How Plugged-In Families Can Have a Device-Free(ish) Holiday

“The trick is to downsize — not demolish — your family’s reliance on technology over the holidays. Advice from Common Sense Media editors.”

Just in time for the Winter Break, Common Sense media have created a succinct, useable resource for planning and enjoying the time off together with your family.

One of the things that I always appreciate about CSM is their balanced approach to media and technology and this guide is no exception. There are the predictable, #devicefreedinner-type of suggestions like putting phones in a basket or not checking emails obsessively, but also suggestions for enjoying tech time together in a responsible and fun way:

Have a download derby. Browse the app store together. Look for games and activities that the whole family can enjoy, such as the ones on our our best app lists.

Try some tech togetherness. Unplugging for its own sake isn’t the point. Family time is. Plan a night of video games, movies, or maybe preselected YouTube videos that you can all enjoy together.”

Read more of the suggestions on the Common Sense Media site below.

Source: How Plugged-In Families Can Have a Device-Free(ish) Holiday

Recruitment and Digital Footprints

International schools are in the midst of their recruitment season and are reviewing applications from prospective teachers and administrators. Schools which have invested money, time and good will into building technology-rich environments for teaching, learning, and professional practice can capitalize on that investement by recruiting and retaining faculty members with demonstrated skills and enthusiasm for living and working in that environment.

To that end I am often asked how a school can recognize candidates who meet an arbitrary standard of “good with computers” (*cringe*). In those discussions I like to use the ISTE Standards for Teachers and Adminstrators as starting points: What is the school looking for in its faculty and what evidence do you have that a candidate exhibits those traits?

A candidate’s digital footprint can provide evidence both before and during the interview process and Google is my simple tool of choice. There are two things a school should do for every candidate under consideration:

Google the candidate.

That sounds simple and obvious, but I am shocked how many interviewers do not look up their candidates as part of the initial screening process. Candidates can promise anything in a cover letter or CV, but the public record can speak volumes about what they are currently saying and doing. You can learn a lot about a candidate by examining what is (and is not) visible in their digital footprint. Things to look for include:

  • a current professional website or blog with content that reflects the candidates ideas and opinions,
  • an active, updated LinkedIn or Twitter profile with a visible network of professional contacts and communications, and
  • third-party reports of participation in online communities, real or virtual conferences, committees, extracurriculars, and community service.

Ask the candidate.

In the actual interview simply ask the candidate “What would you hope I would find if I googled you?” The reason for this question is three-fold:

  • There might be “hidden” information online, perhaps concealed behind a login screen or in a private community. The candidate would then be able to discuss these items in the interview which you might not have found in your Google search.
  • Your Google search might have revealed conflicting or overlapping results for people with the same or similar names. A candidate who is aware of her digital footprint can then clarify which of those results are hers and which are not.
  • There is always the possibility that the candidate has no professional digital footprint. You might have found a Facebook profile or links to family photos, but no evidence of professional activities online.

Red flags.

A teacher candidate who does not “[p]articipate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning.” (ISTE Standards for Teachers, 5a)

An admin candidate who does not “[p]romote and participate in local, national and global learning communities that stimulate innovation, creativity and digital age collaboration.” (ISTE Standards for Administrators, 2e)

 

These are first steps towards getting to know your school’s candidates, but I believe that they will help your school to pre-select the best candidates for further consideration in your recruitment process.

Can You Tell Fake News From Real? : NPR

"Many assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally savvy about what they find there," the researchers wrote. "Our work shows the opposite."

Stanford researchers assessed students from middle school to college and found they struggled to distinguish ads from articles, neutral sources from biased ones and fake accounts from real ones.

This is truly dismaying news given the post-truth world we are apparently living in now. NPR News presents a concise and informative report on Stanford’s recently published “Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning” and paints a grim picture of so-called digital natives’ ability to critically assess news and fake news.

The participants in this study were middle and high school students who were asked to evaluate websites, tweets, and images in order to determine whether they were legitimate (from the cited source), factual (presented information that was true or which stood up to basic scrutiny) or unbiased. The Stanford researched used items from across the politial spectrum and discovered that students could not identify advertisements on webpages, could not determine if sources of sources were real or fake, or even if images were what they purported to be.

We in the IT and Library world clearly have our work cut out for ourselves and need to have some serious curricular discussions within our schools. I for one would be very curious to see how our own students would fare in a similar study. Anyone care to join me?

Listen on NPR.org: https://www.npr.org/player/embed/503129818/503141179

Read on NPR.org: Can You Tell Fake News From Real? Study Finds Students Have ‘Dismaying’ Inability : The Two-Way : NPR