Tag Archives: children

What Your Kids Are Really Doing Online

“…there exists today an underground, invisible network of children taking turns as teachers and students, sharing with each other the skills, ideas, secrets and technological breakthroughs they cherish. This university without walls or national boundaries is, without exaggeration, unparalleled in human history. Children have always been at the mercy of parents, teachers and school administrators when it comes to the question of how, what and when they learn. Now the game has changed and the power has shifted to kids.”

from: What Your Kids Are Really Doing Online by Michael Levin.

Sylvia

The Internet, Youth Deviance and the Problem of Juvenoia

This video is a talk given by Dr. David Finkelhor, is the Director of the Crimes against Children Research Center, Co-Director of the Family Research Laboratory and Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire, entitled “The Internet, Youth Deviance and the Problem of Juvenoia”

Is the internet really an amplifier for youth deviance, bad behavior, and risk? Or is it just the opposite? Are we simply applying age-old paranoia about youth (juvenoia) to the newest technology and coming to all the wrong conclusions? Could the Internet be in fact promoting better, healthier culture, identity exploration with less risk, and increased accountability for personal actions? Dr. David Finkelhor takes on these questions with research, facts, historical perspectives — and connections with the fields of child development, human behavior, and psychology.

This talk is well worth watching – especially if you are dealing with parents or colleagues who take it on face value that the Internet is making children stupid, cheapening culture, and is the onramp to deviant behavior and predators.

The Internet, Youth Deviance and the Problem of Juvenoia on Vimeo on Vimeo

This video provides a lot of food for thought:

  • Why do we label and blame kids for normal behavior?
  • Is a fear OF children masquerading as a fear FOR children?
  • Is the Internet similar to other technologies that caused social changes (like cars, TV, phones, etc.)? Or is it vastly different?
  • Is “stranger danger”, sexting crackdowns, and technophobia really about protecting kids or is it political grandstanding and a way to sell fear-based products?
  • Why do we ignore the many indications of better, healthier, connected, smarter youth and believe all too easily that children today are narcissistic, alienated, and addicted to techno-drivel?

Love your thoughts!

Sylvia

Online safety report discourages scare tactics

A new, really important report has just come out about children and online safety. It is sensible and research-based, with excellent recommendations. The strongest recommendation is that scare tactics DON’T WORK to keep children safe online. I hate to sound surprised, but it is really a breath of fresh air. Educators and parents should read it!

Although unwanted online solicitations can have an alarming impact, recent studies have shown that “the statistical probability of a young person being physically assaulted by an adult who they first met online is extremely low,” the working group noted.

And young people’s use of social networking sites does not increase their risk of victimization, according to a 2008 report that appeared in American Psychologists.

via Online safety report discourages scare tactics | Featured SAFE | eSchoolNews.com

And kudos to eSchoolNews for an excellent report on a complex and highly charged subject.

Sylvia

Do you sleep with your cell phone? Pew Study on Millennials

cell phone graphic

Generations, like people, have personalities, and Millennials — the American teens and twenty-somethings who are making the passage into adulthood at the start of a new millennium — have begun to forge theirs: confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change.

They are more ethnically and racially diverse than older adults. They’re less religious, less likely to have served in the military, and are on track to become the most educated generation in American history.

Their entry into careers and first jobs has been badly set back by the Great Recession, but they are more upbeat than their elders about their own economic futures as well as about the overall state of the nation.

from The Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change. – Pew Research Center

The latest Pew Study on “Millennials” (people born after 1980) is part of a Pew Research Center series of reports exploring the behaviors, values and opinions of the teens and twenty-somethings that make up the Millennial Generation.

These youth say that “technology” is the defining characteristic of their generation. And it’s not just use of gadgets, it’s the social aspect of how technology shapes their lives.

The obvious question is: How has school responded to this demographic shift?

Take the quiz: How Millennial Are You?

Sylvia


The war on children’s playgrounds

“Children rise to risk,” says Joan Almon, executive director of the U.S. Alliance for Childhood. “Give them some genuine risk and they quickly learn what their limits are, and then they expand their limits.” The problem is: If kids never encounter even tiny risks, they never develop that thing we call common sense.

via The war on children’s playgrounds – Children – Salon.com

Children rise to all kinds of challenges when they risk failure, make mistakes and figure out how to rise above them. It’s the same intellectually as physically, If students are not taking risks intellectually, they will never push the limit, and they will develop the habit of complacency. The special thing about technology, and especially about creativity tools, is that they allow children to take intellectual risks with ideas, through multiple media and approaches that they can control and master.

Sylvia

Constructing Modern Knowledge 2010

It’s back!!!

Plans are shaping up for an amazing 3rd Annual Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute, July 12-15, 2009 in Manchester, NH USA (near Boston).

In addition to master educators and edtech pioneers, the Constructing Modern Knowledge 2010 faculty includes history educator James Loewen and bestselling author of Lies My Teacher Told Me; popular provocateur and author, Alfie Kohn; MacArthur Genius and incomparable school reformer, Deborah Meier; and children’s author, illustrator and animator, Peter Reynolds. Cynthia Solomon, Brian Silverman, Sylvia Martinez (that’s me!), Gary Stager and John Stetson round out the amazing faculty.

