Posted in 21st Century teaching, digital device distraction, digital devices, teaching digital kids

A California School’s Smartphone Solution

hand on phoneDistraction in 21st Century schools is a huge issue. Read this descriptive article about students, digital devices, and paying attention in the classroom, published in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Probably no device has become as frustrating for teachers as the smartphone. Many educators, whether they teach in middle school, high school, or college express a sense of frustration about the amount of time their students spend glancing down at their mobile phones when they are supposed to be paying attention to what is going on in the classroom

Administrators at San Mateo High School, about 20 miles away from San Francisco, have decided that student phones will be locked up during school hours. At the start of the day students insert their devices into a pouch that closes with a school lock. The kids keep the bags with them, and at the end of the academic day, the administrators unlock them.

The goal of this school’s policy is to decrease the student distraction and to stop students’ habit of looking down at their phones every few minutes. The above link includes an interesting NBC news story.

It will be interesting to see if other schools develop similar policies.


Posted in acceptable use, cell phones, digital devices and gadgets, digital parenting, parent child conversations, parents and technology

Parents and Electronic Devices: Taking Time Out?

We’ve all seen them. Perhaps people have seen one of us. The temptation to use a phone or smart device,  no matter where we are or what we are doing — even when we are with our kids — is way, way too strong.

I keep seeing children being pushed around by people (parents?) on telephones.  Sometimes children are playing along in yards or parks, not watched over because the parents are tapping or merely talking on their smart phones. The trouble is, this used to be quality time – enjoyable and relaxed interaction — pointing out dogs, discovering leaves, and learning new words for all sorts of things.

Read Anybody: Parents are Ignoring their Children for their Blackberry in the February 1. 2011 Washington Post. Here’s a short quote, but check out the whole article. Continue reading “Parents and Electronic Devices: Taking Time Out?”

Posted in cell phones, digital parenting, online security, online tracking, parents and technology, teens and technology

Do You and Your Child Have ANY Digital Privacy?

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.

Continue reading “Do You and Your Child Have ANY Digital Privacy?”

Posted in digital parenting, online safety, online security, parents and technology, privacy

Disable or Limit Facebook Places: Eight Resources to Help

Just when we think we have a handle on a social networking, along comes another virtual gimmick to figure out. In this case Places is a Facebook mobile phone application designed to follow you around using the phone’s GPS, let people know where you are, and significantly reduce your privacy. Keeping a tight lid on anything tweens and younger adolescents do with Places will be a priority for parents this fall. A couple of suggestions…

  • Make Facebook Places a discussion topic and figure out a good time to talk with your family. Privacy is a concern, so don’t delay. With the start of the school year only a few weeks off, children with mobile smart phones will most likely try to make Places a part of their Facebook activities.
  • Think about the general Facebook and specific Places guidelines that you want to set for students in your family. Do this now, before Places becomes ingrained in the adolescent culture.

Continue reading “Disable or Limit Facebook Places: Eight Resources to Help”