A Tool: Kahoot!

A Tip: Teen/Tween Media Use Survey

Common Sense Media just released the results of their large media use survey of Teens & Tweens. Every time another one of these studies comes out, it prompts similar questions regarding technology use in the classroom:

What do these statistics mean for technology use in the classroom?  What are the questions we ask ourselves before introducing a new resource or app into our curricula? How do we ensure that the technology is extending the value of the lesson – not just acting as an electronic filing system? How do we find time to talk to our students about healthy media consumption habits?

We will look at some of these questions in Technophiles and hopefully develop an evaluation system we can all use to analyze, select, and integrate media-based resources into our curriculum.

In the meantime, you can read more about the survey results summary, Understanding your Students: A Glimpse into the Media Habits of Tweens and Teens, which reveals:

  • Media use is on the rise. Teens (13-18) use an average of 9 hours of entertainment media per day and more than 4 1/2 hours of screen media for school or homework. Tweens (8-12) are racking up an average of 6 hours a day​
  • How can they possibly find the time? They are multitasking, using multiple forms of media while also doing homework. Sixty percent of teens are texting and 50% are active on social media sites while doing homework – and they all believe it has no negative impact on the quality of their work.
  • Only 36% of teens say they enjoy using social media “a lot”, though 45% use it every day. In contrast, 73% say they enjoy listening to music “a lot”.  It’s not all fun. An 8th grader recently shared in the library that she feels relieved when it is time to put her phone away for the school day.
  • Although it has become easier and easier for anyone to be a content creator, teens and tweens are still vastly underrepresented in this category and remain mostly consumers of content.  This is where our use of media-based resources in the classroom can really make a difference. Assignments that make the students become thoughtful content creators adds value to assignments and also makes them more observant and critical of the media they consume.

There are many more highlights in the summary and and you can access the full report (with a login required) as well. 

Privacy and Convenience: A Delicate Balance

scalesJudging by the line of people seeking Mike’s help, October was “new device” season around Applewild! Establishing your settings on your new phone or tablet is a great time to focus on what features and apps you are using, and which ones are using you. But, it’s always a good time to think about your Digital Footprint and what it is saying about you.

Should I turn on location services? Should I give this app access to my contacts? Should I use the “Incognito” search on Chrome when I shop? These questions all share one answer: it depends!

“If you are not paying for the product, you are the product.” The Internet Society

There is nothing free on the internet, and our digital footprints and the marketing data that is gleaned from them are the currency that pays for our conveniences.  Making decisions about what to share and with whom is a very personal decision, and yet it is one that is increasingly being taken out of our hands. Knowing more about how the data is collected, stored, and sold can help you decide what measures you want to take to protect your privacy. As educators, these are important considerations for our professional life as well as our personal life and should be factored into decisions to use “free” products in the classroom. 

Your Digital Footprint Matters is a series of online videos that explain in depth the trade off we all make online and give you a better understanding of how you are tracked and how that information can be used.  I particularly like the 3rd Module: What is the Economic Bargain for Internet Users.

There are many different device settings, applications, application settings and products on the market to help you protect your digital privacy. One organization on the “radical” side of privacy protection is the Library Freedom Project. They recently released a Mobile Privacy Toolkit with their recommendations for protecting your digital privacy on mobile devices. The toolkit suggests settings for both Android and iOS devices, along with recommended browsers. There are a number of other suggestions, many of which are too technical for this forum, but please feel free to ask me if you have any questions.These recommendations are intense and put a lot of weight onto the privacy side of the scales. You may decide these settings interfere too dramatically with your online activities (i.e. if you shop online using Google “Incognito” mode, you cannot easily call up that Lands End sweater – but it also won’t appear as a Facebook ad either). But, making yourself more “untraceable” for a little bit and seeing the impact it has is a great way of tracing the path of your digital footprints.