Why Reading Your Kids A Bedtime Story is the Key to Literacy

The childhood tradition of a bedtime story is in serious peril, as experts warn that parents are not making the time to read to their children at the end of the working day and stop reading to them at too young an age.  image from 1.bp.blogspot.com

A recent survey, by YouGov for the children’s publisher Scholastic, revealed last week that many parents stop reading to their children when they become independent readers, even if the child isn’t ready to lose their bedtime story.

The study found that 83% of children enjoyed being read aloud to, with 68% describing it as a special time with their parents. (“It felt so warm, so spirit-rising,” as one 11-year-old boy put it.)

One in five of the parents surveyed stopped reading aloud to their children before the age of nine, and almost a third of children aged six to 11 whose parents had stopped reading aloud to them wanted them to carry on.

iRights: Digitally Enabling Privacy for Children and Young People

image from irights.uk‪iRights‬ is an initiative that seeks to make the digital world a more transparent and empowering place for children.



iRights Animated Film from Beeban Kidron on Vimeo.

This is a pretty interesting children's privacy initiative outta the UK. Seems like this should be "a thing" in every country, and not just for kids.

Camp Google

Camp GoogleCamp Google is a free summer camp that gets kids learning through fun, interactive science activities and adventures.

Led by experts, the activities have been designed to encourage kids to ask questions, setting them on a lifelong journey of exploration and discovery.

Starting Monday, kids can join Camp Google for free! Khan Academy, National Geographic, NASA, and the National Park Service teamed up to make a great experience!


STUDY: The Role of Social Media and Technology in Peer Bullying

image from www.apa.orgRecently published research in the journal Psychology of Violence,  from the University of New Hampshire Crimes Against Children Research Center (CCRC),  – “The Role of Technology in Peer Harassment: Does It Amplify Harm for Youth?” (pdf)  conducted a survey  of 791 young people aged 10-20 to find out the role of technology and social media in peer bullying.

The big take away from the study is that the negative impact of online bullying is "significantly lowerthan bullying behaviors that occur face-to-face.

  • "...That those seeking to prevent the most detrimental forms of peer harassment might focus less on cyberbullying per se and instead [consider] prevention programs that teach youth to handle negative feelings and to de-escalate tensions."
  • Compared with in-person incidents, technology-only incidents were less likely to involve multiple episodes and power imbalances.
  • They were seen by victims as easier to stop and had significantly less emotional impact.” So, no, the idea that tech amplifies harm, is not supported by the data."

While many researchers have been concerned that cyberbullying could actually be worse than facing a victim offline and in person, the study actually provided opposite results.

"Technology-only incidents were less likely than in-person only incidents to result in injury, involve a social power differential and to have happened a series of times," Kimberly J. Mitchell, lead author of the study, said in a news release.

"Mixed episodes, those that involved both in-person and technology elements, were more likely than technology-only episodes to involve perpetrators who knew embarrassing things about the victim, happen a series of times, last for one month or longer, involve physical injury and start out as joking before becoming more serious. It is these mixed episodes that appear to be the most distressing to youth."

This study represents a big shift in thinking about social media bullying and should make everyone involved in working with kids and teens shift more focus on to the bullying behaviors that take place in the classroom, home and playground.

The Role of Technology in Peer Harassment: Does It Amplify Harm for Youth?


MakerEDU: How To Nurture Creative Mindsets [VIDEO]

image from cache.lego.comCreativity is one of the most important competencies of the 21st Century. Yet, the puzzling question is how to nurture it? Children are creative from the day they are born and the film describes how to support creativity across cultures.

The content is based on the report, Cultures of Creativity, published by the LEGO Foundation.


Here's the full report by David Gauntlett and Bo Stjerne Thomsen and 20 leading international experts on play, learning and creativity.


Cultures of Creativity LEGO Fonden 2013

Gaming to Re-engage Boys in Learning [VIDEO]

Ted-conferenceIn her talk, Ali Carr-Chellman pinpoints three reasons boys are tuning out of school in droves, and lays out her bold plan to re-engage them: bringing their culture into the classroom, with new rules that let boys be boys, and video games that teach as well as entertain. 


Bridegroom Lesson Plan: Teaching LGBT Civil Rights

image from www.reellifewithjane.comThis lesson, based on the documentary film Bridegroom, will help students better understand the issues concerning the disparity of civil rights extended to different communities in American society.

The film also addresses student strategies for coping with bullying and overcoming feelings of social isolation.

The lesson is also aligned to McREL learning standards, contains project based learning activities and a discussion guide for educators. 

These learning materials have been released under a Creative Commons license and may be shared and downloaded for educational and non-profit use, with attribution.



