Welcome to Mars: Virtual Reality in the Classroom

Vr-mars-experience-for-schoolsThere’s some very cool stuff happening out there with virtual reality in education! I've covered some of these classroom VR experiences in other posts, but Welcome to Mars---a new VR program for schools, created by Lockheed Martin, is among the coolest!

“The first people who will visit Mars are sitting in a school today. In fact, the first astronauts will arrive before today’s kindergartners graduate college. To help inspire these students, Lockheed Martin created a one-of-a-kind virtual reality experience.

The Mars Experience Bus is the first immersive VR vehicle ever built and it replicates the Martian landscape. Riders experience a virtual drive along the surface of the Red Planet.”





Trend Watch: Facebook Freebooting

Slate has a really interesting article, Freebooting: Stolen YouTube Videos Go Viral on Facebook, that dives into a new phenomenon where YouTube videos are stolen and then uploaded to Facebook.

As one YouTube creator described it: 

"In May, he posted a YouTube video on how to make gummy candies in the shape of Legos, and it garnered about 600,000 views in the first 24 hours.

Meanwhile, on Facebook, someone else’s ripped version of his video was approaching 10 million views. “The worst thing is just the shock of how viral they go on Facebook compared to the ones I post on YouTube.” 


Piper Jaffray: Instagram is the Top Social Network for Teens

Instagram-logo1RSAccording to the latest Piper Jaffray "Taking Stock with Teens" report, American youth are continuing to gravitate to Instagram and away from Facebook. 

Roughly three-quarters of respondents reported using the visual platform, up from 69% in the previous survey. By comparison, just 45% said they use Facebook, a significant drop from 72%.

Jaffray Piper also reports that friends and the Internet dominate teen influences and combine in social media environments. Instagram and Twitter are the two most used social media sites, implying teens are increasingly visual and sound bite communicators.

The Taking Stock With Teens survey is a semi-annual research project comprised of gathering input from approximately 7,200 teens with an average age of 16.0 years.

Teen spending patterns, fashion trends, and brand and media preferences were assessed through visits to a geographically diverse subset of high schools across 11 states and 14 schools, as well as an online survey that included 41 states. 

Piper Jaffray has also prepared an infographic that shows some of the key highlights from the Fall 2014 survey.

Taking Stock with Teens Fall 2014

Trend Watch: Tenth Grade Tech Trends

image from www.debaird.netI ran across this really interesting essay over on Medium by Josh Miller, who interviewed his sister on the latest tech and social media trends at her high school.

Josh's findings dovetail with what I've heard in my own interviews with tweens and teens on the hows and why's of their social media habits.   

Take a peek into the mind of a teenager on social media to learn what's in (spoiler, not Facebook) and what's hot (rhymes with snap and cat).

Tenth Grade Tech Trends

White House: "15 Economic Facts about Millennials" [REPORT]

Millennial-tkoToday the White House released a report entitled “15 Economic Facts about Millennials” (pdf). This report takes an early look at this generation’s adult lives so far, including how they are faring in the labor market and how they are organizing their personal lives.

This generation is marked by transformations at nearly every important milestone: from changes in parenting practices and schooling choices, to the condition of the U.S. economy they entered, to their own choices about home and family. 

Millennials “15 Economic Facts about Millennials”Report

Related: All--Yes, all!--the charts from the White House Report on Millennials!

Why Snapchat Is The Future of Social Media [VIDEO]

Snapchat-logoIn his new video, fimmaker Casey Neistat makes the case for Snapchat being the future of social media, but in a fundamentally different way.

It's not like Facebook or MySpace, his argument goes, though it may be their natural evolutionary successor.

Snapchat is different, Neistat (and the gaggle of Snapchat teens he interviews) says, because it actually mirrors the way we interact in the real world.

