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Teachers Want Technology But Gaps Remain

While 64% of teachers say schools should emphasize teaching technology, only 32% say students are actively using technology to create things or perform data analysis, according to a survey of 2000 K-12 teachers from PwC and the Business-Higher Education Forum, eSchool News reports. Student access to technology is one key bottleneck, and about half of teachers note that their students lack either a device or internet access at home.

Technology and Empathy – One Can Inform the Other

There is more to technology than playing games and entertaining, and sometimes parents and teachers need to be reminded of the power it gives kids to look at the world in different ways. A recent opinion piece on PBS News Hour discussed how technology can promote empathy and focus on social impact, even helping students to come up with solutions to real world problems.  Interested in more? PBS ‘s lessons on inventions that will change the world teaches students how to turn an idea into reality through the steps of the invention process and how to pitch their invention to key stakeholders, even giving instructions on how to apply for a U.S. patent or enter contests such as the Congressional App Challenge.

FOMO – Victims and Rescuers

The proliferation of Social Media in society today has led many of us, including our children, to feel some form of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) when scrolling through the daily posts of our online friends. Experts looking into the psychology behind FOMO say that the fear of missing out comes in several forms, including “Victim FOMO” and “Rescuer FOMO”. Those who identify as FOMO Victims believe that they are only worthy when they are included. When they aren’t included or don’t know what’s going on, they assume it’s because nobody likes them or somebody is mad at them. Rescuers, on the other hand, need to feel smart and competent to boost their ego. They look for victims to save by giving advice and swooping in with solutions (although often walking the line of coming across as condescending). Take a look at the article What Does Your FOMO look like? to learn more.

Quiz Platforms – Pros and Cons

More teachers are using Kahoot, an online formative assessment platform, to determine in real time what students have learned. However, some teachers have reported that students are hacking the platform not only to get the answer key, but to play pranks on the teacher and other users. While many would argue it is a relatively harmless way for students to show off their coding skills, a Kahoot vice president says the issue is being addressed by the company.

Vetting Sources – A Bit of a Case Study

According to the online magazine site Quartz, only 17% of the current biographical entries on Wikipedia are about women, and the site is particularly thin on women in science. This stat was shared in light of some controversy about an entry on physicist Donna Strickland that was rejected by the online encyclopedia for not containing enough information about her. Days after the article was removed, Strickland won a Nobel Prize in physics, making her the only woman alive to receive the award, and a new biographical entry was posted on Wikipedia. Something to remember if your kids use Wikipedia as a preliminary source for projects – they may not be getting the full story and some additional research is always a good idea.

What Your Kids Are Watching – Quantity of Likes Over Quality

Did you know that what you little ones are watching on YouTube is likely to be determined by the number of likes for a particular video or channel rather than the quality of the content?  These days the biggest kids’ content creators are YouTube upstarts, not traditional media companies like Sesame Street or even Disney. Channels like ChuChu TV (created in India) and Billion Surprise Toys are garnering views in the billions for content that catches kids’ eyes with “bright lights, extraneous elements, and faster pacing,” as one expert comments in an article from The Atlantic. Viral videos like “Johny Johny Yes Papa” could train kids’ brains’ to expect the same elements of all content, undermining less flashy educational endeavors. In other words, if kids watch a lot of fast-paced videos, they may come to expect that to be the way videos work, which could make other educational videos less compelling and effective. 

Cyberbullying and the Law- Where Do Things Stand?

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, but do you know the current status of laws concerning cyberbullying stand on both the state and federal level? After initial attempts to get more laws on the books and policies in place, little more has appeared in the news lately.  Tina Hegner, manager of research and development at PublicSchoolWORKS, offers insights on bullying and cyberbulling laws in an article on the eSchool News site, describing how schools and districts can address bullying and enforce anti-bullying laws.

Less Screen Time Equals Better Cognition

A child’s cognitive abilities can be improved by getting 9 to 11 hours of sleep a night, having at least an hour of daily physical activity and limiting screen time to less than two hours per day, a major study has found. The study assessed the behavior of 4,500 children, ages 8 to 11, and looked at their sleep schedules, how much time they spend on digital devices, and the amount they exercised. Researchers analyzed how those factors affected the children’s mental abilities, and found that only 5% of children living in the United States met all three recommendations. 63% of children spent more than two hours a day on digital devices, failing to meet the screen-time limit.

Get to Know Apple’s New Parental Controls

If you have been looking for ways to manage the time your kids spend on their phone, Apple’s recent operating system update, iOS 12, has a feature called Screen Time that might have just what you're looking for. As with any parental controls, they're best used along with guidance and ongoing conversations to help your kids learn to manage their own media use, but Screen Time lets you see exactly how much time your kids spend on their phones and tablets, the times of day they're most active, and which apps they use the most. You can also set app time limits, filter inappropriate content, and schedule "downtime" -- basically, shut down the device -- whenever you want. It’s a great way to stay in check with how much time you spend connected to your device.

Data Privacy, Technology Tools and Homework Projects

Let’s say your child wants to use a technology tool for a homework project but the program or app is not approved by your school district. Where do you start in helping them get permission? Usually, as long as the technology is being used strictly outside the classroom and your child has their parents permission, there is no issue. But in this day and age of concern about data privacy, if your child suggests a tool that might good for the whole class to use, it is important for you to know about how schools think about these kinds of issues. The Educator’s Guide to Student Data Privacy on the Connect Safely site can give you the kind of insight on issues and concerns that might come up especially if you encounter a teacher who is less than excited about the use of technology in the classroom.