To complete this lesson, students will need access to the following:


 Bridegroom Lesson Plan


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

Facebook for Education: Instagram in the Classroom


Instagram-logoHere's a new Facebook for Educators handout that covers the basics of using Instagram, part of Facebook, in the classroom.

Feel free to share this, and our other (free!) Facebook Education handouts, with your colleagues, parents, youth pastor, coach or anyone who works with youth.

Related: Learn more about privacy on Instagram or get help with FAQs.

Instagram in the Classroom by Facebook for Educators

Click HERE to download the handout! It's free! 

Facebook for Edu: Introducing Hashtags on Facebook

Fb.hashtagThis week Facebook rolled out a new feature--hashtags!

Similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest, hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion.

Here's a new handout that covers the basics of getting started using hashtags on Facebook, along with a quick look at hashtag privacy. Feel free to share this, and our other (free!) Facebook Education handouts, with your colleagues, parents or youth pastor.

Introducing Hashtags on Facebook by Facebook for Educators

Get the Official Facebook for Educators Guide

The Facebook for Educators Guide is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and German. The guide is a collaboration between myself, Dr. BJ Fogg, Linda Fogg-Phillips and Facebook.

We invite you to join the conversation and share your best practices for using social media in the classroom with educators from around the world on our Facebook for Educators Page (http://www.facebook.com/FBforEducators).

You can find more free handouts, resources and profession development materials on our Scribd page (http://www.scribd.com/collections/2978485/Facebook-101).


Call for Nominations: Grammy Foundation Music Educator Award

image from www.grammyintheschools.com

At the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards, the GRAMMY Foundation and The Recording Academy announced that they are partnering to present their first-ever Music Educator Award to recognize music educators for their contributions to our musical landscape and their positive influence on their students' musical experiences

This new award is open to current U.S. music teachers from kindergarten through college, in public and private schools.

Anyone can nominate a teacher — students, parents, friends, colleagues, community members, school deans and administrators — and teachers are also able to nominate themselves. Nominated teachers will be notified and invited to fill out an application.

One winner will be selected from 10 finalists each year to be recognized for their remarkable impact on their students' lives. The first award will be presented during GRAMMY Week 2014.

The winner will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the award, attend the GRAMMY Awards, and receive a $10,000 honorarium. The nine finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium. 

The honorariums provided to the winners are made possible by a grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund. This new partnership with the Ford Motor Company Fund expands their financial support of GRAMMY Foundation music education initiatives.

  • The nomination process is open now and the deadline for nominations is April 15, 2013

Games for a Digital Age: K-12 Market Map and Investment Analysis

image from www.joanganzcooneycenter.orgGames for a Digital Age: K-12 Market Map and Investment Analysis includes a sector analysis and market map of game‐based learning initiatives with an analysis of relevant trends in education and digital technology that are likely to impact development of a robust game-based learning market segment.

By formulating a new framework for understanding the changing dynamics of purchase decisions at the school, extended learning, and consumer levels including a “follow the money” analysis, this report will guide efficient use of existing capital and examine where new investment would be most productive.

Conducted and written by Dr. John Richards, Leslie Stebbins and Dr. Kurt Moellering, the report synthesizes findings from extensive market research and a series of fifty interviews with leaders in the developer and publishing industries, and from the government, foundation and research sectors.


Games for a Digital Age: K-12 Market Map and Investment Analysis by

How Social Design Influences Student Retention and Self-Motivation in Online Learning Environments

image from www.igi-global.com

I've teamed up again with my writing partner, Dr. Mercedes Fisher, to take a deeper look at how designing for social spaces can help foster a deeper sense of community among students, teachers and the course content.

I'm pleased to announce that our book chapter, How Social Design Influences Student Retention and Self-Motivation in Online Learning Environments, has been published in Social Media and the New Academic Environment.

But beyond the classroom, these best practices can be integrated into any online community, forum discussion or informal online education environment.

As web applications play a vital role in our society, social media has emerged as an important tool in the creation and exchange of user-generated content and social interaction. The benefits of these services have entered in the educational areas to become new means by which scholars communicate, collaborate and teach.
Social Media and the New Academic Environment: Pedagogical Challenges provides relevant theoretical frameworks and the latest research on social media the challenges in the educational context.
This book is essential for professionals aiming to improve their understanding of social media at different levels of education as well as researchers in the fields of e-learning, educational science and information and communication sciences and much more.

Trend Watch: Speaking the Language and Ministering to the Next Generation


image from pewinternet.org

Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet and the American Life Project, recently spoke at the annual conference of the National Religious Broadcasters.

 This talk will focus on the media habits of Millennials and GenX and how their patterns of gathering and creating information are different in the digital age.