"Snapchat is great because it's virile and vital. Because it's right now. Because there's no pressure to be produced or fake, because everything disappears in a few seconds anyway."  -David Pierce, The Verge

Snapchat is a way to let people live your life with you, a surprisingly close approximation of just running into someone for a few seconds at the store or on the subway platform. Neistat points particularly to Snapchat Stories, the public-facing part of Snapchat, as the feature that made Snapchat really move into the mainstream.



To illustrate the power of Snapchat, Neistat invites Jerome Jarre, the King of Snapchat with 1.2 million follwers, to send a Snap his fans asking them to meet him in Union Square----16 minutes later Jarre racked up 142,000 views on his Snap and several hundred screaming fans actually showed up in person.

Read more on The Verge

STUDY: 59% of 8-14 Year Olds with Smartphone Use Chat Apps

WhatsappNew research from UK-based digital marketing platform SuperAwesome, which currently houses the largest kids research panel in the region, maps out a compelling crop of comparative digital kids data from 2009 to 2014. 

The survey contains lots of really interesting stats on kids gaming, social networking and mobile habits, but one of the most interesting statistics comes from the data regarding chat apps. Back in 2009, MSN dominated, but now kids have shifted their loyalty to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

So while kids may not be using Facebook, they are using Facebook products (FB Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp) as primary social networking and communication tools. It looks like the great unbundling of Facebook strategy may pay off and keep younger users in the Facebook mobile ecosystem. And mobile ad network. (Shock! Awe!)

The other big take away is the shift from passive consumption of media to an active embrace of maker culture. Kids are creating movies and publishing them on YouTube, creating worlds in MineCraft and embracing LEGO more than ever.

While this data is primarily focused on kids in the UK, I would garner that data from U.S. kids would closely align with the SuperAwesome findings. 

Kids Trends: 2009 vs 2014

Noah: A 17-Minute Film Set Completely on Teen's Laptop [VIDEO]

image from moviesblog.mtv.comNoah, a short film that debuted at the Toronto International FIlm Festival, illustrates the flitting attention span and lack of true connection in digital culture more clearly than anything else in recent memory. (Warning: NSFW)

"These words are probably unfurling inside one of many open tabs on your computer screen. Perhaps one tab is for work, one is for chatting, and another is for Twitter. You probably even have some others open for no particular reason.

This is the way we receive information and the way we communicate now: constantly, simultaneously, compulsively, endlessly, and more and more often, solitarily. This strange new mode of living--and its indelible effect on our humanity--is perfectly captured in a new short film that debuted this week at the Toronto International Film Festival.


The 17-minute, mildly NSFW Noah is unlike anything you've seen before in a movie--only because it is exactly like what many of us see on our computers all the time. Created by Canadian film students Walter Woodman and Patrick Cederberg, the film begins when our high school senior protagonist types in the password that opens up his laptop, and the narrative takes place entirely on his computer screen.

It doesn't matter how far removed in age you are from the characters, if you are digitally savvy enough to be reading this, Noah will hit uncomfortably close to home."

Read the entire article over on FastCompany

Tess Explains It All: Teens, Social Media and the Myth of Internet Addiction

image from www.clubfemina.comEarlier today I ran across a really insightful (and spot on!) article, written by high school student Tess Harkin, for Huffington Post Teen. In her post, Tess tackles the widely held narrative that teens are 'addicted' to technology and as a result, aren't engaging in real life human connection.

Tess explains the relationship between teens and social media and how it actually does facilliate and foster relationships (IRL!) with her peers

Turns out, when it comes to teens and technology, they're mostly misunderstood.

 "It's almost too easy to agree with the majority and think, "People are right, technology is destroying the human connection." But I think just the opposite.

Technology brings people together. Shocking, I know? It sounds like some crazy marketing ploy, and many commercials support that. But the fact is, it's the truth.

I can talk to one of my friends in California, Canada or Taiwan with the touch of a button. Technology has helped me forge lifelong connection with people I would have lost touch with ordinarily. I can say I talk to more people now, whether it be through Facebook, texting or tweeting, than I did three years ago. And for the argument that nothing compares to face-to-face conversation?

