Digital Literacy

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Digital Literacy: Taking a Closer Look at Close-Read Politics

Want to help your children understand more about the digital images they are exposed to in political campaigns? Read what media literacy expert Frank Baker says about stagecraft and the "polioptics" that will be an important part of everything digital citizens see and hear. Learn how you can help your children "pull back the curtain on visual techniques used by professional image manipulators" and build their citizenship skills. 

Entering the Google Doodle Contest

Every year Google holds a special contest for kids in grades K - 12 that invites them to draw what they hope to see in the future- in the form of a doodle. The contest is called the Doodle for Google and the doodles can be about anything that the kids can dream of. The contest has a tagline that states "If you can dream it, you can draw it."

What is Digital Citizenship?

How do you or your children’s school define “digital citizenship”?  According to  Richard Culatta, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education, speaking recently at the South by Southwest Conference, digital citizenship goes beyond the scope of online safety. He says that positive digital citizenship is about making better communities online that include proactive actions to affect public policy, increased civility and the skills need to ferret out valid information.

Students Use Design-Thinking For Solutions to Social Media Ills

An article from EdSurge  describes how high-school students in Connecticut have used design-thinking (a form of brainstorming) to help develop solutions to problems they encounter on social media. Jacquelyn Whiting, a high-school library media specialist, describes how students used the approach to consider remedies to hate speech, digital permanence and inauthenticity, among others. Here, from the article, are some things they ask you and your family to consider:

  • Do all of your social media posts show only your best, brightest, happiest moments? Considering joining the #badday and #authenticself campaigns, and celebrate authenticity by posting about frustrations or setbacks you experience.
  • Have you ever totaled the amount you spend shopping in response to ads targeted at you on social media? Would you consider paying a fraction of that amount to join a social media platform that protects your private information and is ad-free?
  • Have you stopped to think about the language you use on social media? Stay on the lookout for machine learning that will prompt people to reconsider the vocabulary in their posts if they use offensive language, and warn you if you are about to friend someone who does

Survey Looks at Gen Z Views on Tech Careers

A survey by Dell computers of Generation Z high-school and college students in 17 countries shows 80% want to work with cutting-edge technology as part of their careers, and 57% say their education has prepared them for a job. The data also show 98% have used technology during their education and 52% are confident in their tech skills.

Amazon Expands Future Engineer Program to Younger Grades

Amazon has expanded its "Future Engineer" initiative from high school into K-8. The program has begun offering free online lessons and funding summer camps to help elementary students discover the fun of computer science. Earlier this year, the company revealed the "Amazon Future Engineer Pathway" program that supported 100,000 high school students in taking  Advanced Placement courses in computer science and awarded four-year scholarships and internships to a sizable group of students from under-served populations.

Amazon’s newly announced program serving younger students will fund Computer Science camp scholarships through partnerships with and Coding with Kids. The mission is to provide underprivileged students with the means to learn coding in an interactive, hands-on way. Currently, the company is accepting scholarship applications for 2019 classes. Schools and districts may also apply on behalf of families.

If They Want It, Ask for a PowerPoint Presentation

The next time your kids ask you for something, try asking them to create a PowerPoint (or Google Slides or Apple’s Keynote) presentation on why they need it, whether it be a new toy, gaming system or even joining an activity. It is a great way for them to practice not only their digital literacy, but also to learn to make a pitch for something they want to achieve. Want some examples of what kids have done? See PowerPoint Is the Most Efficient Way for Kids to Manage Their Parents from The New York Times.

Educational Technology Uses Varies Greatly Worldwide

While education technology is becoming more commonplace in classrooms worldwide, individual countries have unique practices, according to a report in the Cambridge International Global Education Census, which includes responses from 10,209 teachers and 9,397 students. Data show, for example, that 74% of US students use a smartphone for schoolwork -- compared with 16% of students in India.

Five Year STEM Plan announced

President Donald Trump's administration recently released a five-year plan to expand science, technology, engineering and math education. The plan calls for more basic education about STEM concepts and an increase in STEM access and support for students who want to pursue careers in STEM fields. The plan also urges educators to make STEM "more meaningful and inspiring" through project-based learning, science fairs, robotics clubs, invention challenges and gaming workshops – anything that pushes students to identify and solve problems using knowledge from various disciplines. The biggest obstacle to more STEM education? The lack of STEM teachers in K-12 education.

Millennials Favor More Human Teachers

Most millennials say the best way to fix problems in the US educational system is to pay teachers more, give additional funding to public education, and invest in local schools and technology, according to an ongoing GenForward survey. Younger Americans also support charter schools and vouchers for low-income students, University of Chicago researcher Cathy Cohen, says in a Q&A on the Marketplace site.