The Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) in the UK has launched an innovative and free e-learning course for adults and those who work with children to help them beef-up their digital web skills.
The easy to navigate site has a self-directed "interactive guidance course and quiz to help families manage
the risks while enjoying the benefits of the web."
The primary goals of the myGuide initiative is to address many of the top parental concerns about the web, including phishing and spam, as well as chat rooms, music
file-sharing, and safety filters.
stresses the importance of open family discussions and where to go for
additional information and help. At the public launch of the new resource, Children’s Minister Delyth Morgan said:
“Today’s generation of children and young people are often much more computer savvy than their parents, something that can be of great concern as
mums, dads and carers look to keep their children safe online without
restricting their enthusiasm for and exploration of the Internet.
free myguide service is designed specifically for people in this
situation. The new Family Internet Safety guide will help people become
more knowledgeable about the risks and how to manage them.
Thanks to DK, over at MediaSnackers, for the heads-up on the myGuide program.
Disney XD Targets Boys & Scores Big Ratings: While Disney Channel targets tween girls with female-centric shows like "Hannah Montana" and "Sonny with a Chance" and movies like "Princess Protection Program," Disney XD is giving the boys what they want. According to the latest ratings figures, the boys are tuning in. [All Headline News] [Ypulse]
Tweet O' the Week: "IBM is afraid of Microsoft who is afraid of Google who is afraid of Facebook who is afraid of Twitter who is afraid of whales." (via @jowyang)
The iPod is Dead. Long Live the iPod: The iPod as many of us have known it is on the wane and giving way to a
more feature-rich family of devices that in time will bear little
resemblance to the trailblazing digital music players that helped Apple
capture 70% of the North American market. [Yahoo! Finance]
How Social Networks Will Transform Marketing: Consumers will still use Facebook, LinkedIn
and such, as they do today. What's different is that OpenID and similar
capabilities will enable consumers to traverse the web, and have their
networks flow with them. [MediaPost]
Oh Crap. My Parents Joined Facebook: This site
gives teens a chance to get back at their parents for taking away their
"public privacy". They understand that Facebook is a public place, they
just don't want their parents on it. Sort of like teens not wanting
their parents to hang out at the mall at night. [Examiner.com/LA]
essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads
to action while reason leads to conclusions." - Donald Calne
Last week, for those of us who work in the youth digital media space, a big chunk of everyone's attention was focused on the 'Youth Media Consumption' memo written by an intern at Morgan Stanley.
While many folks were debating its merits and findings, a much less publicized event took place that asked teens not "how" they use the web, but instead focused on the emotion behind "why" they use the web.
The Web Makes Me Feel (TWMMF) is a project headed up by MediaSnackers,
a leading UK youth media consultancy, that explored the emotional
responses to the social web among 13-19 year olds living in the UK.
Why focus on emotion?
Emotion is a very persuasive hook that, sometimes even more than logic and reason, influences the choices we make, what we buy, or where we go on the web.
Emotion can also drive user adoption and/or motivate people to use (or not) certain types of technology (think iPhone or Kindle) or social networking sites (think Twitter and Facebook!) and in an e-learning environment, emotional resonance is the glue that holds students' attention and fosters student retention.
As part of the TWMMF project, the MediaSnackers team distributed 500 postcards to 13-19 year olds and asked them to describe in one word how the web makes them feel. Respondent's were then given one additional line to explain the reasoning behind their choice. In all, MediaSnackers collected over 143 different emotions.
The TWMMF website contains an aggregation of all the emotions collected (over 431 cards) and, here's the really slick part, allows users to explore all the responses and dig deeper by drilling down to look at the results for each word by age and/or gender.
Some of the key findings:
Top 10 Emotions: Happy, Connected, Good, Excited, Free, Entertained, Bored, Interested, Socialble and Independent.
Gender: Compared to males, the web makes females feel just as positive, negative and neutral as men.
Age: The web makes youth feel more positive about the web at 13 years old than they do at 19 years old.
Positive/Negative: Overall, the web makes youth feel more positive than negative, with over 56% of feelings expressed classified as positive.
Blurred Lines: Our emotions, combined with the social web, are having an impact on our 'real' lives. The line is quickly being blurred.
The TWMMF project and website were rolled out on July 15th at an event held at NESTA and attended by both participants, researchers and other members of the social media community.
At the launch event, the MediaSnackers team asked several of the attendee's 'How Does the Web Make You Feel and Why?' The responses from the video interviews mostly seemed to dovetail with the results of the postcards.
One response, in particular, caught my attention.
When asked the question, this gentleman responded that the web makes him feel guilty. At first I thought this was an odd response. He went on to explain that the web made him feel guilty because at times he felt an internal conflict between his offline and online life.
Ahhh, there it is--the perfect summation of what this project is all about! He felt conflicted because he had made the same emotional connections in his online relationships as he had in his offline life.
Beyond metrics, demographic research, user-experience design, usability studies and other measurable (rational) aspects--in many cases what actually drives our use of the web is emotional resonance.
Many times parents, educators, media and government types draw
conclusions about Millennials, social networking and their 'always-on'
lifestyles using a methodology based on rational facts and data
crunching, failing to give the social
and emotional dynamics of teens and technology any consideration.
