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Category Archives: 21st Century Skills

What do Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have in common with entertainer will.i.am, actor Ashton Kutcher, and NBA all-star Chris Bosh? It’s not the ability to dunk a basketball. Nope. These very different celebrities share an appreciation for coding, the ability to write the code that lets computers and digital devices do the extraordinary things we often take for granted. And that’s why they’ve gotten together at code.org to emphasize the importance of learning to code.

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Getting a message from beyond the grave used to be the stuff of old horror movies or mediums hosting séances. Now, says a CNN story, several companies are offering services where your social networking site can continue to send messages from you after you’re dead.

Is this a good idea or not? I’m not sure.

Cool or Creepy, it’s a logical extension of social networking into the afterlife. We’ve already seen any number of tribute sites created to celebrate the life, accomplishments, and friendships of a deceased individual.

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A few years ago, there was a major focus on Internet safety education, as if protecting kids from online predators and pornography were all that was needed for children to safely and effectively surf the Web. Today, much more attention is being paid to other areas of digital citizenship, for example responsible, ethical behavior and digital literacy. That is reflected in the results of two polls Cable in the Classroom released today.

We think of digital citizenship as a positive and proactive approach to helping children use digital tools safely and effectively, bringing together Internet safety and security with digital literacy, responsible, ethical behavior and civic engagement.

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Over at edSurge comes word of a project to craft a “Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age.” The current version is a work in progress, with thoughts and contributions actively sought. The document currently focuses on what students should expect from others. It would be nice to detail what others should expect from students. Maybe it should be about rights, principles and responsibilities.

One of the things I like about digital citizenship, and a reason we at Cable in the Classroom support digital citizenship education, is its focus on rights and responsibilities.

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“Are kids technology’s new early adopters?” That provocative question was posed by Dominic Basulto on Big Think.

His curiosity was piqued by innovations in augmented reality created by Disney and Sesame Street that debuted at the International Consumer Electronic Show.

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Sometimes the patterns in a data set or in an artwork are more easily discerned when we change the orientation from which we view it. And sometimes flipping accepted practice upside down lets us see things in a fresh, new way. There has been a lot written about flipped classrooms, but this is about something different: flipping Bloom’s Taxonomy.

When I was in graduate school, Bloom’s Taxonomy ruled. Created in the 1950’s, the taxonomy was a framework to describe and classify different learning objectives teachers might set for students.

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Are we “outsourcing memory?” Are we using modern technology to augment human capacity and “outsourcing personal knowledge acquisition to search engines” as noted in a recent KnowledgeWorks report? If so, what are the implications for a generation of students whose research skills are, as the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds, being conditioned by search engines?

“Since the advent of search engines, we are reorganizing the way we remember things,” says Columbia University psychologist Betsy Sparrow.

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By Belinha De Abreu

In a recent article, Larry Rosen noted that technology was making kids “driven to distraction.” The buzz of an incoming text or the desire to check Facebook was keeping students from extended concentration and deep thinking. In my own practice, I’ve noticed that it’s getting more difficult to get students to think deeply about an idea. From my perspective students are not routinely asked to do much original thinking. For assignments, they are usually given a topic and then told which technology tool to use, and what the expected result should look like.

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Although you’d never know it from news stories, multiple surveys have showed marked decreases in children’s exposure to violence and abuse, writes David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at University of New Hampshire on The Huffington Post. A new Bureau of Justice Statistics report is just the latest in a series pointing to favorable trends in child well being.

Dr. Finkelhor coined the term “juvenoia” to describe an exaggerated fear about youth vulnerability to social change and new technologies.

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Presidential elections bring civics education to life, and it’s no surprise that creative educators are finding interesting ways to capitalize on all the media attention surrounding the conventions and campaigns. At Edutopia, Suzie Boss writes about several cool projects.

Campaigns offer all kinds of opportunities for teaching media and information literacy when students analyze and evaluate ads from candidates and interest groups or create their own ads.

Where to start? We’ve collected a bevy of election resources here.

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