Sunday, November 18, 2018

Why You Shouldn't Limit Screen Time

Read fear-mongering pieces like the click bate trio of stories that appeared in the New York Times this fall about the "Dark Consensus Around Screens," and you'd think you can't be a good parent or educator unless you limit screen time.  While such pieces prey on insecurities, make good headlines, and draw in concerned parents and teachers, at best such stories lack nuance. At worst they lack research.  

As innovative educators know, not all screen time is created equal and one-size-does not fit all when it comes to learning and development. Just like we wouldn't limit a child's book time, writing time, or computing time, we also shouldn't blindly limit the screen time of a young person. It's not the screen that matters. It is what's happening behind the screen that does.  

Regardless of what's happening behind the screen though, valuable or not, despite what you may have heard, it is not best for young people to have adults limit their screen time. 

Here's why.

Our primary role as parents and educators is to help develop independent learners and thinkers. Asking youth to follow someone else's orders rather than having meaningful conversations about making choices that are best for their personal, emotional, social, and intellectual well-being does them a disservice.   

Rather than limiting screen time, talk to young people about choices they are making with their use of time. Also, be ready to discuss your own digital habits and areas that are working well as well as areas that may need to be reconsidered.  

In her book, “The Art of Screen Time,” Anya Kamenetz, NPR’s lead digital education reporter, suggests that adults can better support young people if they actually focus on concerns they may have, rather than the screens. Top concerns we have for youth include:
  • Healthy habits: Diet, exercise, sleep. 
  • Learning: Able to pay attention and focus
  • Social interactions: Affable, responsible 
If we shift the focus of our conversations from time on screens to discussing what is best for our bodies and minds then we can help young people make informed decisions for themselves. 

Young people are already armed with much of this knowledge. For example, they know the power of learning with YouTube and various apps. They may have used technology to assist them in learning or accessing information using tools like voice to text, text to voice, or modifying size and colors of what is on screens. They also may be able to talk about how to limit distractions or what to do when someone acts inappropriately online. 

Adults can help young people deepen understanding by moving beyond the headlines and toward taking a look at some of the organizations, publications, and research (i.e. Center for Humane Technology, Common Sense MediaThe Art of Screen Time) that address the positive and negative outcomes that result from screen use. 

Ultimately, what is best for young people, is not for adults to limit screen time for them. Instead help them develop a deeper understanding that enables them to make informed decisions for themselves. 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Presentation Trick Innovative Educators Will Love


Here’s a trick that will come in handy for innovative educators who have times when it becomes helpful to have lots of tabs easily accessible.  For example, say you are having several students present one day and you don’t want to have to click open each presentation or connect and disconnect various devices from the display station.  Or, maybe there are tabs that you use each time you conduct a particular class.  And, everybody has the usual tabs that they need each day. 

Using Chrome bookmarks, you can put all those tabs in a folder, then have them instantly open at your command. 

Here are the 3 Steps to Auto-Accessing Multiple Tabs in Chrome: 


Step 1:  Create a folder

  • Go to “Bookmarks”
  • Right click
  • Select “Add a folder”

Step 2: Add pages

  • Add pages to your folder

Step 3: Open all tabs

  • Go to your folder in bookmarks
  • Right click.
  • Select how you would like your tabs opened. You can:
  • Open all (right where you are)
  • Open all (in a new window)
  • Open all (in a new incognito window)

The results

Now you don’t have to worry about what device you are on or if your computer restarts or if someone accidentally closes a window.  You have a tool to quickly and easily open all the tabs you want.

Here is what it looks like:



Your Turn

What do you think? How could you see using this strategy to streamline the work you do?



Friday, November 2, 2018

Get Ready for Media Literacy Week with TWO New Podcasts featuring @CommonSenseEdu & @MediaLiteracyEd

Cross posted at the #NYCSchoolsTech blog.

Media Literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms. Media Literacy Week take place November 5th - 9th.

#NYCSchoolsTech Podcast host, Nancy Ribak Altadonna, just released two new episodes to bring the experts in media literacy and digital citizenship directly to you. Supporting students with digital & media literacy instruction isn’t just the right thing to do, every school must educate students in grades K–12 in accordance with Federal and State regulations. These episodes showcase how industry leaders support media literacy education and how teachers and parents can leverage the power of media inside and outside of the classroom.

Part 1: Tali Horowitz, Common Sense Education

(18 minutes)

Part 2: Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE)

(30 minutes)

#NYCSchoolsTech educators can learn even more by attending our Summit on Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy taking place on Election Day.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

#NYCSchoolsTechChat: #PLN Power! - Thursday at 7pm EST

Join us on Thursday, November 1st at 7 p.m. to chat about professional learning networks. 

This month, you can join us virtually on Twitter or you can live chat with us directly at the Microsoft Flagship Store in Manhattan (677 5th Ave, New York, New York 10022). 


Your host, #NYCSchoolTech teacher Eileen Lennon will moderate with me throwing in my two cents. Also on hand will be special guest Dominic Williamson who serves as product manager of Microsoft's Teams.