I'd love to engage and be a part of that, but the fact of the matter is, without Skype or Google Hangouts, I wouldn't be able talk to a large portion of my friends. I'm not trying to advocate for technology to replace all forms of in person conversation, I'm just trying to suggest the stigma attached to it isn't necessarily just."

You can read the entire Huffington Teen post here.

ZABRA #BeCyberAware Twitter Chat: Social Media and Digital Parenting Resource List


One of the things I enjoy most about my work is having the opportunity to talk with parents, educators and brands to dispel some of the myths or fears around teen use of social media.

Tonight I’m going to be participating in a digital parenting Twitter chat hosted by Zabra that will be moderated by Josh Shipp.

The event starts at 7pm EST and you can participate through the hashtag #BeCyberAware. I hope you’ll join us for a lively and informative discussion.

No matter the audience, my message is pretty consistent: Don't panic! I'm frequently asked to share some of my favorite digital teens & parenting links, tips and other resources.

So here we go! I've sorted through my bookmarks and tweets and put together this (hopefully) handy handout. Feel free to tweet it or share it with anyone you think would find it helpful.


Cyberbullying: A Sociological Approach  http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2013/04/cyberbullying-a-sociological-approach.html

Young Adults Communication on Social Media

INFOGRAPHIC: Golden Rules for Social Media Use by Teens  http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2013/07/infographic-golden-rules-for-social-media-use-by-teens.html

INFOGRAPHIC: Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat –How Teens Use Social Media  http://www.businessinsider.com/infographic-how-facebook-could-be-unraveled-by-mobile-first-teens-2013-4

Southern Poverty Law Center | There Are No Bullies http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-45-fall-2013/there-are-no-bullies

Southern Poverty Law Center | Bullying Quiz http://www.tolerance.org/lesson/bullying-quiz

Facebook Lets Teens Post Publicly: Why That's a Good Thing http://huff.to/19QNvvK

Digital Citizenship Includes Rights as Well as Responsibilities http://huff.to/9JoWlm

Beware of the Internet Safety Industrial Complex http://www.connectsafely.org/beware-internet-safety-industrial-complex/

INFOGRAPHIC: How Millennials Are Using Social Media for Good  http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2013/10/infographic-millennials-use-social-media-for-good.html

INFOGRAPHIC: Teens, Social Media & Privacy  http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2013/05/infographic-teens-social-media-and-privacy.html

Alert: Your SnapChat Photos Aren’t So Secret http://www.businessinsider.com/alert-your-secret-snapchat-relationships-arent-so-secret-2013-9



Facebook for Educators & Community Leaders Guide  http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2013/10/facebook-for-educators-and-youth-community-workers-guide.html  

Facebook for Educators Handouts

Facebook 101: Digital Citizenship

It’s Always Sunny on Facebook



The CDC reports that 60 percent of high school students claim that they have though about committing suicide, and around nine percent of them say that they have tried killing themselves at least once.

Whatever the causes of teen suicide, it is important to note that the pressures of teenage living can lead to suicide. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL):

  • 19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves.

  • 14.5 percent of high school students made actual plans for committing suicide,

  • 900,000 youth planned their suicides during an episode of major depression.

Many times parents may not know that their child is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts. There are so many resources available for teens in crisis. Here are some organizations leading the charge to help teens in crisis.

It's important to have the discussion with your kids to let them know if they or one of their friends are suffering from depression or threatening to harm themselves they need to immediately tell an adult, teacher or direct them to one of these crisis providers. If they feel there is an eminent threat, call 911.