This project also confirms what the Millennials having been trying to say about the social web all along: it's not about technology, it's about relationships.
Declaration of Independence from Social Media (For One Day): "When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for people to
dissolve the digital bands which have connected them with all of their
friends they haven’t seen since preschool, and to assume a life away
from the computer for one day, a respect for other Internet users
requires that the person should declare the causes which cause them to
separate from social media for that day." (Very clever and worth reading!) [Examiner]
Bing Now Bigger Than Digg, Twitter & CNN: According to Compete.com,
Bing was able to amass 49.57 million unique visitors in its first month
as Microsoft’s official search engine. Bing’s traffic trumps that of Digg38.96 million) Twitter (23 million), and CNN (28.54 million). We want to note that this focuses on U.S. visitors, since Compete does not track international visits. [Mashable]
Tweet of the Week: "If Google bought
Twitter, it wouldn't get a new feature for 3 years. If Apple bought it,
tweets would be .99 but you'd get a 10 character preview."[@DanielFlorien]
Raising a Healthy Gamer: Parenting is always a tough job, and video games are a tricky subject
in today's families. Ars offers a
no-BS guide to dealing with gaming and your children, and their advice is
simple: you know your children better than anyone else.
Also be sure to check out video game parenting tips from the folks over at Microsoft & XBox 360 along with safety tips from Yahoo!, Disney and AOL. Just keep in mind that your kid is probably smart enough to hack your parental controls. [ARS Technica] [Yahoo! Safely] [AOL Parental Controls]
One Last Thing: Check out this mashup of the Michael Jackson classic 'Billie Jean' by Soulwax (great, great stuff!), Julia Fallon offers advice for educators Lost in Web 2.0 Cyberspace (pdf), a must-read article with fantastic ideas for teaching kids about media literacy & body image (thanks @tandrusiak!), as grandpa & grandma join Facebook--teens begin to bail, according to new research from BabyCenter 39% of moms report that they make 'net time' their quiet time, Crain's New York Business wonders if Bruno can save MySpace, and finally...don't tell Al Gore, but the environment is not the number one social cause among college students (pdf). [YouTube][Princial Leadership] [MyHighPlains.com] [Read Write Web] [Crain's New York Business] [SurveyU]
The Real Life of Teens: The media portrays teens as being 'sexting', binge-drinking louts - but
it's just a variation on a centuries-old stereotype. Why are we so
afraid of young people? (This is such a great column, well worth reading and a refreshing portrayal of Gen Y.) [Irish Times]
Gen Y Still Love Mum & Dad: They might be young adults making their own way in life, but a new research published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies shows that the wired wonders of Gen Y still value the advice of their parents. [Courier News]
Google Generation is a Myth: Research conducted University College London claims that, although young
people demonstrate an ease and familiarity with computers, they rely on
the most basic search tools and do not possess the critical and
analytical skills to asses the information that they find on the web. [JISC]
Hot for Teacher?: A teacher accidentally put pornography into a DVD that was meant
to be filled with school memories from the past year, and nobody caught
the error until after it was sent home, shocking parents and students
alike. Hey DJ--cue the music!. [CBS News][MTV]
Storytelling 2.0: Penguin Books have launched a great new site that allows kids to play
in an unlimited online space where they can create their own virtual
stories, books and games for just $10. Once created they can send them
to friends to watch, read or play and save them to their own virtual
bookshelf. [Digital Buzz via @liamom]
Best Buy® Mobile Survey: Of all Americans with mobile phones, 62% say they use text messaging,
mostly because it's a convenient and quick way to communicate. More than
one-third (37%) say they use texting to avoid long or tough
conversations, and over one-quarter (27%) say they use it because they
dislike talking on the phone. One-quarter feel it's a great way to
flirt, particularly among the 18-24-year-old set (39%).
The Ypulse 2009 Totally Wired Teacher Award (sponsored by Dell) will honor a
trailblazing teacher who has successfully pioneered the innovative and
educational use of technology, mobile technology, social media (blogs, wikis, social networking,
photo/video sharing) in the classroom.
The award is inspired by Ypulse founder Anastasia Goodstein’s book, Totally Wired: What Teens & Tweens Are Really Doing Online,
and the challenges she observed around integrating technology into
public school classrooms. We will recognize a teacher who has overcome
these challenges and is inspiring both students and other educators.
The award-winner likely had to
overcome challenges from parents and administrators in order to use the
technology, but because they understand how students use social media
outside of school, they persevered with their initiative and worked
collaboratively with students, ultimately sharing their insight and
knowledge with the larger teaching community.
Representatives from Ypulse and Dell will choose three finalists to
interview by phone. The selected teacher will be honored in person at
the Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup June 1-2 in San Francisco.
finalists will receive a IT solution from Dell to use in their
respective schools. Teachers can nominate themselves. You can get all of the details about how to nominate a teacher (or if you're a teacher, how to nominate yourself!) over on Ypulse.
"Cole W. Camplese, director of education-technology services at Pennsylvania State University at University Park, prefers to teach in classrooms with two screens — one to project his slides, and another to project a Twitter stream of notes from students.
