Last week the Platform for Good blog published my post, Why Wikipedia: The Questions Parents Keep Asking. It’s full of information to help you and your 21st Century children understand more about Wikipedia — how to use it well and how to avoid problems.
The post even mentions GDS alum and filmmaker Scott Glosserman’s excellent video, Truth in Numbers: Everything According to Wikipedia. The video is available at Amazon.
Check out my post and the video.
Want to learn a bit about the 21st Century students who are entering college right now and infer a bit about digital kids at other ages? Check out this year’s Beloit College Mindset list for the class of 2018. This yearly list helps adults — parents and educators — recognize just how much our cultural frames of reference differ from those of our digital-age children, even if they may be younger than college freshmen.
Started in 1998 by two faculty members at Beloit, the list was originally created as a way for faculty and staff at the college to learn more about how easy it is for adults talk about things that they take for granted but that their students don’t know. The website includes links to past years’ lists.
Check out an interesting graphic filled with back-to-school digital life conversation starters over at the Platform for Good website. You can also download a PDF with a larger image to post at home near a work area or on the refrigerator.
August and September are good months to think about family digital citizenship issues. Ask yourself and your kids questions such as:
- How can we balance screen time with outside time?
- How can we model best practices for one another?
- How can we keep track of our digital footprints and our digital reputations?
- Should we use one of the many digital contracts and agreements in our family?
Take some time this summer to collaborate on digital projects that accomplish, organize, and communicate. As a bonus these projects build in connected world conversations and help parents learn much more about the digital world that children take for granted, but remember that generational collaboration is key.
- Start a family blog or construct a family website (Weebly or Google Sites). Decide what family members will have access — grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins — and invite them to help with content. Ask lots of extended family members to contribute.
- Teach yourselves a bit about coding. If no one in your family knows much about the topic, MIT Scratch (free download or use the website) offers a basic graphical coding introduction. Scratch is easy and user-friendly, and you and your children can have fun designing mini-video games.
- Organize the family’s digital photos. Adults and kid picture-takers can get together a few times to download, sort, label, and back-up the photos on all of the digital devices in the the house. Think about turning some of the picture albums into picture books or calendars (gifts or mementos) at sites like iPhoto/iTunes, Shutterfly, or Blurb. Consider uploading some of these pictures to a digital frame and give it to a grandparent as a gift.
- Help a senior citizen or elder in your family or community to become more confident on a computer mobile phone, or iPad. Check out the iPad for Dad series over at AsOurParentsAge. Or help them learn more about the scams that cause so many problems for elders.
Other Activities Might Include Continue reading
Are your children going to sleep-away camp this summer?
If so, have fun reading this 2011, but still timely Chicago Tribune article, Welcome to Camp Tur-Ni-Toff, describing the lengths that sleep-away camps are going to preserve “their bucolic bubbles.” It sounds like the luckiest camps are those that do not have cell reception in the area. NOTE: The reporter points out that parents have more difficulty with the gadget prohibitions than do the campers.
My favorite quote:
The essence of camp is to rise and fall on your own … not to call your parents because you’re homesick or having a bad day,
My second favorite quote:
Even letters home are done with actual stamps and paper … a first for many of our campers.
Read the entire Tribune article.