myGuide: Helping to Close the Generational Digital Divide 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.

The site 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.

The 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.

Related Links

Weekly Wrap: Boys Dig Disney XD, German Video Game Ban, Unigo's Advice for College Freshman, The iPod is Dead, Parents on Facebook & New Moon Clothing Collection

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]

Online Petition Stalls German Video Game Ban: German government plans to ban violent video games will have to be put on hold, after a successful internet petition by German gamers. [Guardian]

What I Wish I'd Known: Our friends over at Unigo have compiled a bunch of video from their community who offer advice for incoming college freshman on everything from what to do with that high school boyfriend, dorm life 101, keeping tabs on your academic advisors and other essential college survival skills. Also congrats to Unigo on making Mashable's list of 'Top 10 Social Networks for Gen Y.' [Unigo] [Mashable]

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. []

Speed Round: A preview of Nordstrom's new The Twilight Saga: New Moon Collection, are we informing ourselves to death, here's a list of teachers who use Twitter with their students, more on social media ROI, how to translate your tweets, Indiviz is a video community for student made films, here's a real doozy on "Teaching The Entitled Generation", cops show up when they see an old man hanging out with a 2-year-old at McDonald's (ooops!) and finally....7 iPhone Apps that can save a life. [Yahoo! Shine] [FrostBytes] [GoogleDoc] [Social Media Today] [Mashable] [Converge] [SFist]

Emotion, Reason & The Web Makes Me Feel

"The 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. MediaSnackers: The Web Makes Me Feel...

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.

Perhaps it's time we started listening.

Related Links

Weekly Wrap: Social Media, TV & Michael Jackson, Captain EO, Video Game Tips for Parents, Teens Leaving Facebook, Bruno & MySpace, Adam Lambert on Michael Jackson

Social Media, TV, Michael Jackson & Saying Goodbye to the 'King of Pop': Michael Jackson's  memorial service garnered huge numbers on TV, but it also did big numbers on the social web. Facebook and CNN teamed up again to provide a live stream of Jackson's memorial and allow viewer to simultaneously share their thoughts on Facebook. Also worth a read is John Morton's post on 'The Passing of Michael Jackson & Mass Media.'

Over on, Ypulse Youth Advisory Board member Nina shares who 'Michael Jackson was to Today's Teens.' In other related news, Disney may re-release the 3D Jackson space fantasy multimedia experience/film 'Captain Eo' and American Idol alum Adam Lambert shares his thoughts on Michael Jackson. [TechCrunch] [eWeek] [] [] [Examiner] [YouTube] [Rolling Stone]

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, 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 Digg 38.96 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]

How to connect to Today's Millenials: Shop-Eat-Surf has a recap of a presentation given by Michael Wood, the Senior VP of Syndicated Research at Teen Research Unlimited (TRU), at the SIMA Boot Camp on understanding today's millennials. Hat tip to Group Y Sports for the heads up! [Shop Eat Surf]

Kids, Video Games, Learning & Health
: The Center on Media and Child Health (CMCH) has a good analysis of the Game Changer: Investing in digital play to advance children's learning and health report released by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. [CMCH]

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] [] [Read Write Web] [Crain's New York Business] [SurveyU]

Weekly Wrap: Gen Y Love Mom & Dad, Google Generation, Best Buy Mobile Survey, MySpace as 'Digital Ghetto', Millennial Stereotypes & Calling BS on Social Media

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]

Tweet of the Week: "For the record, I keep my billions of virtual dollars tucked safely under my virtual mattress with a virtual rottweiler protecting (via @elusivefish)." Speaking of virtual currency... [Twitter] [Virtual World News]

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]

Calling Bullshit on Social Media: "For starters: social media is a stupid term. Is there any anti-social media out there? Of course not." I love this blog post. So. Spot. On. And long overdue []

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%). [Business Wire]

One Last Thing: Corporate types pledge to be more open about tracking consumers online, according to some experts MySpace is now a 'digital ghetto', a new study by FUSE Marketing shows that teens love events, Steve Wheeler on e-learning 3.0 (think mobile!), the abstinence movement gets rebranded, two college kids get a book deal for 'Twitterature', and Nickelodeon launches video games with a pro social message (also related). [AP] [TransComic] [BrandFlakes] [Steve Wheeler] [Alpha Mommy] [Galley Cat] [MediaPost] [Press Any Key]

Ypulse 2009 Totally Wired Teacher Award

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.

All three 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.

Related Links

Teacher Encourages Students to Twitter in Class "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.

Using Twitter to Engage Students in Learning

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.

Related Resources

Weekly Wrap: Latinos Who Twitter, Teen Entrepreneurs, Adolescent Brain Research, Social Networking Limbo

Like most of you, in the course of a week I run across a lot of really interesting stuff. But blogging about it all has become increasingly difficult.

I thought I'd do a quick link post each Friday to share the best stuff I've found during the week. So here we go, the very first edition of the Weekly Wrap:

Teen Brains Clear Out Childhood Thoughts: Anyone who works with teens should read this article about the inner workings of the teen brain, along with new cognitive research and synaptic pruning.

Recession Breeds Teenage Entrepreneurs: As the recession bites, Charlotte Phillips discovers that it might just be the making of today's teenagers.

Twitteros: A new online community for Latinos who Twitter. Also check out my post on U.S. Hispanic & Latin American Youth Trends

Nine Great Reasons Why Teachers Should Twitter: What’s the point of Twitter? Why should educators get involved? What difference does using Twitter make?

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.

Teen Uses Web for Tuition Help: No money? No problem. Teen creates website to raise enough money to attend the University of Notre Dame.

Death of Gamers Leave Their Online Friends in Limbo: This is pretty interesting and shows how integrated social media and networking has become in our lives.

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.

2009 Game Based Learning: Kids, Gaming, Virtual Worlds, Social Networking & Learning

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 learning?

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 report by 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.

Related Resources

UK Students May Be Required to Master Twitter, Wikipedia & Podcasting

According to a story in today's Guardian, a UK school curriculum reform commission has proposed that primary students should be required to become proficient in web-based and digital tools like Twitter, Wikipedia, blogging and podcasting.

Here's more on the proposed curriculum changes:

"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 classes.

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."

Related Resources

Educational Game for Microsoft Surface

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.

Related Resources

Mozilla, Peer 2 Peer University & Creative Commons Launch OER Program for Educators

The Mozilla Foundation, in collaboration with ccLearn/Creative Commons and the Peer 2 Peer University, launches a practical online seminar on open education.

This 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.

Weekly web seminars introduce new topics ranging from content licensing to the latest open technologies and peer assessment practices.

The course is targeted at educators who want to help shape the open education future. Participants should have some knowledge of web technologies, or open content licensing, or open pedagogy (or all three), but don't need to be experts.

You can learn more about the course by clicking here.

Additional Resources Mobile Testing for Moodle & Facebook

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 Moodle 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.

You can take a look at some sample mobile study quizzes by clicking here.

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