How Yik Yak is different from other social media

Based on news reports and conversations with educators about troubles with Yik Yak, the location-based anonymous texting app, at schools in many parts of the US, three scenarios leap to mind…. Remember that kid at school (or maybe that frat house) who felt the need or the pressure to set off the fire alarm to […]

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Family Contract for Smartphone Use

Pledge for kids and teens I will not touch or look at my phone when it’s dangerous to do so such as driving, riding a bike or walking. I will be considerate of others and not use my phone to text or talk when it may disturb others or at inappropriate times or places such […]

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Social media reality check from Canadian youth: Key study

Before releasing its report on online conflict, MediaSmarts presented a much broader picture of young Canadians’ experiences in social media: “Life Online.” This is important context for any discussion about cyberbullying and other negative aspects of digitally informed life, whether we’re setting policy at the household, school or national levels. “There are a lot of […]

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Safety through mindfulness: Watch ‘The Science of Character’

I’m not sure who decided this but March 20th is “Character Day” and it’s also the day that filmmaker Tiffany Shlain released a superb 8 minute video, “The Science of Character.” In addition to making the film available, Shlain’s website Let it Ripple, is encouraging people to: Join a global Q&A through Google Hangout with Dr. […]

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Major study of teen online conflict in Canada, insights for all of us

Though “cyberbullying” is in the title, the just-released study from Canada’s premier digital and media literacy organization, MediaSmarts, is about far more than that. The study offers a wide range of insights from young people themselves on the full spectrum of negative behaviors that turn up in digital media, including meanness, gossip-spreading, acting out of […]

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A teacher on what teaching in Minecraft looks like

No need to leave connected learning to the imagination. Well, sort of – plenty is left to students’ imaginations! Teacher Jacqui Murray in southern California spells out in a blog post exactly how she uses Minecraft for students to work on reading comprehension, writing and problem-solving. She agrees with New Jersey K-8 teacher Marianne Malmstrom […]

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‘The gold’ of connected learning, innovation worldwide: The learners

You know that maxim that “necessity is the mother invention” (it goes back at least to 16th-century England, according to Phrases.co.uk). Well, South African journalist Tony Shapshak recently showed in a TED Talk in Edinburgh how necessity is the mother of (tech) innovation, and that innovation is certainly not just happening in Silicon Valley, Bangalore, or the Zhongguancun […]

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Significant safety changes at Ask.fm

Though Americans represent the 2nd-biggest population on Latvia-based social media site Ask.fm, they also represent only 10% of the activity on the site. But all 105+ million users will benefit from new safety measures the service has put in place, one of them being a new Safety Center, which includes a page with a clear […]

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Factors in good policymaking about youth & digital media

Informed citizens sometimes forget that the reason why negative, tragic or just plain-old bad news is news is because it’s the exception to the rule. That’s why it’s newsworthy. And this is true whether we’re hearing about airplane crashes or online bullying. Sometimes the news is unspeakably tragic, but it’s still the exception, not the […]

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Youth Voices, Outer Voices: 2 fine participatory media projects

Two youth-serving, youth-participating projects were the highlights of last week’s Digital Media & Learning Conference (#DML2014) for me: Youth Voices, by educators, for students and educators, and the Outer Voices Podcast, a student-guided digital radio program. There are never enough young people participating in conferences about media and education, youth risk and wellness or safety, […]

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