It's not a law that you have to post a selfie before, during, and after every activity. But for kids, it's pretty much mandatory. The resulting likes, thumbs-ups, and other ratings all get tallied, both in the stark arithmetic of the Internet and in kids' own minds. For some -- especially girls -- what starts as a fun way to document and share experiences can turn into an obsession about approval that can wreak havoc on self-image.
That kids have been comparing themselves to popular images in traditional media -- and coming up short -- is a well-researched phenomenon. But new studies are just beginning to determine the effects of social media -- which is arguably more immediate and intimate -- on the way kids view themselves. A Common Sense survey called Children, Teens, Media, and Body Image found that many teens who are active online fret about how they're perceived, and that girls are particularly vulnerable. Read More
From the looks of most boy-targeted media, you'd think young men are only about violence, explosions, and hiding their feelings. While plenty of websites serve up the same old tired ideas, your boys can find better content – and many do -- on YouTube. That's right, the video-sharing channel known for the outrageous, crazy, and who-knows-what is also a great place to find educational, enriching, and just plain fun videos that turn the stereotype of male entertainment on its ear.
What makes great viewing for boys? Shows with male role models who demonstrate respectful relationships to men and women, game tutorials that emphasize creativity and exploration over violence, and scientific discovery that says it's OK to not always have the right answer. Read More
(CNN)Just about every day on Facebook, I see posts by parents asking for advice related to their children. Granted, many of my friends are parents, but I imagine you see similar posts when you log on as well.
And pretty much every time I read one, I wonder about the pluses and minuses of a world in which many parents now head to their social networks to make parenting decisions.
Sure, getting advice on how to get a toddler to sleep through the night or how to deal with a fussy eater makes sense and seems relatively harmless. But is there something creepy about picking a baby name based on Internet responses or deciding on a punishment based on the opinions of followers? Read More
Much more than just a video game, Minecraft is being used by thousands of educators to tackle difficult learning concepts in an amazingly fun and collaborative digital environment. Students are exploring, crafting and making in 3D virtual worlds where their creativity and imagination can run wild.
No matter what your discipline, the many different elements of Minecraft can be employed to add fun and meaning to just about any lesson. Read More
If your daughter comes home from school, throws down her backpack, and hops on YouTube -- she's just like millions of other kids. Girls are flocking to the video-sharing site to watch, share, and comment on everything from toy reviews to cheerleading tips to music videos. But until YouTube develops its kid-focused site, you never know what she might come across.
Age-inappropriate stuff is only one of the pitfalls. The glut of content about makeup, fashion, hair, and shopping just reinforces the idea that girls only care about -- or should care about -- physical appearance. Read More
Duolingo for schools offers a window into the future of education technology. It shows us how interactive digital technologies can be used to create a more equitable educational landscape, not just in the U.S., but globally. It reminds us why we all bought into these networked technologies in the first place. Data-driven solutions don’t have to be all about corporate growth, they can also be about creating innovative ways to improve humanity’s lived experience in the world.
Sixty million people are now signed up to use Duolingo–the simple, gamified, adaptive language teaching app for smartphones and web browsers. Twenty million of them are currently active users. According to Duolingo, that means there are more people using the platform to learn languages than there are in the entire U.S. public school system.
Duolingo remains free of charge. No advertisements. No subscriptions. No upsells. No in-app purchasing. Read More
Who is YOUR little monster?! Dress up your monster any way you like! From textures to colors, eyes, teeth and accessories, choose from thousands of combinations to make your monster unique.
Once your monster is exactly the way you want, choose your pose, 3D print your monster and unleash him into the real world! Read More
Wearable tech is big business beyond the Google Glass phenomenon — which possibly isn’t the best intro, as Glass seems to have vanished overnight, or has it?
Or maybe that’s the point.
The wearable tech bubble promises to pop, pivot, and reimagine itself at a rate we’ve yet to see. This technology’s ‘big business’ potential extends well beyond Glass — and even beyond the ugly Apple Watch you’ve already decided to buy (I’ll be buying one too). Read More
Every teacher aims to make learning fun and to help students make meaningful connections. Two topics I cover in my technology literacy classes are digital citizenship and computational thinking through computer programming. As I examined Common Sense Education's digital citizenship lessons and explored the new Scratch programming curriculum, I came up with a surprising mash-up of the two.
My fifth-grade students could learn about staying safe, responsible, and respectful online with the Common Sense curriculum and then create interactive computer animations in Scratch to demonstrate what they learned. The inherent excitement of creating something on the computer was all the motivation my students needed to become champions for digital citizenship. How did we do it? Read More
On Wednesday lunchtimes at Altona Primary, it’s not just the basketball court or the cricket pitch which is the place for students to be. It’s the library, where kids in grades four, five and six crowd around and enthusiastically learn the basics of how to give instructions to a computer – coding.
The students attend not only because they enjoy designing video games, and building robots and their own computers, but because they know how important these skills are for their future. As a nine-year-old explained to one of us, he was learning coding not because he wanted to be a computer scientist, but because he wanted to be an architect.
This kid is lucky. He’s at a school with a passionate IT teacher and a school community that understands how important these skills are. Unfortunately, the failure of the majority of Australian policy makers to recognise what the geeks call “computational thinking” as a fundamental literacy in the 21st century is letting down the bulk of our other students. Read More