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21st Century Teens VS 20th Century Teens

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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Technology has had such a huge transformative impact on teen’s behaviour and subsequently their lifestyles. One example in favour of this transformation is social networking. Before the massive uptake of Internet and web 2.0 technologies, kids at the time used to socialize with friends from school or neighbourhood and they got to spend time together in “real world”. Now, virtuality takes over and platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, online gaming sites…etc have redefined the notion of social networking unleashing it from the spatio-temporal boundaries that used to stand in the face of people getting to know and talk to each other.

In this beautiful infographic, the folks in TeenSafe mapped out teens' changing behaviour over the last 20 years. They have particularly focused on the social aspect of teen’s lives and have revealed some really astounding stats about the increasing dependence of teenagers on social media as the primary means of socialization.

Kidblog released a new publishing platform for K-12 students

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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Kidblog, the popular publishing platform for K-12 students, has released today a ‘ newly redesigned student publishing platform” with some advanced features that enable students to share their voice with an authentic audience’. According to their press release, the new platform is based on three principles:

  1. Safe and Simple Kidblog is elegantly simple and relevant for today’s digital learner, yet powerful enough to transform the writing experience for students of all ages. Flexible privacy settings meet the security demands of teachers, parents, and schools.
  2. Student-Centered Kidblog is designed to help students find their voice. Each author’s creation is unique, with its own purpose, tone, and audience.
  3. Authentic Audience Writing is meant to be read. Kidblog makes it easy for students to share posts with their teacher, their classmates, connected classes, and the world.

Here is a 3-minute video tour of the new platform.

6 bad digital habits and how to beat them

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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In the midst of this digital hype and the ubiquity of technology, one should pause for an instant and reflect deeply on the implications of being constantly connected. More specifically, the implications of connectivity on our social, cultural, intellectual and emotional well-being. Important as it is but the question here is not about how much time we spend interacting with technology but rather how are we using it and to what benefits? Asking questions such as these is supposed to trigger your critical awareness regarding the different ways you use your time and consequently enable you to make the best of your time.

In the process of our interaction with technology, we get to develop a set of habits that we keep doing almost every day (e.g checking emails, social media websites…etc); however some of these habits get so grounded in our daily practice that they become addictive.This is especially the case with those who spend tremendous amount of time playing online games or those who are obsessed with sharing with others on social media every bit of their lived experiences. This visual from StudyWeb features some examples of bad digital habits created by Internet. Apart from number 5 which we think does not apply to us as educators and teachers, all of the other habits are really worth some serious meditation.

Here is what Google's free online Conference has in store for you

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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Google’s conference “Education on Air” is around the corner (May 8-9). The conference schedule is now out and you can register for free to attend virtually from the comforts of your place. Some of the interesting panels and keynotes that stood out from the schedule include:

  • What are the skills of the future? In this panel, the Economist Intelligence Unit “will share findings from their ‘Skills of the Future’ report where they surveyed business leaders, teachers and students to examine how skills taught in education systems around the world are changing and evolving”.
  • Inspiring learners with the power of storytelling. This is a keynote by actor, director and author Levar Burton in which he will “discuss the influence of storytelling on his personal life and explain how storytelling engages those around us and impacts learning”.
  • Making change happens. In this keynote, Lisa bell, founder and CEO of FutureThink, will “provide three practical, actionable suggestions you can try at school or any work place” to start an innovation revolution.
  • Transforming learning with technology. In this panel, several high-tech district leaders will get to share with you their approaches to improving teaching and learning using technology.

You can check the rest of the schedule from this page. Enjoy 

Excellent tool to teach students about digital citizenship and digital literacy

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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Digital Compass is a new tool released by Common Sense Media to help kids learn the fundamentals of digital citizenship and digital literacy through playing interactive games designed specifically for grades 6-9. The games came in the form of a simulation of the digital world we live in and provides kids with an informed understanding of the implications involved in creating digital identities.

Digital Compass is available as a web-based tool to be played online, the iOS and Android app is expected to be released soon. The game starts with a short introductory video about the game after which kids are prompted to select a character and dive in with it in its digital world. While creating a story for the selected character, students will engage with a variety of thinking and conceptual skills. They have to think strategically about how to create a good digital path for their character, the decisions to take to solve unexpected problems and how to anticipate potential risks. All of this takes place within an immersive game-based environment that students will definitely enjoy.

Watch this video to learn more about Digital Compass 

Gianfranco D'Aversa

Rome // Foggia // Abu Dhabi

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