Constructing Modern Knowledge is a minds-on institute for educators committed to creativity, collaboration and computing. Participants have the opportunity to engage in intensive computer-rich project development with peers and a world-class faculty. Inspirational guest speakers, pre-conference expedition and social events round out the fantastic event.

Constructing Modern Knowledge is about action, not listening to speakers. Attendees work and interact with educational experts committed to maximizing the potential of every learner. The rich learning environment is filled with books, computers, robotics materials, art supplies, toys and other objects to think with.

The real power of Constructing Modern Knowledge emerges from the collaborative project development of participants. Each day’s program consists of a discussion of powerful ideas, on-demand mini tutorials, immersive learning adventures designed to challenge one’s thinking, substantial time for project work and reflection.

CMK 2010 info

21st Century educators need to develop their own technological fluency and understand learning in order to meet the changing needs and expectations of their students. Constructing Modern Knowledge will help participants enhance their tech skills, expand their vision of how computers may enhance the learning environment and leave with practical classroom ideas.

Spend four cool summer days in New England making puppets roar, robots dance, animations delight, movies move, simulations stimulate, photos sing and leave with memories to last a lifetime!

Each participant receives a suite of open-ended creativity software from Tech4Learning, LCSI, Inspiration Software, FableVision and other members of The Constructivist Consortium free-of-charge for use at Constructing Modern Knowledge and beyond. The software alone is worth the registration fee!

There is also a July 11th preconference Science and History Tour of Boston available for a nominal fee. Explore the future at the MIT Museum and visit the past during a private guided tour of the Boston Freedom Trail.

The institute is less than an hour’s drive from Boston in picturesque Manchester, New Hampshire. Free transportation is available from the convenient and affordable Manchester Airport. Discount hotel accommodation has been arranged at the institute venue.

Constructing Modern Knowledge is sensitive to the budgets of schools and educators by keeping registration costs affordable and by offering school/district team discounts. The institute is appropriate for all K-12 educators, administrators and teacher educators – private or public. CEUs are available for an additional fee.

Save $75 on early bird registrations! Register online now!

Sylvia

Reflections from previous years:

Online safety means empowering AND protecting

The online-safety messages most Americans are getting are still pretty much one-size-fits-all and focused largely on adult-to-child crime, rather than on what the growing bodies of both Net-safety and social-media research have found.

… still focuses on technology not behavior as the primary risk and characterizes youth almost without exception as potential victims.

… fails to recognize youth agency: young people as participants, stakeholders, and leaders in an increasingly participatory environment online and offline.

… is still negative, lacks context, and is largely irrelevant to youth.

To be relevant to young people, its intended beneficiaries, Net safety needs to respect youth agency, embrace the technologies they love, use social media in the instruction process, and address the positive reasons for safe use of social technology.

On ConnectSafely.org,  co-directors Larry Magid and Anne Collier offer insightful (and sane!) resources for educators and parents about being safe in the digital world.

Resources like this can help educators and parents move beyond the hysteria about children and the digital world. It’s crucial that adults find ways to include and guide youth in positive exploration and use of these new tools and technologies. Demonizing and criminalizing normal behavior won’t solve anything and creates a climate of fear that alienates people and stifles discussion.

Resources like ConnectSafely.org make me hopeful that the climate is changing and a new maturity is emerging about youth and digital technology.

Sylvia

Children who use technology are ‘better writers’

From BBC News – Children who use technology are “better writers”.

“Our research suggests a strong correlation between kids using technology and wider patterns of reading and writing,” Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, told BBC News.

“Engagement with online technology drives their enthusiasm for writing short stories, letters, song lyrics or diaries.”

Mr Douglas dismissed criticisms about the informal writing styles often adopted in online chat and “text speak”, both of which can lack grammar and dictionary-correct spelling.

“Does it damage literacy? Our research results are conclusive – the more forms of communications children use the stronger their core literary skills.(emphasis mine)

Sylvia

Students are not the enemy part 2

The response to the last post Students are not the enemy has been pretty overwhelming.

The NYSCATE wiki for this presentation: The Enemy Within: Stop Students from Bypassing Your Web Filters has been edited by several people with very cogent comments asking the company and presenter to rethink a declaration of war on students.

My original posting was not a criticism of NYSCATE – which is one of my favorite ed tech conferences. Vendor-led sessions are a fact of life at any conference, often informative, and NYSCATE does a good job of identifying them as such.

A quick search on the Google reveals that this company has a whitepaper with the same title which can be found on several security industry websites. It’s also been a session (same title and description) at more than one ed tech conference in Texas.

So it’s clear in this case it’s not just a matter of a single regional company representative clumsily trying to come up with a catchy title for a session. This is a well-thought out marketing plan from this company.

Perhaps conferences should read ALL session descriptions a little more carefully to make sure they promote the values of the organizing body.

Because really, this attitude does not start with companies. Sales 101 is about reflecting the language and attitudes of your customers. They wouldn’t be saying it if they weren’t hearing it. Sales 102 is creating a climate of need, fear-based if necessary, that if you don’t have whatever they are selling, something horrible will happen.

Teachers, tech directors, and superintendents talk about what they want and need, and companies simply take those problems, what marketeers call “pain points” and find ways to frame their solutions with that language. Marketing is about talking your customers language, so when you hear language like this, as Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Sylvia