He knows he is inviting distraction — after all, he’s essentially asking students to pass notes during class. But he argues that the additional layer of communication will make for richer class discussions.”
What’s the point of Twitter? Should educators incorporate Twitter into their curriculum? What difference does using Twitter and other types of social media make in the learning process?
High School students at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis are using social media tools and unblocked access to the Internet and as a result are engaged in the learning process in a whole new way.
In this video, put together by the University of Minnesota, a teacher explains how having discussions about their English class online has increased their level of attention and engagement in their studies.
Online Video Network Helps Teens Prepare for College: Recognizing that today's teens spend more and more of their time
online, however, a new video-based network aims to offer extra learning
and college preparation in a format that's more natural for digitally
savvy high-school students.
Disney Buys Kaboose: Disney Interactive Media adds to it's growing suite of family and kid friendly sites. Also included in the deal is Fun School....does this mean that Disney is (finally) going to be more active in the educational digital media space? Fun School along with Disney-owned Kerpoof would provide a great suite of educational technology for teachers, parents and families.
The Game Based Learning Conference, held March 19-20 in London, is one of the largest events in the world that delves into all aspects of utilizing video games as a learning tool.
The main theme of Game Based Learning '09, a conference primarily focused on game based learning research and development in the U.K. and Europe, was on the impact that video games, virtual worlds and social networking are having on learning and teaching practice both in and out of
formal education environments.
The other thing worth noting about this conference is the remarkable
degree of cross-discipline collaboration between members of the digital
media, parents, education, consumer electronics, virtual worlds and
video game communities.
Maja Pivec | Games in Schools | 2009 Game Based Learning Conference
At the conference, Dr. Maja Pivec, one of the co-founders of ENGAGE (European Network for Growing Activity in Game-based learning in Education), shared an in-depth look at the latest research and trends in Game-based learning. Dr. Pivec has put together a really good presentation and I encourage you to take a look at all the terrific research she shared at the conference.
Given that American companies like Disney, Nickelodeon, and Microsoft/Xbox are among the leading producers of kids
gaming and virtual worlds, it seems only natural that there should be a similar US-based effort to connect the dots between games and learning.
So here's my question: why aren't we holding a similar conference where we can collaborate, share research and explore game based
This is not to say that US-based companies involved in the kid new media space aren't doing research. In fact, Microsoft recently announced
that they would invest $1.5 million dollars in educational video game
research. The investment is part of a larger, NYU led initiative to "to find scientific evidence that supports the use of games as a learning tool."
All of this comes on the heels of a reportby the Pew Internet and American Life Project that found that, when it comes to video games, "playing is universal, with almost all teens playing games and at least half playing games on a given day."
It's vital that all of us involved intersection of kids, new media and education work together to develop pedagocially sound opportunities to incorporate gaming, social networking, and virtual worlds--tools and spaces that students are already using--into their formal and informal learning practice.
"Children will no longer have to study the Victorians or the second
world war under proposals to overhaul the primary school curriculum,
the Guardian has learned.
However, the draft plans will require
children to master Twitter and Wikipedia and give teachers far more
freedom to decide what youngsters should be concentrating on in
The proposed curriculum, which would mark the biggest
change to primary schooling in a decade, strips away hundreds of
specifications about the scientific, geographical and historical
knowledge pupils must accumulate before they are 11 to allow schools greater flexibility in what they teach.
The proposal would require children to leave primary school familiar with blogging, podcasts,
Wikipedia and Twitter as sources of information and forms of
communication. They must gain "fluency" in handwriting and keyboard
skills, and learn how to use a spellchecker alongside how to spell."
UK educational software company RM has released a demo of their game Finguistics. What makes this so interesting is that this educational game is being designed to work on the Microsoft Surface platform.
As you can see in the video, these kids are actively engaged and probably don't even realize that they have formed a community of practice, started to exchange information and learn from each other.
six week course is targeted at educators who will gain basic skills in
open licensing, open technology, and open pedagogy; work on prototypes
of innovative open education projects; and get input from some of the
world leading innovators along the way.
The course will kick-off with a web-seminar on Thursday 2 April 2009 and run for 6 weeks.
web seminars introduce new topics ranging from content licensing to the
latest open technologies and peer assessment practices.
Mobile Study is a platform that allows teachers to easily create a multiple choice quiz and other content via a mobile device. The finished multiple choice quizzes can be downloaded to a mobile
phone from a computer, by visiting a URL with a mobile phone browser,
via an SMS message or by using a QR Code.
If you prefer web applications to mobile ones,
it’s also worth noting that quizzes can be made for Facebook or imported into Moodle. The Mobile Quiz module allows you to create versions of your
quizzes that can
be installed on mobile phones.
The quiz can then be used anywhere, anytime.
The Mobile Study website and phone quizzes also provide a unique way of getting students
in remote location or studying by correspondence involved with their teachers and
fellow class mates.
According to mobileYouth, by 2010 American mobile owning youth under 30 will number 100 million, so it makes sense that more and more formal education opportunities will be migrating to the mobile phone space. Related Resources