” They go on to experience, a day-long collegial event that they have planned, essentially carrying out their own program — in itself extreme professional development. Expanding this idea, my workshop colleague, Larry Kahn, will shortly experiment with inviting parents to attend an EdCamp along with teachers.

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