Digital Devices

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Smartwatches : The Next Classroom Distraction?

Some students are using smartwatches to cheat, text and arrange hangouts with friends during class time, educators say. New Jersey reading specialist and education-technology coach Jeanne McVerry, who asks students to keep smartwatches in their backpacks, says sometimes parents also will text their children during class. McVerry also points out that school policies aren’t keeping up with new devices and their capabilities. If your child owns a smart watch, or if you are considering purchasing one for them, check out this article written by a Smartwatch review site: 5 Reasons All Schools Should Ban Smartwatches .

Helping Your Kids Find Balance in the Digital World

Technology is redefining adolescence for members of iGen -- or Generation Z -- according to Debbie Silver, a former Louisiana Teacher of the Year. In a recent article written for Middle Web, she offers insight into today's middle-grade students and shares tips for parents to help kids find balance in the digital world, emphasizing that a dialogue is better than demands when it comes to digital devices and time spent online. She also reminds parents of a remark from author Dr. John Duffy: “When we say things like, “Well, I remember what it was like when I was a teenager,” here is Dr. Duffy’s response: “The truth is, you were never this teenager.”

A Glossary of Speech Recognition and AI Terms

As new educational technologies are implemented in schools, it is important for parents and guardians to keep up with the latest in ed tech jargon, and even moreso for parents of kids who have learning differences as more and more inclusive educational technology, including text to speech and speech to text applications, begin to proliferate in the classroom. A recent article from Edsurge defines many of the new terms you may hear, as well as why each of them matter, and can be a useful reference.

Setting Up a Comfortable and Safe Digital Workspace for Your Child

While this article on Maximizing Digital Stamina is intended for schools who need to think about setting an ergonomically safe space for students to work with digital devices, there are a lot of helpful hints for parents and teens to do the same  as well. Advice on how to create a comfortable digital space that includes proper headsets, keyboards, tablet stands, webcams and more for children and teens use is discussed.

Voice Tech Being More Kid Accessible

Children's voices are not always recognized or understood by voice technology, says Patricia Scanlon, the founder and executive chair of a SoapBox Labs, which is working to address this challenge. The Dublin tech startup's voice recognition technology is targeted to children 12 and younger, aiming to improve learning and gaming software for this age group.

Tips for Using Digital Books to Advantage

Since the pandemic, digital books have become firmly part of the classroom and home learning landscape. Colleen Hoban, technology specialist for the Colonial School District in Delaware, offers a blog post with five tips for parents and educators as they expand their own digital collections, including maximizing features available when using digital books.

Should Kids Be Learning About Technology Ethics?

As emerging technologies develop and continue to collect data at breakneck speeds, we should be mindful that our children are the technologists and ethicists of tomorrow, say Karen Ingram and Megan Stariha in article entitled The Moral Imperative of Teaching Every Student Tech Ethics. They advocate for today’s schools and parents to start laying the ethical groundwork now. Facilitating conversations around ethics in technology with young people will help ensure that future technologies are developed equitably and that young people are conscious of their implications.

Physical Activity Versus Screen Time

As we get back to school, this latest research is a good reminder to parents and kids that there is more to life than what is on a screen and it is important to keep screen time regulated. In a recent study, 577,000 youths ages 11 to 15 in 42 countries were surveyed, and researchers found that girls who spent an hour a day on devices, such as cellphones and computers, and boys who spent about 90 minutes on their screens were more likely to feel sad about their lives, and the more time they spent on screens, the worse they tended to feel. The findings in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health also showed that teens who were more physically active reported improved well-being.

Helping Parents with Technology Skills: Recognizing the Need

Parents have a love/hate relationship with educational technology, and their views about the pros and cons of using more tech in the classroom and at home have probably been even further cemented after this last year of online teaching. It may be that many parents just wish the technology would go away completely.

How can you communicate with your children’s teachers and open up the lines of communication about technology and learning? If your kids are going to be expected to do work that requires using tech tools or devices at home, then teachers will have some obligation to provide parents and caregivers with some level of support. For example, if your kids are being asked to complete a Flipgrid, a popular discussion and presentation tool for students, teachers need to be sure that both students and their parents have access to a short instructional video on how to use Flipgrid. It is hard for teachers to always remember that parents need that kind of support, but a gentle request can help remind them children are still going to be coming to parents to ask for help with their online work.


Texas Instrument’s Iconic Graphing Calculator Adds a Programming Language

The next generation of the Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus family of graphing calculators will include Python, a programming language. Peter Balyta, president of TI Education Technology, says the devices will help students learn coding skills that they can use in future STEM careers. The calculators have long been a tool used in advanced math classes.