You can prepare for the conversation by thinking about answers to these questions:
Q1 How does staff where you work currently communicate and build professional relationships? Share methods or platforms you use online or f2f. #NYCSchoolsTechChat 
Q2 What are the pros and cons of the platforms you use? What do you wish could be different? #NYCSchoolsTechChat 
Q3 What are some advantages online communities provide over other methods of communication? #NYCSchoolsTechChat
Q4 What makes a good online community? #NYCSchoolsTechChat
Q5 What are some keys to getting buy in for folks to join and engage in online communities? #NYCSchoolsTechChat
Q6 How do you learn how to best create and manage an online community? #NYCSchoolsTechChat

Chat details are below:
Date: Thursday, Nov 1
Time: 7:00 pm
Topic: PLNs
Your Host: @eileen_lennon (@NYCSchools)
Co-Host: @InnovativeEdu (@NYCSchools)

Special Guest: @DominicWillit  (@MicrosoftTeams)

Remember to respond using the hashtag #NYCSchoolsTechChat and include the number of the question you are answering in your response i.e. A1 and your answer.

We hope you can view the chat live, but if you are unable, please visit our archive at https://www.participate.com/chats/nycschoolstechchat. You can also participate in the chat at that link or if you have an iPhone download the app at https://www.participate.com/apps.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The 5 Ways Tech is Shaping Humans in the Digital Age

In a presentation titled Constantly Connected - The Role of Humans in the Digital Revolution, Digital Anthropologist Rahaf Harfoush shared with attendees at the 2018 #GovTechLive Forum five ways technology is shaping humans in the digital age. Rahaf pointed out that we shouldn't be afraid by what we hear, but rather we should use the knowledge as power so that we control our technology rather than become slaves to it. 


Here are five ways we should be aware that technology is shaping humans:


1) Data Abundance

We have moved from a time of data scarcity to data abundance. We are surrounded by information 24/7. This can leave some feeling overloaded and overwhelmed. We can't read everything on the internet and that's okay. However, in many cases the policies and philosophies of organizations are old fashioned and come from a period of data scarcity. They are still using tools like email, voicemail, and f2f meetings, all invented by people who were born last century, even though we are in a radically different world with newer and smarter tools. Slack, Workplace, and Teams. By updating practice with tools like Slack, Workplace, Teams, collaborative documents, etc., companies can improve performance, strengthen relationships, increase productivity prevent mistakes and more. 

Consider this: How is are place of work updating practice in a time of data abundance?


2) Digital Relativism 

The way we currently consume media is in relation to us. The internet gets to know us and feeds us what we want to hear and agree with. This results in echo chambers and amplification of ideas we believe. As a result we are mistaking opinions for beliefs. 

Consider this: What strategies can employ to combat this? For example, use incognito mode when doing searches so that the results are not personalized to you. Explore a digital diet that includes a variety of views, especially those that differ from yours. 


3) Digital DNA

The lines between our real identities and online identities are blurring which will affect what’s in store for our future. People are embedding their belief systems into technological code. 

Consider this: Be aware of the belief systems our tools have. For example, think of Facebook and its creator Marc Zuckerberg. How does he feel about privacy and how does that affect Facebook as a tool?


4) Boundary Dissolution

Technology continues to dissolve the boundaries between our online and offline worlds with tools like AR and VR. We are merging them together to create new experiences and perspectives.This is also giving rise to a more connected global population. 

Consider this: How can technology help us find new spaces and places for staff and/or students to engage?


5) Evolutionary Ecosystems

Ecosystems are the broadest base of digital platforms.  They can have high or low intimacy with long or short term engagement. These digital ecosystems are changing society in ways in which many of us are unaware.

Consider this:  Are we holding ourselves accountable for the impact of our technology?


Rahaf ended with a quote from moral and social philosopher Eric Hoffer:

Your Turn

What do you think? How has tech shaped you? Your colleagues? Your students?  What are you doing to address this? How are you helping your students? What is your employer doing? 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

3 Programs & 3 Strategies to Retain Millennials

Millennial expert Gabrielle Bosché spoke to attendees at the 2018 #GovTechLive forum to share advice for those wanting to retain millennial staff. If you're an innovative educator you care about this because these are your colleagues (or yourself) aged 22 - 37 in 2018.

Three programs that will increase retention:  

1) Onboarding: How are you making your new millennial hires feel a part of something they want to stick with? If you miss this, you will be much less likely to retain this staff member.
2) Mentoring: What type of mentoring/peer mentoring / collaborative mentoring opportunities are you providing for your milliennial employees? 
3) Training: By training, this is more than just hard skills. Millennials want soft skill training in areas like conflict resolution, managing up, managing expectations, and health and wellness.  

Three strategies to retain millennials


 
1)  Expectations: Millennials want to know your expectations at the start and they want to know how they are doing.  
You can help a millennial know how they're doing using the stoplight strategy.
  • Red: Stop doing that.
  • Yellow: Improve that. Here's how.
  • Green:  Keep doing that.

 
2) ContextDon't just tell a millennial what work needs to be done. Provide the context so they can make sense of where this fits into the bigger picture. 

 
3) Purpose: Millennials don't want to just be hired for their skill. They want to be hired for their passion and their story. Ideally, millennials want to have a story that connects to the purpose of the work they do at an organization. Know your millennial's story and how their story connects to your organization's purpose.

Your Turn

What do you think? Would these strategies and programs resonate with the millennials where you work? Does your employer implement strategies and programs like this? What might be different for other generations?