The Internet you experience is as unique to you as your fingerprint.
Websites that have worked themselves into our routines and vocabularies have begun to figure out what kind of people we are. By developing algorithms that track our online habits, tech companies have created online experiences that are deeply personal and self-determined.
At its advent, the Internet was seen as the Great Equalizer – globally, all users ostensibly had access to the same content. The amount of content available, however, is vast, and websites like Facebook, Netflix, and Google are overwhelmed by it. Tech companies have found that tracking user habits enables the creation an online universe where you only (mostly) see what you’d like to see, essentially determining the Internet that users are exposed to. Read More
Recently, I was looking through my bookshelves and discovered an entire shelf of instruction books that came with software I had previously purchased. Yes, there was a time when software was bought in stores, not downloaded. Upon closer examination of these instruction books, I noticed that many of them were for computers and software that I no longer use or even own. More importantly, most were still in shrink-wrap, never opened. I recalled that when I bought software, I just put the disk into the computer and never looked at the book.
I realized that I did the same when I bought a new car -- with one exception. I never read the instruction book in the glove compartment. I just turned on the engine and drove off. I already knew how to drive, so I didn't need a book. The exception occurred when I tried to set the clock. I couldn't figure it out, so I finally opened the glove compartment and checked the book. Read More
Most people involved with games and learning are familiar with the work of James Paul Gee. A researcher in the field of theoretical linguistics, he argues for the consideration of multiple kinds of literacy. The notion of “New Literacies” expands the conception of literacy beyond books and reading to include visual symbols and other types of representation made possible through, among other things, current digital technologies.
At this point in the evolution of education, it’s critical that we expand our conception of literacy to include more than just words. In fact, we may need to reimagine how we nurture early literacy to make sure we provide a foundation not only for reading, but also for “New Literacies.”
Gee is included in this series because outside of academic psycholinguistics circles, he’s especially well known for his work on video games. He’s written and edited many books on game-based learning and education. He’s influenced countless game designers and educators. Some of his theories have provided the foundation for many of the ideas I’ve covered in this series, especially those having to do with systems thinking. Read More
Researchers say it’s OK to break with hardliners—provided you’re interacting right along with your kids. A look at new guidelines that defy pediatricians’ recommendations.
When my oldest child was a toddler, I treated illuminated screens like plutonium. During my training as a pediatrician, I had received the message loud and clear that the recommended amount of television for children under 2 was nil. It was not only the advice that I gave parents about their kids, it was the standard I held for my own. “Screen time” of any sort was strictly verboten.
A few years later, my oldest son can efficiently navigate Netflix to his favored shows from Bob’s Burgers and gets annoyed when I try to do it for him. And that’s to say nothing of his facility with an iPad, a technology that’s been around for less time than he has and has already become ubiquitous. Read More
Casey stares at his computer screen, carefully calculating his next move. As part of a school science project to create a simulation of the Earth’s tides, he has spent the better part of the hour trying to animate a moon orbiting the earth, a series of commands that is proving more complex than he had anticipated. But with every iteration and tweak, the determined sixth grader finds himself inching closer to his vision. Finally, he inputs -10 degrees on the X coordinate, 21 on the Y, and hits enter. He grins in giddy satisfaction as he watches his moon makes a perfect circle around the earth.
Casey’s story is one of many that illustrates how the process of learning to code is encouraging something that many believe to be the most important skill we can teach our kids: creativity. We’re all born with it. As kids, we embrace imaginative play, we ask questions, paint colorful pictures, and build elaborate things with our blocks, but somewhere along the way our capacity for creative thinking diminishes. It’s not because we lack the “creative gene”, we just haven’t reinforced it or, as researcher George Land concludes from his longitudinal study on creativity and divergent thinking, we have unlearned it. Read More
Art has long been recognized as an important part of a well-rounded education — but when it comes down to setting budget priorities, the arts rarely rise to the top. Many public schools saw their visual, performing and musical arts programs cut completely during the last recession, despite the many studies showing that exposure to the arts can help with academics too.
A few schools are taking the research to heart, weaving the arts into everything they do and finding that the approach not only boosts academic achievement but also promotes creativity, self-confidence and school pride. Read More
An iPad app to create and share beautiful drawings with the people you love.
Ana Albir, CEO/Co-Founder, looks forward to applying her well-rounded background in engineering and business to the challenging problem of encouraging creative expression in children. Prior to co-founding Moondrop, Ana worked for years in the consulting industry, designing and developing custom software to help social venture and financial firms realize their potential through the use of technology.
As a pediatric occupational therapist, I'm calling on parents, teachers and governments to ban the use of all handheld devices for children under the age of 12 years.
She is excited to do the same in the fast growing field of mobile applications for youngsters. Read More
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010).
Children and youth use 4-5 times the recommended amount of technology, with serious and often life threatening consequences (Kaiser Foundation 2010, Active Healthy Kids Canada 2012). Handheld devices (cell phones, tablets, electronic games) have dramatically increased the accessibility and usage of technology, especially by very young children (Common Sense Media, 2013).
Following are 10 research-based reasons for this ban. Please visit zonein.ca to view the Zone'in Fact Sheet for referenced research.
A call to action has been issued: schools and districts need to innovate. This statement is often accompanied by an assertion that teachers need to integrate technology as well as transform instruction. But what does this innovation actually look like? As 2014 comes to a close and we set goals for the New Year, how will we define innovation?
According to Oxford Dictionaries, innovate means "to make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products." This definition fits nicely with what is being asked of educators -- to integrate new technologies, practices, and concepts into the classroom. As teachers, however, we also have to ask the question: why?! We need to ensure that these changes are to the direct benefit of our students. For that reason, I prefer Scott Berkun's definition: "Innovation is significant positive change." Read More
My mother rarely talked with me about the birds and the bees when I was growing up, and I always knew that no matter what, when I became a parent, I'd be more open with my children about sex.
With my girls in the second and third grade, I figured in the not too distant future it would be time for the "sex talk."
But now I'm wondering if I need to have the conversation a lot sooner than I had originally thought and if the whole concept of having a "sex talk" is as outdated as the BlackBerry I still won't give up.
"In some ways, I think the 'tech talk' is replacing the 'sex talk' because our kids are learning about sex from tech," said Diana Graber, who teaches "cyber civics" at a middle school in Aliso Viejo, California. Read More