Facebook 101: How To Report Suicidal Intentions http://www.scribd.com/doc/75718714/Facebook-101-How-to-Report-Suicidal-Expressions

Crisis Text Line: Get Help Now http://www.crisistextline.org/get-help-now/

ReachOut USA http://us.reachout.com/

Trevor Project: Warning Signs of Suicide http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/warning-signs  

Trevor Project: Get Help Now http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now

To Write Love on Her Arms: Get Help Now http://twloha.com/find-help



Real to Me: Girls and Reality TV http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2011/11/real-to-me-girls-and-reality-tv.html

Reality TV Tip Sheet for Parents http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2011/11/real-to-me-reality-tv-tip-sheet-for-parents.html

What Pop Culture is Teaching Your Boys About Masculinity  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/progressive-parenting/2011/04/19/what-pop-culture-is-teaching-your-boys-about-masculinity

Boys, the Media and Body Image: An Open Letter to The Ellen Show http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2011/04/media-boys-body-image-pop-culture-an-open-letter-to-the-ellen-show.html



Parents Guide to Facebook

48% of Parents Believe the Internet is a Good Contribution to Their Children’s Lives http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2012/02/survey-48-of-parents-believe-the-internet-is-a-good-contribution-to-their-childrens-lives.html

Social Networking Tips for Parents http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2010/10/social-networking-facebook-privacy-tips-for-parents.html

Empowering Parents Through Technology http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2010/09/research-empowering-parents-through-technology.html

Facebook Security and Safety Resources for Parents http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2010/04/facebook-security-and-safety-resources-for-parents-teachers-teens.html

Facebook for Parents http://www.facebookforparents.org/

Connecting with the Facebook Parenting Duo

Why Anti-Bullying Programs Are Failing http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2013/02/why-anti-bullying-programs-are-failing-brooks-gibbs.html

INFOGRAPHIC: School Bullying http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2012/01/infographic-school-bullying.html

What Parents Need to Know About Ask.fm & Kik http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/parents-know-ask-fm-kik-144900812.html

INFOGRAPHIC: How Millennials Use Technology & Social Media for Good

We’re all familiar with the negative stereotypes associated with young adults and technology. But did you know they're actually using their devices to make a difference? 

Are Millennials Using Technology for Good?


How To Report Suicidal Expressions on Facebook

FacebookToday Facebook shared an Infographic that shows how people can quickly get suicide prevention resources and/or submit a report to Facebook about their distressed friend.

The three ways a person can get resources on Facebook desktop are:

  • Clicking “Report” on the upper-right corner of a post: in addition to resources and the option to submit a report, we also provide a suggested Facebook message for a person to send directly to their friend letting them know their concern.
  • Searching “Suicide” in the search bar.
  • Going to the Facebook Help Center and typing “suicide.”

On mobile, people can also report suicidal content in a post directly from their phone.

The World Health Organization reports that every year almost one million people die from suicide. That is tragic. And the impact goes much further—studies show that each suicide intimately affects at least 6 other people. That means that globally, the impact of suicide is felt deeply by many millions of people each year.

Please read and share this information with as many people as you can--you could literally save a life! You can also find a list of suicide prevention hotlines by clicking HERE.

How To Report Suicidal Expressions on Facebook
by Derek Baird


Trend Watch: Disney's 'Little Mermaid' Second Screen Live iPad Experiment

Little.mermaid.second-screen-live-disneyWhile broadcasters, social networking and tech start-ups have been experimenting with second screen and other social entertainement experiences, they've been pretty much confined to TV viewing at home through social tv apps (like GetGlue or IntoNow) or social networks (Facebook and Twitter).

Disney aims to change that by bringing an interactive and second screen experience to the movie theatre!

On September 20th, Disney Studios wants you to bring your iPad with you to the special screenings of The Little Mermaid to interact with the film, play games, sing along, find new surprises and compete with other audience members.


Introducing finderyU

Findery, and the world, is your classroom!

While it may seem like you just wrapped up finals, packed up the classroom and headed for a well-deserved summer break, the (sad) truth is a new semester is right around the corner!

As you sit on that beach, you may be wondering how can you incorporate more project-based learning activities into your course syllabus and grab the attention of your students who, let’s be honest, have the attention span of a gnat.

Even if you’re not currently enrolled in college, Findery is a powerful informal learning platform where you can tap into the collective knowledge hidden in Findery Notes and learn (or share!)  more about Australia, space travel, candy, San Francisco architecture or anything else that matters to you!

