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Category Archives: Digital Citizenship

Is the American education system doing a better job than news stories would indicate? Paul Farhi thinks so and, in the Spring 2012 issue of the American Journalism Review, lays out a case that the media is “Flunking the Test” when reporting about education.

The popular narrative is our schools are failing—failing to educate children and prepare them for a hypercompetitive, global economy. Our scores in international tests are mediocre. Too many students drop out and more graduate without being prepared for college or career.

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Today (April 16th) a new report, Elements of Healthy Media, was released at the NAB convention in Las Vegas. The report helps define positive and healthy media of and for girls. This definition includes for central elements:
• Healthy Body Images
• Active and Diverse Female Characters
• Equal and Healthy Relationships
• Increased roles for women and girls

This definition grew out of research about media images of girls and women conducted by the Girl Scouts of the USA.

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“I think we’re kind of one of the first generations to have too much information as opposed to too little.”

That’s one of the most interesting remarks in a new video, “It’s Complicated: What college students say about research & writing assignments,” from Project Information Literacy (PIL). When there is a superabundance of information, some of it is useful and some not. Some of it is factual and timely and some not. Some is relevant and some a distraction.

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“Bully,” a documentary film that’s been in the news a lot lately, is providing some unintentional lessons in media literacy. The film tells the stories of four young people who have been bullied and how that has affected them and their families. Two of the kids had committed suicide. The other two are dealing with bullying in different ways. I reviewed Bully (originally called The Bully Project) here after seeing it in a film festival last year.

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Today I’ve got a tale of two social media lessons – one that went extremely well and one that didn’t. Both taught critical, but accidental, lessons about media literacy.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote recently about a class of fourth graders in Brookline, Massachusetts. The students read Dr. Seuss’s book, The Lorax, and were thrilled to hear it’s going to be made into a major Hollywood movie — but crushed to learn that the movie seemed to ignore the book’s central message about protecting nature.

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Today (January 26) is Data Privacy Day. Sponsored by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), it “promotes awareness about the many ways personal information is collected, stored, used, and shared, and education about privacy practices that will enable individuals to protect their personal information.”

As several of the speakers said during the Facebook Live event this morning, every day should be data privacy (and security) day. This is a particularly timely thought, coming the same week as Google changed its Privacy Policy and footware e-tailer Zappos suffered a major data breach.

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Today (January 18th) Wikipedia and several other popular internet sites are going dark to show their opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) now under consideration by the House of Representatives, and to its sister bill, the Protect IP Act in the Senate.

The bills are attempts to give law enforcement and copyright holders new tools to stop piracy and theft of intellectual property like movies, music, and computer programs. Opponents fear that the proposed remedies will be an undue burden on them and will fundamentally change the open culture of the Internet.

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Wednesday, February 1st will be the inaugural Digital Learning Day. Conceived by the Alliance for Excellent Education, Digital Learning Day is the “culminating event of a year-round national awareness campaign to improve teaching and learning for all children” through the practical and effective use of digital technologies. Highlighting the many roles media and digital technology can play in improving learning comes at a particularly opportune time, given two recent negative articles about educational technology in the New York Times.

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While most kids in most situations are making the right choices, there are subgroups who are at greater risk of bad experiences. New research puts lower numbers on sexting and other dangerous acts. Guest blog post at iKeepSafe.

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Very interesting discussion today at the Kids, Privacy, and Online Drama event, part of @Microsoft: Conversations on Online Safety, cohosted by the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), and held at Microsoft’s Innovation & Policy Center in Washington, DC.

Researcher danah boyd said something that particularly struck a nerve with me. She and her colleague Alice Marwick found that while adults talk about ‘“bullying,” teens are more likely to refer to the resultant skirmishes and their digital traces as “drama.”’ There’s more to it than that, of course, (and their paper, The Drama!

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