Introducing Findery University

Today I am happy to share the launch of Findery University!

Findery, is a geo-location based website where anyone can share local knowledge, hidden secrets, stories and information about the world around you. Using Findery, your students (or you!) can annotate places in the real world, leave media rich (YouTube videos, SoundCloud audio, Instagram and your own images) notes tagged to a specific geographic location.

You can even embed Findery notes into your class blog or website or share them via Twitter or on your classroom Facebook or Google+ page.

Findery for Students

Findery is a great way to create a multimedia project for just about any class. Demonstrate your learning by adding notes infused with video, images and text along the paths of your explorations. Ask your classmates to contribute their reflections, narrative feedback and resources on your Findery project through the comments.

Be sure to follow @Campus on Findery to discover and contribute notes about student life and campus history. Your notes could capture memories with your friends or pay it forward by joining the Findery Campus Challenge and leaving tips for your current and future classmates!

Findery University for Educators

Here are a few examples of how you can use Findery University to support formal and informal learning:

  • Studying community supported agriculture?  Investigate and map local food in your area, then leave notes for food sources with commentary on sustainability.

  • Have writer’s block?  Explore the notes in a particular region and build a story around the local knowledge of that place.

  • If you teach American Literature, create a Set that has Notes with facts, images or videos for books or authors included on your course reading list.

  • Encourage observation through illustrating places.  Go on a sketching excursion and post a note with the picture of your sketch.  Tag your notes with #sketchproject to contribute to urban sketching fans on Findery.

  • Use Findery as a way to create a living history map. Share a picture of your ancestors at the docks in Liverpool with an excerpt from their diary talking about how they feel about leaving England for America. 

    Share a note with a video clip  about the hazards of transatlantic boat travel in the 1800s and include a passage from their diary about the challenges they faced during the journey. Bring your family history to life!

Enroll in finderyU

  1. Go to findery.com

  2. Click "Sign Up!" and follow the prompts. Don't be afraid of the FAQs

  3. Update your settings, jump in and create your first note, or just start exploring

  4. Download the free Findery University handout, or check out more lesson plan ideas at www.findery.com/university

It will be exciting to see how educators use Findery in the classroom, student projects or for your amazing passion projects!

Findery wants to share your Notes and lesson plans with our educator community. Send a tweet @finderyU or share the link on the Findery Facebook page, so they can share your FinderyU contributions!

And, oh--you can find me on Findery, here

Study: 63% of College Students Actively Using Facebook or Twitter While Watching TV

Mobile is having the biggest impact on how college students apportion their screen time. Daily time spent on the computer and watching TV decreased in 2013, while daily time spent with the mobile phone and tablet were up by about 18 minutes each, compared with 2012.

But even if daily time spent watching TV is diminishing, a considerable 60% of college students reported owning a flat-screen TV; and TV viewing was still a major portion of students’ media time, clocking in at 2.8 hours per day. While time spent on the computer or mobile may be higher, activity on these devices can run the gamut—from using a word processing program for schoolwork to making a phone call.

image from www.emarketer.com

By comparison, when students turn on the TV, it is to watch a program, even if using other devices is a corollary part of the experience.

The study found that eight out of 10 college students reported using a second screen at least a few times a week while watching TV. Only 13% did so less than once a week, or not at all.

The most popular activity students engaged in while watching TV was using Facebook or Twitter, at 63% of respondents. Social TV can be boon to TV marketers and advertisers, but there is always the possibility that social networks are merely distractions from TV content.

Surfing the web was the next most common activity while watching TV, at 58% of respondents, while half also reported playing games. Schoolwork wasn’t completely forgotten while students vegged out in front of the television, though—37% said they did homework or research while watching TV.

And in a sign that the second screen may be an opportunity for TV marketers and advertisers to gain student viewers’ extra attention, about one-quarter of students looked up the TV schedule on a second screen, and about the same percentage shopped. (Source)